Kythera is a beautiful Greek island known for its idyllic beaches, breathtaking views, and rich, historical past. The pace of life is slow and the people are friendly. The tourist industry has changed over the years and now the island is moving towards a more sustainable, environmentally-friendly way of doing things. Islanders, along with foreigners who visit each year, participate in ecotourism; helping restore historical buildings, assisting in archaeological digs, and looking for solutions to protect the natural habitat and wildlife. One activity that is becoming increasingly popular on Kythera is olive picking.
Spending time on the island learning about the olive-picking season and how the olive groves affect the island’s inhabitant’s, offers people the chance to live in a traditional small town as well as the opportunity to experience a relaxed, simpler way of life in Greece.
One couple who are aiming to provide great, authentic olive-picking trips are Albert Blok and Anita Snippe, who moved to Kythera from the Netherlands in 2008 and opened their guesthouse, Xenonas Fos ke Choros. The couple enjoys exploring the old villages on the island and they go hiking whenever they can. From their olive crops they produce olive oil, olive soap and table olives.
Albert and Anita invite groups of guests to join in them during the autumn for specialised olive-picking weeks, where they get to stay at the couple’s luxury guesthouse and participate in the harvesting activities. After olives are picked, the groups are taken to the press where they can see how crops are processed. Guests are also treated to wonderful home-cooked, traditionally Greek food and there is even the opportunity to take a cooking class with a local restaurant owner.
As well as their olive-picking holidays, Albert and Anita also offer spring and autumn walking and hiking breaks, where guests get to experience the wonderful variety of nature and architecture unspoiled by mass tourism on Kythera. They are also supporters of thePaths of Kythera project (run by Fivos Tsavaropoulos) which started as a sign-posting project of about 250km of the old trails of Kythera and has now become an inclusive approach to the sustainable tourism development of the island.
Embracing their more relaxed and creative side, the couple has recently started offering yoga breaks with Natasja Gras and mosaic workshops with the Greek artist Aliki Rigou.
Their passion and enthusiasm for Kythera is undeniable and their desire to promote and share the beauty of the island and their own experiences is admirable. Their guesthouse and specialist holidays have attracted visitors from around the globe, many of whom have gone on to blog about their Greek island adventure.
I might be biased, but I can’t think of a better way to experience Kythera in a more authentic and fulfilling way. Prices staying at Xenonas Fos ke Choros for a week’s olive-picking during October/November 2015, start from € 395,00 per person and you can find out more here. You can also catch up with Albert and Anita via their Facebook page.
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