After Kea, Kythnos is the closest of the Cycladic islands to Athens, yet surprisingly it is one of the least developed. With a population big enough to give it a stable sense of community, the island has a peaceful rhythm of life which has changed little over time. Tranquillity, simplicity and spaciousness prevail. The major monuments are few and the archaeology, though important, has less to show than that of its neighbours: but the island’s particular qualities are its unpretentious and traditional island-life, and its beautiful and panoramic landscape. There is an unaffected genuineness to the hospitality of the islanders which is becoming harder to find elsewhere in the Cyclades.
Life centres on the quiet port of Merichas and on two attractive villages in the interior—Kythnos Chora and Dryopis—or ‘Dryopida’, as it is called in demotic Greek. Chora, especially, is endowed with a number of elegant 17th century churches, several of which contain conteporaneous icons of great quality produced by the work shop of the Skordilis brothers, who perfected a graceful fusion of Cretan and Venetian styles. The most conspicuous historical remains are at the site of Ancient Kythnos at Vryokastro on the west coast, and further north at the remote, dramatic and precipitous ‘Kastro tis Orias’ which was the island’s Byzantine capital. There are also plentiful hot water springs both in the northeast and the west of the island which gave rise to the name ‘Thermia’ by which the island was known in later Byzantine times and after. The island’s repeatedly indented coastline affords a wide variety of small coves and beaches—narrower and steep er on the west coast, gentler on the eastern side. They are mostly unshaded, but have fine sand or shingle and limpid water.
Kythnos Island is part of the Cyclades Island Group, Greece.