Kea or “Tzia” as it is mostly known, belongs to the Cycladic island complex and is the closest one to Athens, therefore a favorite destination due to its proximity. However it does not feature the characteristics of a typical Cycladic island, with many off-the-beaten track routes, beaches as well as hidden beauties that await to be discovered. You can get to Kea by ferry from Kythnos and Athens. You can also easily combine your vacation to Kea with other Cycladic destinations by ferry such as Milos, Serifos and Sifnos.
# What to do
Kea’s Chora (capital) is Ioulis; located on a high hill, it offers an amazing view to the endless blue of the Aegean. The location is a result of the pirate attacks, that forced the locals to retrieve to places of height for protection. The picturesque alleys and narrow streets are ideal for a stroll and will enchant you with their elegant architecture -and the imposing Kea Lion, dating back to the 6th century. The port of Kea is called Korissia and is the main place where ferries arive and is perfect for a walk at sunset, as well as for drinks, coffee or dinner. Kea is also the ultimate hiking destination, as it has organized paths and routes that will travel you through the wonderful mainland and the various archeological sites.
# Where to swim
Kea has a variety of amazing beaches that you can either approach by car, boat or your very own feet. The beaches of Vourkari and Gialiskari are close to the port of Korissia and will enchant you with their picturesqueness and crystal-clear waters. Koundouros beach is organized, with taverns and beach bars, while Pisses is a unique wonder, a lengthy sandy beach surrounded by a green forest, ideal to watch the sunset. For the lovers of hiking, you can follow the path that leads to Karthea and Poles, where you can swim next to the remains of the ancient city, an experience that will reward your effort and will be truly unforgettable.
# What to eat
Kea is known for the amazing local products that will enthuse you with their taste and supreme quality. The smoked cold cuts, such as the sausages and the famous “loza” (made from pork meat) are top delicacies, while the “touloumotiri” cheese is slightly spicy and perfectly accompanied by the “mauroudi” wine and summer fruits like grapes. Do not miss the opportunity to taste the traditional dish of “paspala” (a dish of scrambled eggs with pork and tomatoes) -the seafood however is equally amazing, and a lobster spaghetti is a foodie’s heaven. You will also have the opportunity to enjoy fresh fish in a great variety and quantity. Do not also forget to bring back home the Kea’s olive oil and honey -products of unique quality- as well as the traditional local sweet treats called “amigdalota” (delicious cookies based on ground almonds). The locals praise also the notorious “spatholado” a special kind of oil infused with a herb that is known for its curing abilities and health benefits.