This historic island located in the cycladic archipelagos is known by two names:
- Kea, its official appelation, and
- Tzia, as the Greeks prefer to call it.
With a true Cycladic taste, spectacular views, picturesque ports, and beautiful, narrow beaches, Tzia is only a short sailing trip away from Athens.
Kea, belonging to the island group of the Cyclades, is an alternative favourite destination (after the Saronic Gulf) for a weekend getaway for Athenians, since it is only 37 nautical miles away from the Alimos Marina, and only 15 NM from the Lavrion Port.
Tzia is a semi-mountainous island, with a population of 3,000, covering an area of 132 km², sparsely populated.
Most of it is covered by bushy vegetation as well as oaks and almond trees.
The main cultivar of the island, although scarce, is the vine.
The roads that serve the interior are narrow, two-way streets that spiral up and around the land.
The thyme that blooms at the beginning of summer, covering the Kea mountains, explains why the island has so many beehives. Yes, Kea produces some of the greatest Greek honey!
Cost of living in Kea
For the supplies you will need during your stay on the island, the local supermarkets and grocery stores are sure to give you affordable solutions.
- A cup of coffee or a beer at a cafeteria costs approximately €4.
- A bacon omelette for breakfast at a cafe costs about €8.
- Lunch at a restaurant will cost you €20-25 per person, but rest assured that the food will be savoury!
On the island of Tzia there are two places where you can dock
Korissia & Vourkari
They're only 0.8 NM apart...
- Corissia, where the port is located, and
Both charming places, these two can offer you everything you may need:
- food supplies
- electricity for the boat
You can usually find birthing spots in Korissia with no trouble, but in case the port is full, you can hope to moore in Vourkari at a close distance.
And if by chance you can't find a place to dock in either of the above, you can drop your anchor at the bay and get to the shore with your dinghy, crossing a very short distance through calm waters.
Just in case: Kea Port Authority: 2288 021344
A very beautiful bay that attracts many boats to its lush waters, Koundouros bay is the ideal place to anchor for some sea-diving, good food, and a quiet overnight stay.
The bottom is shallow (7m) and sandy. At the organized beach located at the shore, you can find a restaurant and a beach bar.
At Spathi Bay you will be able to find another beautiful beach with a restaurant and a beach bar.
The waters are crystal clear like a river’s, making swimming the most enjoyable!
Settlements & Places
The settlements of the island are few and full of life.
Korissia is the port town of the island, which connects Tzia with Lavrio in Attica.
The ferry ride is approximately 1 hour and costs 12 euros per person.
Entering the harbor, you will notice the picturesque chapel of Agios Nikolaos and its adjacent lighthouse –the 2nd oldest in Greece (the oldest one can be seen upon entering Poros).
In Korissia you will find everything you may need, like a super market, cafes, a bakery, restaurants and car rental services.
Ioulis, the capital of the island
Ioulis is located at the center of Tzia, built on a hill.
The classic Cycladic architecture of the crisp white houses fascinates the approaching visitor, and reaching for the camera in order to capture the moment feels almost instinctual!
The city is built on a slope and visitors enter on foot, leaving the car outside the city.
The houses are very close to each other, forming picturesque alleyways for strolling around.
In the center of Ioulis, you will find restaurants, cafes, as well as tourist shops.
In Ioulis you can also visit the Archaeological Museum where visitors can admire unique finds that were excavated on the island, dating back to the Neolithic period.
Karthea was one of the four main ancient cities of Kea
Karthea can be visited either by boat or by traveling an easy path for about 40 mins. And if by chance you get tired, there's also a donkey available to help!
Karthea is an archaeological site showcasing the temple of Pythian Apollo, ancient burial grounds and an ancient theater in operation, where you can catch a performance of "Salon and Krisos" by Herodotus, on Aug 3rd 2019.
We would recommend 3 things to try in Kea:
- Xinotiri (translating to ‘sour cheese’): Local to the island of Tzia, the taste of this cheese is unrelated to its name, since it is not sour but sweet!
- Kopanisti: Produced across the Cyclades, this cheese is definetely worth trying for its spicy taste.
- "Mavroudi" Wine: A red local wine, with a very distinct taste.
According to Homer, this was the wine Odysseus used to get Polyphemus drunk so he could escape from the cave where he was imprisoned.
The above products can be tasted at the "Kalofagadon" tavern in Ioulis square along with many other savoury dishes.
For excellent seafood, we recommend the ‘Aristos’ tavern in Vourkari, where you can enjoy a romantic dinner by the sea before turning in for the night.
If you visit the island by boat, the best way to explore the mainland and become intimate with its beauties is by renting a car.
The cost for the summer season is 45€ per day and the fuel needed will not exceed the amount of 15€, since the island is small.
There are 4 major shipwrecks in Tzia:
- Titanic’s sister ship, HMHS Britannic, a floating hospital, discovered by Jacques Cousteau in 1975,
- the luxury steamship “Patris”, previously named “Otho” after the king, which hit a reef off Koundouros Bay and sank in 1868,
- the French submarine "S/S Burdigala", and
- a German WWII Junkers 52 airplane.
If you are a fan of diving, seeing some of the nearby wrecks can be a real thrill.
KeaDivers can help you along this adventrure even if you are a beginner, since there is a special introduction program, taking you from your boat with the school's speedboat and all the necessary equipment.
If you are interested, John –with a sail racing background– can give answers to any questions you might have, simply by calling 697 343 0860.
Open Air Cinema
There is also an open summer cinema operating on the island.
If you haven't watched a movie under the stars, "Cine Korissia" is your chance.
Views start at 9pm. Call 694 490 0721 to learn about the movie of the day!