Island of life and art
Due to its proximity to Attica, Kea (also called “Tzia”) is an easily accessible beauty with a scenery variety: steep mountains, small fields, olive groves, vineyards, valleys, picturesque coves, exciting hiking trails and off-the-beaten-track beaches.
It is the northemmost island of the western Cyclades and the closest island to Attica, located only 16 miles from Lavrio, with which is connected with daily fairies. Access to Lavrio is easy and feasible, either via Attika Tollway towards Markopoulo, or via the coastal road Poseidonos Avenue and Athens-Sounion Avenue. The boat trip lasts just 1 hour. Kea has also ferry links with the ports of Kythnos and Syros.
The island, has the shape of a “droplet”, a total surface of 131 sq. Km., and a perimeter coast of 85 km. and it is the 6th in size Cycladic island, with about 2.500 residents.
On the island with the largest oak forest in the Cyclades, bird watching is a real delight. For those who are into geology, there are plenty of small caves. 36 km long cobbled trails will lead you to the four city-states of the ancient times: Ioulis, Karthaia, Koressia, Poiessa.
Situated in the centre of the island, at the site of the ancient city-state by the same name, the capital of Kιa (or Tziα), Ioulis, is a very picturesque town with ceramic-tile roofed houses, cobbled streets, arched passages, steps and squares.
Kea is one of the most visited islands for the aficionados of sailing, due to its proximity to the Attica land.
In Kea’s waters lies the wreck of the Britannic, sister ship to the Titanic, a favorite destination for diving enthusiasts.
Kea has a very rich history that is reflected in every corner of it until nowadays. Monuments, archeological sites, architectural sights and museums narrate the most fascinating episodes from the past of the island.
Its older name was “Hydroussa”. The name “Kea” derives from hero Ceos, the leader of the Locrian settlers from Nafpaktos who occupied the island in the ancient times.
The prehistoric settlement of Kefala, located in the homonymous cape in the northwestern coast of the island, was established during the Neolithic Period, around the end of the 4th millennium. The settlement of Aghia Irini in the northern part of Aghios Nikolaos bay was one of the most significant cultural centers in the Aegean Sea from the end ofhigh prosperity. In the archaic years (7th-6th century B.C.) four independent and economically and culturally powerful cities-states (Ioulida, Korissos, Karthaia and Poiiessa) were established, having a separate management structure but usually a unified presence in foreign policy.
In 1204, when the Franks conquered the Byzantine Empire, they named the island Zia, from where the current name of Tzia came. Since 1830, Kea, like all the Cyclades, was included in the newly established Greek state and began to develop agricultural, livestock and commercial activity. With the urban development of Athens in the 20th century, however, the population decreased significantly and gradually began to decline.