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Ikaria:
The Eternal Symbol of Longevity

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Discover Ikaria

Ikaria is one of the most unusual Aegean islands, its name associated with the myth of Icarus, that eternal symbol of youthful enthusiasm and the pursuit of freedom. Appropriately enough, these are characteristics that seem to have been adopted by the hospitable islanders, who are distinguished by their optimistic and carefree approach to life. Known as the island of longevity, Ikaria is one of the top five regions in the world for life expectancy, a phenomenon that has long been the subject of scientific study.

The island is famous for its natural beauty, an inviting mosaic of dense vegetation, streams, thermal springs, idyllic fishing villages, and picturesque mountain settlements with authentic traditions.

The beaches of Ikaria take the breath away with their exotic landscapes, while its mountains offer unique trails for hiking and exploring. Ikaria also has a winemaking tradition that dates back to Homeric times, and continues to produce fine wines to this day.

The island is a favourite destination for alternative tourism. It promises quiet vacations with countless outdoor activities, but also bacchanalian merrymaking at the famous village festivals that go on until morning.

5 memorable experiences on Ikaria
  1. Discovering the hidden beauties of the island’s interior through its trails. The 25-kilometre route that starts in the village of Christos Rachon goes round all the villages in the Raches region, taking in dazzling natural landscapes and cultural monuments.
  2. A guided tour of the island’s four wineries for an initiation into the secrets of wine production. The tour of the vineyards of Evdilos, Raches and Proespera is full of unique experiences for wine lovers.
  3. An invigorating treatment in the natural thermal waters of the island, which have been famous since antiquity. There are hot springs in eight different locations on Ikaria, the most well-known being in Therma, the island’s main spa town.
  4. The view of the Aegean from the top of the lighthouse at Cape Papa.
  5. Watching the sunset from Nas Beach.
Beaches of Ikaria

Ikaria is blessed with fantastic beaches to suit every taste: exotic, wild, verdant, romantic, popular or secluded.

  • The famous Seychelles has breathtaking exotic scenery and attracts young people, couples and lovers of underwater exploration.
  • With its crystal-clear turquoise waters, the popular Messakti appeals to families with small children but also to experienced windsurfers.
  • At the busy Livadi, young people and families enjoy water sports and good food at the nearby restaurants.
  • At the beautiful Prioni Bay, with its high rocks and blue-green sea, lovers of diving and seclusion are well-compensated for the relative difficulty in getting there.
  • At the fairytale Nas Beach, the river Halaris meets the sea and the ruins of the Temple of Artemis, rivalling the windswept rocks and the large waves for spectacle, and creating an ideal setting for would-be castaways.
  • Also discover Faros (for surfing), Kyparissi, Anefanti, and Avlaki.

You can enjoy them by choosing one of the ferry tickets to Ikaria.

Postcards from Ikaria: 10 things not to miss

Agios Kirykos
Built between the 16th and 17th century on a verdant hillside, the island’s capital stands out for its picturesque cobbled streets with flower-filled balconies, beautiful neoclassical houses, and traditional architecture. Known by the locals as plain Agios, it is one of two ports on Ikaria, its entrance dominated by a metal sculpture of the mythical Icarus. Be sure to visit the new Archaeological and Folklore Museum.

Icarus’ Rock
According to mythology, the spot where Icarus fell into the stormy waters of the Aegean is marked by a slab of granite in the sea near the villages of Vaoni and Chrysostomo.

Drakano Tower
Built of massive white marble bricks on a 50-metre-high rock in the area of ​​Faros, this round three-storey tower is the most important monument remaining from the ancient city that once stood here. The construction of this impressive piece of architecture dates back to Alexandrian times. The tower has fantastic views of the neighbouring islands of Fourni and Samos.

Halaris Gorge
The magnificent gorge of the river Halaris descends from the mountains to the sea, forming an outstanding natural landscape with rich plant and animal life, ponds, beautiful waterfalls and a stone bridge. The best way to explore it is by following the path that connects the mountain village of Christos Rachon with Nas beach.

Seychelles Beach
One of the most exotic beaches in the Aegean is situated on the south side of the island, near the village of Magganitis. The aquamarine sea and white sand, as well as the imposing granite rocks that surround it and hidden underwater caves, create a natural attraction of picture-postcard beauty.

Koskina Castle
Also known as the Castle of Nikaria, this impressive Byzantine fortress was built in the 10th century to protect the island against pirate raids. Standing on the hill of Kefala, in the village of Kossikia, it was believed to be impregnable until it fell to the Genoese. From the ramparts, there are stunning views of northern Ikaria and the sea beyond.

Christos Rachon
Built in a dense forest on the north side of the island, this gorgeous mountain settlement famously operates on “Ikarian time”, so the shops open at night and don’t close until morning. All roads lead to the paved central square, which is the social and commercial heart of the village.

Randi Forest
If you choose one of the itineraries to Ikaria, don’t miss the opportunity to visit Randi Forest, an ecosystem of great historical and botanical value. “Gaia”, as it is known, is located in central Ikaria and has been there for more than 200 years, making it the oldest forest in the Balkans. Its greatest treasure is a rare five-million-year-old species of oak tree called the Aria, which is native to Ikaria.

Theoskepasti Chapel
This impressive chapel near the historic Monastery of Saint Theoktisti in the village of Pigi is formed from a cave and has a rock for a roof. Inside is an intricately carved wooden icon screen dating from 1894.

The Village Festivals
Inseparable from the Ikarian identity, the island’s village festivals stand out for their combination of ritual and revelry. The “Ikariotiko”, one of the most iconic of Greece’s traditional island dances, always takes centre stage at these events.

Tastes of Ikaria

Ikaria is a place with a rich gastronomic tradition and unique local produce. The famous Pramnios Oinos, a strong red wine, has been made here since ancient times.

The island’s most iconic dish is soufiko, a medley of roasted vegetables known elsewhere in Greece as briam, while the traditional Ikarian pies are justly famous. Be sure to try hortopita (with wild greens), tabouropita (with pumpkin), and fouskopita (with green pepper and melted cheese). Other homegrown favourites include kathoura (goat’s cheese), roasted or boiled raska (wild goat), stuffed goat with rice, and the unique kolokasi (Jerusalem artichoke), a gourmet root vegetable that grows on the island and is usually served with onion and a simple vinaigrette dressing accompanied by a garlic dip.

In the island’s coastal villages, you can enjoy fresh fish of the day and delicious seafood mezes. If you have a sweet tooth, anama (Ikarian heather honey) and a preserve made from kaisi (a variety of apricot) are taste experiences that live long in the memory.

MAP OF IKARIA
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