THE VIBE: Less than 12 nautical miles from mainland Greece, Kea’s pristine turquoise waters and verdant shores peppered with olive groves haven’t escaped the notice of the wealthy Athens set, meaning it is one of the few Greek islands where nationals outnumber foreign tourists. From Easter onwards, Athenians weekend at this cosmopolitan haven, and with €600 million (£524m) being invested to create a One&Only resort and residential development, its luxe credentials are on the up.
WHO GOES? You aren’t likely to bump into the latest Hollywood starlet strolling along the shoreline, but the village of Koundouros is a Mecca for Greek shipping magnates and their families. Expect flowing designer kaftans and oversized sunglasses.
LOCAL LOWDOWN: Sixty-five hectares of beach-front on the western side of the island have been chosen by Dolphin Capital Partners as the site for the One&Only project but the developers are determined not to spoil the island’s charm. “The strong appeal of Kea is the anonymity of the place – it’s a Greek island waiting to be discovered, as opposed to being overpopulated,” says Miltos Kambourides, founder and managing partner of Dolphin Capital. “We will make Kea an upmarket, chic and elegant Mediterranean destination.”
CULTURE VULTURES: Mass tourism might not have hit Kea but superyacht captains are fans. “Kea offers the combination of idyllic landscape and archaeological interest at the same time,” says Captain Zacharias Karalogos of 42.5-metre Libra Y (available for charter with IYC). “The bay of Poles with the ancient Karthea [the remains of an ancient Greek city] in sight is the best example of this.” There is further historical interest under the surface as Kea is home to four shipwrecks – Titanic’s sistership HMS Britannic, French ocean liner SS Burdigala and paddle steamer Patris, plus a WW2 Luftwaffe plane.
BEST BY BOAT: Drop anchor in the port of Vourkari, a convenient first stop if you are meeting your yacht in Athens.