Greece walking holiday, Kythnos

“Centre based guided walking on the unspoiled island of Kythnos, averaging 10km a day, discovering beaches, villages and ancient ruins and enjoying local food, wine and music, too.”

Highlights

Ferry from Lavrio or Piraeus to Kythnos | based in Hora | guided circular walks from Hora and Dryopida | approx 10km each day | unspoiled beaches | hot springs | churches | detailed hiking guide | meals in local tavernas | evening of music and dancing | evening visit to village of Dryopida | visits to farms and honey making centre

Description of Greece walking holiday, Kythnos

This six-day/five-night holiday on Kythnos is an opportunity to savour the delights of an unknown and unspoilt island, one which is only two hours on the ferry from the Athens port of Lavrio. You will stay in the Hora, the island capital and a traditional village with no cars in its centre. During the walks you will cross the wild countryside, pass many white-washed churches, to reach remote sandy beaches, many adorned with tamarisk trees. One walk rises up to a spectacular headland where there are the ruins of a Byzantine castle. Another walk goes to an archeological excavation with a qualified expert to see an ancient port and city, including a temple remains. You will visit former mining buildings and docks, and hot springs used in the 1800s by a German-born Greek king.

Many of the walks use mule tracks still used by farmers to get to their fields and their flocks of sheep and goats. In the bilingual, Greek/English, Kythnos Hiking Guide, co-authored by your local guide and published recently by Greek map publisher Terrain Editions, there are detailed descriptions and a mini-map for each trail, plus a welcome from the island mayor. The guide, given to all walkers free, has tips for a successful walk, such as what to wear and the natural hazards to be encountered. Because the island does not go up higher than 300 metres, there is no need for particular skills or physique. However, each day is around 10 kilometres walk and some fitness is required.

In the evenings, you will eat at typical local taverna which cook with local produce, such as the salty Kythnos cheese, lamb, goat and locally-caught fish. We will taste the local wine and sweet biscuits. After you will enjoy the playing of musicians from the island, one of the many lute and fiddle combinations or more complex groups including with the sandouri and tsambouna. There will be the opportunity to try the traditional dances. If there is a church festival, or panigiri, during your stay we will participate taking food and wine. Before your departure buy island-made souvenirs such as pottery and jewellery in Hora, Dryopida or the port town Merichas. Honey is another Kythnos product.

Hello. If you'd like to chat about this holiday or need help finding one we're very happy to help. Rosy & team.

01273 823 700

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Departing every Monday from 3rd April until October. Runs with a minimum of two people.
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Responsible tourism

Responsible tourism: Greece walking holiday, Kythnos

Environment

Our walking trails extol the natural beauty of the island's countryside, its historical sites, its traditional villages, its numerous churches and many sandy beaches. We emphasise to our walkers the importance of looking after the countryside, protecting wildlife, not dropping rubbish and closing gates. We support the island mayor's pledge to find funding for more signs on the trails and clearing where needed thus encouraging more walkers to the area (a low carbon way to explore the island).

Our Travellers Code of Conduct includes two pages of Useful Information covering the fitness required of walkers, clothing and shoes, and the natural sights to see, such as flowers, plants and animals. For each trail, we provide a map of the route, distances, the height of hills, difficult terrain, and natural hazards. We urge walkers to be respectful to farmers and their animals.

As stated above, we plan to launch our own hotel in 2016, a renovation of two 200-year-old mansions. These buildings will be under Greek culture ministry protection for their historical value. The hotel will include a series of presentations about the history of the island, the village where the hotel is located, and the buildings themselves.

With our hiking holidays, we want to demonstrate that this ecologically-sensitive form of tourism can help the local economy. We want to be an advocate in the local community for preserving the calm and history of Kythnos.

Community

For the walking, we will use local guides as much as possible and pay them a proper wage. The taverna's where we eat will be chosen for their use of local produce such as meat, cheese, vegetables and salad. We will visit farms and a honey-making centre during the holidays. The souvenir shops we recommend in Hora, Dryopida and Merichas produce their own pottery and jewelry on the island.

Kythnos has a lively cultural scene, including many traditional music events linked to religious feast days, particularly the Orthodox Easter and 15 August and also many other saint days. The island has a summer festival in July and August which we encourage guests to visit. At one event our guide plans to talk about our trails. At the music events, we will explain the traditional instruments being played such as lute, fiddle, tsambouna and sandouni and their continuing production, thus supporting local artisan business.

7 Reviews of Greece walking holiday, Kythnos

4.5 out of 5 stars
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4
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Reviewed on 04 Sep 2018 by

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your holiday?


The views, the villages, the sites we visited, the beaches, the clear warm sea, the accommodation, the food and the company so basically everything!

2. What tips would you give other travellers booking this holiday?


Go with a relaxed frame of mind so as you can go with the flow and be flexible with others in your group.

3. Did you feel that your holiday benefited local people, reduced environmental impacts or supported conservation?


Yes as our money was spent on the island in accommodation and restaurants. As we hiked we were using mainly old mule tracks that need to be regularly
used to keep vegetation at bay and to demonstrate to farmers and landowners that these are important links around the island.

4. Finally, how would you rate your holiday overall?


The best time ever! I can't thank Nigel enough for his care and concern for us, his knowledge and expertise, his flexibility in working the programme to our
abilities and to what we wanted from the holiday.

Reviewed on 30 May 2018 by

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your holiday?


There were so many bits! The walks are great, it was good to look around the beautiful villages, and we ate very well in the local restaurants.

2. What tips would you give other travellers booking this holiday?


The walking is fairly tough - wear long trousers (because the paths are very overgrown, often with spiky plants) and be prepared for a certain amount of
clambering over rocks and slightly insecure surfaces.

3. Did you feel that your holiday benefited local people, reduced environmental impacts or supported conservation?


The local walking company is run by an English man who now lives in Kynthos. He works closely with locals - small hotels, local restaurants, a local guide who
knows about the archaeology of the island.

4. Finally, how would you rate your holiday overall?


10/10

Reviewed on 20 Mar 2018 by

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your holiday?


The quiet seductive beauty of the island of Kythnos and the sea.

2. What tips would you give other travellers booking this holiday?


Donít go when itís too hot - spring or autumn ideal. I was there in October. A lot of things closed but enough open and easily warm enough to swim in the sea.

3. Did you feel that your holiday benefited local people, reduced environmental impacts or supported conservation?


Yes, all the places we ate in and stayed were very much local. Used water bottle and refilled from springs. Island needs tourism and very little known by non Athenians. Our walking the paths will help persuade farmers to maintain them and keep to the unique old ways of the island and prevents opportunistic hotels springing up - there is a wealth of archaeology and history you can only reach via these paths and thatís helping protect them, though they deserve to be better known and appreciated.

4. Finally, how would you rate your holiday overall?


Fantastic - loved it. Such a beautiful place, the walks were lovely and Nigel was very organised and everything was clearly communicated and ran very smoothly. Perfect combination of walking, sea swimming, healthy eating, lovely villages and altogether extremely relaxing and invigorating at the same time. Senses working overtime while out walking followed by a great nightís sleep. Cannot recommend highly enough.

Reviewed on 26 Oct 2017 by

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your holiday?


Kythnos is a relaxed, relatively unspoilt island. The walking was enjoyable, not too arduous & included different places of interest on route & the opportunity to swim most days on lovely beaches, which were almost deserted in mid October- and the sea was quite warm. Nigel was very accommodating & flexible & took us to different tavernas around the island each evening.

We enjoyed all aspects of the holiday, particularly the peacefulness. Nigel & Katerina were both very informative & good company. The highlight was probably the frescoes inside a ruined church up at Orias Castle with a wonderful view out to sea very unlikely to have found them without a guide. Also the elderly farmer who invited us in for ouzo & calamari - an entertaining meeting despite the complete language barrier- fortunately Nigel was able to translate most of the time!

2. What tips would you give other travellers booking this holiday?


Consider adding on the 2 day Athens extension. We found it really helpful having a guide there. A good contrast to the island & the hotel Euripides was in a good location & close to a vibrant area for eating at night.

3. Did you feel that your holiday benefited local people, reduced environmental impacts or supported conservation?


We stayed & ate in locally owned apartments &tavernas. Nigel pointed out local artisans whose products we were able to purchase.

4. Finally, how would you rate your holiday overall?


Excellent. It was very relaxing having everything arranged together with flexibility.

Reviewed on 09 Oct 2016 by

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your holiday?


Exploring the trails and beaches of Kythnos with our Greek guide who has spent every summer of her life on the island since she was a baby.

2. What tips would you give other travellers booking this holiday?


If possible, avoid taking this hiking holiday in July and August when it is really hot.

3. Did you feel that your holiday benefited local people, reduced environmental impacts or supported conservation?


Certainly we benefited local people by spending money there. Our guides have been involved in community recycling efforts and are very knowledgeable in conservation efforts on the island.

4. Finally, how would you rate your holiday overall?


We loved our trip to Kythnos! Our host Nigel took care of every detail from start to finish - from organizing our ferry tickets, to booking our charming hotel room, to adjusting the program to accommodate our interests. We felt very welcomed. From the moment he met us at the ferry our week was completely care free. With our Greek guide Katerina, we explored Kythnosí Neolithic ruins, a Byzantine castle, a limestone cave, the thermal springs at Loutra and myriad churches.
We learned about the flora and fauna as we hiked along back trails, sometimes enjoying wild figs and grapes that lined the trails. Katerina shared stories from childhood summers spent on Kythnos, giving us an insight into life on this
authentically Greek island. Evenings included visits to an open-air concert and listening to traditional music in a bar, as well as enjoying delicious, fresh food at different restaurants. All of this came at an unbeatable price Ė we canít wait to
return. Bravo to Nigel and Katerina!

Reviewed on 06 Oct 2015 by

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your holiday?


Trying to stop Nigel buying the drinks!

Falling into the sea after getting hot walking.

2. What tips would you give other travellers booking this holiday?


Get to the bar before Nigel!
The walking is surprisingly undulating for a relatively low island.

3. Did you feel that your holiday benefited local people, reduced environmental impacts or supported conservation?


I would guess so, though the guide aims at that all the time.

4. Finally, how would you rate your holiday overall?


A perfect short break, balanced walking, swimming and eating.

Reviewed on 02 Oct 2015 by

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your holiday?


On the last night, a music night was organised in a local taverna, with two local musicians playing Bouzouki and violin, and it was well supported by people from the village. The locals joined in with songs they knew, and danced in traditional dances when the music moved them. Four children danced very energetically, wonderfully in time with the music , including the young lad who had been running round the taverna all evening, taking orders, delivering drinks and food to the tables. Everybody joined in clapping, foot stomping and singing and had a great time.

2. What tips would you give other travellers booking this holiday?


It is possible to extend the holiday by going earlier as I did, or returning later, depending on which days the ferries are operating. It is best to plan for a night in Athens or elsewhere on the mainland afterwards, because the of the timing of the ferries.

The paths are fairly clear in most cases, and it is possible to walk independently using the new 1 : 25,000 map, but the Greek maps are optimistic as ever in places. A compass may be useful to take with you if you are familiar with using one to navigate.

3. Did you feel that your holiday benefited local people, reduced environmental impacts or supported conservation?


The holiday benefited local tavernas, cafes and hotels, because what little tourism they get appears to be concentrated in August.

4. Finally, how would you rate your holiday overall?


The walking is relatively easy in terrain similar to the Yorkshire dales, with many old kalderimia still surviving, because when they made new roads for cars, they chose less steep routes and avoided the zig-zags and steps used by the pack horse routes. Because there is very little agriculture on the island, and the old drove roads and pack horse routes have stone walls either side or run along narrow terraces, they have not been widened for pick-up trucks and tractors like in much of Greece.
The beaches are quiet, and most that we visited were sandy, shelving gently in to the clear warm sea.
The hotel was well equipped and comfortable, and food in the local tavernas was traditional and tasty.
The locals are very friendly, and nearly all greeted us as we passed along the roads.

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