This article was written in collaboration with the House of La France Magazine.
Summer in the Cyclades - I am not quite sure that there is even a better way to spend the summer months.
When most people think of Greece they want to go to Mykonos and/or Santorini but there is so much more untouched beauty to experience. After traveling to many of the thousands of Greek islands, I must say that Kythnos is most definitely an untouched gem and one of the loveliest in the Aegean Sea. There is an intangible attraction and uniqueness to this island. An island immersed in Greek culture, away from the crowds, and the most exquisite food and Mediterranean hospitality.
It is easily accessible by ferry from the mainland and will absolutely blow you away with its irresistible simplicity. With more than 70 beaches on the island and water clearer than you could possibly imagine, you will always find your perfect spot to watch the sun hit the horizon or hang your hammock. Choosing which beach to go to was always the topic of the day. Its many strikingly beautiful beaches offer a fabulous choice for all preferences.
I could be here all day chatting about what I love most about each beach but let me share a few of my favorites. If you are looking for the beach bar and organized beach style, head over to Episkopi for an upbeat breezy day with music and a hip young crowd on one side and a few trees on the other to catch some shade with your feet in the water. Martinakia is a bit smaller of a beach but the perfect spot for some ouzo and fresh seafood at the traditional family-owned Taverna. On the other side of the island, you will find secret beaches like Simousi and Skilou which require a car to get to and you will typically be the only ones there. Just you, the beautiful blue, and the nature that surrounds. I must not forget about Kanala. In the town of Kanala you will find a traditional church on the cliff of the ocean overlooking the beach providing unparalleled views of the town and sea. It is a must see! Finally, Kolona Beach, a narrow strip of sandy land connecting the mainland to a nearly deserted island only accessible by boat. It has its very own particular charm due to its fine, golden sand and the sea lapping at both sides. This is like nothing you have ever seen!
My two favorite villages on the island, Chora and Dryopida, sure do battle over beauty. Personally, Chora blows me away with its sweetness, family-owned shops, traditional tavernas, and upbeat crowd no matter the summer night. In both villages, you will find your pure white painted homes with blue doors, the cutest windows sills with thriving plants, stone cobbled streets with white painted decals of flowers, and Bougainvilleas dangling in your walk way. There are also the seaside villages of Loutra and Merichas which have Tavernas with tables and chairs dug into the sand allowing you to eat like a real local.
Oh! And don't forget about your afternoon siesta. This is a real-life routine, my friends! After lunch, everyone is quiet and napping until about 5-7pm, waking up to yet another coffee and the juiciest watermelon or honeydew. Sign me up!
Did I mention the most fairytale sunset you will ever see in your life? Greece's summertime sunsets are a well-known thing. But, holy moly! The sun hitting the horizon, the colors in the sky, and the fresh breeze all together is truly magical. From the moment you wake up to the moment your head hits the pillow, you will truly feel the unspoiled beauty of this earth. The sea will sing to you, the sun will make you glisten, and the flavors will awaken all of your senses.
To say the least, Kythnos has the most serene atmosphere no matter where you go. It is a place that allows you inhale the clean air and allow your cares to dissipate by the sea breeze. There is absolutely nothing more wonderful than finding a place that gives you that feeling.
Photography by Anthony J Rayburn