Kythnos is not the Cycladic island that will mesmerise you, nor the one you’ll want to come back to again and again. But all in all, it’s a very good choice for a short weekend getaway if you want to visit the Cyclades and want to try something close and new (cause I’m sure you’ve been to Kea!). Plus, it’s definitely off the beaten path (for now) and still relatively unspoiled.
A visit in the white-washed narrow streets of Kythnos is definitely a must any time of the day. Whether you’re wandering through the small local shops and pantries in the morning to get the absolutely necessary for your breakfast or you’re cruising by at night for the occasional drink in one of the cafes, the chora of Kythnos offers quite a pleasant walk. The architecture may not be the one you’ll stumble upon in Sifnos or other islands of the Cycladic complex, yet there is some sort of tradition you can find of an island that has still not been flooded by the tourists and commercialised accordingly.
Make sure you stop by Tratamento, where the lovely old ladies prepare the famous amygdalota, a local delicacy dessert, as well as other liquers and sweets of the sort. You can also buy some vegetables and fruit from places that seem somewhat deserted but the produce is good. There’s even very good ice cream if you fancy something to sweeten your palate after your dinner. The church of St.Panteleimon is also quite the scene and behind it The Kraken is a nice stylish bar for the evening hours.
If you’re looking to swim, dive or sunbathe you’ll have plenty of options, all good but nothing great. Despite the numerous mentions of Kolona beach as one of the best beaches in Greece, it’s best if you keep your expectations low – yes, it’s formation is unique and the waters are nice, but the experience is not that great getting full of boats and tourists of the sort every single day during the busy summer months.
Instead, opt for the more remote and equally serene waters of Potamia, Skylos and Gaidouromantra. The are also a couple of organised beaches, Apokrisi (Coconut beach bar) and Episkopi (To Pountaki beach bar) in case you’re looking for an adventure-free swim.
Aerial view of the famous Kolona beach
Aerial view of Agios Sostis bay
Caramelized kotsi (pork shank) at To Hartino Karavi in Dryopida
Grilled octopus at Ostria restaurant in Merichas
Crystal clear waters at Potamia beach
- Kolona – one of the most famous in the Cyclades but definitely not worth its buzz. Good if you’re visiting by boat since it gets full of them during the busy summer days
- Potamia – very remote and hard to reach through a bumpy dirt road. Crystal clear waters and very quiet; some shade also under the trees and a small hut you may want to borrow from the only house in the area!
- Skylos – recommended by the locals for its pure turquoise waters. Make sure you get an umbrella with you
- Gaidouromantra – ditto, more to the south
- Antonides – small cove off Kanala. If the beach gets busy the little path to the right of the steps offers access to rocks you can lay on away from the crowds
- Kolona – the island’s most famous beach. Head there early via taxi boat from Merichas to beat the crowds. The taverna that overlooks the beach serves very decent seafood if you need to take a break from the scorching sun.
- Agios Sostis – North of Loutra this isolated cove is the perfect destination when the winds are too strong. Make sure to bring an umbrella to create some shade.
- Eneos Beach villas – nice seafront small villas/maisonettes that can house 4-6 people, albeit a bit pricey. The location also is not ideal as it is far out in the north and the access through the dirt road is not ideal
- K4 – maisonettes in Kanala, Miloi and Kastellas. Take your pick!
- Chora Kythnos Suites– located at the edge of the Chora, this new small boutique hotel offers exemplary Greek hospitality.
- To Hartino Karavi – gourmet dining in this quiet restaurant in Dryopida. Definitely worth the visit at night; make sure you order their specialty: ktsi (pork shank). Read our full review here
- Aria Gefseis – perfect location and probably the best restaurant on the island
- Ostria – best fish on the island; make sure you make it the main part of your meal. Read our full review here
- Byzantio – nice shrimp pasta in a casual downtempo setting. Read our full review here
- Kythnaikon – great brunch options (super tasty omelette with local cheese and bacon) and the best specialty coffee on the island. Service is very slow though
- The Kraken – tasty ambience and great place for drinks at night in chora
- Karnagio – drinks by the port at Loutra
- Archipelagos – the archetype of the Greek tarverna with fresh ingredients and friendly staff.
- Koutsikos – the setting on the road to Loutra is nothing special, but connaisseurs flock to this taverna for its local meat and grandma’s cooking.
- Mparoutis – casual meat taverna in the Chora. The pork spit (kontosouvli) is amazing.
- Sofrano – fish restaurant in Loutra for decently priced fish. One of the few places where you can dine with your feet almost in the water
- Palaiochori – beautiful terrace in the Chora for coffee and traditional sweets.
- Giagia Koukou – creative taverna in the Chora. Try the dishes of the day for a creative take on Greek cuisine.
- Margiora – Chora’s latest addition. Beautifully renovated old house turned wine bar with an excellent selection of Greek wines.
Kythnos signature cookie-based dessert