You’ve heard of this island praised for its apricots and lack of tourists – plus one of the world’s highest life expectancies. It’s connected to the mainland by daily ferry in summer (nine hours from Pireaus) and almost daily in winter.
Spend your time exploring Ikaria’s natural regions of refreshing rivers and waterfalls and superb beaches. In the capital Agios Kirykos, explore Raches for its buzzing central square and loopy Kafepandopoleio.
Icaria is a picture-perfect Greek island marooned in the Aegean Sea. Its cliff-fringed coast and mountainous interior offer a range of secluded cove beaches and long stretches of fine sand. Amid the landscape, villages nestle in lush green hills, surrounded by fields of orchards and vineyards. A pristine natural region, Halari Gorge, cradles the northwestern side of Ikaria and is well worth a visit.
The best places to stay in Icaria range from boutique hotels with a touch of class, to affordable rentals perfect for budget travelers. The island’s most popular beach, Armenistis, is just a 15-minute drive from Christos in the northern reaches of Ikaria. The buzzing beach bars and dazzling nightlights of Raches are also a short trip away.
There’s a relaxed feel on Ikaria, and a sense of freedom that distinguishes it from the rest of Greece. Ikariotes could be described as anarchists, with an assuredness that they can take care of themselves without a police state. In the village of Christos Rachon, for instance, a police station built decades ago remains unused, after villagers agreed that they can maintain public order perfectly well without it.
Afianes Winery, located in the hamlet of Kounoupi, is an impressive place to visit for a tour or tasting session. They make a variety of wines, including the Afianes Natural Sparkling Wine Begleri, a light white that pairs beautifully with seafood, and Icarus Black Dry Red Fokiano, a robust red that goes well with meat dishes.
House in Endless Green – Arethousa offers big ocean views, free Wi-Fi and a garden, plus air-conditioned rooms with satellite flat-screen TVs and private bathrooms. Guests can enjoy the large outdoor pool, or head to the hotel cocktail bar called Vanity Room for cocktails and nibbles. It’s a great value option, and it is located close to Xilosirtis Beach and Lefkada Beach. There are also a number of restaurants within walking distance. Guests can also rent a bicycle to explore the area. The hotel also offers laundry services and a children’s playground. A bus stops nearby, and regular ferries serve the main town of Agios Kirykos.
While ferries from Athens stop at Ikaria several times a week in summer, there are also flights to Ikaria from many other European cities and connections to Samos and Chios. For ferry and plane tickets, both Dolphin Hellas Travel in Athens and Fantasy Travel can book fares.
The southwestern part of the island is perhaps the most unique; Magganitis, a small village, is an imposing sight with its massive granite cliffs that cradle a beautiful beach and stone church. Its residents are impressively self-sufficient, with most households tending a vegetable garden and goats that produce the milk for the cheese, meat and other dairy products consumed on the island.
Manganitis boasts pretty little houses, cobbled paths lined with fig and fruit trees, two traditional oil presses and two watermills. Its beaches are enchanting, sometimes rocky and evocative with a succession of dramatic forms, other times more serene and calm. The village is also home to the Afianes Winery, which offers tours and tastings.
The enchanting coastal resort of Evdilos is another option for those wanting to base themselves on Ikaria and explore its north without the daily twisty drive from Agios Kirykos. Painted boats bob in its traditional harbor and a lovely square is adorned with cafes and tiny tavernas. For night owls, the town buzzes until early in the morning. It’s a great place to sample some of Ikaria’s finest wines; try the sparkling natural Begleri, a white that pairs well with seafood or the robust black dry red Fokiano. The nearby Halari Gorge is a nature lover’s paradise.
The northwest coast of Washington is a mountainous landscape with rugged cliffs and lush forests that make it a great place for outdoor activities. The area is also known for its pristine beaches and unique culture. It was one of the first areas in the country to be settled, and it is still home to many historic villages and towns. The region is a popular destination for vacationers and travelers looking for an off the beaten path experience.
The untouched nature of Ikaria Island makes it a great destination for hiking enthusiasts. The island’s mountains and coastline are both covered in dense vegetation and crystal-clear waters. The mountains are crisscrossed with trails that lead to breathtaking views of the surrounding countryside. The northwest coast of Ikaria is a perfect location for those who want to enjoy the beauty of nature without having to deal with crowds of tourists.
Ikaria is not a touristy island like the others in the Aegean Sea, and most of its residents live off goat farming and a little tourism. It is a very low key destination that has been preserved from modern development and offers visitors a taste of traditional Greek life. Its pace of life is very relaxed and you will find that most shops and restaurants have their opening hours decided at the daily whim of their owners.
Icaria is also famous for its goat cheese and wine, which are both produced in the local villages. You can sample some of the best that the island has to offer at any of the numerous local tavernas. The island’s beautiful beaches range from long swathes of fine sand to sheltered coves of pebble and sand.
Besides enjoying the natural beauty of Ikaria, you can learn more about the island’s history and traditions at the local museums. The folklore museum of Agios Kirikos and the Kampos Museum both have collections of pottery, bronze tools, clay figurines, relief tombstones and coins. The locals are very hospitable and will be happy to show you around their village. You can also visit the many festivals on the island, which are all held throughout the year to celebrate local saints and events.
Agios Kirikos is the main town and port of Ikaria, as well as its capital. It’s located on the island’s southern coast and is a great base for exploring all that Ikaria has to offer.
The main attraction in Agios Kirikos is its hot springs, which are known for their therapeutic properties. Taking a dip in the springs is one of the most popular activities on the island, but there are also several spas offering treatments to guests.
There are also a number of historic sites to see in the town, including the Castle of Koskina and the Archaeological Museum. The neoclassical museum houses a collection of artifacts from Ikaria’s ancient history.
The town itself is a beautiful place to explore on foot. The streets are lined with two- and three-story neoclassical buildings, many of which are decorated with flowing balconies and slate roofs. There’s a large central square and plenty of shops, cafes, and taverns to visit.
Agios Kyrikos is a good choice for beach lovers, as there are a few gorgeous beaches nearby. The shores at Armenistis and Seychelles are both white sand/pebble, while Nas beach harkens back to the hippie era. If you’re looking for a more wild and natural beach, head to Prioni near Agios Kirikos. The cobalt blue waters are unspoiled and the beach is framed by high limestone cliffs.
While the island doesn’t have any golf courses, there are a few great spots to play some tennis or go horseback riding. There are also a few restaurants in the area that serve local cuisine. For those looking for a night out, Agios Kirikos has a few bars and clubs to choose from.
There are a few options for getting around the island, including buses and taxis. Rental cars are also available for those who want more freedom to explore the rest of Ikaria. Agios Kirikos is also home to a few hotels, including Hotel Filioppi and Apostolakis Rooms. Both hotels are 328 feet from the beach and hot springs, and both feature air-conditioned accommodations with Aegean Sea views.