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Beaches in Kea

Beach at Korissia, KeaKea has been blessed with a number of beautiful beaches, almost all of them in sheltered coves though not all of them accessible by car or public transport. Most people who come to Kea bring a car or rent one on the island and to go to the furthest beaches you will need at least a car if not a jeep. But even if you don't have a car you can still get to several of the beaches by public bus if you are staying in Ioulida (Hora). Plus there are rooms and hotels at many of the beaches too. The way some older people go to some of the beaches is by calling the taxi and arranging to be dropped off and then arranging a time to be picked up though now in the age of cell phones all you need to do is get their numbers and phone them when you are ready to leave. But if you plan to go to one of the more distant beaches like Orkos, Sikaminia, or Spathi, make sure when they drop you off there is a signal or it is a long walk back to town.

Otzias

Otzias Beach, KeaThe beach at Otzias is in a sheltered almost round bay bordered with trees and extends about 700 meters, most of it sandy. In one part there is a shelf of rock that is fun if you snorkel. There is a small settlement on the east side of the bay and a couple tavernas. On the west side of the bay there are a few trees, and a couple benches below a small church, and people who want to get away from the crowds come here, mostly locals but often, you may have the place to yourself even when the east side of the beach is full. During the high season there are wind-surfers and paddle boats can be rented too. The bay itself was a port in classical times and the ruins of some harbor facilities can still be seen. A mile or so beyond are the actual mines in the area called Tripospilies and a few kilometers further is the monastery of Kastriani. The small restaurant called Taverna Otzias is a very nice fish restaurant and has a great selection of vegetable dishes and meat. Anna's Restaurant is just up the hill and has been very popular with the locals for years.

Otzias Beach, KeaThe lanes and paths around Otzias are great for exploring and there are several small churches to visit if you get bored with sitting on the beach. The owners of the Taverna Otzias  have beach beds and umbrellas and serve drinks from the restaurant. There are rooms to rent here and the combination of the good food, great beaches and the fact that you can walk to the port of Voukari if you have to, make this one of the best place to stay on the island if you prefer being by the sea to being in the main village. One of the best walks starts at the Lion outside Ioulida and ends up in Otzias. Anemousa Apartments offers self-catering accommodation with free Wi-Fi and a swimming pool with bar and free sunbeds amidst its lush gardens. Just across the road Holiday Rooms offers self-catered accommodation with free Wi-fi but no pool. Not that you need a pool. Otzias is a beautiful beach. The closest hotel to the beach is Cavo Perlevos Apartments, also a nice place to stay, which is actually just across the small beach road from the sea. If you are a family with young children and are happy with an area that is not really a town with shops and you can get by on two tavernas (both good), and a periptero (kiosk to buy cigarettes, water, soda and stuff) then you will be very happy spending your holiday here with or without a car. But with a car you will be able to visit the other beaches and come back to your own.

Gialiskari

 Kea, Galiaskari beach Gialiskari is the most popular beach on Kea, particularly with the inhabitants of Ioullis and the weekenders who come from Athens. Though the beach is small they pack in here on weekends and in August and the cafe bar is as close as Kea gets to having a 'beach scene' like the popular islands of the Cyclades. The cafe, which used to be a little hole-in-the-wall snack bar has developed into a fully stocked beach bar with a very nice menu of salads and pastas. They also serve fruit juices that are like smoothies and of course they have great coffee. For hanging out and people-watching this is your best bet and it is only a 15 minute walk in either direction to the taverna at the sailboat harbor of Voukari or in the main port of Korrissia. There is a small forest here with plenty of shade and for snorkelers it is a safe place to explore the coast. The beach is in a cove within the large bay of Korissia and so unless the weather is extreme the sea is calm. Plenty of kids around and the teenagers make this their prime summer hangout so sometimes the music in the cafe can get on your nerves if you are a child of the sixties like me. But just when you think you can't stand it they surprise you with an old favorite and your faith in the future of humanity is restored. Like most beach bars it can get kind of loud but after awhile you don't even hear it anymore. Anyway if you go to the far end of the beach you can barely hear it and if you are there on a day when there are few people they may even take requests. The Red Tractor Guest House and the Hotel Porto Kea are both within easy walking distance of Gialiskari.

Korissia

Korissia Beach, KeaThe shape and size of Kea's harbor are responsible for the beach in Korissia or Livadi, being one of the best places to swim on the northern side of the island. It is a long sandy beach that begins in the town and ends at a small white church on a hill that overlooks the bay. At one end is the Hotel Karthea which is right in the port, an apartment style hotel that looks out of place among all the smaller houses and buildings. At the other end of the beach are the Red Tractor Guest House and the Hotel Porto Kea, the former up a small road from the beach and the latter right on the beach. There is a small cafe-bar called Ammos that has beach chairs, sun beds and umbrellas, yours for the day for the cost of a coffee or a beer which you get to drink too. They have a dive center at the bar for people to go scuba or snorkeling, and right next door is a small gym with an exercise room with all sorts of equipment. If you are in Kea without a car and you want to swim every day then staying in Korissia is a good choice. Of all the beaches on the island it is a notch below some of the others, but if you don't go to the others then you will probably think this is a wonderful beach. Plus the convenience of being close to all the shops, tavernas, cafes and the nightlife adds points to the beach at Korissia. The photo I used at the top of this page is from this beach. Also there are flat rocks along the coast just past the church where many people swim and sunbathe and it is a good place for snorkeling too.

Pisses

 Kea, Pisses beach The beach at Pisses, despite the name is very clean and is considered the best by many people, including my friends at Lonely Planet but that is only if you have not gone to any of the beaches on the east side of the island.  Located about 11 kilometers from Ioulis the trip there is reason enough to go because you pass through some of the most beautiful topography in the Cyclades. The beach itself is in a valley of fruit trees, cypress trees and flowers as well as farms. There are rooms to rent here and Pisses is also the location of Camping Kea run by the enterprising Nick Politis who has created a paradise for backpackers where they can pitch their tents under trees and have use of the sites many facilties including a laundry, cafe, bar, showers and foodstore (Tel. 22880-31302).

Pisses Beach, KeaPisses was also the location of Ancient Poiessa and the ruins of the ancient city sit on top of a mountain that is the southern boundary of the valley. On the acropolis of ancient Poiessa is the temple to Apollo and the church of the Panagia Sotira which has many fragments of ancient marble sculpture within its walls. When the Meltemi blows the sea can be rough but when it is calm it is smooth and excellent for snorkeling and is full of children in the summer. Probably the best place for a late-afternoon or early-evening swim because of it's location facing the setting sun. We usually ate at the taverna of the Akroyiali, owned by a woman named Panayota who used to live in New Jersey and was a great cook. It closed and the new owners are Italian and the food is good. The other taverna is still going strong and has good food too. If you are looking for a return to the sixties and seventies when people stayed in areas like this because there were no apartment-style hotels spread along the beaches as there are now on the popular islands, then Pisses is the place to stay. You can take long walks in the valley, or even walk to the Psistaria (grill house) up the road, for your entertainment and exercise. Besides the Camping Kea there is also Yiannis Rooms which are about a 10 minute walk to the sea.

Koundouros

 Kea, Koundouros Koundouros is an area of many small sandy beaches which follow the coast beyond Pisses. During the weekends many yachts from the mainland come here. This is also the location of Kea Beach, an 80 room resort built in the sixties that was popular with Italian tourists but unknown to just about everyone else. The hotel had a bar, restaurant, disco and a swimming pool. Rumor has it that the original hotel was built during the junta and the owner left with the money and the building only half completed. To save the project they built bungalows around the original incomplete hotel, some of which looked like windmills, and at one time when there was a flying dolphin from Pireaus, it actually stopped here. Now it is closed after having been encased in stone. It is a massive monument to greed and avarice and worth a visit.

Koundouros BayThere are many million dollar mansions surrounding the beaches of Koundoros, with swimming pools and terraced landscaped properties with spectacular views of the various construction sites which have grown quiet during the crisis. But there are some really nice beaches in the area and some of the clearest blue water I have seen. There is a cafe-bar/restaurant at the first beach too which is so packed in the summer it is difficult to drive past the cars lining the side of the road, to reach the better, less popular beaches which are further down the road. But you have a nice choice. You can go for the sun-bedded-beach-cafe-umbrella type beach or keep driving where each successive cove has fewer and fewer people. Swimming off the rocks near the original tourist settlement, which have now been sold to private owners is nice too and there is a restaurant called Cavo Punto on the rocks overlooking the sea.

Kampi

Kampi Beach, KeaFurther along the coast  from Koundouros are the beaches of Kambi with its acorn trees and the Vathirrema Gorge which ends up at the beautiful remote beach of Liparo. Kampi is a small cove with a few houses clustered around it and a bunch of million-dollar villas rising up from the other side where their inhabitants find it easier to take a helicopter into Athens than they do driving to Hora. There is a rocky shelf that is nice for snorkeling and the rest of the beach is sandy and there are some shade trees and umbrellas too. Just above the beach, up some steps is the Kampi Taverna which has lots of salads, appetisers and some oven dishes, and the restaurant has a nice breeze, a nice view of the sea and is run by a very nice family serving some of the most authentic food on Kea. Most people don't come this far and you will probably pass through a gauntlet of parked cars at the beach in Koundouros where people can lay on beach beds and order drinks. But with each successive cove there are less people and on Kampi even on a Sunday there should not be more than a dozen or so spread out.

Karthea and Mikres Poles

 Kea, ancient Karthea The trip to the beach at Mikres Poles and Ancient Karthea is not for the faint hearted. But I am not the most enthusiastic hiker on the planet and I did it so you can too. The journey begins just beyond the village of Agios Nikolaos where you park your car and begin the walk through the ravine that eventually leads you to a small white church and two fantastic beaches. In between are the ruins of the ancient city. But getting there is one thing. Getting back is another because as an student of physics knows what goes down must go up and the walk down which takes an hour and a half is a breeze compared to the journey back. The sea can be pretty rough during the periods when there are northeast winds, so choose your day carefully. Any islander can tell you when any beach will have calm seas. In the ruins of ancient Karthea are the remains of a temple to Athena and another temple that was dedicated to Apollo. You can still see the fortified walls and the ancient gates. There are the ruins of an ancient theater of which 20rows of seats have been exposed.

Megales Poles Beach, KeaThe second beach you come to is called Megales Poles and it is from here that the ancient road to Ioulis, fragments of which still exist, began. I have snorkeled here and it almost seems like the gigantic stones that lay just beneath the surface are parts of docks or submerged buildings from the ancient city. For all I know they may be. If you don't want to walk to Karthea and back you can contact Kostis Marulis and he can probably take you in his boat, Soultana. In fact this is a great way to explore the island and visit the hidden bays and beaches that only the people with boats know about. You can also drive to a series of beaches in the area called Kaliskia and from there walk over the hill to Karthea. But probably when you see the path that goes down the hill you will change your mind and turn around and go back to one of the small beaches you passed on the way which are beautiful and wonderful for snorkeling. But unless you came with a jeep you probably won't make it back. One section is very steep, not even a road really.

Orkos

Kea Orchos beach The beach at Orkos has no tavernas and because of the length of the terrifying road you have to travel on to reach it, is usually empty of people. But if you have a jeep, a motorbike that is already beaten up, a rental car, or money for a round-trip taxi ride, the beach is well worth the visit, especially if you are looking for that perfect secluded and romantic beach that many people have in mind when they come to Greece. Of course there is a small possibility that when you get there you will find other like-minded people there, but chances are that unless it is the weekend or August you should have the place to yourself for a good portion of the day unless I am there, which I often am. Make sure you bring a couple bottles of water and something to eat.

Orkos Beach, KeaIf you have a mask and snorkle and flippers be sure to bring them with you because these are the clear blue waters you have been dreaming about when you began planning your trip to Greece. There are also straw umbrellas on the beach and several trees so you can get out of the sun and even a large concrete picnic table. There are a few houses that have been built as summer residences on the beach itself and along the way. Two people on a small motorbike (papaki) can actually make down here though plan on using your brakes a lot. The problem is that only one of you may be able to make it back because certain spots are pretty steep so best plan on one papaki per person or a car. Actually I am overstating the degree of difficulty of coming here because the road is now paved all the way. There is a turn off on the road to another remote beach called Psathi, at the bottom of a long valley on a road that will easily rip the bottom out of your car or bounce you from your papaki along the way. But the beach is the closest thing there is to a nudist beach, only because it is unlikely that anybody else will come there and if they do you will hear them coming.

Spathi and the Rest

Spathi Beach, Kea, Greece There are many more beaches on the island, some of which can only be reached by footpath, by jeep or by boat but so many of the roads have now been paved that beaches which were known only to the locals are being visited on weekends by the Athenians. Spathi now has a cafe-bar-restaurant that serves good food and coffee and there are beach beds and umbrellas too. Go on the weekdays and chances are good you can spend most of the day alone. The road there is a little harrowing but once you get there it is worth it. The cafe has a shower (made from a watering can) and even a lawn. A few years ago people were freaking out that there were even beach chairs here but the clamor has died down somewhat. Amazingly clear water, great for snorkeling along the rocks. It is at the bottom of a long fertile valley which is nice for walking. There are several bee-keepers in the area making the honey that Kea is famous for.

Beach in KeaSikaminia reminds me of Spathi, at least I used to always mix up the two and when I went to one it turns out that it was not the beach I thought I was going to. It has no cafe-bar (yet) but it does have a small forest for shade and some wooden cable spools that make a decent table for a picnic. The beach at Xyla is a large double bay that you get to on a road that goes out the back of Korissia which you will probably never find. But if you meet somebody nice who lives on the island they may take you. If you find the road that goes southeast from Milopotamos and take it to the dirt road that continues you can go to two beautiful remote beaches on either side of a small settlement, called Kalogiros and Vroskopos. There is also a path that leads from the Kastriani Monastery to a small beach below. But like Karthea it is quite a hike back up the mountain and there are a lot of beaches you can visit before you need to come here. There are a couple very small sheltered beaches that you can reach by footpath off the roads to both Spathi and Orkos. Finding the path is the tricky part so don't come in flip-flops. Wear decent walking shoes or go to a beach you can drive to.

Kaliskia, KeaThe Guidebook called Kea: History-Sightseeing has a map with roads and footpaths and instructions on how to find these beaches and other interesting places in the interior of the island. What you really need though is the big fold out map that has all the roads and paths and that is your best tool for finding these remote beaches.

As I mentioned before on the Korissia page, the beach at Gialiaskari is reachable by bus and you can get to most of the other beaches by bus or taxi as long as they have roads leading to them. The buses don't do their regular beach service between Otzia, Galiaskari and Pisses until sometime in late June and they usually stop at the end of August.

Soultana, KeaWhen the wind is blowing your best bet is Gialiaskari or Korissia since they are in the bay, but depending upon which way it blows you can always find calm water somewhere on the island except on those ultra-rare occasions when the wind is blowing from all directions at once.

If you have come on a boat take a day or so to explore the coast and you can get to many beaches that nobody on land can reach and you are certain to have all the privacy you want (except on weekends in August when you may not find a parking space in the bay.) And if you don't have a boat you can contact Kostis Marulis for a leisurely cruise on a traditional caique with a picnic lunch at one of the many coves and beaches that I have not even mentioned yet because he knows about them and I don't. Be sure to bring your mask, snorkel and flippers too. Kea Divers also organizes scuba and snorkeling trips around the island.

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