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Kea, also known as Tzia is one of the closest islands to mainland Athens. There are three to 4 ferry boats a day going to and from the island. Tzia, is not a tourist island, though recently it has become known. If you are looking for a relaxing holiday Kea is the Island for you.
Kea was an independent Islands with 4 kings (B.C.). Until about 300 years ago there were 95,000 inhabitants, now there are 1,800. As there are very few hotels, mostly private residents are rented out in the summer months.
Beaches- Koundouraki (to the south), Otzia (to the north), Gialiskari (to the west), Xyla (to the west) and Spathi (to the East), Pisses (to the south west), are all organized sandy beaches. At Koundouraki and Spathi they also have water sports. Of course there are many more beaches that you can go to by car (all sandy) Kalidonixi, Orco, Sikamia and the list goes on.If you want to explore some of the secluded beaches, then a boat is needed.
Walking trails - Kea also has about 13 to 15 well known ancient walking trails. Some for beginners and others for experiences trekkers.
Boats for hire - If you have a boat license you can rent a small speed boat and go to some of the inaccessible beaches (weather permitting). If you do not have a license there is a diving shop that has experienced captains that can take you round the island.
Scuba Diving - There is a professional scuba diving club, working out of Vourkari and Koudouros. Kea has some of the best known ship wrecks just off its shores. The Britannic, the sister ship of the Titanic is just off the coast of Kea (about 120 meters down). She is the biggest ship in the world that is down at the bottom of the sea in one piece. There are also some French, Spanish, British and Greek shipwrecks that divers can visit. Kea also
has some nice reefs. So if you like diving, a great experience. 2016 was the 100 year anniversary of the sinking of the Britannic, National Geographic, BBC and filming crews from all over the world came to Kea.
Ruins - A lot of Kea has ruins, as the island had 4 kings, each kingdom with its own currency. The kingdoms were in Korissia, Pisses, Ioulida and Karthea. Karthea, on the south east side of the island was made a UNESCO world heritage site this summer (2017). Karthea was
discovered about 120 years ago. Most of the site is still intact, so it is well worth a visit.
Local Products - Tzia is known for some great local products. The honey they produce, is I believe the best you can find anywhere.The local olive oil, meats, jams and local wines are also extremely good and well worth trying.
Roads - Not all the roads on Kea are asphalt, this I believe adds to its charm and the idea of being on a island.
Chora- Ioulida, is nestled in the hills, 12 minutes from the Port. Chora has narrow cobbled street, no cars are allowed inside the town. It has restaurants, cafes, some boutiques, bakers, mini-market, chemist, medical center, a supermarket (3 minutes away), 2 wine bars and a museum. The ancient castle (ruins) and the famous stone Lion (9 B.C.), just outside the town, are well worth a visit.
Korissia - the Port. The port has 2 bakeries, a supermarket, chemist, ice cream ship, pizza, bars,a fishmongers, a butchers, cafes, restaurants. At night they close the road and the tables from the restaurants, cafes and bars are placed right up to the end of the pier, offering a fantastic sea view. You can even buy fresh fish straight from the local fishing trawlers and fresh vegetables off the back of a farmers truck.
Vourkari - The picturesque Marina. Vourkari is 2 minutes by car from the Port. Vourkari has some well known fish taverans, some bars, cafes, an ice cream shop, a mini market and some boutiques. You can find some fresh fish here or enjoy a meal of lobster spaghetti, a well known delicacy of one of the restaurants. Vourkari, like Korissia have quite a busy night life.
Otzia - the blue lagoon. Otzia is to the north of the island, about 7 minutes from the port. Otzia has two restaurants and is ideal for families with small children.
Koudouros - Koundouros is to the south of the island, it has 5 sandy beaches, the best known is Koundouraki, which has water sports and diving. Koudouros has 3 restaurants and 2 bars. Though Koundouros does not have any shops, 10 minutes by car is Pisses, which has two restaurants and a well equipped mini-market.
Sunsets - The west and south west side of the island offer some spectacular sunsets, so get the camera ready.
Getting around the island -The island has 6 taxis, the drivers are all friendly and helpful. There are three rent-a-car shops on the island, but I suggest booking a car well in advance or you can bring one over on the ferry boat.
Kea a holiday to remember!!