Built on rocky terrain, the lighthouse stands like a guard on duty, eyeing the archipelagos for lost travelers. Still its light shines bright in even the stormiest of winter nights, to orientate local fishermen on their return home. With legendary history and scenic beauty, the lighthouse of Kea is a spot for locals to be explored by curious, alternative tourists.
The lighthouse of Agios Nikolaos was built in 1831 by a French Company, on the ruins of the temple of Poseidon. Its name comes from Saint Nicolas, a small church next to the main structure, whose presence conveys safety and protection. The lighthouse is one of the oldest in Greece and the first to be lit of the Cyclades islands.
Interestingly enough, in 2010, the Minister of Culture and Tourism, Mr. Pavlos Geroulanos, characterized this structure as a remarkable “monument”, due to its unique architecture as well as significant navigational value for sailors and residents of the island.
One of my favorite off-season pastimes (in early April or late October) is a hike from area of “Kokka” to the lighthouse. This short walk is accessible by individuals of all ages, and is an ideal early morning or late afternoon activity.
If you go in the evening around 5-6 pm (depending on the season) you can catch the sunset from the lighthouse, which is a truly magnificent view. The blue and white hues of the lighthouse paint an iconic Mediterranean picture, behind the vibrant sunset backdrop.
Slightly off the path, facing the horizon is a small stone terrace, known only to locals. Secluded yet not too far away from civilization, this is one of the best secret spots of the island. It’s the ideal place to have a romantic evening picnic or even just a couple beers with friends.
(Hint: Make sure your phone is charged when you go, pictures will be worth taking)
But be sure to keep two things into consideration:
- Firstly, keep an eye out for a small brownish snake, as it is poisonous. In Greek, it’s called “oχιά” (also known as Adder snake) and can be often found hanging around the dry bushes of the island.
- Secondly, don’t start your trip too late in the evening (especially in the winter months, where it tends to get dark very quickly), as the return may get dangerously adventurous.
Or at least, to be on the safe side, make sure to bring water and a flashlight.