After driving across the Peloponnese and spending the night in Neapolis, we cross the road from our hotel & drive on to the ferry for the 75 minute trip across to Diakofti on the island of Kythera. We drove off the ferry at the other end and travelled all of 400 metres to our accommodation. In that 400 metres we seemed to go back in time 30 years, to a time when the pace of life was gentler, calmer and kinder.
In Diakofti we stayed at Maistrali Apartments. Maistrali are owned and run by the nicest family you could ever wish to meet. Our room was clean and well equipped with bed, desk, table, basic cooking facilities and a fridge. The bathroom was well sized, clean and hd everything we needed, including a hairdryer. All of the windows and outside doors had built in screens too, a real relief for mosquito magnets like us. If you want a change of scenery without exerting yourself for that 400 metre hike, there’s a pretty garden with seating to while away some time with a cool drink and a good book. Despite being apartments you can book breakfast if you want to pamper yourself a little more. We had a lovely side view of the sea from our balcony, some apartments have front views too.
The beach, oh that wonderful Diakofti beach! Firstly it’s a whole 2 minute walk away, that’s a whole 2 minute hike to get to a long, long beach with clean soft sand and crystal clear turquoise water. The bay is the biggest surprise, it stretches about a kilometre to envelop the port, beach and an outlying island. The sea is pretty much a constant 1.5 metre depth for a long way out. In true Greek fashion the water’s totally clear; you can stand and look into the water and watch fish swimming around your legs. Even early in the season when we were there it was plenty warm enough to swim in. There are three or four places to eat right on the beach, so if you are anything like us you won’t have to leave the beach.
We travelled in mid-June and most days we had the beach to ourselves. In mid-June the beach was totally unorganized, no umbrellas, no seats, no loungers, just us and our beach towels, 3 or 4 other people and a beach cafe (Mina’s). Occasionally, later in the day a few local people would turn up with their families, but that was it. Towards the end of our time on the island in early July, a few beach umbrellas and loungers appeared; the season was obviously ramping up but most of the beach was still pleasantly empty of crowds and noise.
Exploring the Island
After a couple of days of lazing, swimming and drinking cappuccino freddos (her) and Fix beer (him) we’d chilled enough, so we decided to explore the island. We already had our hire car but there are places to hire on the island, at reasonable rates too. There’s no public transport to speak of, so you’ll need form of transport of your own. Taxis are available, I’m sure using them to get to the main towns wouldn’t be out of the question for those who don’t drive, the island isn’t that large. But part of the joy of Kythera is being able to potter down tiny lanes and explore the island and that’s much more fun with your own transport. The main roads are good, traffic is sparse and the driving is refreshingly easy. On the other hand, cycling is not for the faint-hearted, some of the hills are long and steep.
As much as we love just sitting people watching, we do try to make an effort to explore because we know we’ll regret it when we leave if we don’t. On Kythera you can do both, you can get to anywhere on the island in an hour or so, so it’s best to take it easy, relax and take in the simple pleasures of the Greek days. We found some lovely small towns and villages and also some great beaches on our kytheran adventures but we’d been spoilt by Diakofti and found ourselves being drawn back there early each day.