Kea, also known as Tzia, is the most Western island of the Cyclades. Its location, 14NM far from Lavrion port in Athens, makes it a popular destination for summer sailing holidays in Greece!
As you would expect, Kea is yet another typical Cyclades island with barren landscapes, white-washed houses and clear blue waters. On the other hand, the island’s capital (Ioulida) is by no means a typical Cycladic village. Built amphitheatrically on the side of a hill next to the remnants of a Venetian castle, Ioulida is a unique picturesque village with view that will take your breath away!
The island’s main port is Korissia (or Livadi), about 5km from Ioulida. Other interesting villages are Gialiskari, Otzias and Vourkari. Korissia main port & Vourkari village are also the only spots that offer organised mooring places for sailing enthusiasts. You will find plenty of restaurants and tavernas in all the above villages with great local specialties. Several bars and pubs can also be found in Vourkari, Ioulida and Korissia but in general, Kea’s nightlife features quiet!
As Kea is one of the largest Cycladic islands, it offers many beautiful beaches and coves, many of them remote accessible only by sailing or motor boat. Some of them are Gialiskari, Otzias, Koundouros, Liparo, Pisses, Kambi, Sykamia, Spathi, Kalogiros, Xyla and Orkos.
Kea is a strange and slightly mysterious island with loads of excellent beaches, archaeological sites and one of the most amazing traditional villages in Greece. Definitely worth the visit!!!
The weather in Kea is quite mild and dry, especially during the summer. It can also get quite humid, which means no strong winds hence perfect for sailing itineraries along Kea island/ Cyclades sailing area. Temperatures, in Kea, range from 25-30 degrees celsius (or 77-86 degrees fahrenheit) in the summer months.
In Kea (Tzia), you can moor your sailboat in Korissia port and in Vourkari. For anchorages in Kea (Tzia), you can go in Spathi, in Poleis bay, Pisses, Koundouros and Otzias.
Keep in mind:
Alimos marina and Lavrion port both in Athens are Galazio Sailing charter bases so as to sail the Cyclades area in Greece. You can also depart (upon availability) from Paros port in Paros island.
According to findings, the history of Kea dates back to the Neolithic era when Kea (known as Hydroussa at that time) was famous for its copper and metallurgy. The first settlement of Ag. Irini soon became a communication centre between the Minoans and the Mycenaean which contributed in the economic and the social blossoming of the island. The town of Ag. Irini was later on destroyed by an earthquake, so the settlement of Korissia (the island’s main port) became more important and flourished greatly as a colony of the Ionians. The island also became known as Keos. It was during that time that four independent cities were founded, known as Karthea, Korissia, Ioulida and Poiessa.
In the following years, Kea was conquered successively from various dynasts such as the Byzantines, the Franks, the Venetians, the Turkish and the Russians. During the Turkish rule, the island was able to retain a kind of self-administration as the Turkish never settled on the island, only collected the taxes, so Kea attracted many of the religious and intellectual personalities who wanted to lay low. One person who played an important role in the Greek revolution against the Turkish, was the Greek naval hero, Lambros Katsonis, who had set his naval base in Kea and constantly harassed the Turkish fleet. One day, the Turkish trapped Lambros Katsonis in Ag. Nikolaos bay but he managed to escape through a narrow isthmus. That place was named “the Lambros Katsonis strait”.
Kea became free together with the rest of Greece, after the War of Independence (1821) and after having played a very important part to it.
Kea’s rich history is seen in the many well preserved archaeological sites, such as the remnants of the Venetian castle, the archaeological museum and the lion made of stone in Ioulida. Do not miss the monastery of Panagia Kastriani in Kastro area, located on top of a rock! More archaeological findings you will find in Korissos, in Ag. Irini (in Vourkari) and in ancient Karthea which hosts the temples of Athena, Apollo, and Asklepios. If you would like to visit ancient Karthea, be prepared to walk quite a bit.
In Pisses, you can visit the Poiessa Fort, while in Pera Meria you can admire one of the best panoramic island views in Kea.
Most of the bays in Kea island are suitable for every kind of watersports like windsurfing, waterskiing and canoeing. However, as there are NO many organised beaches on the island you will not find equipment for renting.
Kea Island is most famous for its walking paths, which are lined with springs, rivers, lush greenery and rare flowers. There is a wide variety of paths that visitors can walk on, which extend from one end of the island to the other. The paths were part of the ancient road network that connected the various cities. Kea is one of the up-and-coming destinations for nature lovers and outdoor sports enthusiasts.