We find it curious that Kea escaped attention for so long. Only an hour’s ferry ride from Lavrio, just outside Athens, this Cycladic island has everything going for it: a prettily faded Hora straddling two hills, a ritzy yacht scene around the mini-resorts of Vourkari and Koundouros, and blindingly blue bays with some of the best wreck diving in Greece. (The most famous shipwreck is the Britannic, sister ship of the Titanic). Then there’s the magnificent ancient city of Karthaia, poised above the twin bays of Poles like a mirage. “A narrow ridge of land, but I would not swap it for Babylon,” wrote the poet Pindar.
Like many of Kea’s beaches, Poles is only accessible on foot or by boat. But it’s all change on the bay of Vroskopos: Greece’s first One&Only will open here in 2021, with a beach club and three restaurants. Go before the crowds catch on, and head inland where Athenians’ stone villas are hunkered into the sun-bleached landscape—Hipaway has some nice hideouts. Or disappear at Kathikies, a century-old farmhouse stranded at the end of a dirt track with nothing but cicadas, butterflies and boundless Aegean views for miles. —Rachel Howard