Kea, Greece

Kea, which owes its name in antiquity from the hero Keos, is the island of the Cyclades group closest to Attica and Athens.

How to get there

Distances

To arrive at Lavrion from Athens take the motorway Attiki Odos to the Airport Eleftherios Venizelos. Then take direction Airport-Markopoulo. At one point it is indicated right to the Airport and straight to Markopoulo. Follow the main sign to Markopoulo. (If you come from the Airport go towards Athens/All directions then, do not continue to Athens, take direction Markopoulo.) In both cases go straight and continue the road without turning left or right (either to the village Markopoulo or elsewhere), at one moment there will be signs to Lavrion.
When you arrive at a roundabout outside Lavrion town, turn left to the port and then left to the entrance of the port. There are two tickets stands: one for the boat Makedon and the other for the boat Marmari.
In case you have spare time between the arrival of your airplane and the departure of the boat, instead of turning left to the port of Lavrion, go straight. Take direction Sounion, about 7 km, go to see the famous ancient temple of Poseidon at Cape Sounion.

Timing to be on the safe side:

Center of Athens to Lavrion port, 50-60 minutes (depending on day and time of the day). Be there to collect your tickets not less than 30 minutes before the boat leaves.
Airport to Lavrion port, 20-30 minutes after having collected your car (+ collection of luggage, rent car 45-60 minutes).
Lavrion-Cape Sounion 20 minutes each way + time to visit the temple

You arrive with the ferry at Korissia, the port of Kea (Tzia). Its picturesque capital, Ioulis (Chora), is inland and situated at a high altitude like most ancient Cycladic settlements which were built on top of hills for fear of pirates. The fishing village of Vourkari, in the same splendid bay as Korissia is a yachting destination with a lively night life and nice boutiques.

Useful telephones include:

The two pharmacies, one is located at the parking of Ioulis (22880 22277) and the other at Korissia (22880 22000, 6972326246).
The medical center at Ioulis 22880 22277 and the doctor Georges Papavasileiou, (is also at the parking of Ioulis) 22880 22292 and mobile 6944275419.
Police 22880 21100,
Port Authority 22880 21344,
Municipality 22883 60000.
There are three banks: National Bank at Ioulis and Alpha Bank and Piraeus Bank at Korissia.

What we love the most

The most important settlements of the island are the capital Ioulis, the port Korissia and the fishing village Vourcari.

Ioulis (or Chora), 6 km from the port, is built along the slopes of a hill on the northern side of the island. It is a traditional settlement with narrow streets, where no cars are allowed. Stroll around and have coffee, a drink or traditional greek food at one of the taverns. The architectural style is not like the typical Cycladic. The heart of Chora is the square with the neo-classical city hall. The Archaeological Museum hosts findings from excavations around the island, in sites like Ancient Karthea or the prehistoric settlement of Agia Irini. Do not miss the prehistoric “kores” (clay female figurines). Take the old stone road, past the spring of Kounderis. The whole area is very green with olives and fig trees. A little past a small whitewashed church is the Lion of Kea, a huge statue carved out of granite from the 6th century BC.

Korrisia is the port of the island. Ferry boats and yachts come and go. It has a lively life, day and night, with hotels, shops of all kinds, taverns, bars and coffee shops.

The fishing village of Vourkari, located in the same beautiful bay as Korissia, is also the marina of the island and the main center of nightlife with several bars, boutiques, restaurants and art galleries.

Archaeological sites include the bronzed age settlement, called Agia Eirini (1600-1400 BCE), close to Vourkari and the ancient city of Karthaia which can only be reached by foot or by boat. If you have the opportunity to go, the two recently restored ancient temples of Athena and Apollo and the ancient theater will compensate any trouble you have taken to reach the place.

On the island with the largest oak forest in the Cyclades, bird-watching is a real delight. Kea is also a divers’ destination. There are several shipwrecks the most famous of which is the “HMHS Britannic”. Keadivers provide scuba diving sessions in several places.

Kea has several organized hiking trails. It is a hiker’s paradise. The most remarkable trails have been recorded, cleared and signaled with wooden signs at their beginning and their end and with small metallic signs during each route. Twelve, mostly paved routes of 70 kilometers total length have been chosen, which were used by the inhabitants of the island before cars came in use. Some of those trails are identified with the ancient streets which connected the four ancient cities: Ioulida, Karthaia, Korissos and Piessa (Poisses). These trails go through forests of oak trees, meet springs with potable water, old country churches, cottages and ancient towers and almost all of them end up in picturesque beaches.

Beaches

Gialiskari is a small organized sandy beach, with a restaurant, before you reach Vourkari.

Spathi is a magnificent beach at the east coast, (with a couple of km of non-asphalt road), but with a newly created bar and restaurant. Sykamia is also a very nice beach on the east coast, with a non-asphalt road, but with no facilities.

On the west coast, going from the port, Xyla beach has organized umbrellas.

The sandy beach of Otzias to the north is easily accessible by car. Good for children. Continue the road to visit the 18th century Panagia Kastriani Monastery at the north, built on precipitous rocks, with an impressive view over the Aegean Sea.

Poisses at the south-west is a nice long sandy beach, part of it with umbrellas and sun-beds. The tower of Agia Marina (4th century B.C.) is considered as one of the tallest buildings of its era and is unique in Cyclades. It is on the ancient path linking Ioulis to Poiiessa (Pisses). It is currently under reconstruction.

Going further south about 25 km from the port is the Koundouros resort with several high class villas, an organized beach Porto Koundouros with beach bar and selection of food and cocktails. Further on, south, one can discover several other beaches.

Restaurants and Bars

At the port of Korissia there are several coffee shops and tavernas with respectable food and coffee. Coffee shops include “En plo” where the ferries arrive and “Jimmys” at the other end. Odale is very good pastry shop. There are at the sea front several tavernas with traditional Greek food and a few souvlaki/pitta gyros and pizza places: Magases (22880 21104), Lagoudera, Rolandos. Close to the port at Fotimari, taking a steep road, with an impressive view of the port, the taverna of “Filippas” (22880 21690) is destined to meat lovers.

Vourkari is the marina and the night life center of Tzia, with several good bars, such as Koka, Botzi, Vinylio, art galleries and shops on the seafront. At Vourkari the fish taverna of “Aristos” (22880 21475) is the preferred of yacht travellers. A little further Vourkarion has meat dishes and further on the fish tavern “To Steki tou Mimi (22880 21480) with tables on the beach.

At the capital (Chora) Ioulis tavernas include, “I Piatsa” as you enter the settlement under the arch has few tables (22880 22195). In the central square of the village, near the neoclassical building of the Town Hall, tavernas include “Rolandos” and “Ton Kalofagadon” (22880 22118). There are several coffee shops.

Further to the North of the sandy beach of Otzias the tavern of “Anna” has good meat, fish and casserole food.

The taverna of Christoforos is ideal for a late family lunch after swimming at the beach of Poisses at the south-west of the island. The small taverna of Margarita on the road to Poisses, to the right before you arrive is also a good alternative.

Going further south about 25 km from the port is the Koundouros resort with several high class villas and an organized beach Porto Koundouros with beach bar and selection of food and cocktails.

At the east side of the island Taverna tou Simou (22880 24980) at Kato Meria is a good place. Spathi beach also at the east side but with a couple of km of non-asphalt road, has a newly created bar and restaurant.

If you want to cook at your villa there are two good supermarkets, both on the road from Korissia to Ioulis, first on your left “Eklekton” and further up “AB”, There are bakeries at Korissia and Ioulis and several butcher and fish shops. Early in the morning fishing boats (kaikes) bring their catch at the port.

Geographical location

Cyclades, Greece
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