Its inhabitants also call it Thermia and it has been known by this name since the 12th century. This name is due to the hot springs that exist in the bay of Agia Irini and Loutra and attract many people to this day. On the island, there are two villages, Chora and Dryopida, as well as three main coastal settlements, the port of Merichas, Loutra with its thermal springs, and Panagia Kanala with the church of the same name. Apart from these, there are also several smaller settlements such as Agios Dimitrios, Episkopi, Kalo Livadi, etc.
On the northwest slope of Chora is one of the oldest wind farms in Greece, with five wind turbines. It is worth visiting the church of Agios Savvas (17th century), Panagia Kanala with the miraculous icon of Panagia, the port of Merichas, and the picturesque Dryopida.
Merichas port has all kinds of facilities for the visitor for accommodation, rest, and entertainment. A large number of apartments, studios, and rooms for rent, many picturesque taverns, restaurants, bars, cafes, and everything the modern visitor wants is here to ensure maximum enjoyment during the Summer Vacation Time.
The first inhabitants of Kythnos are the ancient Dryopes with their king Kythnos hence the name of the island which was also called Dryopis or Ofiousa. During the Middle Ages, it was called Thiramna, while Nilos Doxapatris from 1143 mentions it with the name Thermia, from the hot springs that exist. Later the Turks called it "Hamam antasi" (island of Loutra). And finally, the Italians called her "Fermina". Maroulas, on the northeast coast of the island, near "Loutra", was the oldest settlement in the Cyclades. The excavations brought remnants of circular structures, which had probably been used as living quarters, as well as a few burials.
In ancient times also in Kythnos, a prosperous Ionian colony had been founded by Kestoras and Kelyfos. The ancient Kythnians were also involved in shipping and the Persian wars. The ancient state of Kythnos was famous for its favor and this reason Aristotle dedicates a special study to Kythnos in his work "On the State of Kythnos", a work that was not saved. Also, the ancient Kythnians excelled in letters and arts, where they promoted two famous painters, Timanthes and Kydias.
During Roman times, Kythnos, like the other islands of the Cyclades, declined and sometimes served as a place of exile and sometimes as a base for pirates.
Kythnos has wonderful beaches that form picturesque coves, coves with crystal clear waters, and natural shade formed by tamarisk trees. The most famous beach on the island is Kolona. Visit it and you will be impressed by how a strip of sand divides the sea in half into two sandy beaches on the same beach so spectacular.
Leaving the port of Merichas in the direction of Chora, we meet first on the small sandy beach of Martinakia and then Episkopi and Apokrousi. They are the only organized beaches on the island, the busiest, and have fine sand. Passing through the settlement of Chora we reach the bay of Loutra.
The Mesolithic (9,000 - 8,000 BC) settlement of Maroulas was found on the northeastern side of the island near Loutra. It is the only outdoor settlement of this period that has been found in Greece. It consists of circular houses and tombs. Most likely it was a base or refueling station. Among the finds are tools made of flint, obsidian, and quartz as well as human skeletons, one of which was whole. During the excavation, about 30 paved floors were discovered that belonged to an accommodation. In addition, two semi-underground structures were found in rock cavities. The burials (about 15) were found under these floors with the skeletons squatting. The fact that there are burials and houses in the same area shows that there lived hunters - foragers who probably lived from shellfish collection and fishing.
Unfortunately, part of the archeological site has been destroyed by the erosion that has suffered from the sea, while the total area is estimated at 2 acres. Nevertheless, the study of the findings is very important since there are very few Mesolithic archeological sites in Greece.
One of the hidden treasures of Kythnos is the castle of Oria. The archeological dig has not yet begun the excavations and so stands in ruins in a steep and impressive location at an altitude of 250m. The medieval capital of the island is located at the northwestern tip the island with its foundation being placed in the 7th century AD after the abandonment of Vryokastro. It was abandoned in the 16th century after the conquest by the Turks.
Despite all the exaggerations that the popular tradition may have, it seems that the destruction was so great that the survivors moved the capital to the place of today's Chora while this area was never inhabited again. It was the seat of the Italian feudal family of the Kozadins who ruled from 1337 to 1617. The destruction was carried out by the Turkish pirate Barbarossa in 1537. Legend has it that a Turk disguised himself as pregnant and begged to open the gates to enter. The beautiful daughter of the commander felt sorry for her and told her to open the gate and then the Turks occupied the castle. Out of pity for this act, she fell from a rock and was killed.
The newly established museum will start operating in 2017-2018. The museum will hide special interest for its visitors as it will exhibit objects that for the first time will see the light of day from research conducted in the years 1990 to 2009.
Among the exhibits stand statues, pottery, and tools that have been discovered from recent excavations at the archaeological sites of the island (Vryokastro, Mandraki, Maroulas, Kastro tis Orias, Skouries, Kastellas, etc.) and belong to the Mesolithic Period, in the Pre-Mesolithic Period, in the Archaic Period, in the Classical Period, in the Hellenistic Years and the Roman Period.
The Folklore Museum of the island of Kythnos has been operating in the picturesque Dryopida since 1993 and was recently renovated in 2012. Thanks to the initiative of the Dryopides Association, the museum operates in a preserved old house, located near the church of Agios Apostolos. It is a donation of the family of Francis Verus and comes from the union of two houses with ups and downs. The museum exhibits objects from the popular culture of the island. All the exhibits are objects that come from the daily life of the inhabitants of the island, such as furniture, costumes, utensils and tools, textiles, etc.
On the ground floor, the visitor will see the agricultural tools used in the past by the inhabitants of the island as well as the traditional costumes of xotarissa and xotaris, the textiles, the equipment of the cell, and the "bed", i.e. the loom where all kinds of textiles were woven. On the first floor, the space has been designed to present authentically a traditional Thermiotiko house and includes a hall, kitchen, and bedroom with traditional local furniture and decoration.
The island of Kythnos is an ideal destination for diving enthusiasts since in addition to a rich seabed in fish, corals, reefs, and caves it has shipwrecks that can be admired by the diver. Exploring the sea of Kythnos you will have the opportunity to admire several shipwrecks including Pepe and Niki.
Pepe, which burned down in 2001, is a pole of attraction for fish and divers in Agios Stefanos Bay. Dive into the safe and calm waters of the bay to discover it a few tens of meters from the beach. It is located at a depth of 18 meters with its highest point being 14 meters. Around the shipwreck, there is a sandy beach and meadows of Poseidonia.
In Greece, there are many thermal springs but, in the Cyclades, they exist only in Kythnos. The island owes its second name to Thermias. The hot springs which are located in the bay of Loutra, in the homonymous village, developed thanks to them. The visitor will find there two hot springs: Agioi Anargyroi which is located inside the hydrotherapy center and Kakavou at a distance of about 50m. The source of Agioi Anargyroi is saline, reaches 36 ° C and is suitable for arthritis, rheumatism, and vertebral arthritis. The Kakavou spring reaches 52 ° C and its water contains bromide, iodide, and sodium chloride, it is ideal for skin diseases and gynecological problems.
It seems that during antiquity their use was not known, although according to archeological evidence there was a sanctuary in this place. Their use must have begun in Roman or Byzantine times, a fact that archaeologists conclude due to the findings in the area. In 1782 at the source of Agioi Anargyroi a tank with a roof and a locker room were built. Nevertheless, the locals showed little interest in the springs and surrounded them with popular beliefs about fairies and devils.
The first to realize the importance of hot springs were German doctors brought by King Otto to address the infertility of Queen Amalia. In the hydrotherapy center, you can see until today the baths they used. Then the building of the hydrotherapy center was built, which was completed in 1857.
During your stay in the enchanting Kythnos, do not forget to try the traditional products of the island, which stand out both for their exquisite taste and for their exceptional quality. Be sure to try the cheese products of Kythnos and accompany them with local wine. To sweeten, prefer the famous macaroons, which have a long tradition in most of the Cycladic islands. Also, the honey of Kythnos is distinguished for its quality. In Kythnos, in addition to meat and fresh fish, you will find local products, such as sausages, rusks, white grated cheese or kopanisti, thyme honey, which is considered one of the best, capers, clay objects, since the island has a long tradition in ceramics, pastels, traditional pies, and the famous thermiotiko wine.
Try the famous thermoi cheese pie, the "sfouggato", and the traditional braised meat with potatoes. Remember that whatever food you try, you must accompany it with one of the local cheeses or the very tasty kopanisti.
As for the “sfouggato” it is a kind of cheese croquette or cheese meatballs. It is made with the "sour", the traditional, soft, unsalted calorie cheese, and alternatively with the salted "crumb" that has a sourer taste. Know that no one leaves Kythnos without having tasted the pork of the island, the marinated sun-dried fish, the ribs, and the “strapatsada” with zucchini and local wine.