Traditional houses built on the hill in Kea


Cyclades, Greece

Kea is the closest Cycladic island to Athens. It’s a wonderful destination, perfect for relaxing vacation. On this Ferryhopper page you can find useful travel tips for the best beaches, villages, local dishes and sights on the island. Find ferry routes to Kea and book cheap ferry tickets online on Ferryhopper.

The colorful village of Ioulida in Kea

Colorful houses in Ioulida, the capital of Kea

Vacation in Kea

Kea (or Tzia) is a marvelous destination really close to Athens. It’s perfect for a short holiday or weekend break, to relax in the beautiful nature, visit picturesque villages and swim in magical beaches. You can recharge your batteries wandering around the alleys of Chora, diving in the blue Aegean Sea, exploring breathtaking caves and trying delicious local dishes at one of the tavernas

The island is famous for its paved alleys stretching through impressive forests to reach amazing secluded coves. Its lush vegetation distinguishes it from the rest of the Cyclades, as the island is home to numerous oak trees and is part of the Natura 2000 conservation network.

How to get to Kea

The best way to get to Kea is to catch the ferry from the port of Lavrion in Athens. The island is just 1 hour away and it’s the perfect destination if you’re short on time. You can also reach Kea from the port of Piraeus, but there are few direct ferry routes. Due to the island’s close distance to mainland Greece, many travelers visit by private yacht as well.

Beautiful picturesque house in Kea with vibrant colors

Traditional houses dressed in grapevines

What to do in Kea

In Kea you can have the ultimate laid-back trip! There are beautiful beaches with crystal-clear waters, remote coves with tall trees, amazing Prehistoric monuments and many traditional restaurants and coffee shops. You can go hiking through old oak forests and catch various cultural events, such as film and music festivals, particularly during the summer months.

Beaches in Kea

There are many beaches with crystal-clear waters in Kea. Most beaches are easily accessible and have visitor amenities, but there are also some remote ones if you’re in the mood for adventure! Here are some of the best beaches in Kea according to ferryhoppers:

  • Xyla: This is one of the most popular beaches in Kea. It's covered in golden sand and small pebbles, and it has deep blue waters. There are also umbrellas and sun loungers on the beach.
  • Sikamia: It is a magical beach with clear waters and large tamarisk trees for shade. It is accessible via a dirt road.
  • Pisses: The beach is by the village of Pisses and it has sand, tamarisk trees and crystal-clear waters. There are visitor amenities such as umbrellas, sun loungers and restaurants, and it’s a perfect spot to watch the sunset!
  • Otzias: This is a secluded wind-protected cove with clear waters. The beach is easily accessible and there are sun loungers and umbrellas.
  • Spathi: Spathi is a quiet sandy beach with turquoise waters. You can reach the beach via a dirt road.
  • Koundouros: It’s one of the busiest beaches in Kea. It is sandy with shallow emerald waters and there are umbrellas, sun loungers, waters sports facilities and a bar-restaurant.
  • Gialiskari: Gialiskari is a charming small beach with crystal-clear waters, a beach bar and some trees for shade.
  • Kambi: Kambi is a peaceful cove with majestic emerald waters and some trees. It’s located right next to a cute village and there is a taverna in the area.

Sikamia beach in Kea with impressive blue waters

The impressive waters of Sikamia beach

Activities and sightseeing in Kea

The rich history of Kea is visible in its many monuments and archeological sites. There are many buildings of exquisite architecture and age-old monuments dating back to Prehistory. You can explore the island hiking on beautiful trails through hillside villages, wild valleys and virgin forests. Here are some of the top attractions and activities in Kea:

  • Lion of Kea: impressive sculpture dating back to 600 BCE
  • Agia Marina Tower: ruins of a 20-meter stone tower from 400 BCE
  • Prehistoric settlement of Agia Irini: ruins of a Prehistoric settlement from the Early Cycladic era
  • Town Hall of Kea: municipal building designed by renowned architect Ernst Ziller
  • Archaeological Museum of Kea: findings from the Prehistoric sites excavated at Agia Irini and Kephala
  • Agricultural, Folklore and Cultural Museum of Kea: exhibitions and events celebrating the history and traditions of the island

As for hikes in Kea, Ferryhopper suggests:

  • Hiking from the village of Ioulida to the Stone Lion of Kea
  • Hiking to the archaeological site of Ancient Karthea

Tip: If you’re in Kea for more than a couple of days, we recommend that you visit the neighboring island of Makronisos, an uninhabited island of great historical importance.

Nightlife in Kea

Nights in Kea are all about relaxing vibes and easy-going entertainment. The most lively villages by night are Ioulis, Vourkari and Gialiskari. In the capital of the island there are tavernas, bars and restaurants, where you can enjoy a quiet evening. For dance bars and loud music, you can go to Vourkari and Gialiskari and enjoy a cocktail by the sea. There are also a few clubs playing international hits until the early morning hours, as well as kafeneia with live traditional music all over the island.

Tip: For a romantic evening under the starlit Greek sky, you can catch a film at the open-air cinema in Korissia.

Food in Kea

When in Kea, you should not miss out on the traditional cuisine of the island. There are many restaurants and tavernas, where you can taste local delicacies typical of the Cycladic tradition. Most restaurants are located in Korissia, Ioulida and Vourkari. Here are some of our favorite local products worth trying in Kea:

  • Honey
  • Ksinotiri: fresh sour cheese
  • Loza: smoked pork tenderloin
  • Sausages
  • Figs
  • Cherry tomatoes
  • Mavroudi: rich red wine
  • Spoon sweets
  • Herbs such as oregano, thyme and sage

Villages in Kea

Kea is an untouched island with few villages. Most permanent residents live in Ioulida, the island’s capital. Ioulida is a beautiful picturesque village with white houses and red tile roofs, which distinguishes it from the rest of the Cycladic villages. There’s also a medieval castle and many windmills creating a magnificent scenery. We recommend that you visit the following villages:

  • Ioulida
  • Vourkari
  • Korissia
  • Pisses
  • Otzias
  • Koundouros
  • Kato Meria

Ioulida, the island capital, built on the hillside

The quaint village of Ioulida built on the hill

Tips for the trip to Kea

  • It’s a good idea to fuel up in Athens, as gas stations in Kea tend to be more pricey.
  • You can reach Lavrion by public bus. Buses to the port of Lavrion depart from the Pedion tou Areos station in the city center of Athens, as well as from the airport.
  • There’s a gated parking lot at the port of Lavrion, where you can leave your vehicle if you don’t want to drive while on the island.
  • Here’s a comprehensive guide on the best experiences in Kea for first-time and committed visitors by Matt Barrett.

Useful information for Kea

Kea is a relatively large island perfect for exploration. Although the island is not particularly popular with international travelers, there are many visitor amenities, guaranteeing a smooth vacation. There are some hotels and villas, as well as a camping site in Pisses. In Korissia and Ioulida, you can find supermarkets, ATMs and banks. Most gas stations are located on the road from the port to Ioulida, where there’s also a regional medical center and a pharmacy.

Useful phone numbers for your stay in Kea

Find some useful numbers for your trip to Kea below:

  • Port Authority of Kea: +302288021344
  • Tourist Information Office: +302288021500
  • Police Station: +302288021100
  • Regional Medical Center of Kea: +302288022200
  • Municipality of Kea: +302288360000
  • Citizen Service Center (KEP): +302288021150

Beautiful sunset at the port of Korissia in Kea

Sunset at the port of Kea

Transportation in Kea

There are public buses and taxis on the island, but we suggest that you bring your own vehicle or rent one there for maximum comfort and flexibility. The central bus station is in Ioulida, where there are buses to most major attractions and villages. You can normally catch a taxi at the most popular sights and villages on the island or call a radio taxi service.

Ports in Kea

The port of Kea is in Korissia (also known as Coressia) on the northern part of the island. It’s a small port with various traveler amenities such as restaurants, car rentals, hotels, cafés, gas stations and a taxi rank. From the port of Kea you can catch a ferry to Lavrion in mainland Greece, as well as to other islands. The distance from the port of Kea to Ioulida is under 20 minutes by car.

Island hopping from Kea

Kea is in the northwestern part of the Cyclades and it’s regularly connected with several islands of the Aegean Sea. You can combine your holidays in Kea with an island-hopping trip to the neighboring islands. There are direct ferries from the port of Kea to:

  • Kythnos
  • Syros
  • Paros
  • Naxos
  • Milos
  • Folegandros
  • Ios
  • Sikinos
  • Kimolos

On Ferryhopper’s Map of ferries you can find all ferry routes from Kea to the Cyclades, to easily plan your trip in the Aegean Sea!

The Lion of Kea: a stone sculpture from 600 BCE

The Lion of Kea: an impressive sculpture dating back to the 6th century BCE

Kea ferry: schedules and tickets

You can easily reach the island of Kea from the port of Lavrion in Athens all year round. The Lavrion - Kea ferry route lasts approximately 1 hour and it’s a great choice for a short getaway!

There are also ferries from the port of Piraeus to Kea mainly during the summer. Not all sailings between Piraeus and Kea are direct, and you may have to board a second ferry in Kythnos or Syros.

Where to book ferry tickets online to Kea

Are you looking forward to swimming in the beautiful waters of Kea and exploring the untamed forests of the island? On Ferryhopper, you can book cheap ferry tickets to Kea in just 4 clicks. Compare ferry companies, find the best ferry schedules and plan the perfect trip!

Kea has direct ferry connections with 15 ports:

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