Kea is a small island in the Cyclades that got known to the modern world
when Titanic's sister ship Britannica sunk here in 1916. The wreck is
still here, and there is constant activity around it.
The island in itself is a charming little paradise and it is still a very genuine place to visit. There are a few taverns and cafes, and the pace is slow and comfortable. Kea is an excellent alternative for those who want to get away from the busier islands, but still don't want the total quiet.
The islanders here live mainly off agriculture, stock-breeding and fishing
Kea was once called the Water Island, Ydroussa, and it is believed that the
name is connected to the water
nymphs, that lived here according to mythology. Because it was such a
pretty island, the gods' got jealous, and sent a lion to ravage the land. The
nymphs fled, and as a subsequence, the island dried out. The Keans then asked
Aristaeus for help, and he built a temple to
Zeus, who apart from being the highest god, also was the one who sent
rain. This pleased him, and the nymphs and waters returned, giving Kea a fertile
soil with good crops.
The island has been inhabited since Neolithic times, and later on, in the 6th cent., The poet Simonides was born here. The island was quite prosperous and it was known for its Kean Law, which made all citizens who lived to be 70 commit suicide by drinking hemlock, which still grows on the island. In the 13th century, the island was ruled by the Venetians, and 300 years later by the Turks. Meanwhile, Kea was often raided by pirates, and the locals suffered greatly. It is therefore not surprising that Kea was one of the first Greek islands to enroll in the War of Independence in 1821. In 1930, it was liberated.
What to see
: The most famous
sight on the island is the Lion of Kea, or Lionda. It is a big, archaic
sculpture of the mythical lion (see history).
The monastery of Panagia Kastriani is also worth a visit, and you can even stay here in one of its cells. The monastery dates back to the 18th century.
In Ioulis there are also a few interesting churches, as well as an ancient acropolis. There are also ancient remains of temples in Korissia.
What to do
:On many of the beaches of Kea there are water sports and beach volley. If you like fishing, you won't be alone, and there is also a mini golf course..
There are many sandy beaches on Kea, and just to mention a few, there is Otzias, Koundouros and Korissia. At Koundouros you'll find most of the watersports.
: There is not much nightlife to talk about here. Ioulis and Koundouros seem to be the best places to go for a bit of it, but the two villages rather have taverns and cafes than bars and clubs.
There are some excellent local specialties to be tried out in the taverns of Ioulis, Koundouros, Korissia and Vourkari. The local sausages, pork dish "Paspala", cheese and wine are a must, as well as some of the sweets made of local honey.
There are not many tacky souvenir shops on Kea, in stead, you'll find a lot of handmade ceramics, carved wood and leatherwear.
There is a local bus which will take you to the main villages. I have not found any info on car or bike renting, though..
It is a little bit difficult to get here since there are not many boat connections. The best thing to do is to fly to Athens, and then take the ferryboat or hydrofoil over.
Facts about Kea
Size: 131 sq. km
International code: 0030
Population: about 1800
Local code: 22880
Cash machine: Yes
Port Police 21344
Highest Mountain: Prophitis Elias, 568 m
Tourist Police: 21100
Price rate: average
Telephone company (OTE)