Kea,The island next door
As close as it gets! Just an hour away from the bustling city of Athens, Kea is a wondeful island featuring a unique history, architecture, culture and natural beauty. Mostly known as a weekend island due to its stunning proximity to the capital, the island is a fascinating destination, offering way more than a mere weekend retreat. It is however, part of what makes Athens so unique; within an hour or so, one can find him or herself from downtown Athens to downtown heaven! Just take a short drive to Lavrion Port and hop on any of the many boats that sail to Kea.
Kea, or Tzia, attracts the weekenders like honey attracts the bees, becoming humming and vivid during the summer time. But as soon as the boat leaves the port of Korissia on Sunday evening and the yachts start flocking back to Athens, the island transforms itself. Calm clear waters, cool breezes, red sunsets and magnificent scents take over the island, enchanting the visitors who decide to stay.
There are so many things to do on the Kea that it is sort of surprising that most people decide to visit just during the weekend. Beautiful sandy beaches, peaceful seaports, monasteries, medieval trails, first class restaurants, atmospheric cafes, ancient capitals are just few of the many the island has to offer. A winding road takes you from the port of Korissia all the way up to Chora, the island’s picturesque capital. Built on the highest peak, the settlement provided safety when pirates overrun the Aegean Sea. Walking through its narrow alleys and around its white washed houses is a sheer pleasure! Many outdoor drawings of the famous Greek painter Alekos Fassianos are found here and there, making the stroll in Chora even more interesting and unique. A gigantic lion, an archaic sculpture carved in a nearby slope overlooks the small capital.
The stone trails spreading all over Kea, offer a unique opportunity for trekkers to explore the island on foot. Take the trail from Chora to Karthaia, the ancient capital and take a walk into history. The old stone trail takes you down to the deserted ancient city that lies on a beautiful secluded beach. A whole lost civilization unfolds right in front of your eyes; the temple of Athena, the temple of Apollo, the fortifications, the abandoned settlements. Coupled with the beautiful natural surroundings and the turquoise waters, the ancient city is unique and breathtaking!
In the opposite side of the island, the lively beach of Gialiskari vibrates to the sounds of music. The beautiful sandy beach is a favorite hangout place for those who like to swim and sunbathe with some extra comforts; a sun bed, an iced-coffee, a cocktail, a trendy crowd. However, in early summer and fall, the beach retrieves its serenity and becomes quiet and still. Further down the road, the lovely port of Vourkari welcomes the countless yachts arriving to Kea for the weekend. At night, the wealthy passengers fill up the restaurants on the seafront, pleasing their palates with lobster spaghetti and the freshest catch of the day.
However, Kea can and will please anyone, in so many ways. It is pleasing for the eyes and the soul with its unparallel beauty. It is pleasing for the thirst of knowledge with its long and extraordinary history. It is nothing but pleasing and wonderful, it is simply fascinating!