Ducks – Mylopotamos
At the west side of Kythera there is Mylopotamos, the scenic village of with the remarkable architecture, abundant vegetation and running water. Mylopotamos consists of four villages and Kato Chora, the abandoned Venetian settlement with the Venetian castle and the lion of St. Marcus. At the square of Mylopotamos, with the enormous sycamores and the traditional cafe ‘Platanos’, you will find the church of Agios Sostis and Agios Charalampos, with the amazing bells. Down below, there are springs with troughs where women used to wash their clothes in the past. Today you may find a small lake with ducks living inside .
Goats – Dourianika
The Dourians (people from Dourianika, a village located in the north-western part of the island) were known for their exquisite craftsmanship as builders. They would build everything from belfries and arches to hewed stone bridges. A group of them even created a workshop that they took to Zagorohoria come spring, they would successfully run it there up until the midst of Autumn. Such was their fame, that soon enough they even had a folk song dedicated to them “ If you want your room the earthquakes to withstand, make sure it’s been built by a known Dourian hand” . Also known for his craftsmanship was the village’s farrier, Benetos Komninos, who would shoe all of their horses and mules. The village had many fountain taps, orchards, vegetable gardens and fruit trees so its residents where heavily involved with tillage, stock raising and beekeeping. In the 50’s more and more people begun to leave the village, migrating to other parts of the world. It is said that the first Kytherian to immigrate to Australia in the 19th century was the Dourian Komninos. Today, the noise of workshops has silenced and the only sounds one hears are the those coming from wild goats and birds inhabiting the nearby slopes.
Cats – Goudianika
Irene loves animals. Since 2007 that she settled in the island and started her association called ‘Adopt a Cat’, she has contributed in the adoption of over 140 cats, while she owns herself 43 cats at her house in Goudianika village. The best time you can enjoy the cats is at the feeding, when they all gather together around the feeders mewing with joy. Irene has installed 10 cat feeders all over the island which she refills every week.
Sheep – Vouno/Karavas
Cherile came to Kythera from Holland about 30 year ago, without knowing a single word in Greek. Here she met her German husband, Dieter and together the managed to make a living doing all sorts of works, from house cleaning and agricultural works to donkey rides . Nowadays, together with their Albanian shepherd and a Bulgarian assistant, they have formulated the most a productive business interested in handmade Kytherian products, such as voutirotsikoudo, the traditional, salty butter of Kythera.
Bees – Karavas
Kythira’s most known and loved produce is their thyme honey. Thyme honey stands out for its unique flavor, hue and aroma. The first time thyme honey was mentioned as superior to other varieties was in 400BC by Herakleides who wrote about how people in Kythira used honey as an essential part of their nutrition . Today, the tradition of apiculture is a prominent one on the island, where one can come across approximately 60 different beekeepers. Thyme is omnipresent on the island but the aroma infused in the honey is also boosted by the flowering of heather and sage that grow in the same areas. The harvesting of honey commences in the mid of July and carries on until the beginning of August.
Chousti Cave – Diakofti
The Chousti Cave in Diakofti is a hidden natural gem with a large history. Its entrance, consisting of steps carved on the rock, leads to its central point which is beautifully lit by a large hole on the roof that allows the sun to shine straight through. There’s no stalactites or stalagmites in this cavern, instead, there’s humidity and the hypnotic buzzing of bees that find refuge in its openings . The ancient Kythirians used this hidden cavern as worship ground – findings in the cave go back to the Neolithic era – later on, it was often used as a refuge during pirate attacks and in more recent history, as a resistance den during the German occupation.
Agia Sofia Cave – Mylopotamos
One of the island’s most exquisite natural attractions is the Agia Sofia cave in the Mylopotamos area. One of the very few live caves in Greece – meaning that the formation of stalagmites within the cave has not yet ceased – this impressive cavern located at an altitude of 50 meters on the Kokala cove, has been used in a variety of different reasons in the past. The Agia Sofia church that one stumbles across upon entering the cave, is adorned by a unique selection of well preserved 13th century hagiographies (religious paintings). Forming behind the chapel is a small, natural lake that was often used for Christenings. The Agia Sofia cavern has also been historically used as a refuge by the island’s hunted partisans and revolutionaries. The 2000sq meter cavern’s exploration began in 1955 by the Petroheilos couple. Nowadays, visitors flood in to admire its inner stalagmite and stalactite formations as well as the unique hues created by the blends of metals and other natural elements found in the rocky terrain of its chambers.
Agia Moni (wind) – Diakofti
Going up the bare hill of 300 meters that stands above Diakofti, one finds a monastery, standing alone, stoically accepting the blows of strong winds. This is Agia Moni, a monastery that was built after the discovery of the icon of the Virgin Mary holding infant Crist on her hands, found by a shepherd. This monument, built with prime views to Myrtoo Sea, is linked to the hero of the Greek revolution, Theodoros Kolokotronis, who after escaping to Kythira in 1803 and having taken a vow to the Virgin for the outcome of the Greek revolution, eventually financed the reconstruction of the monastery’s bell tower .
Port (wind) – Kapsali
Eleni Harou describes the weather and wind of Kythira, which are said to often change suddenly during the day: “ The weather today is Graigolevantes (eastern, north-eastern). The sea keeps Sirocco weak, that’s why it’s warm. At the Kapsali today, there’s no Antimamala, we’re being protected by the elements (Antimamala is a wave’s soft movement on the beach when there’s no wind blowing). Tonight we’ll have Bonazza (calm weather) so the squid rods are getting an outing. Squid fishing is very popular this time of year. Last night, however, many areas of Kythira (Diakofti, Livadi and more) were faced with Anemotsampoura (sudden but transient windstorms accompanied by rain). The weather was shedding its Kathouria (dark clouds spotted in the west) that brought on heavy storms».
Right in the middle of the Kaladi, Firi Ammo and Kalamos beaches, and just by the large canyon’s terminus on the north-eastern part of the island, one can find the magical Komponada beach. The road leading to it is well made and easy to drive on. It is also parallel to the canyon, the opening of which homes a small wetland full of rushes and reeds. In spring, the loud chirping of birds welcomes visitors to the area. Those chirpings belong to Sardinian Warblers, a small yet spunky breed of birds with a characteristic black plume . In the summertime, the welcoming noise belongs to cicadas whose noise works as the perfect backdrop for some reverie of the Myrtoo sea. Komponada with its large empty space of white sand adorned by broad pebbles, is the perfect choice for those seeking out solitude.
Limnionas Beach – Mylopotamos
The Limionas beach and village are located at the end of a full of twists and turns journey where once upon a time, one of Kythira’s few cedar forests stood. Across the journey, the naked landscape alternates with a revealing view of the sea. At the end of it one reaches a small seaside fishermen village. The most breath-taking part of the area, however, is located a walking kilometre off the beach. It’s a stunning green lake, a natural pool of clear sea water that has gathered at the opening of a large rock.
Palaiopoli Beach – Palaiopoli
Palaiopoli has oscillated on a very thin thread between myth and reality. Built where the grandiose ancient Skandeia port used to be, Palaiopoli, according to the myth, bears the title of Aphrodite’s birth place. It’s not a coincidence that Palaiopoli was the only part of the island that triggered the interest of the Archaeological School of England who proceeded to conduct regular excavations in the area. Some of their more prominent finds include Minoan and Mycenaec tombs, the Koilos Rock – where Aphrodite was said to have bathed when she first immersed from the sea – as well as Aphrodite’s throne with a spectacular view of the open sea . Palaiopoli is a lowland that houses a large olive grove and multiple streams as well as the island’s largest beach that stretches out from the neighbouring Avlemona village to the small Modi hill. The beach is segmented into three smaller ones: The Piatsa Beach, the Vothona Beach and the Limni beach. The latter was named after a small lake (Limni in Greek means Lake) located right next to the beach. A small reed hut is permanently located on the beach giving visitors the chance to enjoy the sound of crushing waves accompanied by the rustling of the reeds and the lake’s wild fauna.
Agios Mamas Springs – Petrouni
Amir Alis Springs – Karavas
At the scenic village of Karavas, one can enjoy a walk down the valley of Portokalia, at the verdant creek with the sycamores and the running water that lead to the springs of Amir Ali. There are many stories about the origin of the springs’ name. One of those is related to Amir Ali, the son of the Turkish provincial governor who ordered that he would be the first man to sleep with every newlywed wife, on the first day of the marriage. When it was the time of Giorgis to get married, he would not allow such a thing. So, he dressed up as the bride, so that he have a chance to come closer to Amir Ali and give an end to this brutal order . Someone, though, warned Amir Ali about Giorgis’ plan, and he flet with his horse to save himself. However, when he entered the creek, Giorgis caught him up and took his head, at the spot where the fountains are to date.
Ai Giannis Springs – Viaradika
Kythera is home to more than 70 natural sources of water. Most of them still have running water, although a few have dried out. One of them, is the Aphrodite source at the Kapsali area. Some of the sources are located under the sea, most of those can be seen at the Diakofti, Avlaimona and Feloti areas, while the Lykodimou source is nestled within a cave. In the northern part of the island, one can find natural sources with water rich in iron. Some of the most famous water sources are the Mitaton, the Trifillianikos, the Saint Yiannis, the Amio Ali and Mylopotamos ones.