Due to its proximity to Athens, Kythnos has become a fashionable setting for vacation homes, in addition to being an accessible destination for foreign visitors. Besides its numerous beaches and picturesque villages, it also is the site of one of the largest caves in Greece, Katafiki Cave in Dryopida. This cave, first visited in the 1830s and described by the geologist Fiedler, has unique “schratten” or rock curtains, as well as speleotherms. It was the site of an iron mine until 1939 and has now been developed as a tourist attraction.
The island has two significant settlements, the village of Messaria or Kythnos (pop. 561 in 2011 census), known locally as Chora, and the village of Dryopis or Dryopida Dryopida (pop. 325), also known as Chorio. Both villages are notable for their winding and often stepped streets, too narrow for vehicular traffic. The villages are very picturesque but in different architectural styles. Chora has the more-typical flat roofs of the Cyclades, while Dryopida’s rooftops are slanted and tiled. Chora is also notable for its large Greek Orthodox Church.