Nature holiday on the Greek Island of Kythnos
Leisurely paced hike with a top nature guide across this little-known Greek Island.
The tour is mostly by minibus, giving time to take lots of photos. Occasionally for remote locations there may be walking but nothing too demanding. Kythnos contains no big climbs: the island goes up to 350 meters. Besides, the pace is slow. We cross wild countryside with vibrant flowers and animals, all with splendid views across the Aegean to other Cycladic islands. Walking will be on a farm or narrower mule tracks, which farmers and their mules still use. The beaches are numerous and most are quiet all year around. Locals adore the church festivals which are an opportunity for traditional music and dancing.
Departure in spring and autumn. Contact us for availability.
- Rare and endemic flowers; many birds of prey and migratory species; reptiles
- Transfer around the island with expert naturalist guide; reach many of Kythnos’s sandy beaches
- Go on a boat ride to look out for monk seals, dolphins, and migratory cliff birds
- Visit Katafiki cave, one of Greece’s largest underground habitats for bats
- Enjoy local wines and Greek hospitality in small eateries
Tour led by a leading Greek naturalist who will make all the difference on this nature holiday. Read an article about the remarkable nature of a Greek Island where (almost) no one has gone before: “A Greek Cyclades Island for nature lovers: Kythnos”
|TOUR DURATION||6 days|
The avifauna of the island is one of the richest in Greece, especially during spring and autumn migration. There are more than 140 species of birds. Shags, Little Owls, and Hoopoes are very common but the real rarity is Eleonora’s Falcon. Every April they travel all the way from Madagascar to Greece. They breed in Summer. Here you’ll find all swifts, martins, and swallows of Europe and more than 6 species of gulls. Other birds of prey include Short-toed, Bonelli’s Eagle, Marsh Harrier, Honey Buzzard, Buzzard, Sparrow hawk, Kestrel, and Peregrine Falcon.
Encounter a large number of reptiles like the endemic Erhard’s Wall Lizard, the Sand Boa (Europe’s only Boa), or the Balkan Green Lizard. More than 100 species of Lepidoptera are living on Kythnos with real jewels Polygonia egea, Nerium Oleander butterfly, Daphnis nerii, Saturnia pyria and Zerynthia polyxena. Over 400 different plant species can be found on this relatively small island, most of them blooming in early spring. Expect special bulb flowers like crocus flowering after Summer.
Kythnos is one of the nearest Cycladic islands to the Greek mainland, less than two hours from the port of Lavrio. Lavrio port is a half hour drive from Athens International Airport. It has remained little disturbed by mass tourism and it retains its traditional culture. Geologically it is one of the newest Cycladic islands. It has a long history of human civilization going back 10.000 years, some of which is still visible. Part of the north west of the island is a Natura 2000 protected area. Much of the island is gently rolling hills up to 350 meters high, traditional villages and bays with housing.
The easy walks on Kythnos contain no big climbs: the island goes up to 350 metres. Besides, the pace is slow. We cross wild countryside with vibrant flowers and animals, all with splendid views across the Aegean to other Cycladic islands. We mostly walk on mule tracks, which farmers and their mules still use. The beaches are numerous and most are quiet all year around. Locals adore the church festivals which are an opportunity for traditional music and dancing.
Day 1 - Monday
Ferry from Lavrio, possible sighting of dolphins or a manta ray. Transfer from the ferry port of Merichas to your hotel in Hora, the island capital. After a walk around this traditional village, full of churches, we enjoy dinner in a taverna and an introduction from our guides.
Day 2 - Tuesday
Breakfast. Transfer and a short walk up to Orias Castle on a spectacular headland where there are the ruins of a Byzantine castle. The area is home to many buzzards and other birds of prey apart from sheep and goats from the nearby farms. There are also wildflowers galore. After, we visit Maroulas, a Neolithic site, and then head to Loutra where there is a natural hot spring for a lunch break. Return to Hora via an orchid field to spot wild and rare orchid species. Moth sighting on the way. Dinner.
Mostly in minibus, walking: 1.5 hours (4km) ~ 100m elevation
Day 3 - Wednesday
Breakfast. Boat trip to the North of the island and sea bird spotting on the way. Search for Monk seals among the cliff caves. Lunch stop at Loutra. Bus transfer to Hora. Dinner.
Estimated duration of boat ride: 4 hours (40km)
Day 4 - Thursday
Breakfast. Transfer to Episkopi beach to visit the wetlands. Minibus to Diassela road junction for walk to Vryokastro ancient city excavation. See the Kythnos fritillary – like a small black tulip – in this area. Head down to Apokrousi beach for migratory birdwatching, sometimes heron species. After a lunch pause move on to see the orchids in fields above Flambouria beach, tamerisk trees and krinakia flowers on Flambouria beach. Dinner in Dryopida. Minibus back to Hora.
Day 5 - Friday
Breakfast. Walk around Hora for birdwatching. Head off in the minibus to Dryopida village to visit the Katafiki cave to view stalagmites and stalactites, indigenous insects, and bats. Visit various beaches on the east coast to see orchid varieties and plover birds on the beach. Bus to Hora. Dinner.
Day 6 - Saturday
Breakfast & check-out. Transfer to Kakovolo hill in order to marvel at a pre-historic type forest and various wildflower species. Possible eagle’s nest on the cliff nearby. Lunch at Merichas, including tasting of local professionally-produced wines in Arapis taverna by the sea.
The afternoon ferry will take you to Lavrio port. Just a half an hour ride from Athens airport.