Green coves, rocky cliffs, steep valleys and broken canopy of scrub and olive groves, not mentioning the beautiful streams and idyllic beaches; Ikaria from above appears to be floating on the Aegean blue. The island is indeed blessed with a natural environment of unique beauty, and is famous for its amazing beaches and the laid back atmosphere.

The relaxed, stress-free rhythm of life is one of the reasons for the islanders particularly long life expectancy; in fact, the people of Ikaria live on average 10 years longer than those in the rest of Europe and America! The island has been the focus of many studies throughout the years, as scientists tried to uncover the secret of its centenarian inhabitants. The food could be one major factor; the Ikarians follow their take on the Mediterranean diet, eating a lot of home-grown fruit and vegetables and drinking one or two glasses of the famous Ikarian red wine a day. Not so bad for a diet, is it?

In general, life here is largely unaffected by the westernised way of living. Locals tend to stick together, helping each other out even in times of crisis. There is a strong sense of solidarity, a great us rather than I that you can read on the faces of the locals. Ikaria is famous for their warm hospitality and cheerful mood.  Ikaria is host to more than 50 paniyiria, or religious festivals, that are celebrated with an abundance of food and wine, singing and dancing.

Yet Ikarian people also recognize the need for rest. Greeks playfully refer to Ikaria as “our Mexico”, hinting at the habit of Ikarians to take afternoon naps similar to the Mexican siestas. Still, they are anyhting but lazy, waking up early in the morning and spending the rest of the day hard at work.

For visitors who don’t want to indulge in lazy afternoons Ikaria is the perfect setting to go on an adventure. There are many hiking trails that cover the whole island and lead to hilltop villages and private bays, whereas its beaches are mostly off the beaten track, offered for naturism and camping.  The strong winds of the Aegean make Ikaria an ideal location for water sports enthusiasts and its crystal clear waters promise to thrill even the most demanding scuba diver.

The quiet capital of Agios Kirikos is a must for the hip traveler; walk among the well-preserved stone houses, through narrow streets to catch a stunning view of the sea below; alternatively, head for funky Evdilos for a greater choice of restaurants and cafes.

The secret for a successful trip anywhere is that it always includes the invaluable help and advice from a local. 
On Ikaria you can find not just one, but a group of such people who came together under the same cause and founded Discover Ikaria to show visitors the untainted beauty of their land. Each and every one of them is passionate and committed to make you feel at home and take you on a wonderful journey on this island of myths and legends; we kindly thank them for their beautiful photos of Ikaria. You can find more photos and information under the Affiliates Banner below or learn more about our Trilogy of Trips that offers you a unique glimpse of Greece from the eyes of the locals, here!