We had to pass a ruined church, a ruined house, and a ruined wall to access our Airbnb apartment in Kato Chora.
But Jocelyn and I spent a full three days walking back and forth from the car to our building – and were moments away from leaving the area entirely — before we realized that the ruins of an entire Venetian settlement lay just behind.
This settlement, built in the mid-1500s to protect the citizens from pirate invasions, included the wall of a fort …
…. two-story buildings that we assume were houses …
… and structures built right into a cliffside:
We were surprised to find what looked like a well and some sort of water delivery system inside of one of the buildings.
Unfortunately, there’s very little signage at this site. So we don’t really know what was going on there. The only buildings that were clearly labled were the churches – and because this is Greece, there were a lot of them. These churches came in all shapes and sizes.
One church still has a few carvings intact around the doorway…
… and another has frescos that you can view through either a broken window or the fallen-in roof (the doors to these churches are all locked up tight):
I have always been fascinated by pictures of the annunciation (what would Mary’s reaction be when an angel came to tell her she was about to give birth without every having had sex?), and this is first one I have seen in a Greek church:
These ruins were just amazing.
After we wandered around this site for nearly and hour, we moved on to continue our Kythira goal: to visit as many beaches on the island as possible. This adventure took us down, down, down the windy road to Lykodimou Beach.
Someone has built out a concrete pier at Lykodimou, which makes it easy to access the water — you can walk right in off of the dock. This is a huge improvement over most of the other beaches in Kythira, which are covered with rocks and/or pebbles.
The concrete wall also means that this beach is calmer and more sheltered than some others.
The rock cliff face behind this beach is particularly wonderful. You can wander around inside of a shallow but very large cave.
I swam around the rocks and the concrete wall to pay a visit to the cove just around the corner, which has a beach that you can only access by water.
We ended our time in Kythira on our ninth beach of the trip: Diakofti. Locals love this beach because it is the only one on the entire island with real, true sand. It’s not the most scenic beach, but it is the softest.
We chose the beach not for the sand, but because it is all of two minutes from the ferry terminal. While we waited for our ride back to the mainland, we ate a remarkably delicious salad of greens, tomatoes, dried figs, ladotyri cheese, and balsamic at Manolis taverna on the beach. Wow, was that yummy! And this was our view as we sat at our table:
We were glad to have visited Kythira, though I’m not sure we fell completely in love with it. We liked that it was quiet (a factor both of it being June and of this being a less well-known island). The beaches were stunning, the people friendly, and the food largely pretty good. But it’s a bit of a moonrock, as so many of the Greek islands are – there generally are not enough trees for my taste (though we did really like our tree-filled villages of Kato Chora and Milopotamos). And while we found several things to see beyond the beaches, it’s not clear that we would have had all that many other sites to explore had we stayed much longer.
Our ferry trip home was quick and easy – Kythira is just an hour and fifteen minutes from the Peloponnese, and this ferry runs on time. And I always love a ferry ride!