Ikaria

Ikaria (or Icaria) is an island in the North East Aegean Islands of Greece between Samos and Mykonos and is truly one of Greece's travel secrets.

Ikaria in the North-East Aegean Islands of GreeceIkaria

With its dramatic mountain ranges and 102 miles (164 kms) of coastline, it's strange that Ikaria isn't better-known than it is. Even many regular travelers to Greece would find it hard to place on a map. For that reason, it makes the perfect Greek island destination for anyone seeking that elusive 'real' Greece.

Google Map showing Ikaria in the North-East Aegean Islands of GreeceMap (c) Google Maps

Icarus

The name of Ikaria, which is sometimes spelled Icaria, is said to have come from the legend of Icarus. Icarus and his father Daedalus wanted to escape from Crete by flying using wings that Daedalus, a master craftsman, had made. Daedalus advised Icarus not to fly too close to the water, or his wings might get damp and not function.

He also advised him not to fly too close to the sun, in case its heat melted the wax that held the wings together. Icarus ignored his father's wise advice and did try to fly close to the sun. The wax melted and Icarus fell to his death.

Getting to Ikaria

Flying to Ikaria

Ikaria has a small airport but it's not big enough to accommodate large charter flights, so to get there you should fly to Athens, Samos, or Mykonos and take a ferry. 

Ferries to Ikaria

There are regular ferries to Ikaria from Piraeus with a journey time of about 8 hours. Nearby islands with ferry connections to Ikaria include Samos, Mykonos, Syros, Naxos, Paros, and the small island of Fourni. There are also high-speed flying dolphins from Samos to Ikaria, and these take 60-90 minutes. Make sure you know which port you want as there are three ports on Samos which connect with two different ports on Ikaria. 

Ferries in Greece

Ferries in Greece has an excellent and very thorough website where, in addition to checking ferry schedules and times, you can also book tickets and get lots of useful information about travelling by ferry in Greece.

Food on Ikaria

Plate of chick pea salad from Ikaria in the North-East Aegean Islands of GreeceChick Pea Salad

As Ikaria hasn't yet been over-run by tourism, you'll find good hearty food here, still made in the traditional ways. The excellent Ikarian diet is said to be one reason people here live longer. Studies have shown that the people of Ikaria live up to ten years longer than the world average.

Don't Miss our Review of the Ikaria cookbook!

What to Do on Ikaria

Ikaria is a decent-sized island with an area of about 255 sq km (98 sq miles) so there are plenty of hiking opportunities. Its highest point is 1,037 m (3,402 ft), so plenty of challenging hikes too, and with that 102 miles (164 kms) of coastline, lots of beaches for swimming and water sports. Ikaria also has some hot springs around which spas have developed.

Ayios Kirykos

Ayios Kirykos in the south-east of the island is the capital and one of the main ports. Nearby is one of the island's spas, Therma, and there are a few others within easy reach of the town. There's also an Archaeological Museum and a Folk and Historic Museum to visit. 

Church on Ikaria in the North-East Aegean Islands of GreeceIkaria Church

Armenistis

This pretty village has become one of Ikaria's main tourist spots, such as they are. It's about a 20-minute drive west along the coast from Evdilos. Armenistis has two huge beaches within walking distance, and you can also walk through nearby pine forests. Four villages inland from Armenistis are known collectively by the name of Rahes, and it's a delight to walk between them, and between the villages and Armenistis on the coast.

Archeological Museum of Kampos

Ikaria is unusual in having two archaeological museums, the second being in the hilltop village of Kampos on the north coast. This is just outside Ikaria's second town and other main port, Evdilos, and is well worth visiting. It's right next to the oldest church on the island, the 12th-century Ayia Irini.

Folklore Museum of Vrakades

Ikaria is well-served by museums, this one being in the village of Vrakades in the south-west of the island, about a 45-minute drive from Evdilos. 

Our Pick of Greek Islands Guides

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Other NE Aegean Pages

  • The North East Aegean Islands include Lesvos, Thassos, Chios, Samos, Fourni, Ikaria, Limnos, Samothraki and here are tips on ferries, flights and what to do.

    North East Aegean Islands

    The North East Aegean Islands include Lesvos, Thassos, Chios, Samos, Fourni, Ikaria, Limnos, Samothraki and here are tips on ferries, flights and what to do.

  •  Thassos is in the North East Aegean and on this page from the Greece Travel Secrets website you can also see information about flights and ferries to Thassos.

    Thassos in the North East Aegean Islands of Greece

    Thassos is in the North East Aegean and on this page from the Greece Travel Secrets website you can also see information about flights and ferries to Thassos.

  • Samothraki (Greek) or Samothrace (English) is a small island in the north-east Aegean Sea with the closest Greek islands being Thassos and Lemnos.

    Samothraki

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  • The island of Lemnos (or Limnos) is in in the North East Aegean Islands and on this page you can see information about flights and ferries,

    Lemnos or Limnos in the North East Aegean Islands of Greece

    The island of Lemnos (or Limnos) is in in the North East Aegean Islands and on this page you can see information about flights and ferries,

  • The Greek island of Chios or Hios is a large island in the North East Aegean close to the Turkish coast, south of Lesvos and north of Samos, and famous for its mastic trees.

    Chios

    The Greek island of Chios or Hios is a large island in the North East Aegean close to the Turkish coast, south of Lesvos and north of Samos, and famous for its mastic trees.

  • The best things to do on Thassos in the North East Aegean islands of Greece include its beaches, mountain hikes, and visiting its ancient archaeological sites.

    Best Things to Do on Thassos

    The best things to do on Thassos in the North East Aegean islands of Greece include its beaches, mountain hikes, and visiting its ancient archaeological sites.

  • The A-Z Thassos travel guide, including Kavala and Philippi, is newly updated for 2022 and is the most comprehensive guide to Thassos available.

    Thassos Travel Guide

    The A-Z Thassos travel guide, including Kavala and Philippi, is newly updated for 2022 and is the most comprehensive guide to Thassos available.

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