Tours of Kea by Kostis Marulis
"In April, the Mediterranean Garden Society
arranged a three-day excursion to Kea, a Cycladic island
only a 75 minute ferryboat trip from Lavrion (a 1-hour drive from Athens).
Sixteen members participated and Kea surprised more than a few of us. Usually
visited during the summer months, we’d thought of it as a dry, rocky island
where the wind blows endlessly. What a pleasant surprise, therefore, Kea turned
out to be with its abundant wild flowers, delightful walks, verdant valleys,
ancient sites, beautiful old stone walls . . . and no wind!
We were particularly fortunate in having the participation of Kostis
Marulis, who, as a resident of the island well versed in its folklore, history,
agriculture, archaeology and old pathways (kalderimia), guided us to
Karthaia and Milopotamos and answered countless questions."
Mediterranean Garden Society
mountainous interior of Kea has a varied landscape: Springs, watermills, shaded valleys, and the only oak
forest of the Cycladic islands. Oak trees have been a feature of the landscape
since ancient times. The particular oak of Kea is the quercus aegilops ,
or Valonia oak. Perhaps less regal than the massive oaks of England or France,
this oak survives the long periods of draught and its acorn has a particularly
large cup which was very useful since prior to the advent of industrial dyes,
the cup was used in the tanning industry as a black dye for leathers. At Kea,
the acorns were loaded on ships at the small bay of Kambi where one can still
see a few stone buildings used as custom offices and storerooms and now as summer
bungalows. With his mind’s eye, the
visitor can imagine the donkeys loaded with acorns, forming a long
line along the cobbled paths linking the interior of the island with the
is also one of the few islands where the ancient roads are still
intact and you can walk from one end of the island to the other
experiencing nature. Kea is awe-inspiring in spring but it
has something to offer whatever season you choose to visit. Kostis can still lead
you along these trails and through the valleys, and terraced hills of Kea. He leads walking and botanical tours along the ancient
paths of the island. The high spring season on Kea is late March but the wildflowers
continue through the spring and into summer.
Kostis has a degree in archaeology and can give guided tours to
the ancient city of Carthea, an archaeological treasure unknown
to but a few, as well as the other historical and archaeological
sites on the island.
can provide accommodation, transportation and even excursions to
remote beaches in
his caique Soultana, one of the most attractive small sailboats
in the Aegean. A better host you won't find, Kostis can teach you
the ancient art of bee-keeping, how to make spatholatho, (the ancient
cure for sword wounds), made from Saint John's Wort. There are few
people in Greece who know more about flowers, plants and herbs,
Kostis walking tours are not
only about walking. You will taste the food of the island in some
of the best restaurants and tavernas in the Cyclades, drink wine,
and get to know the locals in a way that you can when you have a
local as your host.
What are Kostis' Tours like?
See Kostis amazing photo technique
for capturing plant images in dramatic fashion
Read about his Spatholado,
an ancient remedy for sword wounds
interested in exploring KEA along the ancient trails can contact Kostis through Red Tractor Farms Guesthouse