Worth a Trip: Beaches & Villages
The island's most famous beaches are in the northwest. Apokrousi is a wide strip of gravelly sand with a couple of tavernas, a popular beach bar and ample parking. From Apokrousi, a rough, rutted road leads over the hill to the exquisite double bay of Kolona, a narrow sun-blasted strip of sand anchoring a hilly headland to the main island. In summer it gets jam-packed, and the seasonal cafe does a brisk trade. In low season it's a favourite anchorage for yachts; although the road to the spit is often gated when the cafe is closed, you can still access the first beach and swim to the spit. It's easiest to reach Kolona via water taxi from Merihas, or else by ATV or a hot 30-minute walk from Apokrousi.
At the centre of the island is Kythnos' prettiest village, Dryopida. Clinging to either side of a ravine, this picturesque collection of red-tiled roofs and winding, car-free lanes has a cluster of cafes, tavernas and small museums gathered around its impressive church.
From Dryopida, the main road runs all the way south to Agios Dimitrios, a stone-strewn, grey-sand beach with placid waters. Of the half-dozen east-coast beaches, mostly reachable by unsealed minor roads, the most accessible (and loveliest) is the sandy cove next to Kanala village. This substantial seaside settlement is also notable for its church, which contains a beloved icon of the Virgin and Child, and for the excellent traditional trattoria, Archipelagos.
If you're after a hike, it's well worth walking the minor roads from Dryopida down to the less-visited Lefkes, Kato Livadi and Liotrivi beaches. Another worthwhile ramble is the picturesque 90-minute track from Loutra to Kastro Orias, on Cape Kefalos. These beautifully situated ruins are all that remains of a medieval city of around 5000 people.