Kea, also known as Tzia or Zea is one of the lesser known of the Greek islands. Located in the Aegean in the Cyclades Archipelago, this little island is a superb holiday destination, particularly for those who are keen on water sports. It is famous for scuba diving as it boasts a rich marine life along with excellent visibility, warm waters and shipwrecks waiting to be explored. Some of the best beaches in Kea are Koundouros beach, Pisses beach, Gialiskari beach and Otzia beach all of which have crystal clear waters and stretches of golden sand.
Despite its close proximity to Athens the island has remained quiet and unspoilt and has retained its traditional character. Its villages are charming and its beauty is diverse. This island is home to the largest oak forest of the Cyclades. The Royal Oak Forest of Kea is a unique phenomenon for the arid Cycladic climate. Kea is a very fertile island which has a strong farming tradition with valleys of olive groves and vineyards.
What to do on Kea Greece
For those who like to explore the islands on foot and discover more of the history, Kea has plenty of things to do. It is home to some magnificent archaeological sites. Karthea is one of the most important sites of the island. This location is also one of the most popular destinations for the islands hikers. Archaeological digs have uncovered traces of the ancient town including remains of the ancient Arcropolis, the temples of Athena and Apollo and the ancient theatre.
One of the easiest and most popular ways of getting there from Ioulida is to drive to Stavroudaki where you can leave your car and continue on foot. The walk should take a little over an hour as you follow this ancient path down to the cove. The walk is definitely worth the effort but if you do go make sure to take plenty of water with you, as there’s nowhere en route to get drinking water. Alternatively you could start your journey by taking a boat to Poles beach in which case you will arrive at the ancient city in just a few minutes walk.
The Lion of Kea
The Lion of Kea, probably the island’s most important monument is another historical site well worth visiting. It is meant to represent a mythical lion which almost destroyed the island. Sent by the gods as an act of vengeance because they were so jealous of the island’s beautiful water nmyphs.
The monastery of Kastriani
The monastery of Kastriani is another good spot to visit. Panagia Kastriani is the patron saint of Kea and this is the island’s most important religious monument, standing at the top of a hill overlooking the Aegean. The views from here are stunning and make the trip worthwhile.
The Archaeological Museum of Kea
The Archaeological Museum of Kea, located in the capital Ioulis is one of the most important in the Cyclades and has two permanent exhibitions. The prehistoric collection includes finds from the Bronze Age settlement of Agia Eirine with magnificent specimens of Cycladic pottery, terracotta and marble figurines. The historical collection includes sculptures and inscriptions dating from the Archaic to the Roman period.
What to do on Kea Greece – Final Thoughts
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One of the best places to visit on Kea is the island’s capital Ioulis. This is an incredibly pretty place and one of the most traditional towns of the Cyclades. It is very different from other Cycladic towns in a number of ways, one of which is the fact that cars are prohibited. Vehicles have to be left at the town’s entrance. Another distinctive feature is the red tiled roofs which are a far cry from the flat roofs found elsewhere. It has an impressive neoclassical town hall which dominates the main square and its narrow streets are a joy to explore.
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