At times, the objective of hiking is to detox, to evade the modern way of living, and to disconnect from technology and the noise of everyday life. This is exactly what the trail M37 offers. It weaves through the ancestral rural landscapes in the arid northeastern shores of Kythera. Starting at the sandy beach of Diakofti and passing by a small cave, which served as a sanctuary of the Early Helladic period, the coastal trail ends in “alatares” (salt pans in the Kytherian idiom) in Plakes, where locals still harvest natural sea salt, the renowned fleur de sel (“afralatso”), in the traditional way. From there the ascent to the slopes of Vigla starts. The whole route crosses landscapes dotted with dozens of “kamares”, as the locals call the cottages in this part of Kythera. In default of wood, the locals adapted the traditional architecture of these buildings to the available materials. The single or double-vaulted kamares are oblong with one door, a window at the opposite side and a fireplace. This style might have originated from north Africa and introduced to Kythera by Arabs. Each cottage has a cistern with a system of water collection, since wells were scarce. These buildings are part of larger dry-stone complexes which consist of walls, enclosed areas (called “klista”), terraced fields and trails. A few wild olive trees attest that those areas used to be cultivated.
The return to Diakofti follows an impressive wide trail, which serpentines through the gorge of Kakos Potamos. At Provgalma, the first point from where Diakofti can be seen, there is the stone crafted bench that locals call “Kafenes tou Kamarioti”. The vast views of the port in Diakofti and the shipwreck accompany the visitor while descending through the heather, sage and thyme bushes and spiny burnets. At the highest point of the trail there is an offshoot leading to the monument of Kolokotronis, which stands next to the main street, connecting the port to the rest of the island.
Walking time 4h30'
Distance 9.5 klm
source: Kythira Trails