Idyllic Kea Island!
With the easing of the Covid-19 restrictions and being double vaccinated it was time to pack my suitcase and think about travelling again! Luckily for me, some of my best friends invited me to tag along for a city break on the island of Kea (called Tzia by most Greeks); the closest Cycladic island to the city of Athens that is characterized by its hilly landscape, crystal clear waters and sandy beaches.
We arrived on the island on a beautiful sunny day after an hour's ferry ride from the Port of Lavrio and headed directly to the Agrikea Farm Hotel; a country house with all the comforts of a boutique hotel with a private pool . . . that we ended up loving with its outstanding service and breakfast, sublime sunsets and views as well as the rather unusual attraction of visiting goats, family chickens and guinea fowls that roam freely around the property and try avoiding guests like me, who want to catch them in a fun photo!
After unpacking, chilled coffee and a truly informative chat with our charming host Harry, while savoring traditional homemade Greek cookies, we decided to check out some of the local beaches and ended up at the lovely Xila beach . . . after an adventurous road trip with several wrong turns on poorly maintained roads!
Thus, you can imagine how happy we were to arrive at the beach that turned out to be the perfect location for a dip in the sea followed by relaxation on luxury sunbeds that came with fresh towels, bottles of water in an ice bucket under a new beach umbrella at the cost of 16 euros per day for two persons.
Before heading back to our hotel we decided to stop at “The Stegi tou Stroggili” tavern in Korissia for a late lunch/early dinner that turned out to be a one of the best Greek meals I've had for a long time . . . a real treat and a culinary adventure . . . . as ones we had sampled Chef Dimitri’s top notch dishes together with sips of their deliciously fresh and correctly chilled white wine, we really didn’t want to eat anywhere else!!!
Just to get your taste buds drooling, on our first visit we tasted the Almira Salad, Pepper pie, Eggplant veggie dish, two lamb meat dishes with fries and a lemon mousse (on the house) for dessert . . . seen in the photos above and below!
On the second day on the island, following a refreshing swim and a yummy breakfast by the Agrikea hotel pool, we decided to visit the island’s capital, Ioulida or Ioulis with its Archeological Museum that houses locally excavated artifacts and The Lion of Ioulos (or Liontas), an ancient stone carving from some time prior to 600BC . . . that can be found a relatively short hike away!
Legend has it that once the island was home to nymphs whose beauty made the gods jealous so much so that they decided to send a lion to lay waste to the island. Instead of laying waste to the island, the island slowly prospered and today it’s become another jewel of the Cyclades . . . . especially for those who want to enjoy the Cycladic island atmosphere . . . away from its noisy and over-crowded siblings like Mykonos Santorini and Paros!
On our walk back from the Lion and before leaving Ioulos, I recommend stopping at the Panorama Café, like we did, where you can enjoy a refreshing beverages or coffee and indulge on yummy traditional sweets while gazing at the fantastic view.
I loved their fresh lemonade that they sweetened for me with a bit of honey and my friends decided on coffee and an oversized tasty Kataifi sweet . . . that kept us going until our next stop . . . which was Koundouros beach.
At Koundouros beach I felt I entered another world that I’m not sure I really like! Don’t take me wrong! The place offers comfy, modern and trendy facilities with many choices and well equipped sports facilities but I felt it didn’t fit the island’s raw beauty and atmosphere!
The reset smoothie I tried, made with cucumber, green apple, ginger and lemon was nice but a bit expensive when you consider the ingredients used in its making. One of my friends tried the Falafel which he said was nice but the rest of us, following the previous evening’s meal and delish breakfast decided to take it easy on the food and were happy with hour reset smoothies!
By the time we got back to the Agrikea hotel, it was getting late so our host suggested we join him for a Masticha sunset cocktail . . . which we did and enjoyed sipping it while admiring the beautiful colors of the sunset.
On our third day we decided to spend the morning at the Otzias sandy beach, swimming and taking in the sun before heading again for a late luncheon . . . to our favorite restaurant (To Steki tou Stroggili) for another delicious and unforgettable Greek meal with seafood specialties that included . . . Octopus with pickled veggies, steamed mussels, fried shrimp, grilled calamari with steamed greens and another portion of our favorite Almira salad. Again, everything was just perfectly cooked and divinely delicious!
In evening we walked around the small village of Vourkari in the bay of Aghios Nikolaos which was coming to life with yachts, sailboats and speedboats arriving with locals and tourists alike who were strolling around town and flocking to some of the many restaurants and bars . . . or checking out the little that is left of the prehistoric settlement of Agia Irini . . . that was destroyed in an earthquake around 1500BC.
What I loved the most about our visit to Vourkari was the magical sunset that was just mesmerizing . . . more than any words can describe! Don't you agree?
Until next time . . . that I hope will be sooner than later!
©KaritasM – July 2021