Kythira is not just a beautiful island, with hidden beauties that one can not get enough of, no matter how many times he has come.
It is a situation, a way of life, a philosophy if you will. It is no coincidence that they became a song, but also an emblematic title of a film by Theodoros Angelopoulos. Kythira is intertwined with a sense of travel beyond the ordinary, out of the pedestrian reality, giving the impression of a blissful, age-old, fairytale island place, where all miracles are possible.
This is the reason that many Greek and foreign travelers are caught in the dream trap of Kythera and become visitors by visitors! Let’s see the ingredients of the magic of this irresistible island!
The island where Aphrodite was born
The primary myth wants Aphrodite to have been born in the foam of the sea of Kythera, at the crossroads of the Mediterranean from west to east. The connection with the also magical Cyprus, probably shows that the legend was transferred together with sailors who united the two islands culturally and commercially. Kythira has been inhabited since the Neolithic period, having developed a very important civilization.
The Housti cave, in Diakofti as well, as well as the area of Paleopolis, host findings that confirm the existence of life from deep antiquity, for at least 6,000 years, while it is certain that they were an important station of the Minoan empire. On the Mountain, in the mysterious Agios Georgios, archaeologists discovered traces of an important landmark, namely a Minoan sanctuary which at the same time served as a lighthouse and observatory, which made it very important even in the difficult Byzantine years of piracy – Kythira felt good the power of the famous Kokkinogenis, Barbarossa, who passed through here in 1837, and the annihilation it brought lasted two and a half centuries.
The beaches of Kythera are a whole separate chapter. The variety of the coastline is so great that it does not fit in the mind! Many of them are cosmopolitan, with all the amenities requested by the traveler, while others are secret, hidden in underwater rocky crevices or discreetly sheltered behind a lush tree veil. Kapsali for example in the south is busy, while the pebble beach Sparagario, very close to the village of Kapsali, has inaccessible access, which requires a little climbing to win as a prize its unique waters.
The invisible and beautiful Kyriakoulou is only accessible by boat, and it is worth discovering, the impressive rocks and the deep waters are of incredible beauty! Halkos, near Kalamos, is the joy of the party animal, as with the noisy, youthful bars on the sea, summer looks like an endless celebration.
Also south and nearby Vroulea on the other hand, is the ideal shelter for overnight and relaxation under the starry sky, which seems to kiss the sea. Fyri Ammos, with its lively cave, sunbeds, umbrellas, snack bars and very beautiful water colors is one of the most favorite of all travelers, as well as Kombonada, with its romantic atmosphere. Vlychada on the other hand is isolated, with deep waters and fine pebbles that look like works of art!
Kaladi is suitable for beautiful dives and is in the east of the island, and Lake Paleopolis will enchant you! Access is through the riverbed, the beach has sand and pebbles, while the waters are deep and suitable for diving discoveries. The cosmopolitan Diakofti, in the northeast, with the picturesque taverns on the beach is offered for long day enjoyments and relaxation, while the nearby and beautiful Lake Kakia Lagada is offered for overnight with your friends. Lagada, near the very picturesque settlement of Agia Pelagia, is a meeting place for secular people and in general for those who love Kythira.
Loretzou, north of Agia Pelagia, is strange, with red pebbles giving it a unique appearance, while it is deserted and suitable to feel the power of the sea of Kythera. Fyri Ammos, which is busy and popular, also has red sand. Kalamitsi, the deserted and idyllic Fourni, Agios Nikolaos with the shocking sunset, as well as Routsounas, Agios Lefteris to the west, Lykodimou beach with its romantic cave, Limnionas with its shallow, warm waters, Melidoni, Feloti, and indeed, infinite others, are the coastal treasure of Kythera. Every beach and a whole world, the choices are countless.
The secret world of caves in Kythira
Kythira has very important and impressive caves, which are a pole of attraction for lovers of the beauty of the earth. The cave of Agia Sofia Mylopotamos – near the homonymous village – is very impressive, with great stalactites and stalagmites, while there are two other caves dedicated to Agia Sofia, also with small, picturesque churches at their entrance, Agia Sofia Kalamou and Spi Of Sophia in Agia Pelagia. Housti cave like Katafigadi, apart from their great beauty, which is clearly an attraction for the traveler, is also very important from an archeological point of view, as there are findings of prehistoric, classical and Roman use of these caves as residences and places of worship – storage. . If we calculate the network of mountain settlements, but also the unique landscape created by the waterfall of Neraida, in the heart of Kythera, the hinterland of the island competes with its coastal treasures!
Panagia Myrtidiotissa, the patron saint of Kythera
The monastery is located west of Kythira and is built near the sea in a pine-covered area. It is the spiritual center of Kythera and its church is dedicated to Panagia Myrtidiotissa who is considered the patron saint of Kythera. The image was found by a shepherd in the 13th century in the area of Myrtidia, which was so named after the many myrtles in the area. In the place where the image was found, the poor shepherd built a small church and devoted the rest of his life to its care. After the death of the pious shepherd, the care of the small church of Myrtidiotissa was undertaken by the monk Leontios who with the financial help of the Kythirians enlarged the original church a little and built around it some cells for the hospitality of the pilgrims. However, the large number of pilgrims from various places created the need for a larger temple and thus began the construction of the present temple.
Agia Moni of Kythera
It is located in the west and center of the island and is built on top of a mountain, offering panoramic views of the Myrtos Sea that is breathtaking. The church of the Monastery is dedicated to the Virgin Mary and was built in 1840 with the help of Theodoros Kolokotronis, who had order in the Virgin Mary that if the revolution of 1821 against the Turks won, he would return to the island and help rebuild the church, which celebrates of the Savior on August 6.
The Lantern of Kythera
The lighthouse of Moudari is located at the northern end of Kythera at Cape Spathi. It was built in 1857 by the English and is one of the largest in Greece with a height of 25 meters. The view from the lighthouse is wonderful, with the Peloponnese stretching panoramic and majestic, as the large number of passing boats from this important passage. Access is from Plateia Ammos and the last part of the route, about 400 meters long, is a path.
Thyme honey is one of the best in quality in the world. There are several producers on the island and their main occupation is honey. In fact, the Beekeeping Cooperative of Kythera has been established, which aims to support producers, improve the product, standardize and increase production. You can buy honey from the Cooperative and the producers themselves. Because its production is relatively small, its price is higher than the honey available on the market.
Oil is the main product of the Kytheri farmer. In Kythira you will see many areas with olive groves. The olive tree thrives on the island due to the good climate and the variety is “Koroneiki”. There are two agricultural production cooperatives.
The Tsirigotes have something to say about their wine. Friends and acquaintances will happen to sit at the table and everyone will start bragging about their own wine, comparing and in the end withdrawing with joy and dizziness! The varieties cultivated in Kythira are petrolanos, rhodite, arikaras etc. The wine is usually white or rosé. The Wine Festival takes place every summer in Mitata.
The people of Kythira also produce cheese, rusks and traditional sweets. In the markets of the island you can also get aromatic herbs, almonds, pears in various varieties and more.
Organic farming is being promoted lately as an alternative view of modern human nutrition. Foods free from the use of drugs and fertilizers are completely safe for health. The Kythera Organic Farmers Association has been established in Kythira in recent years. The products of organic farmers are certified by the Organization for Certification and Control of Organic Products “DIO”. Organic products have high prices due to their quality and that is why producers are turning more and more to organic farming. You will find organic products in selected parts of Kythera.
Kythera land is barren and agricultural production is poor. It is perhaps the most important reason that forced many to migrate in the 20th century. Most of the area of the island was once cultivated, while the population reached 10,000. That is why wherever you look on the island you will notice that the earth is separated by stone walls. Most of the land today is barren.
Nevertheless, there are still many who are engaged in agriculture. In fact, the promotion of Organic Agriculture and the state programs (eg agritourism) has pushed young people to engage in agricultural production which is now becoming more profitable. Also the use of new technologies in the agricultural sector protects production more.
In Kythira there are currently two agricultural cooperatives for oil production, one beekeeping and one organic. The efforts of the farmers are supported and strengthened by the Development Company of Kythera.