Why Kythira ?
It is one of the most untouched Greek islands to visit.
It’s also the birthplace of Aphrodite the goddess of love, who sprang from the foam of the seas.
But those aren’t the reasons I go there.
I have been travelling to the island of Kythira for over 30 years as my husband's family immigrated from Kythira to Australia in the early 1900’s. So with historical curiosity we made the trip back to experience the beauty of Kythira.
Kythira today is still the unspoilt wonder that I found back on my first visit. It doesn’t have the signs of mass tourism - no package tours, no cruise ships or sweaty tourists. The busiest it gets is on a Sunday morning as it's market day in Potamos. The town explodes with locals meeting for coffee and selling local honeys, olives and olive oils. It’s definitely a time for Greek-Australians to mingle with the locals.
My days begin, with the opening of shutters to let in the morning light and the rhythmic noise of cicadas. What's exposed is a sweeping view over Agia Pelagia to the mainland and the stillness of the sea. Next, I venture down to Fyri Ammos beach for a swim. Pristine water for miles, revealing many shades of turquoise blue that is crystal clear. The seabed formations are covered in the softest white flowers, which are pretty to swim past as there isn't much sea-life to see. I make my way right past the little church on the hill, to a hidden grotto cave, then pass the umbrellas of Laggada Beach to the gorge. It’s an easy 2km loop, round trip swim.
Coffee follows soon after and if you like to wash the salt off there are plenty of showers at both Fyri Ammos beach and Agia Pelagia.
Atikon Cafe in the town of Potamos is my fave coffee spot. It is a stunning original coffee house, that's registered in the Historic Cafes Route of Europe. They also make the most delicious spinach and feta omelettes.
Or otherwise I visit APXIKH Karava Bakery for their fabulous feta and spinach scrolls. The owner is a gorgeous Greek Australian from Ballina who is always ready to greet you with tales of his life immigrating to Ballina and then his eventual return to Karava.
My pre-lunch dip is on the coast at the village of Avlemonas - a hidden gem. The road getting in is a little windy and you have to keep an eye out for wandering goats, but the trip is worth it. The swimming hole is stunning. A natural cove fringed with bright pink bougainvillea set amongst rocks with multiple platforms. The ideal place to dive in or sunbathe. A mermaids' paradise. Locals put swimming lanes up from one side to the other or you can just follow the coast line out to the wreck.
My lunch spot, Psomoladea, is truly unexpected. Either you sit on the front row with a view or in the hidden garden terrace - the place is unbeatable. The Greek salad is a masterpiece, cradled in delicious warm bread, it overflows onto the plate. The goat pasta is mouthwatering. Who knew goat was so tender it just falls off the bone. The seafood paella with lemon zest is also delicious, so light and fresh. And it's all washed done with the coldest Alfa beer.
Post lunch the beach of Kaladi is a must. It’s a steep walk in as you have to descend 150 steps to a pebbled beach which sits within 2 coves and looks out onto a rock island. There is an overhanging cliff which offers you shade from the afternoon sun and a position to perch to take in the beauty of the bay. The island rock is just off the beach and is a fun place to climb to get that “jump off the rocks” photo moment.
The town of Kapsali features your traditional front row of tavernas but the real treasure is up in Chora, a medieval tower village on the hillside. The village has had a make-over, with stone trimmed doorways, painted in a soft pinks, with every archway having a view. We stumbled upon Tonys pizza, a roof top bar with a stunning view, farm to table ingredients and a cool-set music vibe. Sipping Prosecco as the sun went down was a great end to a day.
And to further inspire you, take a peek at Aphrodite’s Breath. Susan Johnson’s new novel is an ode to Kythira.
It was an experience which “changed the course of the rest of [her] life.”
Drakakis (book early)
Pelagia Aphrodite Hotel On the beach At Fyri Ammos
Prapas Apartments the best view in village of Agia Pelagia
Almyra gorgeous water front home on Fyri Ammos beach 5 minutes walk from the village of Agia Pelagia