Kythnos, as one of the 21 major islands of the Cyclades, has the privilege of preserving typical Mediterranean nature in all its beauty and wilderness. The two characteristics that make Kythnos one of the greatest places to experience nature in Cyclades is that first, mainstream tourism hasn’t yet discovered the island so everything here is the same as it was decades before, and second, Kythnos is still an island with very few visits by scientists and the great discoveries of flora and fauna are yet to come.
Kythnos is 100 square kilometers (39 square miles) in area and has a coastline of about 100 kilometers (62 miles) with more than 70 beaches, many of which are still inaccessible by road. The relief of the island is sharp, with small valleys among rocky outcrops. The coast line is rugged, with numerous small bays and a lot of caves. These sea caves are used as refuges by the monk seals Monachus monachus. At the altitude of 200 meters there is a large plateau. It is covered by aegean phrygana and maquis vegetation (a shrubland biotope found in the Mediterranean region, typically consisting of densely growing evergreen shrubs).
Throughout the island we can find traditional stone walls and terracing, the, so called “xerolithies”. These terraces were made from the ancient years in order to hold the soil for cultivation. Nowadays they are refuges for many species of the herpetofauna (reptiles), and habitats for rare flowers from bee-orchids to fritallaries. In the west, there are two shallow inlets with a special geomorphological formation called “tombolo”. The tombolo, which is named Kolona, is joined with the mainland by the islet of Aghios Loukas. This tombolo is one of the few (only about twenty) in Greece. In these two inlets there is a narrow sandy beach with water on both sides.
At Apokrousi beach is the small estuary of the river Vathyrema and at parts where the substrate consists of marble, there are caves with many endemic (found only in Kythnos) little creatures living in them. Also the main part of the island constitutes a complex hydro-graphic network, with streams, springs and at some times in the year small waterfalls. The main features of the island are the large variety of habitat types (marine, freshwater, maquis, caves), an exceptional number for an area of such a small size; the rare and endemic plants and the endemic invertebrates, all related to the island’s exceptional geomorphology. Plus Kythnos is situated on the main migratory route of the west Aegean and from March to May and September to October, thousands of migratory birds rest on the island.
Natural Greece & Kythnos Hiking organize the Trekking trip for nature lovers in spring and autumn. Friendly and knowledgeable nature guide to accompany you during the hikes included.
To book this holiday or enquire, go to Trekking trip for nature lovers on Kythnos Island, Greece
Text and images by David Koutsogiannopoulos