Arrival at Athens airport. Travel by public bus or metro to the city center in about 1 hour. Welcome to Athens: the birthplace of drama, democracy and philosophy. Though Athens is still suffering from the image of a city full of smog and cement, the changes before and after the 2004 Olympics have turned the city into a very enjoyable city. Athens is a city of contrasts: the cheapest souvlaki corner is next to the Roman Emperor Adrian’s Library and a Byzantine church next to Marks & Spencers. Above all this reigns the Acropolis with its Parthenon temple.
Time to explore the city during a first stroll.
In case you would like to visit the Acropolis museum, or visit the local food markets on Athinas street, we advise you to do so in the morning. Just take a light ‘koulouri’ half way the morning like the local Greeks do and start your hike & bite tour around 3 pm on Syntagma square where you see the changing of the guards on the hour. You walk through the National Gardens to the Olympic Stadium ‘Kalimarmaro’ where you may follow the audio-tour including a visit to the well-hidden catacombs. Then along the temple of Zeus to the rooftop restaurant of an excellent hotel for a cold starter whilst enjoying views on the Acropolis. Continue along the Dionysos theater and the Acropolis museum and ascend the sacred rock of the Acropolis. Descend into bustling Plaka for your hot starter in a typical traditional Greek tavern where you might try the Ouzo as well. A short stretch along the Roman and Greek Agora will lead you through the oldest parts of the city to the next eatery in Thission for your main dish in an excellent restaurant. For your desert you have to walk the final short stretch of this interesting city walk and come along the historic Kerameikos site to the restored gas factory where you will enjoy your desert. In this area you will find lots of trendy bars and cafes in case you still have energy to continue the day..
Your rental car will be delivered to your hotel in Athens and you drive a most scenic route along the coast via the cosmopolitan suburb of Glyfada and Cape Sounion to the port of Lavrio. You may plan a visit to the ancient temple of Poseidon at Cape Sounion, located on a mountain that juts out into the sea. The Doric temple dates back to the 5th century BC and is dedicated to the god of the sea, Poseidon. It is the last tip of the Attika peninsula one sees when setting sail to the islands.
A bit further you come to the port of Lavrio, a somehow forgotton town with a rich mining history that is now recovering really fast from a very difficult period. Nice taverns in the renewed marina with fresh fish: you get already the ‘island-feeling’. Your stay on Kea is most likely in the town Ioulida: the capital of the island. It is a very pretty village, built on the slopes of several mountains. At the entrance, people must leave their cars and inside the town life is pretty much the way it always has been.
Todays delightful classical walk takes you from the islands capital Ioulida to the lovely bay of Otzia. Shortly after leaving Ioulida behind, you come past the fascinating Lion, a ‘smiling’ lion carved out of a granite cliff about 600 BC. On many sections of this walk, you walk on old paved paths, kalderimi, in the old days the only road network on the islands, used by the people and their donkeys. Through a wide valley and along terraced hills you come to the deep bay of Otzia with its sandy beach and a couple of taverns (open summer season only). Travel back to Korissia or Ioulida by public bus (not in low season) or taxi.
Challenge: 2,5 hours, 7 km, 120m ascent, 380m descent
You drive to the south east of the island to the small hamlet of Stavroudaki from where you start your circular walk to the Ancient site of Karthaia. Especially in spring, from mid-March to end of April, beautiful spring flowers are stealing the show.
The walk descends via a beautiful kalderimi from the hamlet Chavouna. You pass the nice little church of Taxiarches and in about 1 hour you reach the ancient site of Karthaia located on the beach of Poles. This is a true oasis and probably you will be the only one on the beach, that is dominated by the temple of Athena dating back to the 5th century BC. There is also a theatre and you find remains of a temple dedicated to Apollo. It is a peaceful place and you can have your picnic in the shade of the chapel on the beach. The walk back to Stavroudaki is even better then the way down: a completely intact kalderimi that runs uphill via the left slope of a green river bed. You may go to the well of Vathipotamos before ascending further up to your car in Stavroudaki
Challenge: 2,5 hours, 8 km, 350m ascent, 350m descent
Todays walk is mostly downhill as you walk from the capital Ioulida to the port of Kea: Korissia. The first section is via a dirt road that runs through a wide valley to the chapel of Ag. Konstantinos. Here you enter the nice green valley of Milopotamos, where there you find remains of 11 water mills that made use of the water of the well of Flea, located upstream. The millstones were driven by a horizontally placed water wheel. Especially in spring time it is a marvelous place with the sound of murmering water. After the well of Flea you walk via a dirt track over the hill all the way to Korissia whilst enjoying great views.
Challenge: 4 hours, 11 km, 200m ascent, 450m descent
Via a beautiful kalderimi, a real archaeological heritage, you climb up to the summit ‘Profitis Ilias’ from where you can see most of the island, parts of Attiki, Makronisos island and the islands Evia and Andros. You have the possibility to make a short detour to the Monastery of Episkopi: a wonderful tranquil place where you can see the remains of an old tower and the impressive (but closed) church of the monastery. You can see that ancient contruction elements have been used in the church, indicating that once there was an antique temple on this spot. The hamlet of Ellinika is the turning point of today and you return via dirt roads and trails back to Ioulida.
Challenge: 5 hours, 14 km, 500m ascent, 500m descent
You travel per ferry to Lavrio port and drive to the nearby airport of Athens for your flight departure. Depending on your outbound flight, it might be necessary to travel back in the evening of day 7 and stay overnight in a hotel close to the airport, Sounion or Rafina.
The Acropolis Hill Hotel, which opened in 2010, is nestled in the serene green area of Philopappou, near the Acropolis. It is a contemporary comfortable accommodation near the historical centre of Athens. The hotel has a small pool. Rooms are small but nicely designed and with a comfortable bath room.
Hotel Serie in Ioulida is located just a few minutes walk from Ioulida town, the main town on Kea. It is 5,5km from the port of Korissia. The hotel is built in traditional style and offers rooms with a balcony overlooking the Aegean Sea and Ioulida town. The rooms are tastefully decorated with bright colours and with respect to the local style and the environment.
We can send you GPS tracks of this trip upon request and after booking.