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Destination Kea, or otherwise known as Tzia, is just over an hour away from Lavrio and is waiting to be visited and discovered. Kea is a suitable destination for all that seek a beautiful place near Athens and have limited […]
Destination Kea, or otherwise known as Tzia, is just over an hour away from Lavrio and is waiting to be visited and discovered.
Kea is a suitable destination for all that seek a beautiful place near Athens and have limited time to spend. Kea is the westernmost island of Cyclades, and the length of it’s beaches reaches 88 kilometers. It’s tallest peak is called Prophitis Ilias and has an altitude of 568 meters. The Saint Nicholas bay is characterized as one of the largest natural ports of the Mediterranean. The main port of the island is called Korissia, or Livadi, and the capital is called Ioulida, or Chora. The island features numerous game reserves, mainly for migratory birds, while the flora is also marvelous with over 3000 species of plants.
For many, Ioulida is one of the most beautiful Chores of the Greek islands, and not without a reason. Let me tell you about the walks in the uphill alleys and the marvelous view from above thanks to it’s elevated spot upon the rock. At Ioulida you can visit the Museum of Cycladic Art or walk on the path that starts from the square and takes you to the Lion of Kea. It’s a gargantuan archaic sculpture of a Lion that was chiseled from a single block of local limestone, serving to protect Kea and its capital. You can relax by gazing the sunset at the pastry shop or at some local bar. You will definitely feel the urge to return in the morning in order to enjoy the view with your coffee. Unique, astonishing, graceful.
The port of the island, and the first place that will give you a warm welcome. It will greet you in a gracious manner, as the locals have really contributed towards revamping the area and upgrading its image. Korrisia has many beautiful shops, bars and restaurants, alleys in which to stroll and also great accommodation choices. Also famous for the traditional bakery and the best cheese-pie in the island, perfectly suited for breakfast. Do NOT forget to try it.
Known for its beautiful, pristine waters and the fish taverns that are lined up on the sea-shore. It is located just 10 minutes away from Korissia and it offers the most suitable place for a meal right next to the waves and to relax in the sunlight. Here you can eat tasty seafood and combine them with ouzo under the sun, while gazing at the sea. You can walk to the nearby Saint Nikolas lighthouse and enjoy the view towards Korissia and Ioulida. This is the only spot near the sea that offers a stunning view of the elegant capital of the island.
This is a one-of-a-kind location in the northern part of the island, with characteristic tall boulders near the sea. The view from the monastery towards the Aegean Sea is of unparalleled beauty. The final part of the road comes alongside the sea shore, but at a great height.
Karthaia lies at the north-eastern part of the island and it is an ancient archeological site of great importance. The Ancient Karthaia was one of the four city-states of Kea in ancient times, and one of the most important Cycladic ports. The island has a special energy in that location and that is why it was chosen for a city. In the rocky scenery you can see the ruins of the ancient city, while in the lower tier we have the most important religious side in Karthaia, a temple dedicated to Apollo Pithios, built in 530 B.C. Another temple was found at a higher tier, the Temple of Athena, which is thought to be dedicated to the goddess Athena due to a sculpture that was found on site. Moreover, at the base of the hill there is a small ancient theater that could sit 900 people. In the past few years, but also as far back as the previous century, there have been numerous efforts to turn Karthaia into an archaeological site and to showcase the history of the area. It is a great option and a chance to hike and discover the history of this area, combined with a stunning view to the sea.
The island has a lot of sights to see, due to its great history even from the ancient times. The most important ones are the Archaeological Museum of Kea, which is in Ioulida, and houses findings from the pediment of the Temple of Athena, and presents the ways of the people in ancient times. The museum also houses exhibits from the Late Neolithic Period, the Bronze Age, the Archaic Era and the Roman Times. At the entrance of the island, in Korissia, there is a 45m tall brick chimney that designates the site of the old enamel factory, the biggest one in the Mediterranean Sea. In the eastern part of Ioulida you can marvel at the renowned Lion of Kea. It’s a gargantuan archaic sculpture of a Lion that was chiseled from a single block of local limestone, serving to protect Kea and its capital. The Medieval Castle is also a very important site, and was built in 1210 with building material from the temples of the ancient acropolis. Moreover, the City Hall (that was designed by Ernst Ziller), the Metropolis of the island, the church of Evangelismos, the byzantine Monastery of Aghia Anna, and the prehistoric settlement of Aghia Irini, which is dated at the Late Neolithic Period.. Last but not least, the Saint Nikolaos lighthouse at the homonym cape.
The access to the island of Kea is by boat from the port of Lavrio, with regular itineraries throughout the year. The trips lasts just 60 minutes and this is the nearest Cycladic island to Athens. The port of Lavrio is 60 kilometers away from the center of Athens and you can access it by car through the National Highway or the Attiki Odos motorway, or by bus that leaves every 30 minutes.
In Tzia you will surely enjoy delicious food, numerous appetizers, savory meat and fresh seafood. In Vourkari there are several taverns lined up next to the seashore and it is a well-known corner for gourmands and foodies, especially during lunch hour. Out of all the options I will propose the “9 Daughters” that provides tables right next to the sea, suited for fresh sea food. The Steki of Stroggilis is also a good spot in Korissia, and Anna with the best mom-food around. You will find her when leaving Otzia heading to Kastriani and Spathi. Do not forget to try the fish-bites of Rolando and join him for some ouzo. Last but not least, try the cheese-pie from the bakery at the port. For some pastry try Panorama in Ioulida, the balcony with the most picturesque view where you can enjoy local pastries and your morning coffee, or the view of the sunset. When it comes to bars, two places come to mind, starting at Vinylio for a first drink, great cocktails, nice music and a view of the passers-by. After that you will go to the Leon bar, the oldest bar in the island that has almost reached legendary status. You can enjoy chilled drinks, great music and the best cocktails around until very late.
Kea attracts a vast amount of tourists due to the rocky staircases that surround the entire island. The immense natural beauty and the small coves provide an intense visual experience throughout the route. There are 36 kilometers of hiking trails that complete the Sightseeing Network of Cultural Interest. Twelve routes have been selected, and provide wooden signs that lead the hikers to safety. Wandering through the, mostly, cobbled paths is breath-taking, as the hikers will walk through oak forests and encounter beautiful wild flowers, water springs built out of stone and small scenic monasteries with their characteristic white paint. All these paths lead to either small coves or pristine beaches. Those who decide to try it will often get the chance to travel back to the distant past as they travel through the tracks of ancient Keian people, who also traveled in the very same routes that once connected the four city-states of Ancient Kea. This is surely a palce of intense archaeological and historical interest.
Despite it’s small size, Kea features some really beautiful beaches, some more organized and accessible than others. Some are even only accessible by sea! Everyone’s favorite and by far the most known is Xyla, in the western part, south of Korissia. It’s a vast beach with crystal-clear waters, with most of it being organized, meaning that there are local shops, sunbeds and umbrellas. But there is also another part that is more independent, where you can distant yourself from the crowd and relax on the sand, with your towel. Other favorite beaches lie to the western side, Vroskopos, Kalogiros (or Pisses), Kalamitsi, Koundouros and Koundouraki. In the eastern part we got Kalydonychi, Sykamia, Kaliskia, Spathi and Psathi. Most of these beaches can be accessed by a small stripe of dirt road but with no particular difficulty. Spathi is one of the largest beaches in the island, and one of the most popular. If you have to narrow it down, definitely visit Pisses, Xyla, Spathiand Sykamia, you won’t regret it. Sometimes it depends on the air direction and volume, so go ahead and ask the locals for a tip on where to better enjoy your time on any given day.
In Tzia they have the Fairy Tales Festival that really takes you back to your childhood. It is suitable for children with music, reading and painting activities. The dates vary from year to year but are usually during the summer months. Another great celebration is the Panigiri of Sotiras festival, or the Festival of the Savior, that takes place at July 6th every year. Of course, the great festival at the 15th of August, just like in the rest of Greece.
Other activities (that you can organize): Hiking, Mountain run, Yoga & Pilates, Meditation retreat, Cruise (around the island and/or nearby islands), Sailing, Cooking classes/seminars (in Greek cuisine).Share this tour
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