Combining archetypal Cycladic beauty with easy access from Athens and a genuine cosmopolitan spirit without the signs of mass tourism, Kea (or Tzia) is an island of special magic with a dedicated fan club. The pristine natural beauty (unspoiled beaches, lots of dirt roads, oak forests and crystal clear waters) meets the lively promenades of picturesque ports, like Vourkari, creating a unique mix, especially loved by yachters. Plans for a world-famous luxury resort brand are expected to further develop the island.
Along the western shore, from Otzias to Koundouros, you will meet the more cosmopolitan face of the island. Vourkari is the centre of nightlife with trendy restaurants and bars, Korissia, the main port offers cosy spots for a drink or meal along the promenade, while Koundouros is the most popular and chic beach resort with special facilities and beach sports. Yaliskari is a nice lively beach, while for a more exotic swim try Xila, or unspoiled Spathi, Sikamia and Kalidonihi, accessed by dirt road, with crystal clear waters.
Ioulida, the island’s Old Town, spread amphitheatrically on two facing hilltops, is ideal for morning or evening walks in the traditional paths and visits to the Archaeological Museum (with beautiful statues of female figures from the pre-historic village of Ag. Irini and sculptures from Ancient Karthea) and the famous archaic sculpture of a lion carved on a rock in order to protect the island’s capital. Small tavernas and deli shops with delicious local products (honey, charcuterie, jams etc.) will satisfy the gourmets.
The Ancient Karthea accessed by boat or walking path is an idyllic archeological site, where celebrations of Apollo were held during ancient times. Don’t miss the opportunity to swim in Poles, right underneath the ancient city, and look with your mask for the submerged stone blocks, parts of the bay of the ancient Karthaia. Talking about undersea treasures, outside of Korissia port there is one of the world’s largest shipwrecks, Britannic, the sister ship to the Titanic.
The unspoiled eastern part of Kea, extending from imposing white-washed monastery of Panagia Kastriani perched on a rock, to Kato Meria, reveals images of fascinating beauty with rich oak forests, picturesque valleys and sharp peaks creating blue coves. The island has a well preserved network of paths ideal for trekking. Sightseeing lovers will also discover interesting remains of old towers, like Agia Marina, ancient (Agia Irini) and byzantine monuments (Agia Anna, Agioi Apostoloi, Agios Panteleimon).