Kythera is the ideal destination for those seeking unparalleled beauty. This beauty emerges from the whitewashed walls and cobblestone streets of Hora, glistens on the surface of its turquoise waters, brings romance to the bars at Kapsali and mesmerizes you at the mere sight of the idyllic Fonissa Waterfall at the village of Mylopotamos. Easter on this island is a truly unique experience not to be missed!
A Springtime Stroll
Make the most of your visit this unique island by coming during the spring, when every inch of land is covered with wildflowers, which even peep out through the cracks of the precipitous rocks in Kakia Lagada and the imposing ramparts of the castle that stands proudly on the hill overlooking Hora. One thing is certain, Kythera never ceases to amaze.
Your visit should certainly include a stroll through the picturesque narrow streets of Hora. From there you can walk up to the Castle and enjoy the magnificent view of Kapsali. If you love hiking and the smell of flowering thyme, then you should definitely hike one of the island’s trails. And you’re bound to be spellbound by the magical Fonissa Waterfall at the village of Mylopotamos, which is surrounded by age-old plane trees that lean over into the emerald waters of the lake at the base of the waterfall. You can then follow the verdant path along a stream, which will lead you to the old watermills.
The liveliest of the inland villages is Potamos, with its beautiful square where you can enjoy good food, drink a fatourada (a local drink) and sample a rozé (a traditional Greek sweet). A farmers’ market selling local produce is held here every Sunday, perfect for sampling the local fare. The old district behind the square is also worth visiting. Karavas is considered to be one of the most beautiful villages on the island, with its Amir Ali Spring nestled in the shade of the plane trees. In the centre of the island lies Paleohora, a deserted medieval city surrounded by the Kakia Lagada ravine, which has been uninhabited ever since it was destroyed by Hayreddin Barbarossa’s pirates in 1537. Another picturesque village is Pitsinades, with its beautiful traditional houses. Avlemonas and Agia Pelagia are two of the most popular seaside villages due to their majestic beaches. And equally popular is the village of Kapsali, which bustles with life from dusk to dawn. The picturesque harbour below Hora is home to the only organized beach on the island, and to many tavernas, cafés and bars that offer a spectacular view of the sea and of the Castle.
Easter: Reverence and Revelry at the Water’s Edge
Throughout Holy Week, services are held in the charming chapels and churches in Hora and in the villages. Get into the Easter spirit and experience the ritualism by attending the services held at the island’s monasteries.
Good Friday in Hora is an experience you will never forget. The bier of Christ is carried by the locals through the narrow streets and is followed by crowds of churchgoers holding candles. The houses and shops in Hora open their doors and place an icon and censer at the entrance in order to be blessed by the passing bier.
The evening of Good Friday can also be spent attending the procession in the seaside village of Avlemonas. Here the locals light the way by placing flaming tins along the procession route. Even the sea is lit by the burning tins, whose flames are reflected on the water’s surface.
If you are looking for a more authentic experience of this religious celebration, choose one of the charming village churches for the evening of Holy Saturday and the Resurrection. If you want to enjoy the Byzantine music of a local ecclesiastical choir, then the Monastery of Panagia Myrtidiotissa would be an excellent choice.
At midnight the priest announces the resurrection of Christ by chanting the Christos Anesti hymn, which is followed by an exchange of Easter wishes under a spectacular firework display that lights up the sky and the hearts of all those present.
Unless you are invited to a local home for some spit-roasted lamb on Easter Sunday, it is highly recommended that you visit Agia Pelagia and join in the traditional Easter celebrations hosted by the villagers. There you can enjoy some local delicacies, crack some red Easter eggs and feast on the lambs lined up on spits right by the water’s edge while listening to traditional live music by local musicians. The dancing never stops before sunset!
In the days following Easter, the island of Kythera bears witness to the revival of yet another local religious tradition involving the circulation of the holy icon of Panagia Myrtidiotissa, which begins on Easter Monday in Hora, where the icon is displayed from the Feast of Orthodoxy until the Resurrection. Then the icon begins its tour through the island’s villages finally returning to the monastery. This is one of the island’s oldest traditions.
Easter on Kythera is truly a one-of-a-kind delight! Even a short visit will be enough to convince you!