Ikaria has been identified as a ‘blue zone’, one of 5 in the world where the population lives consistently longer than the average. Maybe this is due to the island’s remoteness or maybe its something in the water. That is very possible as Ikaria is famed for its thermal springs which are unique in their chemical composition and radiation. The only true way to find out is to visit, and with 102km of coastline filled with beautiful white, sandy beaches what a better place to figure it out. In this blog we put forth our argument as to why this is truly a unique place that you must see.
How To Get There
As part of the Northeast Aegean islands, it is just off the coast of Turkey. The southernmost of these islands, Ikaria has a small domestic airport. You can fly into Ikaria from either its neighbour Samos, Athens or Thessaloniki. There are ferry services that run but they are irregular, so we recommend flying into Ikaria. You can fly into Athens direct from the four main London airports, Birmingham and Edinburgh.
History and Mythology
Ikaria takes it name from Icarus, the son of Daedalus who flew too close to the son. Myth says that when he fell, he landed in the ocean just off the coast of Ikaria. The island is full of history as well as myth and you can see numerous remains from the Ancient Greeks such as the temple of Artemis at Nas or the remains of the town near Fanari. Many more ancient artefacts from Ikaria and the sea surrounding the island can be found in the archaeological museum at Agios Kirykos, the capital of the island. If you’re a fan of castles, or even if you aren’t it’s well worth a trip to the Byzantine castle at Nikaria, if not for the castle than for the wonderous view from it, one of the best on the island. Other historical landmarks you will see across Ikaria are the monasteries, some of them dating back to Byzantine times, each have their own distinct look and feel and should be seen when visiting Ikaria.
One of Ikaria’s main draws for tourists is the beaches, and with 102km of coastline, much of it beaches, there is plenty to choose from. The beaches are all different whether you want somewhere more popular or somewhere off the beaten track and a bit more isolated. They are a mixture of pebble and sand so you can choose what you want but all are famed for their clear blue waters. One such beach has such turquoise clear waters that it is named Seychelles beach after the exotic islands in the Indian ocean. Other great beaches to check out are the one at Nas, near the temple of Artemis and Messakti on the north coast. For children and the sporty types there are water sports facilities available at many of the more popular beaches.
Having been a staple of Ikaria since ancient times, the island has become known for its thermal springs. Why not visit the ancient springs at the town of Therma, which gets its name after the springs that made it popular. The water from these springs has a high radium content, amongst the richest sources in the world in fact, and this gives the springs their healing qualities for which many seek them out. Alongside Therma, you can check out Lefkada (Not to be confused with the island Lefkada, also called Lefkas) here the springs bubble up from the sands and you can sit in them just off the beach in little pools.
Another of the big pulls is the hiking. With most of the island being mountainous it provides some excellent trails which are spread across the island. One of the best trails is through the Chalaris Canyon where the route takes you along the canyon where you come across the river and see some little waterfalls along with interesting animals and plants. Another canyon walk worth trying is the one that takes you to the beach at Nifi, here you get the scent of thyme gently wafting around as you pass the trees and watch the birds.
We hope this has helped you see what Ikaria has to offer and why it is one of our most searched at the moment. To find out more about the rest of Greece take a look around our website or call us on 01157843388. If you know where you’re looking to book call us, email email@example.com or fill in our contact form with what you’re looking for. Don't forget to follow us on social media to find out the next Destination of the Week and for all your Greek Holiday needs. If you've been to Ikaria, where was your favourite place? What was the best thing you did or do you think we missed anything? Let us know in the comments or on social media, just click the buttons below which take you to our social pages.
Greece is a love affair for The Greek Specialist. Our first visit to the country came in 1997 and since then