Also known as Tzia, the Greek Island of Kea is located south of Attica and opposite the town of Lavrion. An island rich in history with relaxing beaches, Kea attracts Athenians during weekends which is probably why the restaurants on Kea are among the best in Greece . It has exceptional beaches and one of the best system of walking paths and trails of any Greek island. Kea is a hiker's paradise with numbered routes that take you through a variety of landscapes to remote coves and the ruins of ancient cities. Kea is an island of unique natural beauty and picturesque villages.
Close to Athens but has the feeling of a remote Greek island, Kea is attractive to Athenians, many of whom have weekend and holiday homes on the island. The capital of the island is Ioylida and Kea is accessed via ferry from Lavrion. The village of Ioulis is a labarynth of typical Cycladic-style houses built around a traditional square. There are ferry connections to Syros and Kythnos.
Although Kea belongs to the Cyclades, its landscape has few similarities. Nature lovers can enjoy the valleys and the paths of Kea where multicoloured flowers and medicinal herbs, are in abundance. Kea’s coast curves into small bays and coves and is riddled with sea caverns. The castle dominates on top of the island affording the most amazing views.
Many of the best beaches on the island are accessed by exploring off-road and, as the island is inhabited primarily by Greeks, there are several excellent restaurants. Otzias is the largest beach on Kea. Other beautiful sandy beaches are Koyndoyros, Agios Aimilianos, Kampi, Liparo, Mpoyri, Frear, Chiliomodoy, Panagitsa and Ligia. Poseidonies is the name of the marine fauna of the island which you can see at the bottom of the seas of Kea.
Rich in history, Kea was named Hydroussa, due to its humid climate. According to mythology, Seirios the most brilliant star in the sky, burned Hydroussa and the arid conditions and subsequent barren terrain forced the islanders to seek assistance from the demi-god Aristeaus of Thessaly, son of Apollo and the nymph, Cyrene. Having appeased the gods, conditions became less harsh and now the meltemi winds blow over the islands when Sirius's constellation, "The Big Dog" is visible. Experienced sailors enjoy visiting Kea due not only to its proximity to Attica but also the fact that the wind blows from several directions - it is considered to be one of the most challenging sailing areas in the Mediterranean. Agios Nikolaos, one of the largest natural harbours of the Mediterranean Sea, is located on the north-westerly side of Kea.
In the area of Cavo Doro there are many ancient shipwrecks. It is believed that the Greek ships were wrecked here on the way back from Troy. The wreck of the Britannic, sister ship to the Titanic, lies off Kea which is a favourite destination for diving enthusiasts.
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