What To See & Do On Ikaria Island – Greece Travel Guide

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Post author Gabi

Written by our local expert Gabi

Gabi is an award-winning writer who lives on the Island of Crete in Greece. She is an expert in Greek travel and writes guides for the everyday traveler.

Here is your guide to Ikaria Island, Greece. We have made you a list of things to do on Ikaria Island, as well as suggestions on where to stay and what to expect while you are on the Island of Ikaria, Greece

Greece Travel Blog_Ikaria Island Guide_What To See and Do In Ikaria

Halfway between Mykonos and Samos, Ikaria (sometimes spelled Icaria) is an often-forgotten Greek Island not far from the Dodecanese. This Greek paradise is one of the largest islands in the eastern Aegean, featuring fascinating Greek mythology and blue-domed Orthodox churches.

Ikaria got its name from Icarus, the son of Daedalus, who flew too close to the sun and fell into the sea near the island.

Ikaria is home to a fantastic array of attractions and activities. The places to visit around Ikaria range from natural landscapes made of green forests, refreshing streams, and waterfalls to superb beaches that draw in 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 a great place to start exploring the rest of the island and see the top sites in 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

Agios Kirikos village on Ikaria island in Greece

Getting to Ikaria is easy! 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 arrive from Lesvos, Crete, Lemnos, and Thessaloniki.

The airport is about 12 km from the island’s capital, so you must 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 by 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.

People can rely on the bus service departing from the capital to move around on the island. On the island, renting a car or a motorbike is possible, while taxis are rare and must be booked in advance. Auto-stop is a pretty standard and safe option when traveling around Ikaria.

What To See And Do In Ikaria

Plenty of villages worth visiting in Ikaria, beaches, and a few small but interesting museums including an archaeological museum that is a must-see. Ikaria is a destination that mostly calls for a relaxing holiday in close contact with nature.

Also famous for its summer festivals and celebrations, Ikaria offers an excellent opportunity to connect with the locals and learn about some unique ancient Greek traditions.

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.

The most popular tours in Ikaria:

  • 🍷 Get acquainted with the winemaking procedures on this tour to Karimalis Winery in Ikaria
  • 🚲 Ikarian E-Bike Tours is an alternative way to explore Ikaria, the island of longevity and of the happier people on earth
  • 🍲 Join this calm walking tour through the beautiful winery estate with incredible sea views, and stop at three distinct spots to enjoy a wine and gastronomic pairing


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, you should check out the colorful Metropolitan Church of Agios Kirykos, with its impressive size and stunning island views.

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

Fourni island and view of Thymaina island early in the morning, Greece.

Fournoi is a cluster of small islands in the Aegean Sea close to Ikaria but also the islands of Samos and Patmos.

There are about ten different islands, and only two of them are 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 island’s southern coast.

It’s possible to get to Fourni by ferry from Ikaria (or Samos, too), which is one of the most fun things to do in Ikaria.

Explore Therma

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 ancient times (at least since the fourth century BC).

Here, it’s possible to find the remains of ancient baths, hot pools,  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

Wild Honey - Serbia Travel Blog

Home to some exquisite gastronomy, Ikarian dishes highlight the simplicity of very healthy ingredients and plenty of herbs to enhance the flavors. The island also produces excellent honey, which can often be found in savory dishes, desserts, pastries, and all kinds of sweets.

Typical dishes feature fresh fish, seafood, 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.

Book your wine tasting tour here!

Afianes Winery

Afianes Winery is a well-known winery located on the Greek island of Ikaria, and it is worth visiting. Why, you ask?

  • Wine Enthusiasts: if you have an interest in wine, particularly Greek wine, and enjoy wine tasting experiences, then a visit to Afianes Winery can be a great opportunity to sample and learn about Ikaria’s local wines
  • Scenic Views: The winery is situated in a picturesque location on the island, offering beautiful views of the Aegean Sea and the surrounding landscape. If you appreciate the stunning natural scenery, you may find the visit worthwhile for the views alone
  • Cultural Experience: Visiting a winery can also provide insights into the local culture and traditions of Ikaria. You may have the chance to interact with the winemakers, learn about their winemaking process, and gain a deeper understanding of the island’s wine heritage

Before planning a visit to the winery, it’s a good idea to check the winery’s hours of operation and make reservations ahead of time.

Address: Ικαρίας, Profitis Ilias 833 01, Greece

Phone: +30 697 789 3731

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 island’s capital.

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. This is, quite literally, one of the many cool things to do in Ikaria.

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 Rochon, a mountain village with traditional architecture.

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Best Beaches In Ikaria

The island has several fantastic beaches, some famous for the unique landscapes of awe-inspiring beauty. These are some of the ones we suggest you visit.

Seychelles Beach

Ikaria island, Seychelles beach , Aegean sea 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. With such a name, there’s no doubt that you can expect to find one of the most beautiful beaches in Greece.

Nas Beach

This is one of the most beautiful shores on Ikaria Island. It is 55 km northwest of Agios Kirykos and 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.

Evdilos Beach

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 quiet, with basic organization and amazing picturesque views. The beach can be reached by car or using the local bus.

Livadi Beach

Paradise Greek Aegean Sea beach in Livadi at the Ikaria island in a quiet summer day with flat clear blue water. Near Armenistis

Another beach further from the island’s capital 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.

Karavostamo Beach

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, to drive along a 2 km gravel road or walking along an old footpath (ancient actually) is necessary. The beach is not organized, although some lonely taverns are 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 Beach

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 town is about 50 km from the capital of Ikaria.

A 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 remains unspoiled and clean.

In the area, it’s possible to visit a pine forest 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 Beach

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


If you enjoy culture and history and are trying to figure out what to see in Ikaria, visiting some iconic Ikaria stone houses is a must-do activity.

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 imposing and mysterious structures can be found scattered all over the island.

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

Another thing to visit when exploring Nas Beach 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 island’s center, the Castle of Koskina is located on the road from Evdilos to Plagia. The bizarre Byzantine construction stands atop 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. The tower is constructed entirely using fine marble blocks and is visible from long distances.

Shopping Experiences In Ikaria

Most shops on Ikaria can be found in 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 for the whole family after the hike.

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 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 celebrates with plenty of local food, including roasted lamb and local wine. Cultural events include the Icarus Festival in July, which focuses on different art forms, 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

Greece Travel Blog_Guide To Ikaria_Anemi Apartments
Photo Credit: Anemi Apartments

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

Greece Travel Blog_Guide To Ikaria_Hotel Asteria
Photo Credit: Hotel Asteria

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

Greece Travel Blog_Ikaria Island Guide_Olivia Villas Ikaria
Photo Credit: Olivia Villas 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, drinks, and light meals.


Olivias Villas in Raches is one of the top places to stay in Ikaria. The accommodation is air-conditioned for families or groups of friends 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

Greece Travel Blog_Ikaria Island Guide_Thea's Restaurant
Photo Credit: Thea’s Restaurant

Sto Kampi

This unique Ikarian food restaurant is located in 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.

Sta Perix

Not far from Evdilos and Kambos, Sta Perix is another unmissable Ikarian restaurant you should visit while staying 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.

Thea’s Restaurant

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.


​How did the island of Ikaria get its name?

The name “Ikaria” for the island in Greece has its roots in Greek mythology. According to Greek mythology, Ikaria was named after Icarus, the famous figure from the myth of Daedalus and Icarus.

In the myth, Daedalus and his son Icarus were imprisoned on the island of Crete by King Minos. Daedalus, a skilled craftsman, created wings made of feathers and wax for himself and his son to escape from their imprisonment. He warned Icarus not to fly too close to the sun, as the heat could melt the wax and cause his wings to fail. However, Icarus ignored his father’s advice, flew too close to the sun, and ultimately fell into the sea near the island. The island where he fell and died came to be known as Ikaria in his memory.

The myth of Icarus and Daedalus is a well-known story from Greek mythology, and it has given rise to the name of the island of Ikaria in the Aegean Sea, where the myth is said to have taken place.

I read about it being called the “Island Where People Forget to Die.” what does that mean?

Ikaria is often referred to as “The Island Where People Forget to Die” due to its reputation for having a high number of centenarians (people who live to be over 100 years old) and a population that enjoys remarkable longevity and good health. The island has attracted attention from researchers and journalists interested in the study of longevity and healthy aging. Read more about that here, thanks to the New York Times

Factors contributing to longevity on ikaria:

  1. Diet: The traditional Ikarian diet is rich in whole foods, including fresh vegetables, fruits, legumes, olive oil, and herbs. The diet is low in processed foods and red meat but includes moderate amounts of fish. It is often cited as a key factor in the islanders’ health and longevity
  2. Lifestyle: Ikaria has a laid-back and stress-free lifestyle. The residents of the island have a strong sense of community, engage in regular physical activity through daily chores and walking, and prioritize leisure and relaxation
  3. Social Connections: Social connections and a strong sense of community are important on the island. People have close-knit relationships with their families and neighbors, which can provide emotional support and reduce stress
  4. Natural Environment: Ikaria’s clean air, natural beauty, and a mild climate contribute to a healthy living environment
  5. Mediterranean Way of Life: Ikaria shares some similarities with other regions following a Mediterranean lifestyle, known for its health benefits, including the consumption of Mediterranean foods and regular, relaxed meals
  6. Low Stress: Lower levels of stress and a slower pace of life on the island are believed to contribute to overall well-being

While the nickname “The Island Where People Forget to Die” may be somewhat exaggerated, Ikaria’s reputation as a place with a high proportion of long-lived and healthy individuals has sparked interest in studying the lifestyle and dietary habits of its residents as potential contributors to their exceptional longevity. Researchers continue to investigate what factors may be responsible for the island’s impressive health and longevity statistics.

What is a “Blue Zone?”

A Blue Zone is a term used to describe a region or area of the world where people tend to live significantly longer and healthier lives than the global average. These regions have become the focus of study by researchers and health experts seeking to understand the factors contributing to longevity and well-being.

The concept of Blue Zones was popularized by Dan Buettner, a National Geographic journalist and author, who identified several such regions through his research. The term “Blue Zone” originated from the blue circles he drew on a map to mark these areas.

Some well-known Blue Zones include Okinawa (Japan), Sardinia (Italy), Nicoya Peninsula (Costa Rica), Ikaria (Greece), and Loma Linda (California, USA).

What is the story about the “God of Wine”?

Ikaria, like many other regions in Greece, has a history of wine production and is associated with the god of wine in Greek mythology, Dionysus (or Bacchus in Roman mythology). Dionysus is one of the twelve Olympian gods and is often depicted as the god of wine, pleasure, festivity, and theater.

While there may not be a specific myth or story directly related to Dionysus on Ikaria, the island’s tradition of wine production and its celebration of wine, align with the broader Greek mythological association of Dionysus with wine and revelry.

Comments (2)

  1. Why are you not telling everyone that by opening this island up to modern tourism they are quickly destroying the culture by then bringing in fast food crappy joints with their poisonous food and which will destroy this blue zone within the next generation. You are part of the destruction of this beautiful family life where they can’t stop their kids from the enticement of eating such poison.

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