People leaving from the Piraeus port for one of the islands forming the Cyclades archipelagos is obviously, a very common sight in Athens. These islands are well-known to any tourist or traveller and it is highly probable that a number of you have already heard about Santorini, Mykonos, or Paros. What is not as well-know is that only one island is not reachable from Piraeus’ port, Kea. Strangely enough Kea, or Tsia, in Greek, is the closest Cycladic island to Athens.
“So how do you I get to Kea, then?” you must think. Well, it is not so hard after all. The island is a good idea for a one-day-trip or weekend away so renting a car is ideal. Lavrio, the southern town from where ferry boats to Kea leave, is a one-hour drive from Athens’ centre, and only 30 minutes from the airport in case you’d want to leave right after landing. Once here you just have to catch the ferry boat and in a couple of hours, you’ll be in a very authentic location.
During the last decade tourism and hospitality facilities grew, along with their quality standards but without overtaking the sense of genuineness you can find here. Kea has started to be discovered by both national and international travelers and tourists quite recently and people in the island still say that they are in the process of being discovered. The discovery process began in the 1970s thanks to Greek artists and personalities living abroad, such as painter Alekos Fasianos, who “found out” this island and then told their circles about it. The stories of this heavenly island so close to the mainland quickly got to Athens’ yuppies who started investing in the island.
Kea has a rich history; many city-states developed here, and the island produced fine minds throughout the pre-Hellenistic period. It was fought for by the Byzantines and the Venetians, occupied by the Ottomans in 1527, even though they never fully settled, and then by Russian forces in the 18th Century. History leaves traces so the island is full of historical sites reflecting its eventful past.
Kea is one of the largest island in the Cyclades. There are loads of excellent beaches, many archaeological sites, amazing traditional Greek villages, and it is still being unveiled. Better go to have a look at the closest Cycladic island to Athens as soon as possible. The island stands out for its almost untouched nature: hiking and scuba-diving should be on your to-do list.
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