Winter Hiking on the Island of Kea

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In my many decades of traveling to Greece, I have spent some winter months in Athens, but never on an island. I want to do this eventually—maybe next year–so I began my research, searching for an island where I could be active, but also discover more about ancient Greece. I immediately eliminated strenuous activity such as skiing and hiking, and while participating in the winter olive harvest on the island of Ithaca sounded interesting, it did not appeal to me.

I wanted an island close to Athens where I can take gentle walks through archaic ruins—my way of combining moderate physical activity with the pleasure of learning more about the ancient world. I searched through guide books and on internet sites to no avail until I consulted Matt Barrett’s Greece Travel Guide and found information on what for me would be an ideal winter holiday: rambling through the walking trails on the island of Kea.


Karthaea – Kea

ancient stone lion on the island Kea, Cyclades, Greece

According to Mr. Barrett: “The island of Kea has perhaps the best system of walking trails, most of them ancient, that connect the ancient cities on the island. While winter may not be the best time for swimming, it is the best time for hiking.” He describes it as “a hiker’s paradise,” with “the best system of walking paths and trails of any Greek island.” He says the landscape is varied, including “remote coves and ruins of ancient cities.” If, like me, you fancy walking tours on Kea during any season, please visit for more information on the tours offered by Kostis Marulis, a guide living on the island.

Ioulis, Kea Island, Greece

Kea Ioulida

The island of Kea is an hour from nearby Lavrion by ferry and is a good all-season island because of its miles and miles of ancient footpaths, clearly marked and kept up by the municipality. The Red Tractor Farms Guesthouse not only has comfortable rooms with fireplaces but they also provide guests with seasonal activities like olive-picking and production, wine-making and traditional crafts of the island. Kostis Marulis leads nature tours around the island and he and his wife Marcie serve as your hosts.

View from the port of Corissa, Kea

If you want to site by a cozy fireplace at night and enjoy a taste of a real Greek island in the off-season please visit

You may want to change your holiday in Greece from the summer to the winter.


First Published in The National Herald – January 2014 and republished with permission from the author.

Aurelia lives on one of the Greek islands for two months of every year. Read more about Aurelia on our About Us page!

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