Kea/Tzia | Cyclades
37.6018° N, 24.3081° E
An idyllic haven just a short hop away from the busy city, Kea's natural beauty and cosmopolitan charm has turned it into a hot-spot for Athenian weekenders and sailing lovers. The island is not famous for its nightlife, yet it boasts handsome beaches, picturesque villages, great food and an easy-going island vibe.
Kea's landscape is very typical of the Cyclades, with its stark-white houses and the blues of the sea and sky contrasting with the dry, sunbaked terrain. The coastline is fringed with sandy beaches and rocky coves that are accessible either on foot or by boat. A long network of trails connects the coast to the interior and provides access to Kea's ancient and prehistoric settlements.
Kea is the ideal destination for short, no-fuss getaways if you are staying in Athens, because of its proximity to the Greek capital. The island is mostly preferred by Greeks, so it is also a great option if you want to avoid tourists and blend in with the locals.
IoulidaKea's gorgeous capital boasts handsome traditional houses with terracotta-tiled roofs and paved alleys that wind their way through the village. Take the path that leads from the Town Hall, built by architect Ernst Ziller on the ruins of a medieval castle, to the enigmatic 6th century BC Lion of Kea.
Panagia KastrianiThe monastery of Panagia Kastriani is perched on the edge of a steep cliff, exactly on the spot where the icon of Panagia was discovered. Visitors are provided with monk cells where they can spend the night should they wish so. If you happen to be in Kea for the religious holiday of August 15, be sure to attend the feast organised here.
Ancient KarthaiaThe well-preserved site of ancient Karthaia is accessible only by boat or on foot (a 1 hour hike). The setting's otherworldly beauty and the spectacular beach that lays at the foot of the ruins make for a unique and unmissable experience.
Castle of Agia MarinaThe Hellenistic castle of Agia Marina was built on the 4th century BC and was later incorporated in the late-Byzantine monastery of Agia Marina. The monastery was later abandoned, yet there is still a celebration here on the holiday of Agia Marina, on July 17th.
Kea boasts a stunning landscape of rugged cliffs, verdant valleys and a sensational coastline made up of sandy beaches and craggy coves. If you like hiking, you will love Kea's trails that pass through the island’s lush valleys, most of them leading to beaches where you can cool down in the cool, clear waters.
The island's beautiful capital, Ioulida, is one of the prettiest villages in the Cycladic islands, its neoclassical mansions covered by terracotta roofs, facing the stunning sea views. Both the capital and the port, Korissia, buzz with activity, especially during the weekends, when the Athenians descend on the island.
Walk around the villages, mingle with the locals and pick your favourite bar or restaurant to enjoy some local, fresh seafood and enjoy a relaxed drink.
You can also visit the charming seaside village and archaeological site of Piissa. Vourkari's understated elegance has turned it into a favourite for yacht crews and sailing lovers.
Sip a glass of wine in one of the waterfront bars, alongside the sailboats and yachts moored in the marina. Koundouros is perhaps the island's most picturesque village, dotted with traditional Kean houses, called “kathikies”.
You can reach Kea from the port of Lavrio, which is located about a 1hr drive from the centre of Athens and a 30min drive from Athens International Airport. The ferry ride takes about 1 hour.
As a haven of tranquility and escapism for Athenians, Kea offers a vast variety of accommodation starring some of the most exquisite luxury private villas in the Cyclades. Minimal luxury villas with a swimming pool are the protagonists of the holiday theme in Kea where guests seeking a holiday villa to rent will succumb in the breathtaking settings and the airy essence of this quiet yet lively destination.