Kythnos Island



Kythnos Island


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Kythnos Island is a small, uninhabited island located in the Ionian Sea, south of the town of Pythagorio, Greece. It is part of the municipality Pythagorio, which is part of the regional unit Epirus. The Greek National Road 9 runs through the middle of the island. The nearest villages are Kato Pyrgos to the east and Krotos to the west. The size of the island is around 2 km2.

Kythnos Island


No definitive record exists of when or how Kythnos Island came to be. Oral tradition suggest it was first settled by the Elymians in the 9th century BC, and its strategic location at the center of a major trading route led to its becoming one of their main settlements.

During Byzantine times, it was used as a base for raids against Albania and other parts of Greece. In 1430, following disturbances on the island caused by Venetian traders, Itzhak Kemal Bey (known as “Atatürk”), leader of the Ottoman Empire’s provincial regime in Thessaloniki, invaded and imposed order.

Kythnos Island remained under Ottoman rule until the Second World War, when it was seized by Italian forces following their invasion of Greece. In 1947, it came under British control as part of the suzerainty of Greece after the end of hostilities.

Today, Kythnos is a minor tourist destination that is frequented mainly by daytrippers from nearby Pythagorio town or students on summer break from local schools.


The island has a Mediterranean climate with mild, wet winters and hot, dry summers. Temperatures have never dropped below −7 °C and rarely rise above 20 °C. The island is relatively arid, with average rainfall of 6 inches per year in winter and 10 to 15 inches annually during the summer high season (May-September). Sunshine amounts vary greatly depending on location but can be as low as 4–8 hours per day at some locations or 11+ hours a day at others.

Flora & fauna

In general, the island is an arid plain; only a few scattered rocky outcrops and sandy beaches exist. Vegetation of choice includes thyme (“Thymus”), wild lavender (“Alchemilla vulgaris”) as well as drought-hardy shrubs such as cypress (Cupressaceae), juniper (Juniperoides) cedar (Juglandaceae) and Mediterranean buckthorn (“Rhamnus alaternu”).

Local birds include common buzzard, lesser kestrel, sparrowhawk “Fal co naumanni”, and occasional oriental peregrine falcon. Amphibians include agapita (“Amphibia: Urodela”) and the introduced common toad. Reptiles present on Kythnos includes two species of serpent, viper (Vespertilionidae) and newt (Lissamphibia). Endemic invertebrates found only on Kythnos are the flower- Oberon taraxacum.


There is no evidence that the island’s culture was influenced by any outside force. Nevertheless, there are a few noteworthy cultural icons on Kythnos. One of these is an ancient stone sanctuary known as Asclepion, which has been dated back to the Archaic Period (700-500 BC).

The temple features a large pediment depicting scenes from mythology and offers visitors spectacular views of the surrounding countryside. Another important landmark is Kythnos’ monastery of Saint John (Markelianon), founded in 648 AD by Saint Markelaos and dedicated to the Holy Cross. This substantial complex includes numerous cloisters, churches and a monastery. One of the first monasteries in Kythnos is probably Aghios Dometios Monastery.


There is no formal government on Kythnos. Instead, the island is managed through a communal assembly called “Ierarchia”. The assembly contains representatives from each of the village communities, and it oversees various aspects of island life such as taxation and land rights. In general, people in Kythnos are very relaxed about political issues – there are no major conflicts or activism.


There is limited economic activity on Kythnos. The most significant industry is agriculture (particularly olive growing), but there are also some small businesses involved in tourism and shipping. Residents mainly rely on subsistence farming and raising cattle for income. Tourism plays a much greater role however, generating as much revenue annually as the island’s only commercial farmstead (Aghios Dometios).

Accessibility Kithnos is easily accessible from most major cities in Greece due to its proximity to Athens but will require you to fly into one of two airports located on neighboring islands of Poros and Itea. If coming by ferry take note that these typically arrive between 4:00 – 5:30 daily in either direction throughout summer months or anytime during winter when an alternative route exists via Pyl os island. Kythnos is also accessible by car but there are no roads leading off the main island and visitors will need to arrange transport with a locals.

Government services

Kythnos does not have a formal government but instead relies on communal assembly known as “Ierarchia”. The assembly consists of representatives from each community on the island who meet once per year between July – August where they debate and vote to find a consensus.

The first modern governor’s house in Kythnos was built around 1880 by the German family Von Pappenfechterens but since 1943 it has been in ruins, though locals have rebuilt parts of it with the goal being that one day all three houses will be restored completely.

Electricity The electrical grid in Kythnos is mostly supplied by solar energy which results in high prices for electricity. Natural gas is also used as an alternate source of power but it remains largely inaccessible to residents due to the poor infrastructure and lack of diesel generators.<br>A new connection was made between mainland Greece and Kythnos during October 2016 which makes obtaining electrician services more affordable though still not free – expect to pay around €30-€50 per hour.

Cellular service There is no cellular service on Kythnos but there are a few trinket phones that can be purchased for a nominal fee at local stores. Coverage is patchy and unreliable so make sure to bring your own device or purchase an international SIM card prior to arrival.



Kythnos is a popular tourist destination due to its stunning natural beauty, favourable climate and relaxed lifestyle.

There are a few main destinations on the island which include the capital town of Ano Livadi, Pythagorion National Park and Kythnos Bay.

It is important to note that visitor numbers have been increasing rapidly in recent years so it is advisable to book your accommodation well in advance if you wish to visit during peak season (July – August).


Kythnos Island is an uninhabited island located in the Ionian Sea, about 130 km southeast of the town of Argostoli, in the province of Kefalonia, Greece. The island is privately owned by the Agia Galini Trust and is open to visitors. The trust also manages the Kythnos Dolphin Sanctuary which lies about 3 km offshore from the island’s east coast.


What Is The Climate Like On Kythnos Island?

The climate is Mediterranean.

Is There Tourism On Kythnos Island?

Yes, there is significant tourism activity in summer. There are also some limited opportunities for overnight stays during autumn and winter months.

What Are The Government Services Available On Kythnos Island?

There is no formal government presence on Kythnos, but there are a limited number of services that are available: medical care, airport and harbour access, banking.

What Is The Cuisine Like On Kythnos Island?

The cuisine is based around fresh seafood, salads and breads. There are also a few local tavernas which serve typical Greek dishes.

Is There Wildlife On Kythnos Island?

Yes, there is a limited population of donkey-like krotiri (wild donkeys) that roam the island. Additionally, there are several varieties of native birds including swallowtailed gulls and black-headed gulls.

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