Strings in Greece
Archaeology, history and mythology. Whilst the museum is not open at present, Kythera has a number of sites of special interest including a Minoan Peak Sanctuary, the 'temple of Aphrodite' at Paleocastro, the ruins of Paleochora (deserted since sacked by Barbarossa) and a Venetian Castle at Chora overlooking Kapsali where we stay. For more information try http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cythera_(island)
Art: Every year we run an art course tailor-made to those who choose to take part. Based at the Zeidoros arts centre http://www.zeidoros.gr the art course can be extended through visits to other parts of the island.
Birdlife. Whilst the variety of birdlife is mainly reflected in migratory birds, there is still a considerable range of resident birds including raptors such as ospreys, eagles and Eleanora's Falcon as well as birds such as wheatears, hoopoes, bee-eaters and rock doves. Bird watching can combined with a boat trip. The world's largest colony of Eleanora's Falcon is on nearby Antikythera. A great field guide is Birds of Europe, Lars Jonson, Helm A&C Black,1992. Also http://www.birdlife.org/datazone/sitefactsheet.php?id=1117
Canoeing. An instructor lives in Kapsali who has double and single kayaks. He takes people on sea canoeing trips of two to fours hours. Safety gear and instruction provided.
Canyoning. Probably the finest canyon is one one used by the pirate Barbarossa to attack Paleochora, the old capital city of Kythira. Abandoned ever since, the route starts beside the deserted ruins and makes its way down to the sea at Kato Livadi using abseiling to get down several waterfalls. Guided tours can be arranged for a party of 3-6 reasonably fit people equipped with trainers or other suitable footwear, but no previous experience required.
Climbing. The rock is of hard limestone offering good grip and clean surfaces. There are two 35 metre faces that are pegged and climbed fairly regularly, one within walking distance of Kapsali. These are best suited to experienced climbers. We are on the lookout for faces of modest height and angle that are suitable for beginners and inexperienced climbers. For climbing and/or mountain walking on the way to the island see The Mountains of Greece, George Sfikas, Efstathiadis, 1999
Cooking: Lessons in Greek cooking are hugely popular. Organised in collaboration with Zeidoros, those taking part join together after the evening rehearsal to eat what they have prepared earlier in the day
Eating: There is an adundance of tavernas, restaurants and bars in Kapsali, other seaside resorts and in villages throughout the island.
Flowers. The island is unique in its variety of wild flowers.http://floracytherea.blogspot.com is provides a reasonably good collection of photographs. The definitive field guide to the flora of this part of the world is Flowers of Greece and the Balkans, Oleg Polunin, Oxford 1980.
Kythera is both wild, arid and rugged as well as lush and green. Mylopotamos village leads to a series of waterfalls and watermills and feature enticing aquamarine lagoons fringed with plane and fig trees as well as thick ivy. You’ll think you’ve been transported to an exotic Caribbean island. Canyons and gorges dot the island and offer stunning vistas and ecosystems, while mountains and hills define the island’s landscape.
Greek language. Contact us if you are interested
Photography fits in nicely with most of the activities on this list. Photographs can be processed at various locations on the island and/or projected in the exhibition space in Zeidoros
Other physical activities: The island offers plenty of scope for cycling and water based activities such as wind-surfing. However opportunities for hiring these are limited and at the time of year we visit are probably non-existent.
Swimming. There are sandy, pebbly and rocky beaches, ranging from those with one or more restaurants and bars to many that are isolated. Facing all aspects, a number have stunning views; to the north, the mountains of the Pelopponese, to the south to Antikythera and Crete and to the west – the setting sun (but you might miss the evening rehearsal). Almost all of the less frequented beaches have a primordial feel to them. You are advised to swim with others.
Snorkelling. The water is clear with a variety of fish and underwater ‘landscapes’ to observe and explore. As with swimming, it is safest done with others. You will need to bring your own gear.
Travelling to and from the island . Consider hiring a car in Athens and travelling overland through the Pelopponese. Fantastic scenery and an almost endless list of ancient sites. An outward trip could take in Delphi, Corinth, Olympia, Taygetus mountains, Mistra, Sparta and the Mani peninsula, departing for Kythira via ferry from Gythio. The return, using the ferry to Neapoli, could take in Monemvassia, Argos, Mycenae, Nafplio, Epidavros and…. the Acropolis. Mix and match these, and many more!
Walking: We organise at least one walk on each of our visits. There is an immense variety of walking on offer although much of it requires stout boots and long trousers. The Byzantine castle of Paleochora is one potential destination and is best combined with a trek from Trifilianika, on the traditional footpath. The same applies for the castle of Mylopotamos, reached through a beautiful Watermill gorge. Many other walks are described in guidebook available on the island. More information about marked paths on the island is also available through http://www.kytherahiking.com/?lang=en