Greek Guide

Ikaria Island Greece Guide Ikaria

Ikaria Island Greece Greek Holiday Destinations

Ikaria is one of the North Eastern Aegean Islands located mid way between the popular Greek holiday islands of Samos and Mykonos. Its better known neighbours are targeted by the big tour operators but Ikaria itself is a little visited island which has only begun to attract a steady trickle of tourists (mainly Germans and Austrians) since the mid 1990s. The fiercely independent islanders see little reason to pander to the whims of the modern day tourist so don't come here expecting Brit bars and banana rides. Ikaria will appeal to the discerning independent traveller seeking a relaxing island retreat far from the madding mid summer crowds that descend on party islands such as Mykonos in frightening numbers.

There's an airport at the north east tip of the island with regular flights to and from Athens. If you choose to travel by air you're bound to have more luck than mythical Icarus after whom the island is named. According to legend Icarus plunged to his death off the island's coastline after flying too close to the sun with the wax wings made for him by his father Daedalus in a bid to escape the Minotaur's labyrinth on Crete.

The island is on the main ferry route between the mainland port of Piraeus and the North Eastern Aegean Island of Samos, which hugs the coast of Turkey and is a three hour boat ride from Ikaria. Boats stop at both of Ikaria's ports Evdilos on the north coast and Agios Kirykos on the south coast. If you're on an island hopping tour you'll find it easier to combine a stop at Ikaria with a visit to some of the nearby Cyclades Islands rather than trying to "do" the North Eastern Aegean Islands which are spread far and wide. The Cycladic island of Mykonos, for example, is just two and a half hours by ferry to the west of Ikaria whereas Chios (the nearest North Eastern Aegean island to the north) is a gruelling eight and a half hour boat ride away.

Once here you'll find a green and tranquil island with some excellent beaches, a wealth of good walking trails and plenty of good quality traditional tavernas serving wholesome, home made local fare.

The naturally radioactive thermal springs which flank the south coast capital Agios Kirykos have been one of the island's main attractions since antiquity. The therapeutic waters are believed to have curative qualities for a variety of ailments including arthritis, rheumatism, gynaecological and infertility problems.

A twisting, mountainous road connects the capital with the smaller port of Evdilos in the north. If you can face one of the most hair raising roads in the Greek islands you'll be treated to some spectacular views of the coast, the sea and neighbouring islands.

To the west of Evdilos there's the island's only real resort area of Armenistis which has some wonderful beaches and an increasing amount of tourist facilities but the visitors who come here are largely go it alone types rather than package holidaymakers.