Instead, the big daddy islands like Santorini and Mykonos dominate the travel bucket lists of many international tourists. Unfortunately, with their fame comes the expensive prices, crowds and an overall 'touristy' feel.
That's why after living on the island of Kythnos for two months, I think it could actually be one of the most underrated Greek islands.
Kythnos is Quiet
Despite its picturesque landscapes, Kythnos is relatively quiet as far as tourist destinations go. Granted, I stayed on Kythnos during the second wave of the pandemic and during the off-season, so not too many international tourists were coming and going.
I got the sense that most of the tourists frequenting Kythnos were Greeks themselves. When international travellers did come, their reaction was vastly the same as mine was after comparing Kythnos to the bigger islands: "wow, it's so quiet here!"
I personally loved that the beaches I went to were quiet and I could enjoy the water all to myself without loud and chaotic crowds.
I learned after walking through some of the communities that not too many folks spoke English, which just proved to me that this is an island still largely ‘unchanged’ by tourism.
Yes of course there are some restaurants, spas and tours that cater to visitors, but what I mean by unchanged is that the actual lives of the people who live on Kythnos and the island’s nature do not seem to be negatively impacted by tourism. This not only made me feel good about traveling there, but it gave the island an authentic feel.
Instead, getting lost in the labyrinth of Dryopida and admiring its winding pathways and architecture felt like I’d stepped inside a time capsule.
I later learned from my friend George at Experience Kythnos, that the settlement of Dryopida was originally built in a maze-like pattern in a valley away from the water to ward off pirates.
The air even smells organic, like an earthy mix of herbs and sea salt. Each morning I’d wake at sunrise, taking in delicious gulps of the fresh air while sipping my coffee. The island has some of the best sunrises I’ve seen to date.
During my many walks throughout the hilly landscapes of Kythnos, I’d often come across goats. I even had an entire group of them (which I have just learned via Google search is called a ‘trip’) graze outside my house rental, alerting me to their presence with the clinking and clanking of their belled collars.