ΚΕΑ – ΤΖΙΑ
Kea or Tzia is an island in the Cyclades archipelago of the Aegean Sea, characterized by mountainous landscapes and tranquil beaches.
In the island’s scenic capital Ioulida, you will find the Archaeological Museum of Kea, which houses great examples of ancient Greek antiquity discovered during the numerous archaeological excavations that have taken place on the island. It has been the homeland of various important figures such as Vakhilidis, Prodikos and Simonidis. It has also taken part in the Peloponisian Wars.
The sea waters surrounding Kea are characterized by the amazing crystal blue you will find across the Cycladic islands’ complex.
Kea’s coastline is full of surprises. It provides a spectacular canvas to host numerous beaches for all tastes and adds to Kea being an ideal destination for the most popular outdoor summer activities swimming and trekking being on the top of the list.
Also known as the entry gate to the islands of Cyclades, Kea can be reached within one hour from Lavrio with Goutos Lines ferries.
Kea’s port is considered as one of the safest and largest natural ports in the Mediterranean. The weather is that of the typical mild climate of the Mediterranean Sea, combined with the sunny and dry microclimate of the Aegean, offering to Kea a surprising 8 months long summertime season.
The food in Kea is simply amazing. Traditional delicacies and local products are found across the island and wait for you to experience their taste while you will find yourself traveling on the rich agricultural history of the island.
Tour of Tzia, its Villages and its History.
Only 2km north east of the port lies the smaller natural cove of Vourkari; an ideal spot for sailing and host of yachts and sailboats, Vourkari is the tourist center of the island with its coastal road being occupied by numerous bars, restaurants – tavernas and cafes.
Agios Nikolaos, the first lighthouse to operate in the Cyclades and the second across Greece, was built in 1836 and named after the Saint who according to the Greek orthodox tradition protects the sailors and is welcoming you while entering Kea’s main port, Korissia.
Driving 5.5km towards the northern center part of the island, the amphitheatrical capital of Chora is revealed. Chora is the most common name amongst the Cycladic capitals but Kea’s Chora in particular, is unique in many ways. Also known as Ioulida or Ioulis, from ancient antiquity, the remains of the first city are part of the modern town.
The 2.600 years old iconic statue of the ancient lion of Ioulis reminds us of the glowing past of Kea, while the town’s unique architecture with the colorful two-story traditional houses, the tiled roofs and the labyrinthine alleys depict the gentility of a history full of noble inhabitants and a cultivated society that never stopped producing civilization.
The archaeological site of Karthea, which flourished in the 6th and 5th century BC, dominates the southeast part of the island, while the countryside is “decorated” with windmills, chapels and monasteries, most important of which is “Panagia Kastriani”. A visit to the unique Oak Forest is highly recommended to nature lovers.
Seventeen (17) beaches across the coast line are accessible by land and are combined with numerous isolated beaches that can be reached by the sea waiting you to discover them.
Otzias is the longest one. Even during the high season, you will get the chance to have enough privacy to enjoy a peaceful sunset.
Koundouras is undoubtedly the cosmopolitan beach of the island, while Spathi claims the title of the most beautiful one.
Other famous beaches include Pisses, Orkos, Kambi, Mavrabeli, Sykamia, Xyla, Liparo and Gyaliskari, the latter being the one nearest to the port.
Four large shipwrecks around the island create a diving park which is popular in the divers community, and offer experiences designed for all difficulty levels, from novice to advanced. The most challenging wreck is located 3 miles northwest of Tzia at a depth of 118 meters. The ocean liner Britannic sank in 1916, was the twin ship of the Titanic and is a main attraction for divers across the globe.
The island offers an amazing 81 km of trails, all leading to either one of the island’s beaches or one of the archaeological sites and provide a great opportunity to discover the mountainous inland with spectacular views of the sunkissed horizons of the Aegean archipelago.
Honey, herbs, cold cuts such as the infamous “Loza”, local sausages, fresh made cheese (Xino), local stock-breeding and farming products, a variety of rare small production wines and traditional sweets like “pasteli”, even handmade ice cream made of local milk and butter, the list is endless.
A variety of delicacies can be found in any step you take across the island and let’s not forget local fresh fish and seafood brought daily at your table by the local fishermen, all of which you can taste in one of the cute fish taverns scattered around the island.
Tip: Ask the locals how to reserve a fresh lobster spaghetti dinner or meal at an affordable family price. Should you be in for meat, don’t miss to try the traditional “Strapatsada with paspala” (a tomato based recipe with eggs and pork).