KEA



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Kea - general

General

Multum in parvo. Kea is a small island, unexpectedly rich in history and variety of landscape. Its geography is noticeably different from that of its neighbours. The deeply folded valleys of its interior, laboriously terraced throughout centuries of cultivation, create a variety of biotopes which favour many species of wild flower. The upland slopes support the magnificent V alonia oaks, which have long been cultivated on the island for their acorns and which seem from their healthfulness and age to have found an ideal home in the soil and climate of Kea. The island’s relatively abundant water and mineral deposits have also encouraged human settlement from earliest times. This first appears at an important Neolithic village at Kephala on the northern tip of the island. It was superseded by a Bronze Age settlement of considerable sophistication at Aghia Irini in the wide harbour that cuts into the northwestern coast of Kea, which has yielded artefacts of astonishing beauty and importance— most unusual of which are the almost life-size terracotta figures of females, naked from the waist up and wearing garlands and full skirts. These unique works of art have fortunately remained on the island and are now the centrepiece of the small and exemplary museum in Chora. In historic antiquity, there were no less than four important cities on Kea—Ioulis, Koresia, Poiei«ssa, and Karthaia. The remains of the last of these constitute one of the most evocative sites in the Aegean. And, most remarkable of all—and worth the journey to the island alone to see—is the Lion of Ioulis, couching, un-fussed and unenclosed, on a hillside outside of Chora. It is one of the earliest, largest and least-known pieces of monumental sculpture in the Greek world.

   In early spring, Kea’s flora is among the most diverse of the smaller islands and is not difficult to find and enjoy. The island is particularly good for walking: indeed some of the sites, such as Karthaia, can only be reached by a long and rewarding walk. The paths on the island meander beside walled fields and among stone barns, pens and farmsteads which have changed little in design in 2,000 years and are in themselves of great interest and beauty. There are also several well-preserved ancient towers, and a network of ancient roads which still constitute many of the island’s by-ways today. Perhaps the only reason why this remarkable island has tended to be overlooked is be cause of its proximity to Attica and the fact that it is not a port of call on the route to any other island. But that same reason of proximity to the mainland is what made it strategically important and gave it such a rich history. Today it is increasingly frequented by Athenians with weekend houses. Some rashes of concrete building, sometimes in a style which clumsily apes the island’s dignified traditional architecture, have spread in recent years: but most of the interior of the island is untouched and has never lost its ability to surprise and impress.


Kea Island is part of the Cyclades Island Group, Greece.


access

Kea Island, Greece.

All communications with Kea go through the port of Lavrion on the east coast of Attica, to and from which there are frequent connections with the airport (hourly) and Central Athens (half-hourly from the Mavromateon terminal).
The most regular ferry service is operated by the dowdy, doughty vessels of Goutos Lines, supplemented by the Marmaris Express, who, between them, run one daily, early-morning service, with an additional evening service on four days per week. The crossing takes 75 mins. Ferries en route to Kythnos, Syros and the main Cycladic destinations call at Kea on average two times weekly.

Kea Travel Guide

beaches

Kea Island, Greece.

There are plenty organized and not beaches in Kea.
Koundouros beach
Korissia beach
Pisses beach

Gialiskari beach
Kambi beach
Orkos beach
Kastellakia beach

Kea Travel Guide

eating

Kea Island, Greece.

Two of the best places to eat on the island are in Vourkári: the popular Aristos, on the water front, and—with fresh est and the most varied offers—Strophi tou Mimi, on the bend where the road turns inland for Otziás. Lagoudera, on the quay opposite the ferry landing in Korissía, is a well-frequented taverna with a good variety of mezes.

Kea Travel Guide

lodging

Kea Island, Greece.

The charming simple hotel has not yet arrived on Kea.
The best option at the upper end of the scale is the 4-star complex, Porto Kea Suites (T. 22880 22870–1, fax 22873, www.portokea-suites.com); and in the middle category the Hotel Brillante Zoï, (T. 22880 22685, fax 22687, www.hotelbrillante.gr). Both have pleasant management and are in the port town of Korissía.
For studios to rent, the Oasis Hotel (T. 22880 21295, fax 21717) on the road from Korissía to Gialiskári is clean and comfortable.

Kea Travel Guide

museums

Kea Island, Greece.

Archaeological Museum

Kea Travel Guide

practical info

Kea Island, Greece.

840 02 Kea, Keos or Tzia: area 131sq km; perimeter 88km; resident population 2,158; max. altitude 562m. Port Authority: T. 22880 21344. Travel and information: Mouzaki Shipping Agency, T. 22880 21920–1, www.kea.gr

Kea Travel Guide

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