Greece hiking vacation, Kythnos

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Departing every Monday from 21st March until October. Runs with a minimum of two people.
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Responsible tourism

Responsible tourism: Greece hiking vacation, Kythnos

Environment

Our walking trails extol the natural beauty of the island's countryside, its historical sites, its traditional villages, its numerous churches and many sandy beaches. We emphasise to our walkers the importance of looking after the countryside, protecting wildlife, not dropping rubbish and closing gates. We support the island mayor's pledge to find funding for more signs on the trails and clearing where needed thus encouraging more walkers to the area (a low carbon way to explore the island).

Our Travelers Code of Conduct includes two pages of Useful Information covering the fitness required of walkers, clothing and shoes, and the natural sights to see, such as flowers, plants and animals. For each trail, we provide a map of the route, distances, the height of hills, difficult terrain, and natural hazards. We urge walkers to be respectful to farmers and their animals.

As stated above, we plan to launch our own hotel in 2016, a renovation of two 200-year-old mansions. These buildings will be under Greek culture ministry protection for their historical value. The hotel will include a series of presentations about the history of the island, the village where the hotel is located, and the buildings themselves.

With our hiking vacations, we want to demonstrate that this ecologically-sensitive form of tourism can help the local economy. We want to be an advocate in the local community for preserving the calm and history of Kythnos.

Community

For the walking, we will use local guides as much as possible and pay them a proper wage. The taverna's where we eat will be chosen for their use of local produce such as meat, cheese, vegetables and salad. We will visit farms and a honey-making centre during the vacations. The souvenir shops we recommend in Hora, Dryopida and Merichas produce their own pottery and jewelry on the island.

Kythnos has a lively cultural scene, including many traditional music events linked to religious feast days, particularly the Orthodox Easter and 15 August and also many other saint days. The island has a summer festival in July and August which we encourage guests to visit. At one event our guide plans to talk about our trails. At the music events, we will explain the traditional instruments being played such as lute, fiddle, tsambouna and sandouni and their continuing production, thus supporting local artisan business.

Reviews of Greece hiking vacation, Kythnos

You can trust Responsible Travel reviews because, unlike many other schemes, reviews can ONLY be written by people who we have verified have been on the vacations.

I am reborn! Simply the best vacation I have ever been on
Some great stories to tell the grandchildren. Would recommend to a friend
Very enjoyable
It was OK
A bit disappointing really

Reviewed on 09 Oct 2016 by

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your vacation?


Exploring the trails and beaches of Kythnos with our Greek guide who has spent every summer of her life on the island since she was a baby.

2. What tips would you give other travelers booking this vacation?


If possible, avoid taking this hiking vacation in July and August when it is really hot.

3. Did you feel that your vacation benefited local people, reduced environmental impacts or supported conservation?


Certainly we benefited local people by spending money there. Our guides have been involved in community recycling efforts and are very knowledgeable in conservation efforts on the island.

4. Finally, how would you rate your vacation overall?


We loved our trip to Kythnos! Our host Nigel took care of every detail from start to finish - from organizing our ferry tickets, to booking our charming hotel room, to adjusting the program to accommodate our interests. We felt very welcomed. From the moment he met us at the ferry our week was completely care free. With our Greek guide Katerina, we explored Kythnos’ Neolithic ruins, a Byzantine castle, a limestone cave, the thermal springs at Loutra and myriad churches.
We learned about the flora and fauna as we hiked along back trails, sometimes enjoying wild figs and grapes that lined the trails. Katerina shared stories from childhood summers spent on Kythnos, giving us an insight into life on this
authentically Greek island. Evenings included visits to an open-air concert and listening to traditional music in a bar, as well as enjoying delicious, fresh food at different restaurants. All of this came at an unbeatable price – we can’t wait to
return. Bravo to Nigel and Katerina!

Reviewed on 06 Oct 2015 by

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your vacation?


Trying to stop Nigel buying the drinks!

Falling into the sea after getting hot walking.

2. What tips would you give other travelers booking this vacation?


Get to the bar before Nigel!
The walking is surprisingly undulating for a relatively low island.

3. Did you feel that your vacation benefited local people, reduced environmental impacts or supported conservation?


I would guess so, though the guide aims at that all the time.

4. Finally, how would you rate your vacation overall?


A perfect short break, balanced walking, swimming and eating.

Reviewed on 02 Oct 2015 by

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your vacation?


On the last night, a music night was organised in a local taverna, with two local musicians playing Bouzouki and violin, and it was well supported by people from the village. The locals joined in with songs they knew, and danced in traditional dances when the music moved them. Four children danced very energetically, wonderfully in time with the music , including the young lad who had been running round the taverna all evening, taking orders, delivering drinks and food to the tables. Everybody joined in clapping, foot stomping and singing and had a great time.

2. What tips would you give other travelers booking this vacation?


It is possible to extend the vacation by going earlier as I did, or returning later, depending on which days the ferries are operating. It is best to plan for a night in Athens or elsewhere on the mainland afterwards, because the of the timing of the ferries.

The paths are fairly clear in most cases, and it is possible to walk independently using the new 1 : 25,000 map, but the Greek maps are optimistic as ever in places. A compass may be useful to take with you if you are familiar with using one to navigate.

3. Did you feel that your vacation benefited local people, reduced environmental impacts or supported conservation?


The vacation benefited local tavernas, cafes and hotels, because what little tourism they get appears to be concentrated in August.

4. Finally, how would you rate your vacation overall?


The walking is relatively easy in terrain similar to the Yorkshire dales, with many old kalderimia still surviving, because when they made new roads for cars, they chose less steep routes and avoided the zig-zags and steps used by the pack horse routes. Because there is very little agriculture on the island, and the old drove roads and pack horse routes have stone walls either side or run along narrow terraces, they have not been widened for pick-up trucks and tractors like in much of Greece.
The beaches are quiet, and most that we visited were sandy, shelving gently in to the clear warm sea.
The hotel was well equipped and comfortable, and food in the local tavernas was traditional and tasty.
The locals are very friendly, and nearly all greeted us as we passed along the roads.

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