Poised between the Aegean and Ionian Seas, the gloriously time-forgotten island of Kythira lies just 12km off the southern tip of the Peloponnese’s Lakonian Peninsula. Despite its distinctly Cycladic sugar-cube architecture, both historic and modern, Kythira is officially regarded as belonging to the Ionian Island group. With its population of less than 4000 spread between 40 villages, Kythira feels for much of the year like a ghost land; it's an unspoiled wilderness of lush valleys, abrupt overgrown gorges, and flower-speckled cliffs tumbling into the vivid blue sea. Apart from July and August, when Italians especially swoop in to enjoy the fine sandy beaches, tourism remains very low-key. Visiting outside these months, however, brings huge rewards, whether you fancy hiking to scenic wonders and intriguing ancient settlements, or simply relaxing in the old-style tavernas and kafeneia (coffee houses) that pepper its village squares. Crowning the rocky headland that soars at the southern end of Hora, this majestic 14th-century fortress was built by Kythira’s first Venetian governor. Within its ramparts the fort is now largely in ruins, but the site is stupendous, drenched in wildflowers and commanding stunning views down to Kapsali and out as far as Antikythira. Only the unenthralling Coat of Arms Collection, in a former powder magazine, charges an admission fee.