To begin with, this low-rise hotel with its Zen-like atmosphere is in the middle of a hiker’s paradise (it’s even part of the Hiker’s Friendly hotel network). Lying just 300 meters from the sea, the property was recently renovated, so while it respects the local architecture, it still offers many modern comforts with an eco twist. There’s a general “wellness” and green philosophy that the owners have adopted, setting the stage for a fabulous stay that will help you discover the best of the island.
You’ll also get a hearty Greek breakfast with many local choices, including a variety of jams, rice pudding, baked delights, savory pies (pitas), village eggs, sweet tahini “Halva”, Greek yogurt and much more. Dinner is also served at the hotel, offering a traditional Greek menu with all the fresh vegetables, herbs and healthy ingredients that this entails.
An eco-destination like no other
You’ll be lucky to know that Kythera is not on the mass tourism map. On the other hand, ancient sailors and civilizations who ploughed the seas have left their mark on this hidden paradise. The 13th century Fortezza castle, fortified in 1503 by the venetians, is an excellent example of the island’s mixed heritage. Villages like Paleochora and Avlemonas both have castle ruins, as well as other historical and archeological remains where the fearful infamous Ottoman pirate Hayrettin Barbarossa (the “red bearded”) left his trail of destruction.
Nature-wise, half the island is designated as a Natura 2000 protected site, boasting many endemic kinds of fauna and flora, in addition to being on the route of migratory birds. The Neraida (mermaid) waterfalls amid lush greenery are certainly worth visiting, and a trail of sign-posted hiking paths is available for visitors to explore the whole island. The landscape is quite varied across the island which lies between Africa, Asia and Europe, hence the variety of trees such as pine, olive, maple and others. Sandy beaches mix with pine trees and olive trees, verdant landscapes mix with arid mountains. Seek out the gorge of Tsakonas, the Cave of Chytra (where seals languish) and the watermills of Fonissa, which are just some of the attractions that reward the eyes and the soul.
Eco-activities to delight in
The team at the Porto Delfino hotel works with many partners that offer fabulous activities on the island. It can arrange a scuba diving excursion, canyoning and abseiling in Milopotamos, participation in a soapmaking or ceramics workshop, or a cultural and historical tour of the island. Equally important, there are almost daily classes of yoga or Pilates right on the hotel premises! The beach is just an 8-minute walk away, and has been awarded with the Blue Flag, which highlights how clean and how environmentally sound it is. Just take your hiking map from the hotel and begin the adventure!
Along with a general “wellness” philosophy, the hotel’s owner has embraced an environmental philosophy for the property, from recycling and using natural cleaning products (lemon, vinegar, baking soda) to minimizing plastic use and abolishing plastic straws. A towel reuse program and water-saving features, along with membership in the Save Greek Water campaign attest to the owners’ commitment. The hotel is also a member of the Hiker’s Friendly network of hotels which promotes hiking, as well as the Hellenic Society for the Protection of Nature and of course Ecotourism Greece!