Kea

Cyclades

Kea is the most northerly of the inhabited Cycladic islands, and the closest to the Greek mainland. The only island closer is Makronisos, one of Kea's satellite islands, and the largest uninhabited island in Greece.

Kea gets many more Greek visitors than it does foreign visitors, so it's the place to head for if you want a more authentic Greek experience. Don't do it on a Friday evening, though, when ferries are packed with mainland Greeks going away for the weekend.

How to Get to Kea

Kea is linked to the Greek mainland port of Lavrio by ferry, and that's almost the only way to get there. There are some ferry connections with other islands in the Cyclades, but they are few and far between. Nor are there any ferry connections with Piraeus. The ferry from Lavrio to Kea takes about an hour.

Lavrio is about an hour south-east of Athens, with a regular bus service, and north of Cape Sounion. There are several ferries a day during the summer months, including early morning and evening departures. You've got plenty of time to get from Athens to Lavrio if you want to get a ferry to Kea, and if you leave Kea in the morning you'll easily be in Athens by the evening.

Where to Stay on Kea

The Lavrio ferry arrives in the port of Korissia, where you'll find the small tourist information office, which will help you find accommodation if you haven't booked ahead. There are the usual tavernas, shops and ATMs, but Korissia is a bit bland and you'll want to stay somewhere more picturesque, although there are several places to stay if you arrive late or want to leave early on the ferry.

The island capital, Ioulis, is certainly picturesque. Its white houses with their tile roofs cover the slopes of a hill, and it's filled with cobbled streets, narrow alleyways and arches. One arch leads into the village itself, and if you drive there then you have to park below the village square and walk into the village. You can also get here by bus or taxi from Korissia.

Ioulis is a charming, historic and relaxing place, definitely worth a few days of your time. If you want beaches, though, there are plenty of places to stay around the coast, with tavernas, apartments, and rooms to rent. They're all quite small, so book ahead if you're travelling in the main summer season, especially at weekends.


What to Do on Kea

In Ioulis you'll want to see the small but enjoyable Archaeological Museum. Kea has a long history, going back to a Bronze Age settlement at Ayia Irini (see below), and there are many objects from the site on display in the museum. On the edge of the top of the town you'll also want to see what's known as the Kea Lion, which dates to the 6th century and is carved from slate.

The Minoan site of Ayia Irini is on the north-west coast, north from Korissia. It's believed to date back as far as 3200BC and to have been a thriving community for about 2000 years. Just south of Ayia Irini is one of the busiest of the coastal towns, Vourkari, which also makes a good base for a few days. There are some good tavernas here and you can walk to beaches easily such as the one at Otzias, about a 45-minute walk to the north-east.

Kea's best beach is in the village of Poisses, which is about a half-hour drive south from Korissia, but you'll have to drive inland to Ioulis then south to get there. In summer there is a bus service from Korissia, and in the village there are a few places to stay and to eat – another good spot to enjoy a few days if you visit this lovely island that's a little off the tourist map.

See our other Cyclades pages...

  • Tinos in the Cyclades Islands of Greece

    The island of Tinos in the Cyclades has several daily ferry connections from Rafina on the Greek mainland and is most famous for the Feast of the Assumption.

  • Syros

    Syros is in the Cyclades islands, with Ermoupoli as its main town and some good beaches, described here on the Greece Travel Secrets website.

  • Sikinos

    Surrounded by bigger and better-known Cyclades islands such as Ios, Naxos and Santorini, Sikinos is a delightfully untouristy island.

  • Sifnos

    Sifnos is one of the smaller islands in the Cyclades group in the Aegean Sea.

  • Serifos

    Serifos is one of the Cyclades islands in the Aegean Sea, a rugged and mountainous island with a small population.

  • Paros in the Cyclades Islands in Greece

    The island of Paros in the Cyclades is famous for its marble, and on this page you can also see information about flights and ferries to Paros.

  • Naxos in the Cyclades Islands of Greece

    The island of Naxos is the largest of the Cyclades and on this page you can see information about flights and ferries to Naxos.

  • Milos in the Cyclades Islands of Greece

    The island of Milos in the Cyclades in Greece is noted for its museums and beaches, and read about flights and ferries to Milos.

  • Kythnos

    Kythnos is a small island in the Cyclades in the Aegean Sea, with easy access from Athens and popular with Athenians on summer weekends.

  • Kimolos

    Kimolos is in the Cyclades islands of Greece, close to Milos.

  • Folegandros

    Travel information from Greece Travel Secrets about Folegandros in the southern Cyclades, close to Sikinos, with flight and ferry information.

  • Anafi in the Cyclades islands of Greece

    Travel advice and information on Anafi in the Greek Cyclades islands with good beaches, walking, accommodation, tavernas.

  • Amorgos in the Cyclades Islands of Greece

    Travel advice and information on Amorgos in the Cyclades, a dramatic and growing holiday destination with ferries from Athens and other Greek islands

  • Schinoussa and Iraklia Travel Guide

    This is the first travel guide to Schinoussa and Iraklia, two tiny islands in the Cyclades, published by Real Greek Experiences.

  • Mykonos

    Mykonos in the Cyclades islands in Greece has cheap and luxury hotel accommodation, car rental, ferries from Athens, Santorini, Crete and other Greek islands.

  • Ios in the Cyclades Islands of Greece

    The island of Ios in the Cyclades group of islands in Greece is noted for its nightlife in summer, as well as its beaches, churches and the grave of Homer.

  • Antiparos

    Travel information about Antiparos near Paros in the Cyclades Islands of Greece from the Greece Travel Secrets website.

  • Andros in the Cyclades Islands of Greece

    The island of Andros in the Cyclades has fast ferries from Rafina. There are some good beaches and the main town has two interesting museums.

  • Cyclades

    Travel information about the Cyclades group of Greek islands including Mykonos, Santorini (Thira), Naxos, Paros, Delos, Tinos, Siros, Milos, Amorgos.

  • Delos in the Cyclades Islands of Greece

    The island of Delos in the Cyclades islands is a unique archaeological site, taking up the whole island, and a popular day trip from nearby Mykonos.

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