Kythera: Greek beauty
I am pretty sure the Greek God of beauty – Aphrodite – didn’t choose her hometown by coincidence. The Island Kythera is paradise: peaceful and beautiful… I´ve visited the island in autumn and even though I had to deal with the several clouds and showers, which is quite rare, it was a beautiful place to stay. With her pink colors of Oleander and Bougainville, her souvenirs from the ancient past and the lack of public transport and infrastructure, Kythera is a charming and quiet place where you can distance yourself from hard work in daily life.
I visited Kapsali bay in the South of the island in September 2009. This is the place where Aphrodite arose from the sea. Believe it or not, it still feels like a magical place.
In ancient Greek Mythology, Kythera was considered to be the island of celestial Aphrodite, the Goddess of love. According to Greek poet Hesiod, she was born when Cronus cut off Ouranos‘ genitals and threw them into the sea, and from the aphros (sea-foam) arose Aphrodite. Because of her beauty other gods feared that jealousy would interrupt the peace among them and lead to war, and so Zeus married her to Hephaestus, who was not viewed as a threat. Her unhappiness in marriage caused her to often seek out the companionship of her lover Ares. Aphrodite also became instrumental in the Eros and Psyche legend, and later was both Adonis‘ lover and his surrogate mother (source: Wikipedia). Although I was travelling alone to this island, the unhappiness in marriage or love for me didn´t count.
Kythera is a good place to get away from the daily stress or the hectic city life. In Kapsali beach, there a few taverns with an astonishing view. The prices are not really expensive (10 euros for wine and mezzes). My favourite place was the tavern uphill on the North side of the bay. Friendly English-speaking people, nice view and fresh food.
Although Greek dinner is served late at night, there is no nightlife in Kapsali beach. The sound of the waves and the wind, makes you sleep fantastic. I slept in Aphrodite appartements, with view over the sea and a nice balcony. They offer basic and clean appartments with a small kitchen, and the place is surrounded by Bougainville in summer time.
Art of culture/nature
The art of culture must be the ancient history of Kythera, and the ruins and stories that are left. Over the centuries it knew a succession of conquerors from the Romans to the Byzantines, Venetians and Turks, and it was often looted by Barbary pirates. You can climb the hill between Kapsali and Chora and visit the old Venetian ruins.
Local products like olive oil, confiture, olives, honey are the best souvenirs from Kythera to bring home. They are sold in Chora. There are some local markets on the island, it’s worth to try and test them out.
A good swim in the bay of Kythera.
There is no public transport on the island, only taxis.