Kea

KeaWith difficulty can anyone imagine that at a such close distance from bustling Athens, we find an island with so many natural talents, rich traditions and authentic hospitality, as Kea. By reaching the harbour of the island by boat, the visitor enters in a different world, leaving modern life behind, without being deprived of any facilities. The visitor will find the “gate of the Cyclades” Kea or Tzia, an ancient crossroad of cultures in the Aegean Sea, a picturesque island with unique natural landscapes and sights.
For hikers, Kea is a paradise. Paths of total length of 36 kilometres, 65% of them are paved, run through dreamy routes through dense forests with oaks and lead to beautiful isolated beaches.
However, it is not only the lovers of nature who will find in Kea the ideal place for their tours: Friends of original tradition, legends and fairy tales will discover their own paradise, an island of fairy tales, that assembles each summer (in a big meeting), narrators from all over the world.
With a surface of 131 sq. km and total length of coasts of 86 km, Kea is one of the biggest Cycladic islands. It is mainly a mountainous island with certain fertile regions with abundant water, fertile plateaux and valleys. The highest mountain of the island is the Profitis Ilias with an altitude of 568 m. In the northern part of the island lies the gulf of Agios Nikolaos, main harbour of the island.
Kea has fanatic admirers, since it maintains its traditional character and charms its visitors with its beautiful settlements, its appreciable archaeological sites, its spotless beaches, the rare for a Cycladic island forests of oak, but mainly with its hospitable residents. Hora of Kea is Ioulida, a beautiful traditional settlement built amphitheatrically on the side of a hill, with a Venetian castle from the 13th century dominating on the top.

Ioulida
The Hora of Kea, Ioulida, is built amphitheatrically on a hill and has picturesque Cycladic houses with their characteristic red roofs, cobbled streets, staircases and the famous “stegadia”. In the entry of the village, one can see the first “stegadi”,with walls painted from the painter Alekos Fasianos. The Town Hall from 1902, is an impressive neoclassical building with original decoration,work of the architect Ernst Chiller, as is the neoclassical building that accomodated the municipal school.In Ioulida, which is built in the location of the ancient city, ruins of residences and parts of the citadel’s walls are still preserved.

Lion of Kea
At a distance of 1,5 km north-east of Ioulida, one will meet the famous lion of Kea or Lionta, an imposing archaic sculpture from 600 B.C., that is found in a location with a panoramic view.

Ioulida-Archaeological Museum
Very interesting discoveries, that cover a period from the Neolithic one up to the end of the ancient world, are exposed in this museum.

Churches-monasteries
There are many appreciable Byzantine churches in Kea:Panagia Gamila, Panagia Reymatiani, Evaggelismos, Dimotikia, Agios Spiridon and Panagia Chrysospiliotissa built in a cave.In the north-eastern part of the island, on the Kastri hill, we find an imposing monastery,that of Panagia Kastriani. It is built on a rock since 18th century, with the icon of Panagia,protector of the island.From Ioulida the street to the south leads to the historical monastery of Agia Marina, which is built around a Hellenistic tower. It is an important monument of the middle Byzantine years.Other significant monasteries are:Agios Panteleimonas from the 16th century, located in the centre of the island, and the “Synthrono” of Agios Timotheos, with marvellous paintings from the 13th century. Finally the temple of Agioi Apostoloi in Elies Katomerias is a typical example of a monument of middle Byzantine years.

Ioulida-windmills
The 26 deserted mills on the top of the mountain above Ioulida are impressive. It is the biggest group of windmills in Cyclades

Korissia
Korissia is Ioulida’s port in the gulf of Agios Nikolaos.The ancient city of Korissos is found above the current settlement, in the western utmost of the gulf. The famous Kouros of Kea that today adorns the Archaeological Museum of Athens was found here.The today abandoned enamel utensils factory,that functioned between 1927 and 1957 in the region of Korissia is a characteristic sample of industrial architecture of the war years.

Agia Irini-prehistoric settlement
After Vourkari you will meet the small peninsula of Agia Eirini,where one of the most important prehistoric settlements of the Aegean is found. Parts of walls, the gate of the settlement, the base of the tower, a temple and marvellous Cycladic figurines, with the eminent “Kores” which are exhibited in the Archaeological Museum were discovered here

Lighthouse
In the peninsula of Agia Eirini we find the historical “Steno of Lampros Katsonis” and the Lantern of Agios Nikolaos, the first lighthouse in the Cyclades (1831) and second in Greece,built upon ruins of a Poseidon temple.

Kefala-Neolithic Settlement
From Agia Eirini, a dirt road leads north to the peninsula of Kefala, where traces of the most ancient settement of the island have been discovered and testify that Kea was inhabited since the Neolithic period (3300-3200B.C.).

Makronisos
Makronisos is found between Kea and Lavrion, and administratively belongs to Kea. It was also named “Nisos Eleni” because according to a myth, Paris hid Fair Helen in a cave in the northern side of the island. In the middle of the previous century, Makronisos was used as a place of exile of political detainees. Today it is uninhabited and only some shepherds can be found in the region.One can visit by his own boat or with an organized excursion.

With difficulty can anyone imagine that at a such close distance from bustling Athens, we find an island with so many natural talents, rich traditions and authentic hospitality, as Kea. By reaching the harbour of the island by boat, the visitor enters in a different world, leaving modern life behind, without being deprived of any facilities. The visitor will find the “gate of the Cyclades” Kea or Tzia, an ancient crossroad of cultures in the Aegean Sea, a picturesque island with unique natural landscapes and sights.
For hikers, Kea is a paradise. Paths of total length of 36 kilometres, 65% of them are paved, run through dreamy routes through dense forests with oaks and lead to beautiful isolated beaches.
However, it is not only the lovers of nature who will find in Kea the ideal place for their tours: Friends of original tradition, legends and fairy tales will discover their own paradise, an island of fairy tales, that assembles each summer (in a big meeting), narrators from all over the world.
With a surface of 131 sq. km and total length of coasts of 86 km, Kea is one of the biggest Cycladic islands. It is mainly a mountainous island with certain fertile regions with abundant water, fertile plateaux and valleys. The highest mountain of the island is the Profitis Ilias with an altitude of 568 m. In the northern part of the island lies the gulf of Agios Nikolaos, main harbour of the island.
Kea has fanatic admirers, since it maintains its traditional character and charms its visitors with its beautiful settlements, its appreciable archaeological sites, its spotless beaches, the rare for a Cycladic island forests of oak, but mainly with its hospitable residents. Hora of Kea is Ioulida, a beautiful traditional settlement built amphitheatrically on the side of a hill, with a Venetian castle from the 13th century dominating on the top.
Kea has an exceptional network of signed paths of a total length of 36 kilometres, the 65% of which are paved. The paths cross regions of natural beauties, of ancient as well as of cultural monuments. All paths have been been mapped in order of projecting this distinguished beaty of the island. This is the first time in european means that a path network is awarded with ISO9001 standards.
In all the following routes, there are destination signs:

Ioulida-Leon-Dosonari-Diaselli-Otzias (route of 5,1 km.).
After your meeting with the famous “Leonta of Kea”, an archaic sculpture from 600 B.C., through oaks and almond trees, you will come to the gulf of Otzia.

Ioulida-Agios Konstantinos-Mylopotamos-Flea-Korissia (route of 3,1 km.).
From the church of Agios Konstantinos, following the paved path that is found on the footprints of the ancient street Ioulida-Korissia you will arrive to the valley of Mylopotamos and by walking in the filled with cypresses area of the river you will enter the region of Flea,. At the length of the stream there are 11 watermills.

Ioulida-Mesaria-Profitis Ilias -Astra-Ellinika-Agios Simeon-Karthaia (route of 11,8 km).
This is a route in the hinterland of Kea that connected ancient Ioulida with ancient Karthaia. The view from Profitis Ilias, the highest point of the island (568 m.), is breathtaking.

Moni Episkopis-Sotiras-Perameria-Tria Maderika-Sykamia (route of 4,4 km).
This is a route in one of the oak forests of Kea – from the few forests of Royal Oak that have remained in the Aegean. After Tria Maderika the landscape changes, becomes rocky, and you will walk on the abrupt slope that leads to the beautiful sandy beach of Sykamia.

Katomeria-Pigi Kalodouka- Pigi Vathypotamou (route of 3 km).
This is a route of exceptional natural beauties that goes through the two sources of ancient Karthaia.

Stavroudaki-Pigi Vathypotamou-Karthaia (route of 2,3 km).
Advancing in the ancient path, you will get to see the fauna and flora of Kea, next to the waters of the river Vathypotamos. When you reach the solitary and imposing Mikres Poles, after having rested in Panagia of Polo and you make a plunge in the splendid waters, you can begin your exploration of the ancient city.

Chavouna-Agios Taxiarchis-Pigadaki-Kaliskia-Karthaia (route of 1,7 km).
This is a paved path that faces the sea. In Pigadaki, there are traces of a farm with grounds and towers from the classical years.

Ellinika or Agios Simeon-Vrises-Agios Philippos (route of 4,3 km).
Part of the ancient tower-observatory is still preserved at Ellinika, while reaching Vrises we find stone made structures of irrigation. The route leads to the virgin sandy beach of Agios Philippos.

Local Products
Local sausages, louza (salted pork) and the local red wine “mavroudi” are included in the products of Kea. The sweet flavours of Tzia include nougat with local honey and the spoon sweets.

Local Recipes
Speciality of Tzia is tasty “paspalas” (small pieces of pork cooked with tomato and eggs), the “tsigara” (pork with grease) and “loza” (salted pork). In Kea you will find many places to enjoy fresh fish and the famous “astakomakaronada” (lobster-pasta). The local sausages have also their place in the local table, as the roasted “rega” accompanied by cool retsina, while it would be a tasty omission not to try “kokora krasato” (rooster in wine), in combination with the local red wine “mavroudi”. For dessert you try the “mpezedes”, “sweet quince” and “neromeli”, type of custard with honey and water.

Paspalas from Tzia
(Materials: 2-3 pieces pork (paspalas), 1 kilo tomatoes, 5 eggs, Salt – pepper, A bit of sugar)
We chop paspalas in small pieces and sizzle for a little while with its own grease (glina tziotiki), in a frying pan. We grind tomatoes and add them in a frying pan, after we have sprinkled them with a little pepper, little salt and a bit of sugar so that they do not sour, we then fry until they absorb their liquid. We strike the eggs and add them in the frying pan by mixing constantly. Then, we lower the frying pan from the fire and serve paspala in a big plate. We can eat it with broad beans, salad etc.

Recipe: Irini Mpithari, Kea, Kastro.

How to Arrive
The boats for Kea leave from the harbour of Lavrion (12 n.m.) and the travel lasts roughly 1 hour. Kea is connected also with Syros and Kythnos.
Information:
Port Authority of Lavrion: 22920 25249
KTEL Athens (for Lavrion): 210 8230179
GREEK TELECOME: 1440

Local transport
Transport takes place with buses, which connect Hora with Korissia, Gialiskari, Otzia, Vourkari, Poisses and Koundouros.
Telephones:
Kea Demenegas Argyris: 6939 037105
Kea Podogyros Nikos: 6938 996126
KTEL Athens: 210 8230179, 210 8213203
KTEL Markopoulo: 22990 40738
You can also use taxi (Tel. 22880 21008, 22171, 21021, 21228, 22317).
You can also rent a car or a motorcycle for your transport:
Leon Rent a car: Τel/Fax: 22880 21898, Mob: 6936 157923, www.rentacarkea.gr

Useful telephones
POLICE: 22880-21100
TOURIST POLICE: 22880-21344
PORT AUTHORITY: 22880-22221 / 22001
MUNICIPAL AUTHORITY: 22880-22200
HEALTH CENTRES: 22880-22300
CARE OF ELDERLY: 6973-466664
CARE OF CHILDREN: 6939037105
LOCAL TRANSPORT: 6938996126
TOURIST INFORMATION OFFICE: 22880-21500

Webpage of Kea: www.kea.gr

Beaches

South of Korissia, an earth-road leads to the marvellous beach Xyla, with sand and crystal clear waters, while on the north we find Gialiskari, a small golden sandy beach with blue waters, and the picturesque fishing village of Vourkari with its windless harbour. From Ioulida, the street to the south leads to the small summer settlement of Poisses (ancient Poiiessa), with a splendid sandy beach and a camping. Further south you will meet Koundouros, a tourist settlement with very attractive sandy beaches. The beach of the bay of Otzias and the eastern beaches of Spathi, Psili Ammos, Psathi, and Orkos, are also advisable for swimming.
1 Blue Flag: Koundouros Beach

Local Festivities

News year’s eve
On New Year’s Eve the Cultural Association with the escort of “tsampouna” and “toympiou” (traditional musical instruments) welcomes the New Year with traditional “tziotika” Christmas carols that are sung from house to house.

Carnivals
During the time of the Carnevals (Apokries), disguised festivals are organised, carneval games and clown performances for the young and the older. The events reach their peak at the last day of the Apokries in Ioulida where the big Carneval parade is held with the attendance of disguised teams and the performance of theatrical sketches that satirize mainly local happenings. The event evolves in a frantic fest and, at the same time, the municipality offers wine, souvlaki and rice pudding with lemon.

The Celebration of Aghios (Saint) Haralambos
The day of the guardian Saint of Kea, Aghios Haralambos, is celebrated with great splendor and religious belief. At the same time, each year on the first Sunday that follows the feast of Aghios Haralambos, the Association of organizes a celebration in honor of the saint, in the Holy Temple of Aghios Dimitrios at Neo Faliro, in Athens. Afterwards, the people present gather to a nearby store where the cutting of the pie of the Association is held and guests are treated with “Tziotiko pasteli” (nougat with honey) and mastic gum. Before the celebration commences with traditional songs and musical instruments, the Mayor holds a speech and makes a small assessment of the course of the Municipality.

Sources: www.cyclades-tour.gr and www.kea.gr