Just an hour from Athens, the island of Kea is an idyllic slice of genuine Greece. Here you’ll discover rugged terrain and beaches, daytime cafes, and nighttime bars. Its proximity to Athens has made it a popular Cycladic island for weekend trips for Athenians. Many Athenians own homes on this island exclusively for weekend trips during the summer.
Places to see
- The Caves. The two most significant caves of Kea are Trypospilies in Kalamos and the cave of Saint Timotheus in Aghios Panteleimon. It is said that Saint Timothy once lived as a recluse in the cave.
- Royal Oak Forest. This forest is a unique phenomenon for the Cyclades’ dry climate. In fact, it is the largest oak forest in the Cyclades.
- Ancient Karthea. This important archeological site is located on the southeastern side of Kea.
- Stone Lion of Kea. This statue represents a mythical lion that almost destroyed the island. It is remarkable not only for its relatively good condition but also for its cheerful smile.
- The Settlement of Agia Irini. One of the most important ancient cultural centers. Excavations have revealed many art objects like pottery items, clay ovens, and jars.
- The 18th-century Monastery of Panagia Kastriani. The monastery is dedicated to the patron saint of Kea. This most important religious monument sits on top of an imposing hill.
- Watermills and Windmills. Prior to World War II, Kea was home to nearly 30 windmills. Today, however, only a few remain. Be sure to visit The Stone Windmill in Pisses.
Things to do
- Shop for unique souvenirs such as locally-crafted carved woods and handmade pottery.
- Birdwatch. The Royal Oak Forest of Kea is home to thousands of migratory and native birds.
- Hike. The island has an extensive network of well-marked hiking trails.
- Off-Road. Rent a jeep and follow the dirt roads to explore this mysterious island.
- Scuba dive. The coastline of Kea and the strait between Kea and Makronissos have many good dive sites and shipwrecks to explore. A dive center at Koundouraki beach has scheduled snorkeling and dive trips.
- Go to the beach. The beaches are a trendy getaway for Athenians on weekends in the summer. However, many of the beaches are calm and serene during the week. Some beaches like Gialiskari, Koundouros, and Korissia have facilities. Vourkari, Gialiskari, Korissia, Koundouros, Orkos, Pisses, and Spathi offer shade trees in addition to golden sand and crystal clear blue waters.
Kea | Climate
Kea has a comfortable climate that is usually mild and dry. Summer, just like in most Greek islands, is warm and sunny. Temperatures range from 25º C to 30º C.
Kea | Gastronomy
You’ll find many local delicacies at tavernas and restaurants. Try traditional dishes like Paspala, a pork dish, sausages, delightful cheeses, wine, and delicious sweets made of honey. Other dishes include Loza, a typical mezze of the Cyclades with corned pork. Since olive trees are plentiful on the island, you’ll find that many dishes include olives and olive oil.
Also try Ksino and Kopanisti, local types of cheese with distinctive flavors. Or, taste Tsigara, a traditional dish based on pork with fat. For dessert, order tsigaropita, the original pie of Kea made with tsigara, eggs, milk, anise, and sesame.
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