In cooperation with Avlemonas Spring Festival, Pyrgos House is organizing Kythira’s Wild Orchids Holiday, April 5th – 12th 2020.
Kythira has 723 different plant varieties, of which 48 species are endemic to Greece and 5 exclusively found on Kythira. On the island there are about 60 species of wild orchids, like the Orchis italica, Vermeulenia papilionacea var. aegea, Ophrys tenthredinifera subsp. ulyssea, Serapias orientalis, Neotinea tridentata, Ophrys calypsus, Anacamptis pyramidalis var. brachystachys.
During this Wild Orchids Holiday you will explore a different area of the island every day. Experienced Greek orchids specialists will show you the way along unpaved roads, rocky footpaths and through fields. These pleasant walks will be combined with visits to monasteries, churches, villages and a traditional pottery workshop. Of course there will be enough time for a lunch at the village kafeneion or a picnic in a field full of wild flowers.
During the excursions you will visit many interesting places, for example, Paleochora (a Byzantine settlement, Kythira’s former capital), Chora (Castle, Archeological Museum), Mylopotamos (waterfall and watermill valley), Myrtidiotissa (the island’s most important pilgrimage monastery), Kato Livadi (longest stone bridge in Greece, ceramic workshop), Paleopoli (Minoan graves). You will taste Kythira’s local products like thyme honey, organic olive oil and the famous Kythirian olive oil rusks.
In the evenings, there are lectures and presentations about the wild orchids on Kythira and in Greece.
You will stay in Avlemonas, a fishing village along the Agios Nikolaos Bay, on the east coast. The village borders a Natura 2000 bird protection area that extends in northerly direction all the way to Agia Pelagia.
Avlemonas is an old village that, during the Venetian rule (1400 – 1800 AD), used to be the island’s official harbour. The most important old buildings are the Venetian Castello (a small castle, built in 1560), the Vardiola (a look out post, 1630) and the impressive Cavallini mansion, built in 1827, with its original sundial.
A few tavernas, one kafeneion and a small grocery shop are located around the bay. Every morning the fishing boats return to the harbour; a time-honoured village activity. And what is nicer than strolling along the paved footpaths on the waterfront, with many flowers and palm trees around you, while the sun sets peacefully behind the hills?
Arrival on Kythira, transfer from the airport to your accommodation in Avlemonas.
Evening: during a welcome dinner you will meet the other participants and the guides.
April 6th – April 11th:
Daily: an orchids hunting walk and excursion (10 am – 5 pm). The transfers between Avlemonas and the orchid locations will be done by coach which is reserved especially for the group.
In the evening: lectures, presentations, Greek dance lesson, movies and more. We will send the final programme to you around mid-March.
Transfer from your accommodation to the airport. If you want, you certainly can stay longer, either in Avlemonas or in one of the other villages. We will be happy to inform you about the possibilities.
From 845.00 euro per person, based on a double room. Surcharge for single room: 140.00 euro.
Every studio has a kitchenette, private bathroom, a balcony or terrace. The quoted price is for standard accommodation as shown on the picture. If you prefer to stay in accommodation of a different class, we will be happy to inform you about the possibilities.
- 7 nights’ accommodation in Avlemonas and all meals (breakfast, lunch, dinner) from dinner on arrival day (April 5th) until breakfast on departure day (April 12th)
- Transfers from and to the airport on arrival day and departure day
- All transfers by coach on excursion days (day 2, 3, 4, 5, 6 and 7)
- Professional guidance (English spoken)
- Entrance fees
- All lectures, presentations, film, dance lesson
- Information book about Kythira and detailed map
- Welcome package with local products
Accommodation: you will stay in Avlemonas. All accommodation is located around the bay or at a short walking distance from the bay.
Participants: minimum number of participants 4, maximum 10. We have received the minimum number of bookings to confirm that this Orchids Holiday will go ahead.
Your flight to Kythira: you arrange your own flights. There are domestic flights from Athens to Kythira. If you want, you can combine this trip with a visit to Athens. Pyrgos House is happy to advise you.
Assistance: Pyrgos House offers the service of a telephone number (24h a day/7 days a week) in case you need any assistance.
Travel insurance: we advise you to have adequate insurance with a reputable insurer to cover personal injury, medical expenses, repatriation expenses, loss or damage of luggage etc.
Book this Kythira Wild Orchids Holiday by sending an email to: email@example.com.
Our speakers will be presenting short talks during or after dinner on most of the days of the festival. We are hoping that the talks will be followed by engaging questions and discussions. The speakers bring great experience and deep knowledge on the subject of the Greek wild orchids.
Prof. Spyros Tsiftsis
Assistant Professor at East Macedonia and Thrace Institute of Technology, Department of Forestry and Natural Environment Management, will give two talks, on the biology and ecology of the species and on the protection of orchids in Greece (IUCN species, dangers etc).
Ms. Stavroula Fatsea
Principal of Kythira High School. She will talk about the Kythirian orchids populations and her experience with them over many years.
Dr. Alexander Kocyan
Dr. Alexander Kocyan, curator of the Botanical Museum of the University of Zurich. He is a trained plant systematist. During his research career he worked at the Universities of Zurich, Leiden, Munich, Potsdam and Vienna as well as at the Royal Botanic Gardens Kew. He is interested in the systematics and morphology of orchids and related monocot families. He is conducting field work mainly in the Mediterranean and Borneo.
On Kythira he explores the orchid flora since 1993.
He will talk about the orchids of Kythira, their systematics and ecology.
Sara Scopsi, BSc Herbal Medicine, founder and owner of the “Elichrysos” store in Mylopotamos will talk about the potential of Kythira’s flora in herbal medicine.