GREECE has so many idyllic islands and Kea is no exception.

After a three-and-half-hour flight from Heathrow to Athens, a short taxi ride to the port of Lavrio and a 60-minute ferry trip, I was more than ready to arrive at the tiny isle.

When I told people I would be paying a visit to Kea, also known as Tzia, not one of them had heard of it.

And that’s what struck me most about the 12-mile long island – it is unexplored by the masses, giving it an authentic and natural feel.

Peaceful white-washed villages, authentic tavernas serving fresh Greek food and a rugged coastline surrounded by turquoise waters are enough to draw any first-time visitor back to the isle, myself included.

You won’t find any tacky tourist attractions or commercial boat trips and there aren’t even many shops.

But what you will get is a slice of Greek authenticity.

Overlooking the natural harbour, one of the biggest in the Mediterranean, sits the capital Ioulida with its tiers of picturesque houses.

Kea is a top attraction for Athenians looking for a break from city life but also sailors, walkers, divers and those with a fervour for ancient Greece.

Visitors can go down the budget route, opt for five-star luxury or even stay in a brand new self-catering apartment in the capital.

Our stay at the luxury Porto Kea Suites, based in Korissia, proved to be a real treat.

The idyllic bay view, inviting swimming pool and spacious suites were a real draw.

But it turned out the island was not as sleepy an isle as first imagined.

After a visit to the fishing village of Vourkari one evening we were welcomed by roaring tavernas. The famous Vinylio bar – or Vinyl – is well worth a visit.

Opposite Vourkari is the archaeological site of Agia Irini. It was one of the most important ancient settlements of the Aegean Sea and part of it was inhabited until the third and second century BC. The most impressive archaeological find from the site includes the remains of 50 large terracotta statues, which were found in the temple and date back to the 15th century BC.

The statues are displayed at the unassuming Archaeological Museum in Ioulida, where entry costs only two euros and the staff light up at the sight of any visitor embracing the island’s unique ancient history.

Kea proves to be a hot spot for walkers who enjoy the 62km network of paved and numbered walkways that meander across the island leading visitors to places of interest.

Starting from Stavroudaki, visitors can follow the ancient path down to Karthaia, the most important of the four city states of ancient Kea.

Here lies the remains of an ancient civilisation including a recently excavated 2,000-seat theatre.

During a visit to Karthaia, we spent an afternoon relaxing in the idyllic cove, where the crystal clear waters and white sandy beaches offer the perfect haven for any sun seeker.

Both Kunduraki Beach and Blue Bay are ideal for a relaxing break and both have a beach bar on site.

Sitting to the east of the island is the monastery of Panagia Kastriani.

Locals claim the Virgin Mary selected this site for herself, with thousands of worshippers flocking to it each year. The monastery also offers rooms for €30 a night for those on a budget.

The area of Kondouros is considered to be one of the most developed tourist areas of Tzia, with apartments, restaurants and picturesque windmills built to be used as homes.

A real highlight of my trip to Kea was a visit to the Ennea Kores restaurant for the famous lobster spaghetti. Other Kea specialities include the fish soup – the locals said the best on the island is served at Aristos in Vourkari.

Travelling around the island on public transport isn’t easy, but visitors could opt to hire a car or explore on foot.

Kea’s proximity to Athens also means it is ideal for day-trippers to jump on the ferry or for visitors wishing to stay for just a night or two.

It caters for both those who seek a relaxing break on a beach and those who crave an action-packed adventure.


Porto Kea Suites:, +30 22880 22870,

A suite for two starts from €109 a night.

Self-catering Kea Villas:, +30 6972 24 33 30,

A villa for two starts from €135 a night. There are options for up to 6 people.

Hotel Karthea, three-star, weekend average rate of €75 a night for a double room,


British Airways to Athens from Heathrow:

The ferry to Kea is one hour from Lavrio port, near Athens. To book visit:,
approximately €11 each way