For once I find myself a bit at odds with The Rough Guide to Greece. Perhaps the person who wrote the review had had a bad day, perhaps they’d just come straight from Santorini or perhaps they’d had a run-in with some of the staff at the National Bank of Toytown because I felt they were a tad harsh; ‘….Kea..would be an enticing destination for those who enjoy a rural ramble if the tourist infrastructure were not so poor.’
What did they want?
Granted, it helps to have a car to get around the island but you could manage without one because the island is small and there are taxis. There were tavernas, good fish restaurants, hotels, guest houses and practically everyone on the island was offering rooms. It’s a bit expensive but not by Athens prices and it’s only one hour from Athens but you’d never know it.
After having had three months of the brash, in-your-face, we-don’t-care attitude of the city Kea was a delight. Everyone, without exception was charming and welcoming. There were enough meandering lanes, men on donkeys and old ladies in black to keep the tourists happy. It’s brilliant for walking with well-marked paths and free maps available. We spent a morning wandering around the main town (really a village) and the local artist, who doubles as their eccentric, gave us a beautiful set of maps of the island for free. A couple of guys who were negotiating their van around a tight bend allowed us to get past and actually told us how welcome we were on the island. We walked and walked and walked and when we didn’t walk we ate.
If you’re a walker then you’ll love Kea. If you find yourself in Athens and have a couple of spare days and use of a car then you’d do well to spend a couple of days here. It’s not the prettiest island but neither is it going to win an ugly competition.