Ikaria Island is a top pick for an alternative destination in the Eastern Aegean Sea due to its stunning villages, beaches, and diverse terrain. It is situated in the North-East Aegean region.
Ikaria has a diverse landscape, including lush slopes, steep barren rocks, boulder deserts, plateaus, hills, streams, and cliffs. It is a mountainous island with its tallest mountain range being Aetheras. The highest summit of Aetheras is at an altitude of 1,048 m. Whether you like to explore with love and respect, Ikaria is all set to welcome and satisfy all kinds of travelers.
One thing that Ikaria is famous for is the longevity of its inhabitants. The locals live for many years due to their Mediterranean diet, daily walks, stress-free lifestyle, and positive outlook on life.
If you want to experience these qualities and enjoy the local red wine, you can attend the traditional village feasts that take place every summer. Ikaria is designated as a “Blue Zone” region, one of five in the entire World. The idea of blue zones originated from the research conducted by Gianni Pes and Michel Poulain, which was published in the Journal of Experimental Gerontology.
Their study revealed that Sardinia had the largest number of male centenarians in the world. Pes and Poulain marked these villages with blue circles on the map, identifying them as areas with remarkable longevity. They later referred to this area inside the blue circles as the blue zones. Many people are visiting and moving to Ikaria because of blue zones theory.
The hot springs that gush throughout the year are a huge attraction as people with various chronic conditions (arthritic, motor, respiratory, skin issues) visit them to be cured. Younger people can also visit these springs, even for preventive reasons.
The festivals of Ikaria called “paniyiri” (πανηγύρι) are known all over Greece, especially during the summer months, visitors have the opportunity to experience it up close and participate. After all, Ikaria is the greek island where the god Dionysus was born, the god of feasting, joy, and wine.
If you plan to visit Greece, the following information will be very helpful!
Booking.com is the website with the most available rooms and Private Villas in Greece. More than any other site!
DiscoverCars is the easiest way to choose your car while you are in Greece. There are so many options for every place in Greece, either on the mainland or on the islands.
GetYourGuide has the best boat tours, activities, private tours, excursions, and so more, listed by rating or price. You only have to book the best for you!
If you are looking for a private transfer, look no further and book with Welcome Pickups.
Ikaria is a large island located in the Eastern Aegean Sea and is well-known for its rich folklore and mythology. The greek island boasts beautiful natural surroundings, including lush forests, stunning waterfalls, and charming beaches that attract a large number of visitors year-round.
Additionally, the lively atmosphere of the island, expressed through the warm and welcoming attitude of natives, especially during the summer fairs, is a key attraction for tourists.
Ikaria is located about 124 nautical miles or 230 km from Athens. The island’s capital is Agios Kirikos, located on the Southern side of the island. There are two ways to visit Ikaria, you could take an airplane or a ferry boat.
On the island, there are 2 ports, one on the Southern side, which is Agios Kirikos, and one on the Northern side, called Evdilos. To get to Ikaria, take a ferry from Piraeus Port in Athens. The ferries are available approximately three times a week. However, the trip duration may take up to 11 hours.
Ikaria also has ferry links to nearby Greek islands such as Samos, Syros, Mykonos, and Chios. In the summer months, there is also a ferry facility from Kavala, situated in the northern part of the Greek mainland.
The Ikaria Island National Airport has domestic flights coming in from Athens, Lemnos, and Thessaloniki. The flight duration from Athens or Thessaloniki is approximately one hour.
The Ikaria Airport(JIK) is located at Faros village, which is almost 12 km away from Agios Kirykos and 34 km from Evdilos. To get to your destination, you must either hire a taxi or utilize the public transportation available on the island.
Alternatively, some people often choose to fly to Samos or Kos directly using charter flights from their countries and then take a ferry to Ikaria.
This place is perfect for those seeking tranquility and a break from the busy routines of everyday life. The residents live a completely carefree and relaxed lifestyle, making it an ideal destination.
The impressive nature of the island is showcased in its stunning capital city of Agios Kirikos (or Agios Kirykos). The city features well-preserved houses, narrow streets, and lovely views of the sea. It is surrounded by famous tourist resorts and crystal-clear waters, making the entire island an unforgettable experience.
Traditional Villages to Visit
To experience the islanders’ daily life up close, taste the delicious local red wine, and indulge in homemade delicacies, the ideal location is the villages, where you can also learn about their secrets of longevity.
Ikaria has numerous traditional villages. In every village of Ikaria, you have the chance to talk to the locals and listen to their stories and experiences from everyday life. Inhabitads are always eager to speak at every traditional “kafeneio” (cafe).
In the Southern part of Ikaria, we recommend visiting the villages Amalou, Nas, Pezi, Armenistis, Raches, Gialiskari, Frantato, Arethousa, Evdilos, Frantato, Steli, Droutsoulas, Karavostamo, Kampos and Monokampi.
In the Northern part of Ikaria, we recommend visiting the villages Faros, Therma, Glaredo, Xilosirti, Chrisostomos, Kampa, Plagia, Magganitis, and Kargkinagri.
Want to give a boost to yourself during your vacations? Then check Ikaria Activities and choose the best activity for you!
History of the island
Ikaria was a place that the ancient Greeks lived in since 7.000 B.C. The first place that the natives made a village was in the area that now is Kampos village, also known as Oinoi, because of the wine (called οινος in the Greek Language) that was produced over there.
The Greek island took its name from Icarus, the first man that flew in the air. According to this myth, his father made wings out of wax and feathers to escape from Crete, where they were imprisoned. But Icarus got too excited while he was flying and tried to fly close to the sun. The wax melted, and without wings, he fell in the sea near Ikaria. The island named after him and the sea in this area is called Icarian Sea.
During the middle ages, pirates intruded on Ikaria very often, so people decided to live up on the hills to protect themselves from the invasions.
During your visit, you will see many old houses from the middle ages, some still standing.
The beaches in Ikaria can cover all tastes and moods, as the sand gives way to colorful stones and alternate along the entire coastline of Ikaria. On the island’s Northern side, you could visit and enjoy Nas beach, with little colorful rocks, where you may see the most beautiful sunset at Ikaria.
Armenistis Beach is a beautiful and safe place to visit with your children. Ammos Beach is one of the most visited beaches on the island. Mesakti Beach features sand and big waves that many surfers adore and visit during summertime. Kampos Beach will let you wonder how nice is to lay on the sand and enjoy your coffee or drink from the canteen.
Evdilos Beach, yes, it is one of the ports of Ikaria…the water all over Ikaria is so pure that you could really swim at the port of Evdilos. Karavostamo Beach is a traditional little port that the swimmers will enjoy while they can see the fishermen cleaning and repairing their nets.
On the island’s Southern side, you can see completely different kinds of beaches and sceneries. Here the shapes and colors of the ground and the rocks may astonish you.
Trapalou Beach, you can visit it only by sea. As it is an isolated but beautiful beach, you will have to contact a local boat owner for your transfer. Magganitis Beach is a golden sand beach with a spectacular view to admire while you are swimming.
Seychelles Beach is voted one of the most beautiful beaches in Europe, so try and explore this gorgeous beach. Xilosirtis Beach is a rocky beach, but you can see Patmos Island and also the Monastery of Patmos from this beach.
Therma Beach, located next to the Thermal Springs, has beautiful sand where you can swim while enjoying your coffee or ice cream. This seaside has numerous restaurants and tavernas, and you can spend the whole day in the beach. You can also Explore how many different shades of blue exist on Nealia Beach.
Kerame Beach is a very easily approachable beach, and you can see Fourni Island from there. You may also visit Fourni Island. Check how here.
Faros Beach is one of the longest sandy beaches on this part of the island, with a lot of restaurants and beach bars.
Tou Kontou to Lakkoma Beach is an inclusive nudist beach where you can have the best tan all over your body! Agios Georgios beach is a wonderful, extraordinary place that you will remember during wintertime because it is simply gorgeous.
Where to stay
You could stay at hotels next to a shore, up on the hill, in a crowded place, or isolated from the crowd. Check the most suitable for you, or which village may sound more cozy to you, and you will find traditional little houses or hotels with swimming pools. Discover the whole island by staying in different areas and sceneries. Here are some suggestions for accommodation in Ikaria.
The recently renovated Hotel Atheras is located near Evdilos on the highest mountain in Ikaria. It has 28 rooms with balconies that come equipped with a range of amenities such as television, air conditioning, fridge, hair dryer, safe, and telephone. The hotel can accommodate up to 64 people, including the more affordable rooms that can hold up to 14 people.
The hotel provides amenities such as wi-fi, a swimming pool, and a large backyard where breakfast is served. Additionally, the Atheras Spa offers a unique and refreshing approach to total wellness for more discerning spa-goers.
The friendly owner and staff will create a family-like atmosphere and provide warm hospitality, making you feel like you’re at your home away from home.
In addition, visitors can easily reach the village port of Evdilos. This is particularly convenient for those who are traveling without a car and for those who want to savor coffee, drinks, and traditional dishes while admiring the sea view from charming tavernas.
Check Out Prices & Availability for Hotel Atheras
Maria Elena Hotel
The Maria Elena Hotel is a family-owned establishment in a serene garden in Agios Kirikos. It is conveniently located near local beaches, museums, restaurants, shops, the town center, the harbor, and natural thermal springs, all within easy walking distance.
There are 16 double rooms and 7 fully equipped studios, all featuring modern amenities. Each room includes a separate bathroom, balcony with a panoramic sea view, air-conditioning, TV, refrigerator, fax service, and daily room service.
At the hotel, guests can have breakfast at a traditional garden kiosk with stone tables stocked with homemade marmalade and pure Ikaria honey. Additionally, guests can enjoy the furnished sun terrace and use the on-site barbeque facilities for relaxation.
Check Out Prices & Availability for Maria Elena Hotel
Kerame Hotel is just a 3-minute walk from Kerame Beach and only half a kilometer from Evdilos. The hotel offers a range of facilities, including a swimming pool, bar, and restaurant that serves Greek cuisine. Free wireless internet and 24-hour reception service are also available. There are various types of accommodations to choose from to cater to all the guests’ needs.
The hotel’s name, Kerame, comes from the nearby area, which is located 1 km away from Evdilos port. Kerame is built in an amphitheater style, overlooking the beach of Kerame, providing guests with stunning views of both the mountains and the sea. Evdilos is a perfect location for exploring the beautiful Ikarian countryside.
Kerame is an ideal spot for families and groups seeking a blend of relaxation and adventure on the island. The welcoming owner and staff provide a cozy, home-like setting. Plus, those without transportation can easily reach the nearby village port of Evdilos.
Check Out Prices & Availability for Hotel Kerame
Traveling to 🇬🇷 Greece soon?
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🏨 Hotels: I have found that Expedia and Booking.com consistently have the best deals on hotels and resorts in Greece. If you prefer to stay at a vacation rental, check VRBO that is usually cheaper than AirBnB’s added fees!
✈️ Flights: To find the best flight deals to Greece, I always use Kayak. Remember to subscribe to their price alerts for the travel dates you want. Another great alternative for flight deals is Expedia.
🚗 Rental Cars: I always use and highly recommend Discover Cars because it allows me to compare several car rental companies and view ratings on various factors such as overall value, pick-up procedure, agent efficiency, car condition, and total time taken.
🚙 Airport Transportation: For the fastest and easiest way to travel, I suggest arranging a private transfer from the airport and beetween destinations with Welcome Pickups. Honestly, no better way to travel from the airport to your hotel or resort.
🤿 Tours & Activities: For tours and activities in Greece, I highly recommend using either Viator or GetYourGuide. These websites offer a full refund if you cancel your booking 24 hours before the start of the tour, and they also provide excellent customer service in case of any issues.
🚨 Travel Insurance: I always suggest purchasing travel insurance as a precaution before traveling, especially after a recent accident in a taxi in Greece. For short trips, I recommend Travel Insurance Master, whereas for digital nomads, Safety Wing is a better option.
📷 Best Camera for your trip: I always carry with me a GoPro, It’s light, compact, takes great video and pictures, and most importantly, it’s waterproof! You just can’t go wrong with one. If you are interested in higher quality video and photography, I always carry with me on my trips and highly recommend the Sony A7IV which I think is the best travel DSLR Camera out there.
☀️ Biodegradable Sunscreen: Remember to include a good sunscreen to protect yourself from the summer sun. I always use and suggest Sun Bum Sunscreen, which is vegan, reef-friendly, and cruelty-free.
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