Chora (aka Ioulida)
Chora, located in the centre of the island, is built on the grounds of the ancient town Ioulida, capital of Kea from the late Roman to early Byzantine times. It's a charming little town with traditional clay tile-roofed houses, stone-paved streets, little terraces, galleries and a challenging number of stairs. Don’t miss two significant structures built by Ernst Ziller (a famous 19th c. architect), the new Town Hall and the Historic Municipal buildings. Also visit the Archaeological Museum of Kea near Chora's square, which showcases finds from archaeological sites around the island. Follow the delightful alleys to the path towards Otzias, where you will see the island’s landmark, the stone carved Lion (7th - 6th c. B.C.). See also Agia Marina Church, and the like-named tower (dated to the 4th c. BC), which stand next to each other.
As you reach Ioulida, make a point of stopping by the age-old plane tree and the marble fountain of Rokomenou. Admire the creations of the renowned Greek painter Alekos Fasianos, in an outdoor gallery at the main square and see the churches of Panagia Chrysospiliotissa, Evangelismos, Agios Spyridonas, Panagia Rematiani, Agios Dimitrios and Panagia Gamila.
Visit the 13th c. mediaeval castle.
The monastery of Agia Marina (founded in 1600) is located southwest of the capital, between the ancient city-states Ioulida and Poieessa. In its courtyard you’ll come across a five storey tower dating back to the 4th c. BC (Hellenistic times).
The monasteries of Episkopi (SE of Ioulida), of Agia Anna with its main church dating to the 13th c. (E of Ioulida), and of Dafni (W of Ioulida) stand out for their architectural style.
This is the port of Kea, also known as Livadi, a picturesque village on the island’s west side, where many shops, bars, cafes, restaurants and lovely sandy beaches await you (5.5 km NW of Ioulida).
Pay a visit to the site of the old Emaye factory (meaning enamel); you will see the imposing furnace chimney and the old machinery. It was established in 1927 and it produced household items. It also took commissions from the Greek Army.
Visit ancient Korissia which was built on two hills; you will see the remains of the upper and lower acropolis, as well the church of Agia Triada. An important discovery was made in the burial grounds of the area: Kouros of Kea - a 530 BC statue of a young adolescent male is one of the most significant finds in the area. Make a short stop by Flea Fountain, in Mylopotamos village, and enjoy its cool springwaters.
It’s a seaside village built on the hillside, with a nice view of the sea, located near Korιssia. It’s a popular destination, as its wharf gets quite busy in the summer with boats docking there. This is where you’ll find fish tavernas, art galleries, as well as bars & clubs to enjoy a night out! It’s a 7.5 km distance NW of Ioulida.
Opposite Vourkari, you can visit Agia Eirini peninsula, which was named after the picturesque country chapel located on the site. This is where you will find one of the earliest prehistoric human settlements in the Cyclades Islands. Numerous 15th c. BC statues were unearthed here.
Pass through Lampros Katsonis narrow pass, and walk up to the Lighthouse, at the tip of Agios Nikolaos promontory, which was built by the French Lighthouse Company; this was the first lighthouse to be lit in the Cyclades and the second one in the country.
This seaside hamlet stretches along the fine sandy beach, shaded by tamarisks, on the north part of the island. In the area of Kefalas headland, you can see the ruins of a settlement and burial grounds of the late Stone Age period (3300-3200 BC).
Pay a visit to Panagia Kastriani monastery, which was built on a steep rock, located 7km E of Otzias, and drink in the lovely panoramic view of the deep blue sea. Head towards Spathi sandy beach, located 8 km away from the monastery, and enjoy its warm shallow waters.
This is a picturesque seaside village built around a small cove with a beautiful sandy beach and crystal-clear waters; right next to it you’ll see a field of vegetable crops. You can visit the ruins of ancient Poiessa town there, which date to the 6th c. BC.
Continue your trip towards the west side of the island and you’ll reach Koundouros. The coastline includes beautiful little coves with small or larger sandy beaches. Some of them offer a number of amenities and one of them is blue-flagged. Apart from relaxing by the beach or swimming, you also enjoy water sports.
In the village, there are many old windmills, which have been renovated and turned into houses where people now live.
A number of events take place on Kea Island every year. The Fairy Tales festival is an event for all, as story-tellers from across the world come here to tell their fascinating stories and descriptions of imaginary places to those who love hearing them. There is also the Biosphere exhibition, where the history and character of Kea Island is depicted on photographic material, texts and maps. The theme of the exhibition differs each year, and it is popular with visitors and locals alike, as it is a valuable source of information on the island's traditions, customs, and practices.