Kythira is a treasure yet to be discovered by tourists, easy to get to, very quiet, a blend of Ionian landscape and Cycladic architecture and a paradise for RV owners… at least for those who are long experienced travelers or just brave souls…. 😉
This is the spectacular view that greets you as you approach Hora (typical name of the main town on a Greek island) of Kythira. I must admit it has been a long time since I stood speechless in front of a landscape!
We took the ferry from Neapolis (one per day, in the morning), but you can also embark from Gythion (one per day too) and from Kalamata (once a week, en route to Crete). The ticket price is high but not prohibitive: 10€ per meter for campers and 11 € per person. The trip takes about an hour and a half.
We stayed for the night in the large parking lot at the entrance of Hora, overlooking the castle
[GPS N 36.15074, E 22.98746] and within walking distance from the central square. For those who wishing to, there is a campsite in Kapsali, the bay below the castle [GPS N 36.14737, E 23.00060]. Although with very basic facilities, almost spartan, it is located in an idyllic setting in the midst of a dense forest.
But let’s go back to Hora … Unlike what usually happens, Hora is not the island’s largest town, but it is certainly the most characteristic. It’s such a pleasure to wander around its narrow streets!
Although there are all types of shops in Hora too, for more extensive shopping you’ll have to go to Kontolianika or to Potamos. The grocery prices are not any higher on the island. On the contrary gasoline is quite expensive, so it’s better fill up before you embark. The gas station with the lowest fuel prices is located in Potamos, that of Cyclon not of BP (we filled the water tank too).
On the left the Town Hall of Kythira; above a detail of the National Bank building. Both edifices stand in the central square of Hora.
Another typical product are the yellow flowers called ‘Sempreviva’. They are picked only once a year in the end of May on the island called ‘Egg’ (‘Avgo’ in greek), which is located just in front of Hora. As the name suggest (everlasting), this flower can be dried without loss of its bright yellow color. The island’s most popular souvenirs are made with Sempreviva flowers.
It is definitely worth to visit the castle (open 8-15 daily, free entrance), not only because of the fortress interiors but also to admire the spectacular views of Hora, the Kapsali bay and the ‘Egg’ island.
The ‘Egg’ also hides a secret: a cave with crystal-clear blue waters where you can swim! A speed boat with glass-botom leaves every afternoon from Kapsali (12 € / person). The ride lasts two hours and gives the opportunity of swimming inside the cave, plus a short tour of the bays close to Hora.
And, to conclude this first part, a couple of pictures of Kapsali. This fishing village along with Agia Pelagia village (on the north of the island) are the only places with some nightlife. I was almost to forget it… I will explain why I said in the introduction that Kythira is for the brave RV owners. The streets are narrow and the best beaches are accessible only by (often extremely) dirt roads. More in next post…