Kea sailing holidays

The island of Kea - Κέα or Tzia - Τζια, the most westerly of the larger Cyclades, lies some 12 nm south-east of Cape Sounion. The island's agriculture and the traditional harvesting of acorns for use in tanning have declined as a result of emigration.

There is a certain amount of tourist traffic from the Greek mainland, and Atheneans can double the population in the weekends, mainly with motor yachts.

The famous grinning lion – carved from the native rock in the 6th c. BCE – can be seen just north-east of Ioulis (Kea town or Chora); see image and description below.

Sailing yacht anchored in Poleis bay on the SE of Kea, with in the foreground the Sanctuary of Apollo of the ancient city of Karthaia.
Sailing map of Kea, Cyclades - Yacht charters in Greece
Kea island sailing map; ports and anchorages

Next island: Kythnos ↓

Kea island ports & anchorages

Clockwise ↻

Ay Nikolaos  (Korissia & Vourkari)

The natural harbour of Ayios Nikolaos - Άγιος Νικόλαος was a pirate stronghold in the 13th c. On the south side is the little port of Korissia - Κορησσία, also known as Livadi, built on the side of ancient Koressia. There are remains of the ancient town walls and a Sanctuary of Apollo. This is the ferry port of Kea; holding can be suspicious; rocks / stones protruding; in the strongest NE Meltemi both the swell and gust can make it untenable.

The Kouros (statue of a youth) of Kea (530 BCE) which was found at Korissia is now in the National Archaeological Museum in Athens.

From here you can visit the scenic capital of Kea: Chora / Ioulida / Ioulis  , remains of a medieval castle (13th c.) and the Archaeological Museum.  

Vourkari bay anchorage and quay in the north of the encompassing St Nikolaos bay, Kea island.

North of Korissia, at the seaside resort of Vourkari - Βουρκάρι stands the little Church of St Irini, amid the remains of a strongly fortified ancient city (3rd millenium BCE – 3rd c. CE), including the oldest temple found in Greece. (15th c. BCE). The quay is a lee shore in the prevailing winds; more mud than sand but the seabed is steep (and shallow near the quay); use maximum chain.

In strong northerlies you can relocate to the “Old Coal Warehouses”, as far in the NW corner as possible Lat Long near or at the rectangular pier (2 useful bollards), GWP rather suggests east of the no-anchoring zone (we don't agree).


Otzias - Οτζιάς is a lovely inlet at the north tip of Kea – just east of Cape Pervelos – open to N – NNE winds and a reliable anchorage even in stronger southerlies.
There is a small cove on the west shore; anchor in 4 – 5 m Lat Long
Taverna “Otzias Kouzina” on the beach with a view, through the Tamarisk trees, to your yacht.

To the west are remains of a Neolithic settlement (Kephala) dated 4000 – 2800 BCE and closer to Otzias you can visit the Trypospilies, the ancient mine workings.

In the north-east of the island is the Monastery of Panayia Kastriani, 18th c. with beautiful views.

The, seemingly jocund Lion of Kea is a unique Archaic (probably 6th c. BCE) sculpture chiseled out of a single piece of local limestone.


Spathi - Σπαθί bay offers an attractive and bustling beach under Cape Spathi and excellent shelter in NW – N Meltemi winds. Anchor close to the north rocky coast in sand with patches of weed (in the deeper end). There is a trendy lounge-bar ashore.
Directly north of Cape Spathi is a smaller cove   suitable in S – NW winds, good snorkeling Lat Long

Polais / Poleis

A major highlight is the lonely bay of Polais - Πολαις, where you can visit the massive terrace walls of ancient Karthaia – hence the name Poleis; city – and on the lowest of the terraces are the foundations of a Doric Temple of Apollo, recent restorations in 2017 and currently excavated.

Sailing holidays Cyclades, Kea island, Greece
The restored Temple of Athena situated on the Acropolis of ancient Karthaia / Karthea above Poleis bay with Kythnos in the distance. Hi-res image

On a 6 m long block in the polygonal walls of the terrace above this, is an ancient inscription and on a still higher terrace are the fountation of yet another temple. Higher still again are the walls of the upper town and remains of buildings.
See interactive aerial map

In this secluded anchorage we bore the brunt of a 45+ knots Meltemi storm with an anchor well dug in behind the short beach Lat Long

Kavia / Koundouros

The anchorage of Kavia / Koundouros - Καβια / Κούνδουρος is perfect for NW – ESE winds. Anchor in 4 – 7 m sand / weed, mind the rocky slabs closer to the coast; fierce gusts possible from the north-east; the east and north coves are preferred Lat Long
Enjoyable taverna “Porto Koundouros” on a nice beach.
The bay is popular with Atheneans and their motor yachts  .

Danger: Koundouros reef ~300 m out and just below sealevel + shoals extending from Cape Makryopounta.  



Pisses - Ποίσσες is often delightfully quiet, yet also open to all westerlies Lat Long Relocate to Vroskopos if necessary. From the straight beach begins a lush and green valley (before the August heat) and there are meagre visible remnants of ancient Poiessa; tavernas ashore.

Between Pisses and Kea Chora is the abandoned Monastery of Ayia Marina, near which is the well-preserved Tower of Ayia Marina a free-standing and five-storeyed square defense tower 10 by 10 metres and around 20 metres high, 4th c. BCE.

St Spiridona
A grin?


Vroskopos - Βροσκοπος is a tight anchorage where you can take a line ashore. Safe in all but SW-S winds, anchor in 6 m; marvellous shelter from NE Meltemi winds Lat Long

History of Kea

Originally settled by Dryopes from Evia and later by Ionians, the island was known in antiquity as Keos and was a tetrapolis – a state comprising the four cities of Ioulis, Karthaia, Koressia and Poiessa.

The chief place on the island, Kea (Chora or modern Ioulis) lies at on the site of ancient Ioulis, of which there are some remains within the medieval Kastro (1210). Ioulis was the home of two notable poets, Simonides and his nephew Bakchylides (6th-5th c. BCE).

The Athens' Alimos Marina, and the islands of Paros and Mykonos are the most convenient yacht charter bases to start your sailing holiday and visit Kea and the other northern Cycladic islands.

The picturesque Chora in the middle of Kea island is also known as Ioulis - Ιουλίς. Even the affluent Atheneans with their second house here have to leave there cars at the entrance. Originally an artistic ambience, it now – in a sense – resembles what Hydra was or Spetses has become.