Although relatively close to Athens, the lively island of Kea (or Tzia in Greek) is not well known by tourists. It is an island with numerous natural attractions, rich traditions and authentic hospitality. This is the "gateway to the Cyclades”, offering an ancient crossroads of cultures in the Aegean Sea.
With a surface of 131 square kilometres and total length of coasts of 86 km, Kea is one of the biggest Cycladic islands. It is mainly a mountainous island with abundant water, fertile plateaus and valleys. The highest mountain of the island is the Profitis Ilias with an altitude of 568 meters. In the northern part of the island lies the gulf of Agios Nikolaos, the main harbour of the island.
Kea has fanatic admirers, since it maintains its traditional character, charming its visitors with its beautiful communities and villages, appreciable archaeological sites, spotless beaches, oak forests, and hospitable residents. The main town of Kea is Ioulida (or Ioulis), a beautiful traditional settlement built on the side of a hill, with a Venetian castle from the 13th century dominating on the top.
Kea is interestingly an island of fairytales that attracts storytellers from all over the world each summer. Τhe church of Aghios Sostis at Otzias, on Kea’s northern coast, holds its annual festivity on September 7. One interesting stop on any eco-minded visitor's itenerary should be La Maison Vert-Amande, a local house and farm owned by a French-Greek couple and rented out to visitors. You can by locally made organic honey and some excellent olive oil that will surprise the tastebuds. For a really interesting stay and if the Maison is booked, ask owner Geraldine to arrange a stay in the nearby monastery!
Nature-wise, the centre and eastern part of the island – included in the Natura 2000 network – boasting the largest oak forest in the Cyclades. Plenty of endemic bushes, wild orchids, wild rose bushes and rare plants are there to greet the explorer among the gorges, streams and rocks.