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.

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19 Aug 2019
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26 Aug 2019
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02 Sep 2019
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23 Sep 2019
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21 Oct 2019
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28 Oct 2019
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Responsible tourism

Greece walking holiday, Kythnos

Carbon reduction

Your holiday will help support local people and conservation. We must also reduce CO2. Learn about the CO2 emissions of this holiday and how to reduce them.

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.

13 Reviews of Greece walking holiday, Kythnos

4.5 out of 5 stars
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Reviewed on 18 Jun 2019 by

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


Impossible to choose one as every day was a different kind of adventure. I enjoyed every single hike and the fact that most of them included a beach with azure waters for a refreshing dip was very welcome after a hot walk. Being there at the beginning of the season also had its unique charm as there weren't many tourists around and we could enjoy deserted beaches and have the churches and chapels to ourselves. The other hikers were fun to be with and Nigel chose fabulous restaurants for us - I fell in love with the fava, the fish, the sardines, the yogurt and the grilled vegetables. Having a local guide showing us round the archaeological sites and ruins also made the experience authentic and interesting.

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


Don't miss out on this fabulous experience. Kythnos is a beautiful, unspoilt island and hiking around the island is a great way to see the towns, sights and countryside. The hiking isn't that strenuous and if you're lucky you'll also see baby goats.......

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


Yes! Nigel and Katerina have advocated for the mapping, clearing and conservation of old trails and paths that locals used to use to cross the island until they began driving - I think the people who saw us hiking on them got a real kick out of seeing these historic routes being used by visitors. We also made zero environmental impact while we walked. Our custom benefitted many local businesses - the hotel, shops, the local bakery, bars, cafes, taxis and the
supermarkets.

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


Absolutely brilliant!

Reviewed on 07 Jun 2019 by

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


The beautiful beaches that we arrived on every day- all to ourselves and the peace and quiet of the island.

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


Make sure to wear full length walking trousers as the shrubs on the paths are very prickly.

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


Yes local guides were used and we ate in different restaurants and tavernas and also picked up lunch in the bakery.

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


Surpassed my expectations. The beautiful landscape and flora of the island. This holiday offered far more than walking with visit to mining caves and archaeological site and wine tasting. You get a real sense of the island. It is so unspoilt.

Reviewed on 27 May 2019 by

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


Everything, from initial contacts, booking, and most importantly the entire trip. Enjoyed it all.

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


Make contact, ask questions, be a little bit flexible on the hiking and just enjoy.

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


Yes definitely, we used locally owned restaurants in several villages, visited local cheese makers, visited local village based community, museums, walked virtually completely off road, hoping to encourage the local landowners and business owners to appreciate the value of their old traditional tracks and how these assets could be used to have a sustainable tourist attraction. We were encouraged and invited to get involved in local celebrations and customs.

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


Absolutely Fantastic.

Reviewed on 23 Apr 2019 by

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


The beautiful island of Kythnos and the interesting walks.

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


Make sure what is included in the trip. We were under the impression that lunches were part of the package but were not included as there was not a mini bus.

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


Yes, we ate in local restaurants and stayed in a local bed and breakfast.

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


We enjoyed it.

Reviewed on 23 Jul 2019 by

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


The peace and beauty of the island. On a few of the days we had secluded beaches to ourselves. Driving down the spine of the island at sundown and seeing the sea down both sides, the distant islands silvery in the sea mist, was beautiful. I also really enjoyed the snorkelling Nigel arranged for us, and sitting in the pool where the hot spring empties onto the beach at Loutra (on the free day I'd booked onto the end). The tour of the archaeological site with Katerina was very interesting - she was very informative.

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


The paths were not clearly marked and many were very overgrown with thorn bushes. This made for hard going at times, even when wearing long trousers
(definitely take trousers, even if it's due to be hot when you're going; trainers were absolutely fine in dry conditions - I did not think boots were necessary).
Unfortunately the week I was there Nigel was somewhat incapacitated with an injury which meant he could not properly lead the walks, and his other
guides were not available. This meant we lost out on the insights a good guide gives, and also got quite lost at times. I would check for certain that there will
be an experienced guide available who knows the trails. (And I would also hope that the trails would be cleared more of vegetation after our group's reports
back to Nigel on the issue during our trip.) Also, even if there is a beach taverna stop scheduled for the afternoon, be aware that this might not come until as
late as 3pm so I would recommend taking sufficient snacks. Breakfast at Stamati's bar is delicious - Greek yogurt, fresh fruit and local honey - but not that
substantial when you're walking and swimming. I didn't take advantage of the watersports options on one of the days and regretted it - you could do stand-
up paddle boarding or kayaking (or both!). There was a beach massage option which looked great (and was good value) but the timing didn't work - we didn't
get to the beach until 3 by which time I really needed to eat! So it might be worth negotiating these details with Nigel/the guides so you can take better
advantage of all the possible options on offer. I would also ask lots of questions about the day so you know exactly what is happening when, so you can plan
your food, water quantities etc. properly. This information wasn't necessarily forthcoming without asking.

In terms of the journey, be aware that it is easy to get the bus from the airport to Lavrio and it only costs 4 Euros (as opposed to 40-50 for a taxi). The stop is
opposite the Sofitel hotel, straight ahead as you come out of arrivals. I am noting this as I could not find very much info online! You have to change at
Markopoulo but that is easy enough - there are people there to put you on the right connecting bus. The whole journey took me about an hour.

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


I do feel it benefited local people - Nigel took us to different tavernas every night, which were all very good. Plus we used the snorkelling company and there
were other options to use local facilities, as I've mentioned above. We also used the local taxi service quite a bit (arranged by Nigel, which made things easy). I
stayed in Filoxenia studios in Hora, which was lovely, especially the renovated/refurbished room downstairs to which I was moved on the last night (ask for a downstairs room!).

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


If I could give half stars, I would rate this 3.5. Overall, this was a fun holiday on an unspoilt island with opportunities for beach relaxation as well as exploration.
It was great staying in the capital, Hora, which is a picturesque, labyrinthine, typically Greek little town (a big village by UK standards) and I appreciated the
options to eat at different tavernas every night. I was a little disappointed with the overgrown nature of the paths and the lack of good guiding - for me, the
walking experience was not up to the standard I have had on other walking holidays.

Reviewed on 14 Oct 2018 by

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


Unspoilt island with few if any foreign tourists seen. Local people friendly and
helpful. Beautiful whitewashed villages and churches against blue sky and even
deeper blue sea.

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


Wear long trousers and good walking boots, swimming costume, use sunblock and just go with everything! Wonderful

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


Yes

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


Excellent

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?


Don’t go when it’s 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 that’s 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 night’s 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 Kythnos’ 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 – we can’t 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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