For many people, the journey is just an escape from the strictly planned daily routines. But beyond that there is something more essential. If we reflect a little deeper, we will see that the impact of everyday life on us is so invisible and so powerful that it really dulls all our senses.
So the journey is precisely the awakening of our senses, which are trapped within a certain context. Each one of us has imprisoned himself, his soul and mind and therefore our senses are inactive to a great extent. And of course, traveling our senses in the vastness of the sea, where there is nothing we can focus on and nothing prevents our visual field is like guiding them to overflow and eventually take off luring us on to a different and dreamy world beyond all our expectations.
Standing behind the console, we would be overwhelmed once again by that the invisible euphoria.
A few miles away, we would be on our own in the deep blue sea; a small dot in the vastness of the sea.
At the crack of the dawn, I quickly packed the sleeping tents and stood on the bow sipping greedily hearty gulps of the morning coffee, enjoying the gentle swaying of the rib in our sheltered resort. I turned the key and let the engine purring slowly while I was sweeping the instruments from the morning dew. With an unspeakable joy, as if it was the first time I would travel, I was entering my scheduled course. Being certain now, I can say that this is the most beautiful day of the whole year. I left everything behind and the vast blue sea overwhelmed every corner of my mind, not leaving the slightest room for any other thought.
The word “time” was no longer familiar to me and the only reason I was looking at my watch every hour was to jot down my position on the nautical chart. It is something I usually do on long trips and it is not only for safety reasons. In fact, it is a process that I enjoy, spending nicely the moments of my trip. Besides, once more I had decided to give up the convenience of the satellite navigation and fully immerse in the magic of the voyage. So all alone, along with my compass and the folded nautical chart that I had fixed in the windscreen of my console, I was sailing out in the open sea.
In the early afternoon we entered the harbor of Loutra, located in the northeastern part of Kythnos. Of course, there was no space to anchor, since at that time the small harbor is used to be full of tourist boats, which are frequently tied in double and triple rows.
We found ourselves next to the fishing boat of our old friend Captain Nicholas and despite our tiredness we went out for an invigorating coffee. Besides, everything is spread around the harbor, in a few metros distance. Cafés bars and taverns in a row put their tables out on the beach under the shade of large trees and constitute a very picturesque and lively place.
Although Loutra is a small village, the first impression while observing it from the sea, is that we are in a cosmopolitan resort of the Aegean Sea, since for many years has been a lively destination that attracts many visitors during the summer months.
Beautiful Cycladic houses built on the edge of the low hills surround the inner part of the cove, where there is the beach of the village sharing the same name.
Loutra is one of the major seaside villages of Kythnos, along with Mericha which is the main port of the island and the village of Panagia Kanala. It is undoubtedly the most developed part of the island but this does not undervalue the genuineness of the place and its people.
Having Loutra as a starting point
Another main reason that turns Loutra into a strategic point for those of us who accept the terms “holidays” and “boat” as identical is because the small marina can be used as a starting point/base where we can start our wanderings on the island. Within walking distance from Loutra there are some of the most beautiful sights of Kythnos.
Just a step away from Loutra, literally in that same bay there is the tiny village of Agia Irini. Nestled on the western side of the cove sharing the same name, with the few two-storey white houses built at sea level, from which it is separated by a narrow concrete path, it also serves as the dock where we can tie. At the end of the pier, which is the starting point of the beach of Agia Irini there is the lovely tavern of Souma with its tables next to the sea, promising dreamy moments.
Within a distance of one nautical mile in the north of the harbor of Loutra, there are the remarkable beaches of Schinari, Maroulas, Kavouroheri, Tria Potamia and Agios Sostis.
In a very short distance, in the northwest of Loutra, between two hills, there is the medieval capital of Kythnos, Kefalokastro or else the Castle of Oria. It is really worth visiting the rock on which the old capital was built in a naturally fortified location in the middle of the wild and impressive Cycladic landscape.
In the main village
Just five kilometers south of Loutra, there is the amazing Chora of Kythnos.
Although it is not famous, since it is unlikely to hear anything about it, and it is even more unlikely to find it featuring as a travel destination, it is undoubtedly one of the most beautiful Chores in the Cyclades. It is a Chora that every Cycladic island would envy.
With the profound influence of the lines of the Cycladic architecture, with many narrow roads starting from the central stone path to the neighborhoods of the white village, the typical low porticos and colorful flowers decorate the stairs and small whitewashed courtyards. Everything is clean and tidy, stylish and simple, without exaggeration and sensationalism, reflecting the artistry and love of the few inhabitants for their land, as well as the Cycladic beauty in all its glory.
Following the central stone path, even from the very beginning the genuine Cycladic breeze welcomes us and fills our senses. White houses with blue doors and windows, small cafes in a row with their tables on the pavement, charming shops, taverns in small squares, flowers and coolers that highlight even more the white and blue of the cubic shaped houses. The pictures you gaze are so beautiful, you cannot refuse to stop repeatedly for a coffee or a glass of ouzo or a sweet in a traditional patisserie.
Wandering in the narrow streets of Chora is an amazing experience, with fascinating images, simple and enchanting, popping up in every corner, not having faded at all over the years.
Having Merihas as a starting point
Merihas is the main port of Kythnos, in the middle of the western side of the island. It is in the deep natural cove, in the inner part of which there is a large extensive beach with clear waters, which is particularly crowded. At the northern side of the bay, there is the waterfront where the ferries tie and a small pier behind which the local fishing boats are protected.
Although it is not the place that will impress at first glance, it is the centre of Kythnos.
This is the island’s heart. Many tourists, shops, restaurants, rooms to let and hotels are scattered among the white houses of the village, which stretches around the large bay.
It is really worth going up to Akrotiri, which is how the cape on the south side of the bay is called. There is the coffee bar with the same name. In a beautiful landscape we will enjoy the magnificent sunset and the view of the deep sea.
Just above Merichas there are some of the most beautiful beaches on the island. First of all we see the bay of Episkopi and Apokrousi, which are divided by the small peninsula of Vriokastro where significant archaeological findings were discovered. Chronologically they are dated between the 7th and 5th century. In both bays there are big and wide sandy beaches, with many sea plants that provide the necessary dew. On the southern part of the beach of Episkopi, there is a small quay, where we can easily tie and enjoy our coffee at the coffee shop “Pountaki” which is just up the street.
Across the beach of Apokrousi there is Kolona, the famous twin beach of Kythnos, which has been for many years the major attraction of the island. It is definitely one of the most beautiful and impressive beaches in the entire Aegean, where many boats anchor daily and several of them even spend the night there, because Kolona provides a shelter from the winds. A sand “pillar”, connects the small island of Agios Loukas with the extensive land, forming a double beach. The west side is called Kolona and the eastern is called Fikiada. The side of Kolona is more beautiful with green enchanting waters, but it also offers a better shelter, since on the part of Fikiada the strong gusts often create rather annoying short waves.
Reaching the southern bay of the island, we find the seaside village of Agios Dimitrios, with beautiful traditional houses perched on the slope of the northern side, while next to the extensive beach there are small taverns with delicious local delicacies.