The “Other Cyclades”: Kea and Kythnos

Take a break from Mykonos, Santorini and Paros, and take in the must-see spots of Kea and Kythnos- two Cycladic islands that have long been favoured holiday escapes for Greek locals in-the-know.  

Stop 1: Kea

An hour’s ferry ride from Athens’ Lavrio port, Kea’s rugged, rocky terrain is in stark contrast to its sparkling blue Aegean waters. The most popular beaches on the island Koundouros and Koundouraki boast incredibly inviting pristine waters that will keep you going back in for more. The beaches of Spathi and Xyla subscribe to the saying that “nothing good ever comes easy”, and are well worth the 10-15 minutes of bumpy dirt track to get there. Most beaches on Kea offer sunbeds at around 20-25 € per set, but also have plenty of space for those with their own umbrellas.

The ancient archaeological site of Karthaia is located on the southeastern side of the island and can be accessed via a 45 min rocky walking path. The walk is rewarded by impressive ancient acropolis remains, perched rather majestically on the sea and makes for the perfect post-hike swim. Mythology says that the Lion of Kea (located near the town of Ioulida) was created by Zeus in response to the pleas of the island locals who were troubled by the muses. The lion’s impressively lifelike features make it worth visiting, particularly in the early evening when the summer sun is a little more forgiving. 

All this swimming and hiking will no doubt work up an appetite, and Filippas psistaria in Korrisia is known for the best grilled meat on the island (try their lamb paidakia)9 Kores sits on the small beach of Vourkari and offers excellent fresh seafood (try their mussels steamed in wine). Steki tou Kalofagadon in Ioulida is your quintessential taverna with an excellent array of traditional cooked dishes like mince-stuffed zucchini topped with avgolemono sauce.

Stop 2: Kythnos

After a blissful few days on Kea, jump on the one-hour ferry ride to nearby Kythnos. While you’ll probably never get to see all of Kythnos’ 99 beaches, Kolona beach is its crowning beauty and a hot favourite of the super yacht crowd (insider tip: due to its open landscape, Kolona is best visited on a low-wind day). After deciding which side of the sand bar you’ll rest on, take a dip in the crystal waters and then make your way up to the church for a birds-eye view of Kolona in all its glory. Nearby Apokrousi beach is another stunner, while the seaside town of Kanala is a sweet little spot for a quiet afternoon dip. Hamsa beach bar is located near the port and offers a relaxing all-day beach bar experience.

The small town of Dryopida and its characteristic sokakia are lined with tiny cafes and restaurants and make for a lovely morning stroll. While there, step into the folklore museum, which is a beautifully restored traditional home of Kythnos.

Chora is where the island gathers in the evening and has no shortage of food and drink options. To Steki tou Ntetzi will scratch your Greek taverna itch with excellent grilled meats (try their pork kontosouvli) while Margiora offers a modern take on Greek food (try the watermelon and beetroot salad) with an exciting cocktail list and range of Greek wines.

Greek Island Luxury Villa, Designed for Group Getaways

This contemporary, stone-walled villa with breathtaking views of the Aegean Sea, captures the essence of Kea island’s nature while inviting guests to experience a complete luxury getaway in the Cyclades.

This deluxe modern seafront holiday home is a perfect haven for larger groups seeking the ultimate relaxation and privacy. Featuring stunning indoor spaces with minimal decor, Selene Villa in Kea also boasts an oversized deck, two infinity pools, a sauna, a jacuzzi, a tennis court and a basketball court- enough to keep guests active and entertained all day long.

Selene is the perfect place to stay while exploring this under-the-radar Greek island, which happens to be the closest Cycladic isle to Athens (it’s only an hour away by ferry from the port of Lavrion in the Greek capital). Located on the southwest coast of Kea, Selene is just a short stroll from the gorgeous sandy beach of Kambi, where there’s also a taverna for those that wish to dine out.

Designed to blend in harmoniously with the shades, textures and peaceful vibe of its surroundings, the luxury property invites plenty of light to fill its interiors which are open, yet warm and welcoming. Stone, glass and wood add texture to the space, with selected pops of art adding a touch of character to the stunning space.

Featuring seven spacious bedrooms and seven bathrooms, it’s designed to easily accommodate up to 16 people; with the master suite located on one level, the guest rooms are found on the lower floor, where there is also a private terrace.

The outdoor deck is designed for entertaining and large all-day gatherings. With the infinity L-shaped pool taking centre stage- there’s also a spacious surrounding deck, dining and sitting area, a smaller pool at the lower level, professionally equipped bbq, outdoor kitchen, kids play area, ping pong tables, and plenty of space to sit back and enjoy the magical sunsets- while spending quality time with family and friends. 

Selene Villa in Kea 

5 Best Islands Closest to Athens

As the weather heats up in Athens, locals and visitors look to escape the Greek capital with some ever-so-tempting island hopping!

Whether you’re after a 1-day cruise from Athens or you’re looking forward to the ultimate island experience, we’ve rounded up 5 of our favourite Greek islands that are just a short ferry trip from the port of Piraeus.


Located a little over two hours away from Athens, the luscious island of Spetses is a perfect weekend escape from the Greek capital. This idyllic, car-free island of the Argosaronic Gulf is a favourite spot for affluent Athenians and international jet-setters. The island stands out for its majestic architecture, impressive buildings, crystal-clear waters and off-the-beaten-path activities.


A small island in the Saronic Gulf (just 2 hours away from Athens), with its classic beauty, has seduced many international personalities including Sophia Loren, Maria Callas, Aristotle Onassis, and Leonard Cohen, who purchased a house on the island in 1960. Hydra has a charming atmosphere and romantic allure, it’s aristocratic, yet authentic and features a rocky landscape with elegant, imposing stone mansions, narrow cobblestone alleys (with colourful bougainvillaea), plus impeccable sunsets.


Most ferries connecting Athens with Poros are high-speed, making this trip in less than 1 hour. Boasting lovely landscapes, in Poros, you’ll find small tavernas, yacht marinas, neoclassical buildings, a clock tower, pine forests reaching the sea, serenity and relaxation. Poros is a wonderful island in the Saronic Gulf and a local favourite destination for Athenians looking for weekend getaways, as A perfect spot if you’re looking for an island with strong traditional character and modern amenities.


So close to Athens (just one hour from the port of Lavrio, east of Athens) is the Greek island of Kea (also known as Tzia), which offers a chic ambience, wonderful beaches and an authentic vibe. Many have visited Kea as a day trip from the Greek capital as Kea is the closest Cycladic island to Athens. It’s an ideal destination for those seeking a relaxing holiday away from the crowds. Here you can enjoy local delicacies and dishes, as well as charming villages and great swimming spots.


This amazing tiny island is about an hour from Piraeus by boat and offers lush green landscapes, gorgeous bays and secret coves. It’s a perfect place for those wishing to combine a beach holiday with nature, as you can explore the gorgeous landscapes while trekking, cycling, diving, hiking and kayaking. Agistri is also known for its amazing local dishes and traditional taverns- foodies add this one to your list too! 

Staying in a Renovated Windmill on the Island of Kea

A beautifully renovated windmill on the lesser-known Cycladic island of Kea is the ideal place to stay if you are looking for a unique and authentic experience in Greece. 

This wonderfully renovated windmill villa stands in the area of Koundouros, in an elevated position that boasts unobstructed views of the sparkling blue sea and surrounding countryside, which at sunset is magical.

A five-minute walk takes guests to a pebble beach just below the villa, while just a short drive away you can enjoy wonderful beaches with umbrellas, sun loungers, water sports, food, and drinks, including the sandy beaches of Koundouros (ideal for families) and delightful Koundouraki. There are also a number of charming villages in the area, such as Pisses, with its lovely sandy bay, mini-market, and a traditional taverna serving authentic local dishes.

Insights Greece - Staying in a Renovated Windmill on the Island of Kea

Built on a private plot, the Mill on the Hill featured the impressive old windmill itself, lovingly restored to provide all modern comforts, along with three independent guest houses. 

The windmill is laid out over three main levels, plus a recently built extension at ground level to accommodate the air-conditioned TV room and a fully equipped kitchen. On the ground floor, there is also a cozy living room with a fireplace and storage space.

The first floor features one double bedroom with an en-suite bathroom. There is another double bedroom with an en-suite bathroom on the second floor, which connects with the air-conditioned attic that has two single beds; ideal for children. 

Right next to the windmill are the guest houses. The first has a double bedroom, air-conditioning, en-suite bathroom, and veranda access. The second has two double beds, an en-suite bathroom, air-conditioning and opens onto a pergola-shaded veranda. Situated just behind and slightly above the first two, the third guest house has a double bed and sofa bed, air-conditioning, and an en-suite bathroom. The guest houses have spacious outdoor areas for outdoor dining or relaxation and, like the bedrooms in the windmill, you can enjoy majestic sea views. 

The natural slope of the hillside means the private land surrounding the property is on different levels, offering guests a variety of choices for outdoor activities and socialising. At the lowest level, there is a large, private, seawater swimming pool with loungers; the ideal spot for soaking up the sun and a refreshing dip at any time of day.