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What To See & Do On Ikaria Island, Greece
Halfway between Mykonos and Samos, Ikaria is an often forgotten Greek Island not far from the Dodecanese. This Greek paradise is one of the largest islands in eastern Aegean, featuring a fascinating mythological tradition. In fact, Ikaria got its name from Icarus, the son of Daedalus, who flew too close to the son and fell into the sea near the island.
Ikaria is home to a fantastic natural landscape made of green forests and refreshing streams and waterfalls and some superb beaches that call for hundreds of tourists season after season.
The capital of the island, Agios Kirykos, is the main port and town on Ikaria. It’s located on the southern coast, and it’s a great place to start exploring the rest of Ikaria.
Known for the warm hospitality of the locals, its healthy cuisine, and its lively atmosphere, Ikaria is a great destination not only during summer but throughout the year. This guide features the best things to do in Ikaria and this magnificent Greek Island’s top places to discover.
How To Get To Ikaria Island
These are the most common ways to get to Ikaria from Athens and other areas in Greece.
How To Travel To Ikaria By Plane
The island has only a tiny airport able to receive only domestic flights and small planes. Flights connect Ikaria to Athens (1-2 daily flights, 50-minute trip), and weekly flights arriving from Lesvos, Crete, Lemnos, and Thessaloniki.
The airport is about 12 km from the island’s capital, so you need to hire a taxi or rent a car to reach the center. As an alternative, you can also take advantage of public transport.
How To Travel To Ikaria By Ferry
The most common way to reach Ikaria is utilizing a ferry from Piraeus (Athens), although the trip is relatively long (about 11 hours). Ikaria can also be reached by sea departing from the nearby islands of Samos, Syros, Mykonos, and Chios.
Ferries can arrive both at the main port in Agios Kirykos, which receives boats from Chios, Samos, Kavala, Lesvos, Lemnos, Syros, and Piraeus, as well as to the port of Evdhilos, connected to Samos, Mykonos, Syros, Samos, and Piraeus.
To move around on the island, people can rely on the bus service departing from the capital. On the island, it’s possible to rent a car or a motorbike, while taxis are rare and need to be booked in advance. Auto-stop is a pretty standard and safe option when traveling around Ikaria.
What To Do In Ikaria
There are plenty of villages worth a visit in Ikaria, beaches, and a few small but interesting museums. Ikaria is a destination that mostly calls for a relaxing holiday in close contact with nature.
Down here, you will be able to find some of the best things to see and do in Ikaria for a wonderful time in Greece.
Discover The Capital Agios Kirykos
There are a few unmissable things in the capital of Ikaria that no visitor should overlook when paying a visit. First of all, you should check the colorful Metropolitan Church of Agios Kirykos with an impressive size and stunning views of the island.
Also, in the area, it’s a good idea to check the Archaeological Collection of Agios Kirykos, which houses several findings dating from the neolithic and classical periods, including clay objects, coins, weapons, and a lot more.
Sail To Fournoi
Fournoi is a cluster of small islands in the Aegean Sea close to Ikaria but also to the islands of Samos and Patmos.
There are about ten different islands, only two of them inhabited, Thimena and Fourni. The latter is a very remote destination with a modest touristic development, ideal as a tourist destination for those who desire close contact with nature and a peaceful atmosphere.
Fourni is predominantly a fishing island, with a small but picturesque main village, a small harbor, and a tiny square where most island life occurs.
Fourni is well known for its stunning hidden coves with sandy beaches and crystal clear shores. If you plan to spend a day in Fourni, don’t miss the beaches of Psili Ammos and Petrokopio Beach on the southern coast of the island. It’s possible to get to Fourni by ferry from Ikaria (or from Samos too).
The town of Therma is famous for its healing thermal waters. Only 2 km from the capital of Ikaria, Therma has long been a popular place for health therapies since very ancient times (at least since the fourth century BC).
Here, it’s possible to find the remains of ancient baths, hot pools, as well as a natural sauna, and the hot springs of Asklipiou. In the area, there’s also a tiny indoor complex called Spilaio, where you can experience a sauna in a cave and enjoy the simple but relaxing thermal pools.
Taste The Healthy And Delicious Ikarian Cuisine
Home to some exquisite gastronomy, Ikarian dishes highlight the simplicity of very healthy ingredients and plenty of herbs to enhance the flavors. The island produces excellent honey too, which can be often found both in savory dishes and in desserts, pastries, and all kinds of sweets too.
Typical dishes feature both fresh fish and seafood and goat and lamb with cooked vegetables and salads.
Ikarian Wine Tasting
No gastronomic experience could be complete without the right wine pairing. When in Ikaria, it’s a good idea to explore some of the local labels and discover the unique wines of the island.
To do so the right way, nothing better than paying a visit to Afianes Wines, a winery that takes pride in preserving ancient winemaking techniques and combining them with modern-day practices.
Among their leading labels, taste the Afianes Natural Sparkling Wine Begleri, a white that pairs well with seafood, or the Icarus Black Dry Red Fokiano, a robust red perfect for meat dishes. The winery offers guided tours, wine tasting sessions, and special events to learn everything about the wines of Ikaria.
Go Trekking To Halari Gorge
Not far from the magnificent beach of Nas, Halari Gorge is a beautiful natural region about 50 km northwest of Agios Kirykos, the capital of the island.
Halari is in an area with plenty of small lakes, waterfalls, and rivers, and it’s a perfect place to escape from the extreme heat of summer. This area offers excellent trekking opportunities and a unique collection of old stone bridges that connect different paths and trails.
The area is covered with fragrant bushes and shady plane trees inhabited by plenty of different bird varieties.
The gorge features an interesting trekking path that connects Nas Beach with Christos Rachon, a mountain village with traditional architecture.
Check Some Of The Best Beaches In Ikaria
There are several fantastic beaches on the island, some famous for the unique landscapes of awe-inspiring beauty. These are some of the ones we suggest you visit.
With such a name, there’s no doubt that you can expect to find one of the most beautiful beaches in Greece. Seychelles is a pebbled beach located about 20 km southwest of Agios Kirykos. The shore features pristine emerald waters, and high rocks surround it when visiting this beach; pack everything you need since there’s no organization in the area.
This is one of the most beautiful shores on Ikaria Island. It is located 55 km northwest of Agios Kirykos, and it features a narrow coast surrounded by rocky cliffs. Thanks to its geographic location, the area is well protected from the winds and offers some of the most spectacular sunsets on the island.
Quite popular among locals and visitors alike, Evdilos is a beach about 38 km northwest of Agios Kirykos, not far from Evdilos, the second port of Ikaria.
The beach is relatively quiet, with very basic organization and amazing picturesque views. The beach can be reached by car or using the local bus.
Another beach further from the capital of the island is Livadi, about 48 km away. This long, fine sand beach offers some organization in one area of the coast, but some other portions of Livadi remain wild and perfect for a solitary time by the sea.
This Ikarian beach is located in the village of Karavostamo, 31 km from Agios Kirykos. This long beach mixes sand and pebbles, and beautiful transparent waters.
To reach this shore, it’s necessary to drive along a 2-km gravel road or walk along an ancient footpath. The beach is not organized, although there are some lonely taverns along the coast.
The beach is also close to the Springs of Hallika, which can be visited on the same day, just by traveling for a few minutes off the main road.
Armenistis is a fishing village and a picturesque town featuring one of the most popular beaches on the island. Surrounded by the dramatic architecture of the Aegean, the village is about 50 km from the capital of Ikaria.
Perfect place for families with kids, the beach is protected from strong winds, and the relatively shallow waters make it an ideal destination for young swimmers. The golden, sandy beach is well organized, featuring every comfort and amenity for a pleasant day along the water. The place can get quite crowded yet still manages to remain unspoiled and clean.
In the area, it’s possible to visit a pinewood and the picturesque harbor of Armenistis. The village is a great holiday destination featuring clean, sandy beaches and waters, mini markets and convenience stores, souvenir shops, hotels, car and bike rental agencies, traditional tavernas, and bars.
Kambos is a long sandy beach 40 km from Agios Kirykos. Kambos features clear, shallow waters, green bushes, and bamboo trees. There are both a snack bar and a beach bar on the beach, while the small village features some hotels and studios and a few traditional restaurants.
Discover The Culture Of Ikaria
The Stone Houses Of Ikaria
These imposing and mysterious structures can be found scattered all over the island. The stone houses date from the Byzantine period when Ikaria was at the mercy of pirates. To protect against the invasions, locals used to build their homes to resemble nothing but massive rocks from a certain distance.
These homes used to feature shallow ceilings and lack chimneys to avoid any smoke being seen from a distance by the enemies.
The Temple Of Artemis
When exploring Nas Beach, one more thing to visit is the Temple of Artemis, from the sixth century BC. According to archaeologists and historians, Nas can be considered the first settlement ever established on the island.
As with many other famous temples built on the Greek Islands, several temple parts were used to build churches during the 1800s, while most of its columns can be found underwater in a nearby river.
Admire The Castle Of Koskina
Right in the center of the island, the Castle of Koskina is located on the road from Evdilos to Plagia. The bizarre Byzantine construction stands on top of a steep mountain and dates back to the tenth century.
Just like the stone houses, this castle was used to protect the locals from pirate attacks. Today’s majority of the structure is in ruins, except for a small church dedicated to Saint George.
Tower Of Drakano
This stone tower was probably built during the fourth century BC in Fanari. Completely built using fine marble blocks, the tower is visible from long distances.
Shopping Experiences In Ikaria
Most shops on Ikaria can be found in some of the local villages, including Evdilos, Agios Kirykos, Gialiskari, Therma, and Armenistis.
Although most of them commonly sell souvenirs, many others feature some of the top-quality products made on the island, including ceramics, excellent honey, extra virgin olive oil, and Ikarian cheese.
Some shops also sell the fantastic dark wine produced on the island, an excellent souvenir idea to remember your trip to Ikaria.
Ikaria With Kids
One of the favorite things to do in Ikaria with kids is discovering the many hiking trails that allow close contact with nature. Many of these trails end in beautiful beaches, providing a much-desired reward after the hike for the whole family.
Kids will also enjoy trying some of the local products. There is nothing like a bowl of hearty Greek yogurt with Ikarian honey for a healthy breakfast that kids and adults will love.
The island of Ikaria is also known for the many festivals and celebrations that are held throughout the summer. These are fun evenings with music, food, dancing, and entertainment for the whole family. Significant celebrations include the feast of the Virgin Mary on August 15 and the celebration of Profitis Ilias on July 20.
On August 6, the village of Christos Rachon holds a celebration with plenty of local food, including roasted lamb and local wine. Cultural events include the Icarus Festival in July, which focuses on different forms of art, like painting exhibitions, dance lessons, cinema, and the International Chess Festival with tournaments for all ages.
Best Ikaria Hotels
Budget Places To Stay In Ikaria
Anemi Apartments is a family-friendly budget place to stay in Ikaria, 300 meters from Armenistis Beach. The venue features a garden, a terrace, and room service for your convenience.
The House on the Coast has excellent ratings, and it is a comfortable place to stay in Ikaria for families. This pet-friendly accommodation features two comfortable rooms with a terrace and a balcony, and it is located about 8 km from Evdilos Beach.
Mid-Range Hotels In Ikaria
Hotel Asteria is a convenient place to stay in Ikaria, located in the capital of Agios Kirykos, a few minutes from the thermal complex of Therma. Asteria offers studios with air conditioning and comfy wooden furnishings. They all feature a kitchenette, while some units also have a balcony.
Kocheilas Studios is an excellent accommodation in Gialiskari, highly rated by families with kids. The property is set amidst lush greenery, only 400 meters from the beach. The studios feature a beautiful terrace with sea views, barbecue facilities, and an outdoor dining area. This place is only 9 km from Evdilos Port, while Ikaria Airport is 40 km away.
Luxury Hotels In Ikaria
Hotel Nefeli can be found just 100 meters from the beach in Therma Village, no more than 2 km from Agios Kirykos. This hotel offers comfortable air-conditioned rooms with a balcony, satellite TV, fridge, and safety deposit box. The dining area offers a daily breakfast buffet as well as drinks and light meals.
Olivias Villas in Raches is one of the top places to stay in Ikaria. Perfect for families or groups of friends, the accommodation is air-conditioned and features a comfortable seating area. There are some units with a terrace and stunning sea views. If you want to explore the island, the property offers car hire services too.
Where To Eat In Ikaria
This unique Ikarian food restaurant is located in the area of Agios Dimitrios, not far from Nas Beach. This restaurant serves delicious local food, including some stunning seafood dishes in a magnificent setting. Entirely off the beaten track, a dinner in Sto Kampi is well worth the ride.
Not far from Evdilos and Kambos, Sta Perix is another unmissable Ikarian restaurant that you should visit during your stay on the island.
Among the dishes, you can choose to try the simple appetizers, the local cheese varieties, seafood pasta, or the mouthwatering goat whenever it is featured on the menu.
Located in Nas Beach, this is another fantastic place to try local gastronomy. Dishes are original and feature the fresh produce of the island. The view in this venue is to die for too.Share