Icaria is an island located between Mykonos and Samos. It is known for its rich nature with many trees and its green color, as well as for its wild beaches with crystal-clear turquoise waters. Icarian cuisine is famous for its healthy Mediterranean diet. However, what mainly distinguishes Icaria is its spectacular festivals, which attract many visitors every year.
History of Ikaria
The island was first inhabited during the prehistoric period and was initially named Makris or Dolichi due to its elongated and narrow shape. Its current name derives from Icarus, the son of Daedalus, who, according to mythology, fell into the sea near Ikaria when he attempted to fly too close to the sun.
In ancient times, Ikaria served, at various periods, as a place of exile for political dissidents. During the Byzantine period, the city of Oinoe was the island's center, and members of the royal family were exiled there. In the 13th century, Ikaria became part of the Latin Empire of Constantinople, and in 1484, it passed into the hands of the Knights Hospitaller of Rhodes.
In 1521, it was occupied by the Turks. Ikaria was liberated in November 1912.
Beaches in Ikaria
- The Livadi Beach is located between the village of Armenistis and the Mesakti Beach. It is quieter than the neighboring Mesakti Beach. Next to the beach, there is a small cove where a group can fit. You will see it when you descend the stairs. Access to the beach is easy as the road passes right above it, where you can find parking space.
- Mesakti Beach is perhaps the most "cosmopolitan" beach on the island and is fully organized. It has sun loungers, a beach bar, and music. The quality of the sand is excellent. North winds often blow, making it a favorite spot for surfers. It mainly attracts a young crowd, but families with children also visit. In the background, you can see the chapel of the Ascension in the harbor of Gialiskari.
- Seychelles is considered by many as the best beach on the island. It has a distinct character, and its colors resemble an exotic destination, from which its name derives. It has pebbles, and since it faces south, it is protected from the winds. Access to the beach is quite challenging. Although there is a parking area high up on the road, you will have to walk a trail and step on quite inaccessible rocks to reach the beach. However, you can also use a boat to go from Agios Kirykos.
- Nas Beach is another unique place. It is not so well-known for its beach as it is for the beautiful landscape it offers. The river of Halari reaches the coast, and from the path you descend to reach the beach, you can enjoy the view of the gorge. Nas Beach is ideal for enjoying the beautiful sunset in Ikaria, and there are also taverns with a nice view.
- Kampos Beach is located near Eydilos. It is a beautiful sandy beach, but like other northeastern beaches of the island, it is affected by the winds and often has waves. Access to the beach is easy as the road passes above it. There are taverns and rental rooms near the beach, and you can find parking space.
Sights in Ikaria
In the Therma - Agios Kirykos area, we recommend visiting the following attractions:
- Modern Archaeological Museum in Agios Kirykos: A museum that houses excavations from ancient Ikaria and other archaeological sites in the area.
- Folklore Museums: There are notable folklore museums in the capital of Ikaria, where you can explore local traditions and culture.
- Perdiki: A historic monastery worth visiting for its architecture and religious significance.
- Ancient City of "Drakanon" with the Round Tower in Faros: Ruins of an ancient city that includes an impressive round tower in Faros.
- "Cave of Dionysus" in Iero: A stunning cave with uniquely shaped stalagmites and stalactites.
- Ancient Acropolis and the Chapel of Agios Nikolaos in the village of Katafygi: An ancient acropolis and a small church with a secret passage in the village of Katafygi.
For the sea, you can enjoy the friendly sandy beach of Thermes, as well as the beautiful coastal areas along the routes Thermes - Faros and Thermes - Magganitis.
Additionally, it's worth visiting the ancient Oinoe with its Byzantine ruins and the Archaeological Museum in the village of Kampos, the Castle of Koskinas, the monasteries of Theoktisti and Mounda, the Folklore Museum of Vrakades, and the sacred Temple of Artemis Tauropolos in Nas, with its beautiful sunset and the picturesque Halari River Gorge.
Activities in Ikaria
Ikaria, and specifically the beach of Mesakti, is an ideal destination for surfing enthusiasts. The large beach and ideal wave conditions cater to the needs of both experienced surfers and beginners interested in trying out this water sport. In Ikaria, you'll find the Ikaria Surf School, where experienced instructors with knowledge and expertise will help you start safely and progress. If you have surfing experience, you can also rent surfboards. You can also enjoy a ride on a Stand-Up Paddleboard (SUP). Surfing in Ikaria is an activity that you should definitely try to have a different experience.
Christos Rahon, or also known as Raches, is the entertainment village in Ikaria. According to myth, the shops were closed in the morning and only opened in the evening, but this is no longer the case. If you visit in the morning, you may not see many people, but most of the shops will be open. In Christos Rahon, you'll find eateries, drink and cocktail bars, as well as supermarkets, bakeries, and gift shops. The village and its square are picturesque and perfect for a casual stroll. It is located approximately 12-15 minutes away from Armenistis.
How to travel to / from Ikaria?
- Ferry Routes from Piraeus to Ikaria: There are 1-6 ferry routes from Piraeus to Ikaria every week, depending on the season. The ferries head to two different destinations in Ikaria, the port of Evdilos and the port of Agios Kirykos. The duration of the journey is 6-9 hours, and the cost of a ticket is €58.
- Ferry Routes from Mykonos to Ikaria (Evdilos port): During the summer, there are daily ferry routes from Mykonos to the port of Evdilos in Ikaria. The duration of the journey is approximately 2 hours, and the cost of a ticket is around €13.
- Ferry Routes from Fournoi to Ikaria (Agios Kirykos port): During the peak season, there are several daily ferries from Fournoi to Ikaria. The duration of the journey is 25 minutes, and the cost of a ticket is around €7.
It is important to note that ferry schedules and prices may vary depending on the season and the ferry company's policy. Therefore, it is recommended to check with booktickets for the information concerning your journey.