KEA

Kéa is the closest Cycladic Island to the mainland, it is easily accessible from the port of Lavrion, after an hour of ferry. It is both close to the coast and far enough to really feel a change of scenery. Unlike its more famous neighbors, Kéa is only served by this port which is 30 minutes from Athens International Airport and 1 hour from the center of the city. By avoiding the main ferry lines of the port of Piraeus, the island has kept a peaceful character, even during the busy summer periods The majority of its visitors are Greek and come here to rest and relax to the rhythm of the island, away of the city noises of Athens.

BEACHES

There are almost no crowded beaches, and even on the more popular ones, there is always enough room for everyone to enjoy the sun and the beach. The island has its share of “organized” beaches where you can relax on a chaise longue in the shade with a cold drink and where you can eat without having to bring a picnic. There are also many wild beaches on which, some days you do not meet anyone. It is this symbiosis that makes the beauty of Kea. It attracts as much by its friendly and easy atmosphere as by its wild and raw side. The house is ideally located to take full advantage of these different aspects. Its location in the heart of the island makes it possible to reach the most remote beaches of the South East in 30 minutes, and it is just as easy to reach the more popular beaches of Koundouros, Spathi, Otzias and Gialiskari. The beaches of Kea are for the most part sandy beaches.

GASTRONOMY

There are plenty of choices for eating after long days at the beach. In Ioulida, where the house is situated, a fine restaurant called ‘to spiti stin Chora serves modern Greek cuisine’. Its gourmet menu will incite you to pay more than one visit. On the “plateia Iroon” too, one can find some good taverns which serves grilled meat as a specialty and many local dishes. There are restaurant scattered throughout the island but try first the Strofi tou Mimi in Vourkari or at Stephano’s Magazes in Korissia. A great menu can also be found in Seirios Restaurant in Vourkari port.

The island has made significant efforts during the past years to develop its own bio agriculture and develop some interesting new and ancient techniques to making good use of this fertile and unique land. There are many bio farms that sell excellent local products (wine, marmalades, olive oil, dried tomatoes, capers, goat cheese, honey etc.). Visit the shops of Aristaios and Red tractor to have a taste of all these delicacies. You won’t be disappointed.

CULTURE

The island has been inhabited for the past 5000 years. Traces of this past can be found throughout the Island which passed through glorious and more modest times. Kea has its own integral part of Mythology with its myths of nymphs and lions in an island covered by trees and where water was abundant. The city states of Karthea, Ioulida, Pioissa and Korissia prospered and declined as piracy and the successive occupation of the Franks and the Turks reduced significantly the population and the economic activity of the island. One can walk to the Karthea archeological site which sits on top of two beautiful beaches. The recent restoration of the ancient theatre, the temples of Apollo and Athena make it rather a unique place in Kea. One can also visit the Archeological and the Folklore museums in Ioulida and Milopotamos respectively.

HIKING

The steep slopes of Kea also hide beautiful trails that cross the island valleys and ‘woods’ that will delight any hiker. The trails on the island all start on the heights of Kea and end on beaches, some of them are only accessible by foot or by boat, such as the beautiful beach of Karthéa. Ioulida is a starting point for most of them and these trails are literally a step away from the house. Although the climate is mostly dry and arid, the island has a thousand-year-old oak ‘forest’ that covers a large part of the island creating the possibility to walk beautiful paths under the shade.

For more information you can consult the official website of the town hall of Kea (http://destinationkea.com/en/adventure-tourism/pathways/) and this francophone site created by Belgian hikers who have hiked many trails in Kea. (http://www.cycladen.be/KeaFra.htm).

DIVING

The seabed of the island is easily accessible either from the beach or by boat. The island is known for its shipwrecks, including that of the royal steam boat "Patris" that can be explored during scuba excursions off the beach of Koundouros, on a reef full of life. For technical diving enthusiasts there is also the Burdigala, a French ocean liner at 75m depth. The jewel of the island remains the twin of the Titanic, the hospital ship Britannicus, which is unfortunately reserved for technical divers as it depth ranges from 60 to 120m deep. The island is full of small bays that all but ask to be explored. For a Mediterranean setting the quality of the dive is good with great underwater visibility and landscape. The marine life remains rather limited, as allover the Mediterranean, but any dive can reveal pleasant surprises. For the most patient ones, there might be a chance to see its solitary sea lions or the Kareta Kareta turtles or even maybe dolphins.

The island has a PADI certified diving club and Yannis and his team are regularly organizing excursions throughout the island and on the wrecks.

NIGHTLIFE

The island has a small but vivid night scene. After dinner, the bars of Vourkari are slowly filled with people and the music starts beating in Vinylio and Zeus Faber bars in a festive atmosphere.

In Ioulida, the bar Léon, lost in the small alleys of the "Chora", welcomes those who preferred not to come back down to the sea.