Photo: GNTO/Y.Skoulas

Kea (Tzia)

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.

Photo: www.e-kyklades.gr

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.

 

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Location - Kea (Tzia)

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Kea is a hiker’s paradise. Sign-posted paths of total length of 36 kilometres, at least half of which are cobblestone, run through dreamy routes and dense forests with oaks and lead to beautiful isolated beaches.

Photo: StuartKeithBrown

There are hiking maps you can buy on the island with many routes. There are also gravel hiking roads off the beaten path, such as those in Kalogerados and of the Pera Meria. Here are some suggested routes:

  1. Ioulida - Lion - Diaseli – beach of Otzias
  2. Ioulida - Profítis Ilias - Ellinika - Agios Simeoon - Karthéa
  3. Ioulida - Episkopi - Pera Meria - Sikamia
  4. Karthea - Vathipotamos - Stavroudaki
  5. Agios Simeon - Agios Filippos

Photo: www.e-kyklades.gr

A much better and cleaner beach is at Pisses, which is great for snorkelling when the sea is calm. Beyond Pisses the area of Koundouros offers many great small sandy beaches, even if the area is built up with villas and summer houses. Further on are the beaches of Kambi with acorn trees and the Vathirrema Gorge with brings you to the remote yet stunning beach of Liparo. Hikers may also discover the beaches at Mikres Poles and Ancient Karthea, which are more difficult to get to. (The journey back is a tough one).

Photo: www.travelpass.gr

A much better and cleaner beach is at Pisses, which is great for snorkelling when the sea is calm. Beyond Pisses the area of Koundouros offers many great small sandy beaches, even if the area is built up with villas and summer houses. Further on are the beaches of Kambi with acorn trees and the Vathirrema Gorge with brings you to the remote yet stunning beach of Liparo. Hikers may also discover the beaches at Mikres Poles and Ancient Karthea, which are more difficult to get to. (The journey back is a tough one).

Photo: www.hotelkarthea.gr

The beach at Orchos is secluded and quite romantic, although it is best reached by motorbike or jeep, and there are no tavernas there. Many other beaches can be reached by foot paths, some of which have been paved. Generally, the east side of the island offers even more secluded beaches to discover.

Aghia Marina Tower

Cyclades / Kea (Tzia)
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There are ruins of the ancient city of Carthea (also Karthea and Karthaia), a relatively unknown archaeological treasure. The ancient settlement features the Temple of Apollo Pythios from the 6th century BC, the Doric Temple of Athena, and fortification walls of the city. There's also an ancient theatre and the Temple at Vathypotamos.

Photo: destinationkea.com

Aghia Marina Tower

Cyclades / Kea (Tzia)
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Aghia Marina Tower

Cyclades / Kea (Tzia)
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