Everything You Need to Know
Kythera is located south of Greece, at the crossroads of three seas (Aegean Sea, Ionian Sea and Cretan Sea). In other terms, it is located between Peloponnese and Crete. From an administrative point of view the island belongs to the region of Attica (county of Piraeus) but historically speaking it is part of the Eptanissa (the seven islands of the Ionian Sea). Kythera is a municipal corporation that includes 13 geographical counties covering an area of 284 km². The 13 counties are administratively represented by local councils. Kythera’s population is approximately 4,000.
From a geographical point of view Kythera is part of the Alpine chain, specifically the southern branch of the Tethysian system that extends from the Dinaric Alps to the Taurus Mountains in Syria. Simply put, Kythera is a major gateway to the Aegean Sea from the central and western Mediterranean Sea.
The coastline of Kythera is approximately 90 km long (49 Nm). It is at 80 km (43 Nm) from Crete, 21 km (12 Nm) from Neapoli and 200 km (108 Nm) from Piraeus. The geographical coordinates of Kythera are 36.8° latitude north and 22.6° longitude east.
Antikythera is Kythera’s little sister and is located southeast of Kythera and northwest of Crete. The small island is administratively attached to Attica; it has an area of approximately 20 km² and a population of approximately 45. Its geographical coordinates are 35.3° latitude north and 23.2° longitude east.
Greece is in the southeastern part of Europe and has a total area of 131,957 km² and a population of 10,964,020. The capital is Athens. Greece is a parliamentary republic. The current President is Prokopios Pavlopoulos and the Prime Minister is Kyriakos Mitsotakis. Greece has been a member of the European Union since 1981.
In Greece, Kythera ranks second (right behind the island of Rhodes) as the place with the most hours of sunshine (approximately 3,000 hours / year). The weather is characterized by a rather high level of humidity and winds that are both frequent and constant. Average temperatures are 14°C in the winter and 29°C in the summer. The hottest months are June, July and August and the coldest are December, January and February. Winter rains are strong and the sky is often full of dense clouds, with lightning striking the island mercilessly.
Kythera is a mere half-hour away by plane from the airport of Athens and approximately 2 to 3 hours away from most major European cities.
If you travel to Kythera with your own boat you will find reliable and hospitable services in the ports of Kapsali, Agia Pelagia and Diakofti. Port authorities are at your disposal and will provide all the comfort you are seeking.
Greece is one of the countries that have signed the Schengen Agreement, and adheres to Community legislation pertaining to short-term visits. Countries enforcing the Schengen Agreement in full include Germany, Belgium, France, Luxembourg, The Netherlands, Italy, Spain, Portugal, Austria, Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway, Sweden, Estonia, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Malta, Poland, Slovakia, Slovenia, the Czech Republic and Switzerland (as of 29 March 2009 for air borders regarding the latter). These countries follow a common policy regarding short-term visits of a maximum duration of three (3) months in the Schengen area. Nationals from these countries are not subject to any checks in the common area. Airline and other transport companies may require passport checks, identity card checks or any other document establishing the identity of the traveler.
Nationals from Cyprus, Liechtenstein and the United Kingdom do not need to obtain a visa to enter Greece (or the Schengen area). A passport or identity card will do.
Nationals from the following countries do not need to obtain a visa, provided they stay no longer than 3 months (90 days) over a total period of time of six (6) months: Andorra, Argentina, Australia, Bolivia, Brazil, Brunei, Dar es Salaam, Bulgaria, Canada, Chile, Costa Rica, Croatia, Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Israel, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, Monaco, New Zealand, Vatican, Nicaragua, Panama, Paraguay, Romania, San Marino, Singapore, South Korea, United States of America, Uruguay, Venezuela.
Nationals from countries not mentioned above must obtain a visa to visit or transit through Greece (and the Schengen area).
Note: when traveling in Greece with a tourist visa (Schengen) you must have travel insurance that covers the traveler for any accidents or health expenses, the duration of which must be at least equal to the duration of the visa’s validity.
If you’re thinking about living permanently in Kythera, read the Migration section of the Municipality of Kythera.
Pursuant to Greek legislation every new building must provide easy access to people with disabilities. Several hotels and facilities meet these requirements. However, we advise you to directly contact the facilities you are interested in to obtain detailed information. Should you wish further information on services for people with disabilities please contact Kythera’s City Hall.
We strongly advise you to book before you come to visit the island of Kythera during July and August. You can check the list of facilities offering a wide range of accommodation on our site Visit Kythera.
The Kapsali camping site will put you in direct contact with nature. It is located within a pine tree forest and offers all the amenities for a pleasant stay. Should you wish to camp here you will need to present your passport or identity card.
As in the rest of Greece Kythera is in the GMT+2 zone, that is two hours ahead of Greenwich Mean Time. Daylight Saving Time starts on the last Sunday of April and ends on the last Saturday of October.
The official language is Greek. Public services and local administrations can assist the public in both Greek and English. Most of Kythera’s inhabitants also speak English and some speak Italian. Kythera is developing as a multicultural, peaceful society. Europeans from the Balkans, Western Europeans as well as Russians have settled here many years ago. Furthermore, a large portion of the Kytherians who emigrated to Australia live in Kythera half of the year. Kythera has an extensive history whose culture has been forged by many peoples and invaders who have left their mark here. History repeats itself today but this is mostly a peaceful medley of various peoples.
Most Kythereans are Orthodox Christians. The Greek Constitution provides that all religious faiths shall be recognized and respected.
The area code for calling a number in Kythera from Greece (and also from Kythera itself) is 2736. This also applies to Antikythera. From any telephone in Greece you must dial all 10 digits of a given telephone number. The international code for calling Greece is +30.
On the island you will find phone booths that operate with prepaid cards, which you can buy in “OTEshops”, post offices (ELTA), mini-markets as well as newsstands and kiosks. The cheapest card costs 4 euros.
Mobile telephony coverage is almost 100%. Three operators provide roaming services: Vodafone, Wind and Cosmote. Please check whether your national operator provides roaming services in Greece. You may also buy a Greek SIM card. Please note that it is strictly forbidden by law to use your mobile phone while driving. Make sure you use a hands-free kit.
Banks operate from 8 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. Monday through Friday. Greek banks also have ATMs. Travelers wishing to exchange euros or travelers checks will need to show their passport.
The most widely used bank cards include VISA, MASTERCARD, DINER’S CLUB, AMERICAN EXPRESS, JCB, and MAESTRO. Any credit card can be used to withdraw money in euros. In case your card is lost or stolen please contact the following numbers:
Diner’s Club: 2109290130
American Express: 8011132600
The euro (€) has been Greece’s official currency since the 1st of January 2000. To exchange money you may go to banks, foreign exchange offices as well as certain hotels. Coins are available in the following denominations: 5, 10, 20, 50 cents, as well as €1 and €2. Bills are available of the following denominations: €5, € 10, €20, €50, €100, €200, €500. Any credit card can be used to withdraw money in euros.
There are three levels of VAT (value added tax) likely to apply to visitors in Greece. For most products VAT is 24%. For food, pharmaceutical products and hospital services as well as certain other services VAT is 13%. Visitors who do not come from one of the EU Member States may request the reimbursement of this tax when leaving the country, upon presentation of proof of purchase. VAT on books and daily newspapers is 6%.
Postal services on the island are handled by the Greek Postal Service (ELTA). There are two post offices, one in Chora (the capital) and one in Potamos. Opening hours are 8 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. Monday through Friday.
In Greece the electrical current is 220/240 V at 50 Hz with European-type sockets.
You will need an RJ-45 cable to connect your laptop to the Internet. You might also need a converter to fit European-type sockets (two round-shaped metallic extremities).
As part of the National Health System (ESY) the island of Kythera includes the General Hospital of Kythera as well as several medical offices. Some doctors will also see patients in their private offices (against payment). The emergency ward at the General Hospital of Potamos operates 24 hours a day and 7 days a week. You will also find two pharmacies, one in Potamos and the other in Karvounades. In case of emergency we advise you to always have a first-aid kit with you.
If you are bringing back medications from Greece we advise you to have the physician’s prescription handy to avoid any problems with customs. Several drugs require a doctor’s prescription in order to be bought from a pharmacy in Kythera.
You will need to have your medical insurance with you as the National Health System does not cover all expenses. In some cases you will need to pay part of those expenses yourself. Greek health services, whether private or public, are of very high quality.
The European emergency number is 112. You can dial this number at any time from a landline or cell phone even if you do not have a SIM card. This number can also be dialed from anywhere in Greece.
There are no dangerous animals in Kythera and visitors can enjoy the island’s nature in all safety.
Water provided by Kythera’s water distribution system is of excellent quality and you may safely drink it.
School holidays in Kythera start on 20 June and end on 10 September. Schools are also closed for two weeks for Christmas and Easter.
Most bars, restaurants and cafés offer alcoholic beverages every day. You must be over 18 in order to buy or drink alcohol.
Smoking is forbidden in public buildings, public transports and malls. Please preserve the environment and avoid leaving your cigarette butts anywhere. Dispose of them in the appropriate places.
All hotels, restaurants, taverns, camping sites, travel agencies and other facilities of the tourist industry are required by law to have complaints forms available, to be handed out to customers upon simple request, and on which appear both the name and address of the facility. All complaints are to be sent to the Greek National Tourism Office, responsible for taking all the necessary measures. You may also file a complaint with the City Hall or with the local administration (called eparchia). They will also take the necessary steps.
Kythera is directly governed by the Municipality of Kythera. The local district councils have a supporting role to the administration. The Municipality is made up of a Mayor, a Municipal Council and a mayoral commission. The experienced, professional bureaucracy of the municipality provides all the important and essential services to the administration and citizens needs. The Mayor is the Kythera chief administrative official and is elected separately from the Kytherian citizens. The Mayor and Councillors are elected every four years and each one represents the entire island. The Town Hall is located at Kythera town (Chora), in the central square.
The Mayor’s Office
Phone: +30 2736033219
Fax: +30 2736031919
Regular meetings of the board of Councillors are held usually once per month in the Council Chamber. Documents and background papers for the Council meetings are available from the Council President office. Details and information on all aspects of the Municipality of Kythira at: www.kythira.gr
It is strictly prohibited to leave Greece with pieces of classical art or artworks except for certain categories for which you will need an export permit delivered by the Ministry of Culture. Should any traveler be arrested for having pieces of classical art or artworks without the proper export permit the items will be confiscated and the offender will be subject to criminal prosecution.
For further information please contact the Archaeological Museum of Kythera: +30 27360 31739.
January 1 & 2: New Year Day
January 6th: Epiphany
February or March: Green Monday (Lent)
March 25th: The Greek National Day “Revolution of 1821”
Easter, April or May: Good Friday, Easter Sunday and Easter Monday
May 1: Labor Day
May or June: Assumption Day
August 15th Virgin Mary
October 28: War Memorial Day, The “OHI” – Anniversary
December 25th: Christmas
December 26th Boxing Day