Cyclades Islands, Destinations

Kea (Tzia)

Kea (Tzia)

Due to its proximity to the Attica region, Kea (also known as “Tzia”) is an easily accessible beauty with a variety of landscapes: steep mountains, small fields, olive groves, vineyards, valleys, caves, trails, and beaches. On the island with the largest oak tree in the Cyclades where bird watching is a real wonder.

For those who are passionate about geology, there are lots of small caves like Kalamos and Agios Timotheos. There are also 36 km long paved paths that will take you to the four ancient city-states: Ioulis, Karthaia, Koressia and Poiessa.

Located in the center of the island, on the site of the old city-state of the same name, the capital of Kea, Ioulis, is a very picturesque town with tile-roofed houses, cobbled streets, arched passages, stairs and squares.

Ioulis, the ancient city

Ioulis, a place that will go back to the past, the only one of the old cities that was built inland. It expands along the slope like an amphitheater, with its stately houses, vaulted alleys, fountains, traditional architecture and a Venetian castle. Visit the neoclassical town hall, designed by the famous architect Ernst Ziller. The archaeological museum, considered one of the most important of its kind in the Cyclades, is a must-see.

The Lion of Ioulis

Is the guardian and emblem of the island. Admire this carved statue that is associated with the myths of the island and goes back to the early archaic era. If there is any representative of the sculptural work of the island, this is the Lion of Ioulis.

Shipwrecks from the depths

The British HMHS, of twin ships such as The Titanic, was sunk near Kea by a German naval mine in 1916 only on its sixth voyage. The team of Jacques Yves Cousteau explored in 1975, but now divers have approached the remains of the shipwreck, which are at a depth of 120 meters, despite being considered one of the most important shipwrecks in the Mediterranean and of all times. On the Koundourou reef, there is another sunken ship: the steamship Patris which sank in 1868.

A day in the classic period

“This narrow and rocky land of Karthaia, I would not exchange it for Babylon,” wrote the Greek poet Pindar. For that reason, it is worth spending a day to visit the most important of the four ancient cities of Kea, which flourished in the archaic period. Here the story comes alive with the Doric temple of Pythiou Apollona, ​​built in the year 530 BC and is believed to be dedicated to Athens.

Try to get to Karthaia by the old Vathipotamou road, just as the devotees did at the time. A one-hour walk is rewarded with a refreshing swim in Poles Beach.

A bath in the sea

In Vourkari, Gialiskari, Korissia, Koundouros, Orkos, Pisses, Spathi: you will enjoy the shade of the trees and the eucalyptus, sandy beaches and calm water. They are especially popular with boat owners.

The Kea Towers

At a short distance from Sklavonikola you can see a part of the Panachras Tower, which belongs to the Hellenistic period, and is 4’5 m high. It is much better preserved than the nearby tower of Agia Marina. Of five plants, it is one of the highest monuments of the Mediterranean that date of this period.

The prehistoric settlements in Kea

Plan a trip to the prehistoric settlements of Agia Irini and Kefalas, which are kept in good condition.

For the more adventurous

Rent a 4 × 4, get off the road and enjoy the Kea dirt roads. Another way to get to know the island is to hike its marked paths, two-thirds of which are paved.

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