The Cyclades islands are among the most famous and visited of Greece. Picturesque islands, white villages perched on the mountains and culinary delicacies, ideal destination for those who want a relaxing holiday between solitary coves, crystal clear sea, bright-colored bougainvillea and archaeological sites.
The Cycladic archipelago consists of more than two hundred islands all bathed by the Aegean Sea and gathered in a circle (from the Greek kyklos) around the island of Delos.
The most important of these, however, can be counted on the palm of one hand and are the mundane Mykonos, the traditionalist Paros, the alternative Ios and Santorini, the island of lovers.
However, those who want to deviate from mass tourism, can opt for those less known locations and off the routes of tour operators, such as the Small Cyclades.
Among these, the island of Kea or Tzia as the Greeks alternately call it. An island of just 131 square kilometers and about 2500 inhabitants, which focuses on family friendly tourism.
This little paradise is a place of absolute relaxation, thanks also to the climate that for six months a year, from May to October, offers extraordinary days.
On the island there are some of the most beautiful beaches in the Mediterranean: deserted coves, one more beautiful than the other, some of which can only be reached on foot.
The sea that surrounds the island is very tempting for divers, given the presence of numerous wrecks, such as the HMHS Britannic, the sister ship of the Titanic, lying about 100 meters deep.
The architecture of Ioulis (from the locals called Chora), the island’s capital, differs greatly from the classical architecture of the Cyclades islands, proposing a small Mediterranean-style village with terracotta roofs and situated on top of a hill.
All over the territory there are scattered numerous ancient ruins, abandoned chapels, picturesque harbors and taverns full of charm.
Fans of mythology and ancient history should not miss an excursion to the ruins of the temple of Apollo in Karthaia, an archaeological site overlooking the blue opposite the island of Kythnos.
The island has numerous winding paths, ideal for trekking or long walks.
The four city-states of Korissia, Ioulis, Poieessa and Karthaia are part of a network of twelve marked treks over 80 kilometers long.
In any case, the most important activities are aquatic activities such as windsurfing, sailing, snorkeling and water skiing.
Even dives are very popular, but you have to pay attention to the underwater archaeological sites to which you can not approach, at least without a diving center agreement.
Even before the storytelling became a marketing tool, on the island of Kea they created the “The Fairy Tales Festival”, which is staged from July 22nd to 30th, proposing the best bishops and story-tellers of the whole Cyclades archipelago, who came to tell their stories to children of all ages, languages and countries.
Main ingredients of Greek cuisine are meat, yogurt, vegetables and cheeses. In particular, yogurt here has another consistency and another flavor compared to what is eaten in the rest of Europe and is often found combined with honey and fresh fruit cut into pieces.
Feta is also a particularly famous Greek cheese, ideal for flavoring a chioriatiki salad made with tomatoes, olives, peppers and onions and dressed with extra virgin olive oil.
Among the main dishes, the moussaka (aubergine flan, potatoes and meat sauce, covered with béchamel) and the souvlaki (grilled cooked meat) and cheese rolls coated with vine leaves. As for fish, it is cooked especially on grilled meat or fried.
For the desserts, well known and good are the baklavas, made of puff pastry coated with minced almonds and honey.
The island is home to the ancient lyric poets Simonis and Bacchilides, both living around the 5th and 4th centuries BC Simonide, in particular, inaugurated the second phase of the choral lyric and was known for his countercurrent spirit since he tried not to be influenced too much by the clients, or by local tyrannies.
The island of Kea has recently been discovered by tourism, so much so that many foreigners are starting to buy a small accommodation for their retreat. Among them, world-renowned architects such as Christos Vlachos and Ioannis Michalopoulos have made splendid residences there.