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.
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
Map (c) Google Maps
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
Chick 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.
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 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.
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.
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
Folklore Museum of
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
Where to Stay on
Other NE Aegean pages
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.
The A-Z Thassos travel guide, including Kavala and Philippi, is newly updated for 2022 and is the most comprehensive guide to Thassos available.
Samothraki (Greek) or Samothrace (English) is a small island in the north-east Aegean Sea with the closest Greek islands being Thassos and Lemnos.
Samos is in the NE Aegean islands of Greece with attractions including Heraion and Pythagoreio, and this page tells you what to see and how to get there.
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.
A visit to the Museum of Samos Wine to learn about the muscat grapes that produce the best dessert wines in the world and also the Greek spirit, Metaxa.
The island of Lesbos or Lesvos is in the North East Aegean Islands in Greece, and on this page you can see information including flights and ferries.
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.
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.
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