The Weekly Getaway: classy, gourmet and adventurous Kea
There are some islands that just make you feel like walking around all day barefoot. Kea, or Tzia as Greeks call it, is one of these islands. Just a few miles aways from the port of Lavrio and Athens, Kea is the epitome of relaxation and peacefulness.
In fact, over the years, the island authorities have been trying to retain its beauty from becoming another tourist destination by rejecting projects for big hotel developments and noisy beach bars. Typically, Athenians will have their summer houses there due to its close proximity to the city and its easy transportation. As for tourists, it is perhaps one of the least touristy islands in Greece.
People love this island so much because it has managed to remain authentic, offer local and fresh food (especially seafood), and make simplicity feel good! Now if you are reading this while being in your 20s, you'd probably feel like this island is not the right destination for you; and you're probably wrong! Apart from the whole relaxation and peacefulness aspect, that it's true, the island has a few, but very nice spots, for the young crowd to enjoy their drinks, dance till dawn and mingle with one another.
The island's capital is located atop a hill on a beautiful small village called Ioulida. Given the fact that cars are not allowed to pass by the capital, visitors have the chance to walk around and enjoy the daily life of locals. You get get lost browsing the narrow streets and pass by the main square of Ioulida. It's a good idea to visit either early in the morning for some breakfast and a walk before going to the beach, or in the afternoon to stroll around the local small shops, enjoy some coffee and the local sweets.
Kea by night! Vourkaki is known for two things... its beautiful yachts parked at the marina and its nightlife. If you're looking for a place to spend your summer nights then you should definitely visit one of Vourkari's cafes and bars. The perfect spot for an evening cocktail is Zeus Faber, while our favourite dance spot is Vynilio.
However, one must also mention that Vourkari is mainly a fishing village and so you should definitely try out one of its fish taverns. If you are a pasta lover then head to Aristos taverna for the best lobster pasta, or to 9 Daughters for some delicious seafood by the beach.
Otzias is perhaps one of the most popular beaches in the island. On one hand it is the closest beach from Korissia and Vourkari, while on the other hand its one of the few who offer sunbeds and cafe/bar. Did we mention it's also a long sandy beach? Oh yes! Perfect location for families with kids.
Another popular beach is Koundouros. Located about 30 minutes away from Korissia, this beach is usually occupied by locals who have their summer houses in the area, but with visitors too. It is fully organized as it offers sunbeds, have a very nice taverna and a cafe to spend your whole day by the beach. Oh, and let's not forget juicy burgers!
If you are more kind of a loner, and you'd like to enjoy your beach day in a less noisy environment then you should definitely go for Xyla beach, a beautiful small beach located on west side of the islands, or Kaliskia beach a sandy beach with crystal clear waters on the southeast side of the island.
Tip: the island has numerous hidden treasures that usually can't be reached by a car. Most of the island's loyal visitors own, or rent out, speed boats to use on daily excursions around the island and enjoy its crystal clear waters.
- Koundouros - Long sandy beach with sunbeds and umbrellas. A bit far from the port, but also good for families.
- Otzias - Closest beach to Korissia and Vourkari. Very popular spot to enjoy under their umbrellas and at their caf.e
- Xyla - A bit hard to get there due to the road, but very much worth it. Depending on the seasonality, they either have a few sunbeds or not.
- Kaliskia - the perfect choice for those who enjoy the silence.
- Spathi - Partially organized beach, with a beach bar.
- Pisses - small sandy beach next to the island's official camping location
- Aegis Suites - Small boutique hotel. Perhaps the best accommodation in the island with great views and luxury suites. A perfect spot to enjoy a summer sunset.
- Porto Kea Hotel - Located right next to the port of Kea, this luxury hotel & spa is the go to place for families and couples.
- Keos Katoikies - Family hotel with simple decor rooms and a balcony or terrace with either sea or garden view.
- Aristos - perhaps the most famous taverna in the island located at Vourkaki. Known for its delicious and fresh lobster pasta. You should definitely pay a visit
- 9 Daughters - traditional taverna in Vourkari
- Spiti sti Hora - greek modern cuisine in a perfect setting in Ioulida. Enjoy your dinner on their balcony overlooking the sea from above. Good idea for an afternoon drink as well.
- Sirios - Vourkari's newest restaurant addition. Nice set-up and modern greek food.
- Porto Koundouros - taverna on the beach of Koundouros. Great choice for a late lunch after a day in the sea
- Strofi tou Mimi - beautiful taverna in Vourkari to enjoy your dinner by the beach.
- Aegis Suites all day bar - the perfect location for a cocktail with a sunset view. Must try it out!
- All Around Vynillio - Your must-go place in the island if you want enjoy its nightlife. Stays open until late.
- Zeus Faber - Cute cocktail bar with terrace in Vourkari