‹ Back to site

 Print this page

Kea Travel Guide
Kea Island Name

Kea or Tzia used to be known as the Water Island or else Hydroussa in the elder days due to the many springs and natural fountains that were found all over the island since then. The island eventually became known as Tzia while under the Turkish domination. The name Kea derives from the hero Keo, the first settler of the island around 1100 B.C. who was the leader of Lokroi, inhabitants of Nafpaktos that had concurred the island during ancient times. Both names, Kea & Tzia, are nowadays used to address the island.

Kea inhabitants

According to the excavations at Kefala, the island of Tzia has been inhabited since the Neolithic era. Some of the island’s inhabitants were the Arcades, Ions, Pelasgus, Kares and Phoenicians.

Kea Domination

Since the establishment of the Byzantine empire Tzia was included in the province of Greece and was dominated by the Venetian empire and later on by the Turks until it was finally liberated and became a part of the Greek state.


According to mythology the first inhabitants of the island were the water nymphs that lived near the many springs and fountains and kept the island very fertile with abundant greenery and lush valleys. The gods were jealous of this unearthly beauty and therefore sent a lion to chase the nymphs off the island. The island from that point on became very dry and was ruled by the star Sirius. The inhabitants pleaded to the semi-god Aristaios, who was the son of Apollo and the nymph Kyrini, for rain and designated the highest point of the island as a sanctuary to the rain god Ikmaios who heard their appeal and saved the island from drought.

Attractions on Kea

The serene island of Tzia is an island with striking landscapes, stunningly beautiful beaches, picturesque villages and winding paved alleys exuding peace and tranquility. Some of the places worth visiting while on the island include the following.

Ioulida or Chora

Inspite of being the capital of the island it is a traditional village reflecting the island’s spirit with donkeys used for transportation and central squares dotted with cafes and restaurants. The Kastro (Castle), with the remains of the Venetian wall and acropolis, the church of Agia Paraskevi, the Episcopi Monastery, the Archeological Museum hosting ancient artifacts from excavations that took place on the island are also sites that one must visit as well as the neoclassical buildings of the city hall and the school, the Agia Anna Monastery, the Church and Tower of Agia Marina and the Cathedral of the Annunciation.

The Lion of Kea in Ioulida

This is an archaic statue curved out of stone resembling the lion that chased off the water nymphs according to the Mythology. According to the myths, when the nymphs inhabited the island they started killing the women. The people wanted to abandon the area but a priest of Zeus prayed to the God and he sent a lion to drive away the nymphs. And so it was done. The inhabitants then carved a lion in the rock so that the nymphs would see it and get scared. This is the Lion of Kea…a dive into mythology!

Ancient Karthea

The most important of the 4 city states of Kea in ancient times with the Dorian temple of Athena, the temple of Pithiou Apollo, the temple of Asklipios and the ancient theater. When you get there, it seems that you can actually revive the past; even the road to reach it has remained intect throughout all those centuries and has remained the same as the ancient road that connected old Karthea with the other settlements and towns of the island. The itinerary itself is an attraction as the rich flora and fauna of the island unfolds before the visitor’s eyes while he enters the ancient grounds and sees in the background the endless sea. The temple of Athena is on the north side of the ancient settlement, while the temple of Apollo is on the south. In the same valley, the valley of Vathipotamos, the ancient theatre was discovered and a part of the ancient irrigation system.


The picturesque port of Korissia is among the main tourist attractions of the island with its white washed houses and the colorful roofs, the enamel factory, the winding cobbled alleys and scenic churches. The landmark of the place is the brick chimney of the old enamel factory, the biggest one in the Mediterranean. Korissia boasts a picturesque small harbour with caiques and fishing boats, many accommodation options, restaurants, cafes, mini-markets and shops. Walk through it and feel the vibes of Kea at their most.


The seaside resort of Vourkari, a quaint fishing village with exceptional restaurants serving fresh fish and seafood, an art gallery with paintings by local artists and picturesque houses built according to tradition. A great option for nightlife too as most of the best bars on the island are gathered in Vourkari.

Various Attractions

Eat & Drink
TYPE: Restaurant,   STYLE: Mediterranean & International Cuisine
Location: Vourkari

TYPE: Café & Bar,   STYLE: Cocktails Bar
Location: Vourkari

TYPE: Restaurant,   STYLE: Mediterranean & International Cuisine
Location: Fotimari

TYPE: Taverna,   STYLE: Traditional Greek Cuisine
Location: Vourkari

TYPE: Bar,   STYLE: Cocktails Bar
Location: Vourkari

TYPE: Bar,   STYLE: Cocktails Bar
Location: Vourkari

TYPE: Café & Bar,   STYLE: Cafeteria
Location: Vourkari

TYPE: Café & Bar,   STYLE: Cafeteria
Location: Vourkari

TYPE: Restaurant,   STYLE: Traditional Greek Cuisine
Location: Kato Meria

TYPE: Restaurant,   STYLE: Mediterranean & International Cuisine
Location: Vourkari

TYPE: Restaurant,   STYLE: Traditional Greek Cuisine
Location: Chora

TYPE: Restaurant,   STYLE: Traditional Greek Cuisine
Location: Ioulida

TYPE: Bar,   STYLE: International
Location: Chora

TYPE: Bar,   STYLE: Cocktails Bar
Location: Chora

TYPE: Taverna,   STYLE: Traditional Greek Cuisine
Location: Otzias

Practical info
General Info

The island of Tzia has an arid climate and a hilly terrain. It comprises of several different micro climates and it is greener than many other Cycladic islands with valleys filled with almond and oak trees.

The national prefix for Greece is +30 if you are calling from abroad. All numbers in the capital Athens start with the prefix 210 and are followed by 8 digits (e.g. 210-3227400).

The Area Code for Tzia is: +30 22880 xxxxx. If you wish to call abroad, you have to start by dialing the other country’s national prefix (i.e. 0049 for Germany, 0044 for England etc.) and continue with the area code and the number where you wish to call.

Euro €
Euro Coins:
1 and 2 euro coins (gold and silver color)
10, 20 and 50 cents (gold color) 1, 2 and 5 cents (copper color)
1 euro = 100 cents/centimes
Euro Bank Notes: Are available in 5, 10, 20, 50, 100, 200 and 500. It is not always easy to receive change for 200 and 500 Euro Notes

Getting there

Due to its close proximity to Attica there is only one way to reach the island of Tzia: by taking the boat from the port of Lavrio. The trip lasts approximately 1-1,5 hour. You can reach Lavrio by car from Attica Road or Poseidonos avenue or you can take the bus from the International airport of Athens, Eleftherios Venizelos.

From Omonoia square or the port of Piraeus you can take the train to Victoria Station and walk to Pedion tou Areos “Field of Ares” where you will find the KTEL busses that leave for the port of Lavrio every half an hour. Tzia can also be reached by boat from the island of Kythnos.

For information on valid ticket prices and schedules please visit the following links:
NEL lines: http://www.nel.gr
Hellenic Seaways: www.hellenicseaways.gr

Local Transportation

There are two buses that operate on the island of Tzia with schedules based on the arrivals and departures of boats in the port that go through Ioulis, Korissia and Otzias.

Travelers can also move around the island with a taxi since buses cannot reach all existing destinations.

Find below an indicative list of available taxi services on Tzia:
Podogyros Nikos Tel: +30 6938996126
Makris Stavros Tel: +30 6932 418821 & 6973011681
Korasidis Antonis Tel: +30 6977 979614 & 693. 525803
Grekas Fotis Tel: +30 6932. 669493 & 6977 575822

Travelers can discover the enchanting island of Kea in their own pace and convenience by renting a car or motorbike during their stay. Various car rental agencies can be found on the island’s main settlements

Local Services

BANKS & ATMs                
There are three banks in the island of Kea:
Peiraios Bank at Korissia Tel: +30 22880 22711
National Bank at Ioulida Tel: +30 22880 22680
Alpha Bank at Korissia Tel: +30 22880 22702

Currency can be exchanged in one of the banks of the island.
The Greek post office is called ELTA and you can find the main post offices of the island in Ioulida. Post Boxes in Greece are YELLOW for normal post, usually with 2 slots for INTERNAL POST (meaning inside Greece) and post for ABROAD. RED Post Boxes are rarer and they are used for URGENT mail. You shouldn’t expect to find such boxes in the island. REGISTERED mail is always handled and given a receipt for at the POST OFFICE.

Post Office in Tzia Tel.: +30 22880 22883

Livadi Tel: +30 22880-21100

Ioulida, Tel: +30 22883-60000

Useful numbers

The island of Tzia doesn’t offer a great variety of International press so it will be wise to bring along your own reading materials.
Emergency Numbers
The regional hospital of Kea is located at Ioulida
Tel: +30 22880 22200

There are two pharmacies operating in the island of Tzia.
Korissia Pharmacy Tel: +30 22880 22000
Ioulida Pharmacy Tel: +30 22880 22277

Isolated paradisical retreat

Surrounded by the gracious nature and the stunning Cycladic landscape Kaliskia beach is a remote heaven of seclusion and peacefulness offering utmost privacy and calmness. Nuzzled in an unspoiled setting layed with sand and pebbles this quiet beach with the emerald waters is ideal for those seeking complete isolation. A few tamarisk trees cast some shade and allow swimmer to escape from the sun and unwind in view of the endless indigo horizon.

Popular heavenly beach

Gialiskari is among the popular beaches of the island due to its emerald tranquil waters and many facilities, café bars and taverns nearby making it the perfect choice for families and children.  Many tamarisk trees provide abundant shade to swimmers who can unwind in the shade and watch the stunning sunset after a day of fun and enjoyment. Situated within a picturesque cove this beautiful beach is a beach haven of relaxation and peacefulness.

Unspoiled secluded reatreat

The dazzling beaches of Mikres & Megales Poles can be reached either by boat or foot. Nestled in the unspoiled landscape with the emerald waters these striking beaches offer a remote heaven of serenity for relaxing summer escapes. There are no facilities available nearby so visitors need to make sure to bring all necessities along. During the weekends the beaches of Mikres & Megales Poles can be overcrowded.

Picturesque beach heaven

Pisses beach is a favorable beach retreat due to its crystal clear blue waters, the gorgeous landscape, the golden sand and its historical interest. It is a family friendly beach ideal for water sports, swimming and snorkeling. A tavern nearby offers scrumptious specialties and it is the only place in Kea offering a totally organized camping site. This beautiful beach is affected by summer winds and that’s why it is the perfect place for windsurfing adventures.

Heavenly beach retreat

Nuzzled in a gorgeous picturesque landscape with verdant valleys, trees and wild flowers this beautiful beach offers a serene escape for relaxing days in the sun. Visitors can swim into the sapphire waters of the sea, partake in windsurfing adventures, lie on the beach or stroll around the narrow paths winding through nature. In close proximity to the beach swimmers will find all kinds of accommodation, taverns, restaurants and cafes as well as organized camping facilities.

Secluced beach haven of serenity

Encircled by beautiful mountains and cliffs overhanging the sea this enchanting beach offers a beach heaven of serenity and calmness. Nuzzled in a secluded bay with clear blue waters and green trees Kampi beach offers the perfect beach escape for travelers seeking a remote summer paradise. This curved beach with the golden sand and the sandy sea bed attracts tourists, locals as well as naturists. The region offers smooth tracks through the pristine nature for relaxing walks and hiking adventures.

Private beach Hideaway

Utterly secluded this stunningly beautiful beach emits the vibe of a private island paradise with clear blue waters, fine sand and steep natural rocks for refreshing dives. Visitors can enjoy a reinvigorating swim, bask in the sun or explore the magical sea bed in complete privacy and peacefulness. Lygia beach is totally unorganized so swimmers must arrange to bring along necessities in order to enjoy a day at the beach.

Secret beach paradise

Nestled in the uncanny landscape this enchanting beach is a secret paradise for those who seek tranquility and privacy. The picturesque environment, the steep rocks dotted with bushes, the golden sand, the transparent emerald waters and acorn trees create a blissful ambiance for moments of complete relaxation. Liparo beach is ideal for swimmers seeking peacefulness so as to enjoy a refreshing swim in total privacy.

Favorable beach retreat
Location:Saint Emilianos

Successive to that of Koundouros, Agios Emilianos beach is a long beach with golden sand attracting many visitors throughout the summer months. Its crystalline azure waters invite swimmers for refreshing dives and snorkeling adventures. Many taverns, cafes and restaurants nearby offer swimmers mouthwatering specialties and ice cold drinks to quench their thirst. Agios Emilianos is a favorable beach retreat for tourists and locals alike.

Popular beach resort

Koundouros beach is the second most cosmopolitan beach of the island exuding the typical Cycladic vibe. It is a popular beach resort with many yachts, picturesque wind mills, some taverns, a beach bar, a sea front café-restaurant and it is dotted with sun beds and umbrellas. Protected from northern winds it attracts many visitors during the summer months and yet retains its calm atmosphere. Koundouros beach is a long sandy beach with crystalline emerald waters ideal for fun filled moments of enjoyment

Remote beach paradise

Nuzzled amidst picturesque surroundings this beautiful beach with the golden sand, the fine pebbles and the deep clean waters is a remote beach paradise for unforgattable beach days. Visitors can swim into the crystal clear waters, lie on the soft sand and bask in the sun or unwind under the shade of the straw umbrellas. Xyla beach is a remote beach paradise attracting all kinds of visitors including naturists who favor this beach because of its unique atmosphere of peace and privacy.

Unspoiled beach Hideaway

Enveloped by the pristine Cycladic landscape this small remote beach stands out for its cerulean crystalline waters and its sandy bottom. Ideal for swimming and relaxing under the sun Kalydonychi beach remains quiet even during the high summer season. This sand and pebble beach is completely unorganized therefore swimmers must arrange for all necessities when visiting. Kalydonychi beach is an unspoiled beach hideaway for tranquil summer escapes.Sandy Bottom
Cycladic landscape
Cerulean Waters

Isolated beach paradise

Beautifully isolated this stunning unspoiled beach is ideal for swimming, diving and snorkeling. The long stretches of sand & pebbles, the rich sea bed and sapphire waters create a scenic landscape for relaxing escapes. Visitors can lay on the beach and embrace the sun, swim through caves and dive into the deep cerulean waters from Mytakas rock. This striking beach is completely unorganized offering the peace and tranquility of a coastal paradise.

Tranquil beach haven

Embraced by the arid coastal scenery this gorgeous beach with the bright sand and the transparent emerald waters is a beach haven of relaxation and serenity. The tamarisk trees that envelope the beach offer abundant shade to swimmers who can relax under the shade, dive into the shimmering waters of the sea or enjoy an iced coffee at the café and Mediterranean delicacies at the sea front restaurant nearby. Spathi beach lies in an utterly unspoiled bay and remains quiet even during the high season.


Local Specialties & Recipes

A delicious dish made with the fat of meat, steaks or pancetta, tomatoes, butter, eggs and herbs. The meat is cooked in the fat or butter (with the steaks the fat is used while with the pancetta only the butter as its meat is by itself very fatty) and as soon as it takes a reddish colour, the tomatoes, some sugar, salt, pepper and thyme are added. A while before the food is ready the eggs are added in the frying pan so that they are cooked altogether. This dish used to be a traditional Sunday or holiday dish.

Pie with tsigara

Tsigara are a traditional meat product of Kea and they consist in pieces of meat with fat (“glina” in Greek). The locals make a fine pie with those tsigara, actually creating dough like for bread, and mixing in it the pieces of meat. The result is a very distinctive loaf of bread with pieces of the fatty meat baked within.

Rice with aubergines

This is in reality a red risotto with aubergines and various aromatic herbs. The aubergines are cut into small pieces and then slightly fried with onions, garlic, olive oil, tomato sauce and parsley.  About 20 minutes before the mixture is ready the rice is added along with some water and all boil together. A quite “summery” dish; besides aubergines are among the top ingredients for most Greek summer dishes!

Fish baked in the oven

This dish is made with small fish which are covered with round slices of onion and baked in the oven with olive oil, lemon juice and some rosemary. A quick, nutritious and light meal!

“Dark-skinned” Amigdalota

A special version of the typical amigdalota (sweets made with grated almonds) with dark colour (“dark-skinned” in Greek is “melaxrina”). The preparation is approximately the same only cocoa is added to give its dark colour. The almonds are grated and smashed till they become almost powder. Then the cocoa and some grated rusks are added and blended altogether. The mastic liquor comes next to make the mixture soft and “kneadable”. The mixture is well kneaded till it gets as solid as it needs in order for the small balls to be shaped. They are then dipped in sugar and the dessert is ready!

Loza or Lotza

A typical Cycladic “mezes” made with salted meat. The pieces of meat are added in a pan with thick, sea salt and red wine for almost a day. Then some spices, herbs and lots of pepper are added. The meat is then inserted in an intestine (just like sausages are made) which has been well rinsed with warm, red wine. As soon as it is ready, the edges are sawed and the “sausage” is hanged above a fire of fig and pear tree woods for 2 days. It is then hanged in open air for a week so that it dries up and it is ready for consumption along with some tomatoes, cheese and wine! Loza can be preserved for a year in a chilled environment or in the fridge.


This is one of the most delicious and typical Greek dishes and it is made with pasta, lobster, lots of tomatoes and some tomato sauce and various herbs and aromatics. If you have not tried yet, do so in Kea!

Kokoras Krasatos

Again a typical Greek dish made with rooster boiled and baked in lots of wine and tomato sauce accompanied by pasta that has been partly baked within the sauce from the rooster. So traditional and so delicious!

Local Products
Local Products

As in all other Cycladic islands in Greece all local products of Kea are of exceptional flavor and of great nutritional value. Some of the traditional products of Kea (Tzia) are described in the local specialties section, as their preparation is in fact a ritual!

Apart from those delicious food delights like loza or the “dark-skinned” amigdalota, find below a list with some of Kea’s best local products:

Kea Events

When it comes to events and festivals, Kea equally competes the rest of the Greek islands and mainland too. With a great number of religious or non-religious celebrations, especially during summer, visitors will sure find their days full with events!

Find below an indicative list of the main Kea events, not to be missed!

Cycladia Tips
Cycladia Tips for Kea

Although Tzia is an island with many natural springs and running water, it is surprisingly of no good quality so it is advised to drink bottled water and avoid ice cubes in your drinks.

Also, Kea offers a spectacular landscape with numerous walking and hiking routes ideal for nature lovers.
Various tips for the best Kea vacations

Shops & Galleries
Shopping in Kea

The best places to go shopping in Kea are Ioulida (Hora), Vourkari and Livadi. Find below some of the most remarkable shops and galleries on Kea.

Art S.A.
An art gallery based in Vourkari with distinctive pieces of art created by local and other talented Greek artists.
Vourkaki, kea
Tel.: +30 22880 21458

Emmanuella’s boutique
A charming boutique featuring women clothing and collections of famous designers.
Vourkari, Kea
Tel.: +30 22880 21588

A sweet shop renowned for its macaroon and chocolates.
Korissia, Kea

Aristeos Traditional products
A traditional convenient store with local products and delicacies.
Mylopotamos, Kea
Tel.: +30 22880 21345