Although Kea belongs to the Cyclades complex, its architecture and landscape has little similarities to the other islands of the complex. Also known as Tzia, Kea island is located south of Attica and right opposite the town of Lavrion. An island with rich history and relaxing beaches, Kea Greece receives mostly Athenian weekend vacationers. It is not much open to foreign tourists, but still it has nice seaside villages, a picturesque capital and crystal beach waters. The architecture has more earthy colours that match the wild, mountainous landscape. The island can be reached only by ferry from the port of Lavrion, on the southernmost spot of Attica.
Kea Island – Travel Guide
An island with rich history and relaxing beaches, Kea Greece receives mostly Athenian weekend vacationers. It is not much open to foreign tourists, but still it has nice seaside villages, a picturesque capital and crystal beach waters. The architecture has more earthy colours that match the wild, mountainous landscape. The island can be reached only by ferry from the port of Lavrion, on the southernmost spot of Attica.
Although Kea island is located to Athens, only 90 minutes ferry ride from the port of Lavrion, it is not much open to foreign visitors. Instead it is a popular weekend destination for the Athenians and in fact many Athenians have summer houses there. Holidays in Kea Greece offer a truly relaxing experience. With lovely seaside villages, crystal beaches and traditional houses, the architecture of Kea does not remind much of the Cyclades due to the earthy colours. Over the last years, many luxurious villas have been constructed on the island, on the slopes of hills with fantastic view.
Tzia is just an hour away from the port of Lavrio, in eastern Attica. Cosmopolitan, friendly, accessible. Those that know the island – whether as Tzia or its alternatives Kea, Gia or Zea – start their weekend sojourns at Easter, enjoying fresh fish at the tavernas in the marinas. Discover beaches, old churches, Hellenistic towers, watermills and windmills. Trek its trails all the way to Ancient Greece. Ioulis, Korissia, Poiessa, Karthaia. Four ancient cities on just one island where, according to mythology, the nymphs first lived. Explore the shipwrecks and go off-roading on the wild terrain.
What to do in Tzia
The Lion of Ioulis
The guard and emblem of the island: The ‘Lion’ of Ioulis. Admire this carved statue that is associated with the island’s myths and dates back to the early Archaic period. A representative of the sculptural work of the island, this is The King of Tzia.
Ioulis: an ancient city in Tzia
For a walk that takes you back in time, come to Ioulis, the only one of the ancient cities that was built inland. Spread along the slope like an amphitheatre, it invites you to get lost in its magic: stately homes, vaulted alleys, fountains, traditional architecture and a Venetian castle. Devote a moment to the neoclassical Town Hall, designed by the famous architect Ernst Ziller. The archaeological museum, considered one of the most important of its kind in the Cyclades, is a must-see.
Shipwrecks of the deep
The HMHS Britannic, sister-ship to the Titanic, was sunk near Tzia by a German naval mine in 1916 on only its sixth voyage. Jacques Yves Cousteau’s team explored it in 1975 but, to now, few divers have approached the wreck, located at a depth of 120m, even though it’s considered one of the most significant shipwrecks in the Mediterranean, and of all time. On the reef of Koundourou, there’s another sunken ship: the steamer Patris that went down in 1868.
A day in the Classical period
“This narrow, rocky land of Karthaia, I would not exchange it with Babylon,” wrote the ancient Greek poet Pindar. For that reason alone it’s worth devoting a day to visit the most important of all the four ancient cities of Tzia, which flourished in the Archaic period. Here history comes to life in the Doric Temple of Pythiou Apollona, built in 530 BC and thought to be dedicated to Athens. Try to arrive at Karthaia by the ancient trail of Vathipotamou, just as worshippers once did. A one-hour walk is rewarded by a refreshing swim at Poles beach.
A dip in the sea
Vourkari, Gialiskari, Korissia, Koundouros, Orkos, Pisses, Spathi: shaded by trees and eucalyptus, the beaches are sandy and the water is calm. They are especially popular with boat owners.
Hidden gems of Tzia
The towers of Tzia
A small distance from Sklavonikola you will discover a part of the Tower of Panachras, from the Hellenistic period, measuring 4.5m tall. It is much better preserved than the nearby tower of Agia Marina. At five storeys, it is one of the tallest surviving monuments of the Mediterranean.
Prehistoric settlements in Tzia
Plan a trip to the prehistoric settlements of Agia Irini and Kefalas, which remain in good condition.
Trails and 4x4s
If you’re into off-road driving, come with your jeep: you’ll love the dirt roads of Tzia. Another way to get to know the island is by trekking its signposted trails, two-thirds of which are paved.