Kea Island (also known as Tzia) is a very rare opportunity to spend a truly quiet, secluded and relaxing holiday in the Mediterranean.
It is hard to believe that such a preserved and authentic place still exists in one of the most popular summer destinations in the world.
Located about 63 kilometers from the heart of the Greek capital, the island can be easily reached from Athens.
The fastest way to get there is by car from Athens center to Lavrio and then by ferry or taxi boat from Lavrio to the port of Kea.
The journey takes only about 2 hours or less, but it is enough to fall into a completely different world.
1. Kayaking at Korissia
Korissia is considered one of the best kayaking destinations off the coast of Kea Island.
An attractive tourist center, the village is located on a picturesque bay known for its smooth and clear waters.
Protected from winds, the bay is a good place even for beginner kayakers.
Here you will be able to rent a kayak and also to take one or two lessons, which is advisable if you have no experience.
While in Korissia, don’t miss to explore this lovely village, which is also one of the most recommended places to stay on the island.
2. Take a walk in the main village of Ioulis
Take a stroll through the narrow streets of Ioulis, the capital of the island.
Created in the 4th century BC, it is different from all the other Cycladic cities.
It is located about 3 kilometers from the northwest coast and is famous for its white-washed houses with red tiled roofs.
Don’t miss to have a cup of coffee here, and if you have the opportunity, to talk for a minute with some of the local residents.
The contact with locals is an amazing experience because they are always very kind and friendly but also because they can tell you amazing stories about the island.
3. Top spot for scuba diving adventures
Kea Island is one of the most exciting scuba diving spots in Europe.
If you are an experienced diver, you will find this place too exciting!
Here are the remains of Patris Ship (28 meters in length), which sank off the shores of the island in 1868, as well as Britannica, which lies more than 90 meters below sea level!
Please, pay attention!
Diving to some of the wrecks may require special authorization from the owners, such as the example of Britannica.
4. Enjoy a day at Gialiskari Beach
Gialiskari Beach is located in the central part of the island’s largest bay.
Situated between Korissia and Vourkari, it offers a tempting stretch of sand, which is more than 100 meters in length.
The beach is famous for its shallow and extremely smooth waters, as well as for the pleasant shade of the olive trees that grow along the coast.
The beach is also preferred by families with children.
Another pros is the fact that there are some very nice taverns in the area, so you can eat a portion of grilled fish right after swimming.
5. The stone-carved lion
Kea Island offers a lot of places to visit and see, and one of them is the Stone Lion.
It is located beside the hiking trail that leaves the town to the east.
The distance is not too long, so you can easily reach the stone sculpture on foot.
In fact, you should walk no more than 800 meters from the end of the village of Ioulis to get there.
Although not very large, the lion is impressive because of its workmanship and old age.
According to scientists, it was created around 600 BC.
6. Walk with donkeys in Ioulis
If you are a nature lover, you know that nothing compares to contact with animals.
Donkeys are one of the symbols of the island, and many tourists still use them for transportation from one point to another through the narrow streets of the capital.
There is something special to walk with these beautiful and peaceful creatures.
Be nice and don’t load them with luggage.
Instead, just enjoy their pleasant company and take some pictures to remember this moment for a long time.
7. Discover the irresistible Spathi Beach
If you decide to rent a car and have more than just one or two days on the island, Spati Beach will easily become one of your most favorite places.
Located on the northeast coast of Kea, the area is very quiet and peaceful as there are only a few villas around.
The beach itself is fantastic. It is located in a sheltered bay, protected from the constant sea breeze.
The surface is always smooth and the color of the water is the most irresistible blue.
The underwater visibility is very good, so be sure to bring a snorkel if you come here.
8. Explore Koundouros Beach and the area
One of the attractive tourist areas on the island is located in the southwestern part of Kea.
It comes to the tourist village of Koundouros and the popular Koundouros Beach.
Although in the area there is a growing number of tourist villas and the number of holidaymakers grows steadily, the beach still remains relatively quiet.
It offers emerald waters and approximately 150 meters long stretch of fine golden sand as well as all the needed facilities to spend a great day on the beach.
Exotic umbrellas, lounge chairs and a tempting beach bar are available for the visitors.
9. Safari around the island
Since the biggest part of the interior of Kea Island is very well preserved, this is a good spot to go on a safari.
In fact, over 90% of the island’s area is completely preserved and unspoiled, which is quite impressive, especially when it comes to a tourist region with such an ancient history.
Safari trips follow specific routes and allow you to discover and explore some of the most exciting places on the island within a few hours.
10. Check the souvenirs of Atrapos
If you are searching for some nice souvenirs to buy for your loved ones, you may suffer from a lack of ideas.
Actually, this is pretty normal, especially considering the different tastes as well as the fact that most of us want to buy something useful.
If you want to get inspired, you will really like the Atrapos.
This is one of the most popular souvenir shops in Kea.
Here you will find a number of great items, all of them handmade and stylish.
The variety of fine jewels and home decoration will make your choice easier and with no chance to go wrong.
11. Explore the most popular tourist route
Kea is popular for its exciting tourist routes.
The most beautiful of them runs through the interior of the island and connects the capital Ioulis and the coastal village of Pisses on the southwest shore.
The route is relatively long (more than 10 km) but is a very good choice if you want to get the most of your holiday.
It combines breathtaking mountain views, green forests, meadows covered with lovely wildflowers and pristine beaches (as an award at the end of the route).
12. Explore the best restaurants
One of the most recommended experiences is to explore as much as you can from the traditional cuisine of the quiet and remote island.
Traditional meals predominate in the menu of most restaurants so it is not difficult to find the right place.
Traditional Greek food comes with a number of advantages, including variety, healthy style of cooking and affordable prices.
In most of the restaurants you can pay with credit or debit cards.
You should start with tasting some of the great local wines and cheese, and then you will be advised about the right meal according to your preferences.
Don’t miss to enjoy the variety of fresh fruits and local olives.
13. Water sports at Koundouros Beach
Kunduroros Beach is one of the most preferred water sports places on Kea Island.
The wide choice of entertainment opportunities attract many visitors, especially water skiing enthusiasts.
Because of its clean and smooth seas, Koundouros is very tempting, and water sports lovers from around Europe gather here.
The beach is well organized and offers everything you need to spend the entire day on the shore.
This is the only Blue Flag awarded beach on the island.
Definitely, it isn’t the most quiet and secluded stretch of sand, but on the other side, it is very well-maintained, clean and safe for families with kids.
14. Folklore Museum
Housed in an old historical building from 1845, the Folklore Museum of Kea is a recommended place to visit.
It offers a diverse collection of household items, typical of the island.
Here you will find traditional carpets, pictures, different types of furniture (mostly made of wood or iron).
There are also models of traditional clothing, covers and craft tools from all around the island.
15. Go to Sykamia and Psili Ammos Beaches
Situated on the scenic northeast coast of Kea, the Sikamia and Psili Ammos beaches are a wonderful place to relax along the coast.
Thanks to their remote location, they are a really good choice if you are looking for privacy.
Sikamia is the bigger one of them. It faces south, and the stretch of golden coarse sand is more than 100 meters long.
Psili Ammos faces to the east. It is also very attractive, but much smaller, only about 20 meters long.
They both offer azure waters and are a great place for swimming and snorkeling.
The distance between them is only about 200 meters.
16. Enjoy the clear waters of Xyla Beach
Xyla Beach is located on the west coast of Kea Island, 5 kilometers southwest of the beautiful tourist village of Korissia.
The beach is one of the three most famous and preferred on the island for two reasons.
The first is its relative proximity to the main villages on the island, including the capital Iulis and the tourist villages of Korissia and Vourkari.
The second is the combination of golden fine sand with crystal clear azure waters.
Sheltered by steep and barren hills to the north and south, Xylia Beach is always quiet and good for swimming.
Because of the small number of hotels and tourist villas in the area, the beach is very secluded, even in the height of summer.
17. Try the famous local thyme honey
Greek honey is considered one of the best in the world and the most valuable variety is thyme honey.
Although you can find this ecologically clean product in many places in the country, Kea Island is particularly popular.
Thyme honey from Kea Island is considered perhaps the best in Greece.
With its deep color, dense aroma and unique taste, it has gained tremendous worldwide fame.
It is known for its healing power and numerous valuable ingredients, which makes it a favorite for lovers of quality food, but also for connoisseurs of a healthy lifestyle.
Of course, you could find this product in many places in the country, but nothing compares to the authentic taste you will find here, on the island itself.
18. Snorkeling at Kastellakia Bay
Kea Island is a fantastic place for snorkeling enthusiasts and you will not be disappointed for sure.
Unfortunately, some of the best places are only accessible by boat.
However, if you want to find a place to sit on the beach with your family and friends after getting tired and enjoy the crystal clear waters, you should try Kastellakia Bay.
Here you will find a great biodiversity. In calm and sunny weather underwater visibility even in the shallows can easily exceed 30 meters.
As the beach looks to the west, you can expect plenty of sunshine until late in the afternoon.
19. Kea Archaeological Museum
Located in Ioulis, the main town on the island of Kea, the Archaeological Museum was founded in the 70s of the 20th century.
It is known as the place to find some of the oldest Cycladic artifacts.
Although each of the collections is impressive in a different way, the most remarkable are the marble glasses dating from the 4th millennium BC!
Most of the artifacts in the museum come from the areas of Agia Eirene and Kephala.
20. Visit the Otzias Beach
Well organized, with golden sands and smooth blue waters, Otzias Beach is considered the most popular on the north shore of the island.
There are lounge chairs as well as several beach bars to freshen up your day on the coast with a glass of fruit juice, cold beer or other beverage.
The beach is a good choice for people who want to spend their time on the coast with their families, kids and friends.
21. The ruins of ancient Karthea
Ancient Karthea is located in the southeast of the island, not far from the coast.
Here you will find well-preserved excavations dating from the 6th to the 5th century BC.
Parts of this landmark are the ruins of an ancient temple and theater, as well as the remains of a fortress wall.
If you feel tired from the scorching summer heat, you can take a swim in the crystal clear sea 5 minutes down the slope.
22. Enjoy the wonderful Karthea Beach
Visiting the ancient ruins of Karthea, you shouldn’t miss the wonderful Karthea Beach.
It is located in the southeast of Kea Island, only a few minutes walk from the archaeological site.
This place is very attractive and preferred because of two main reasons.
First, you’ll rarely see crowds of visitors here, and second, the crystal clear sea water is well-known for its irresistible emerald shade.
Thanks to the stunning colors and bright sunlight, this place is popular among photography lovers from different parts of Europe.
Looking southeast, this beach receives plenty of sunshine from early morning till late afternoon.
23. Go to the most secluded beach
The southeastern part of Kea remains quite isolated and one of the loneliest places here is the beautiful Schinos Beach.
Very few people come here, even in the heat of the summer season.
Even when travelers decide to visit this part of the island, they usually choose the much bigger and much more popular Karthea Beach, which is located about 5 kilometers northeast.