If you’re looking for a relaxing vacation, then head to the island of Ikaria, also Icaria (Ικαρία in Greek), named for Icarus, who was known for falling into the sea when the sun melted his wax wings. The beauty of Ikaria Island will enchant you with its clear waters and golden sand, and it’s an ideal place if you love to camp and simply enjoy your natural surroundings.
The Ikaria locals live 10 years longer than the rest of Europe, on average, which is something they can probably thank the natural and active lifestyle for.
When you want to explore the island, just drive to the inland and discover the charming villages of Ikaria and wineries set among the island’s gorgeous backdrop.
Ikaria is a Northeastern Aegean island with the reputation of being totally laid back and having amazing, must-see beaches. It is part of the cluster of islands that includes Thasos, Samothraki, Limnos, Lesvos, Psara, Hios, Agios Evstratios, Samos, and Fourni.
Ikaria is the perfect place to visit if you’re not in the mood for tourism, but rather visiting hidden beaches with preserved nature.
To get your exercise in while vacationing, you can cross the many hiking trails which lead to villages, gorges, small bays, and vineyards across the island. Wine is one of the traditional products on Ikaria, and you will want to be sure to try as many house wines as possible with your meals because they are absolutely delicious.
To get a preview of what your experience in Ikaria may be like, keep reading our travel guide here with photos of beaches, villages, and other sights to visit. There’s also a map to help you get your bearings on Ikaria below.
The special thing about Ikaria is that all its villages remain traditional and uninfluenced by tourism. You will find a collection of villages with stone houses and paved streets in small bays and on the mountainsides. The main village on Ikaria is Agios Kirikos and a couple of the most popular resorts are Evdilos and Armenistis. There are other hotels and accommodations located throughout Ikaria’s villages.
To get the real feel of Ikaria and its traditional Greek culture, stay in Armenistis Village, which has just 70 inhabitants. The village is the capital of Ikaria Island and lies west of Evdilos village and about 50 km northwest of the main village, Agios Kirikos.
In Armenistis, you will find Agios Nikolaos, a picturesque church, small houses, and a quaint port. This is a fishing village which has become popular among tourists but manages to maintain its relaxed energy. There are plenty of cafes and taverns to enjoy in Armenistis, and the beaches are some of Ikaria’s best!
The best place to stay in the northern part of Ikaria is Gialiskari Village, a small seaside area surrounded by dense forests of pine trees, with just 165 locals focused mainly on fishing and agriculture. Gialiskari is one of Ikaria’s oldest fishing villages and feels authentic, even with many visitors.
Try to book your stay around the 15th of August to experience an amazing traditional feast with local food and wine and all-night dancing. Rest assured that you will find your share of shops, hotels, cafes, and taverns in Gialiskari.
Agios Kirikos is the main port and capital of Ikaria and home to 1800 of the island’s inhabitants, who work in fishing and tourism. Located on the south eastern side of the island, Agios Kirikos is one of the most beautiful areas in the Aegean, founded just 300 years ago by sailors.
The village is built with large Neoclassical houses sporting slate roofs and flowers and found among stone steps and narrow streets. The central square in Agios Kirikos is home to many small shops and cafes where you can pass your time. This is the center of Ikaria and is connected to the rest of Greece by land, sea, and air. If you’re interested in active nightlife, this is the spot to be, as there are many clubs, bars, taverns, and places to stay.
Evdilos Village is located about 38 km north west of the main village, Agios Kirikos, and is built around a natural bay. The village was built after the fear of pirates ended in the 1830s, and was the capital of the island from 1834-1912, during the second part of the Turkish occupation.
Evdilos is the second main port of the island and connects easily to the islands Samos and Fourni, making it possible for a Greek Island hopping vacation without losing time on extensive traveling times. The village is home to many fishers among a total of 500 residents. Made up of pretty alleys, neoclassical buildings, and traditional mansions, Evdilos is perfect for photos, as you will find many lush gardens full of color. There are plenty of accommodations, cafes, and excellent fish taverns in this tourist spot.
Head to Therma Village if you’re looking for the spa experience, as it’s home to therapeutic radioactive hot mineral springs. To complement the springs, Therma Village has gorgeous whitewashed houses decorated with fresh flowers, for a postcard look. There are plenty of traditional bakeries, coffee shops, and taverns to enjoy. Be sure to take a dip in the famous springs in the village’s square, as they can help cure rheumatism, arthritis, neuralgia, and more!
Plagia Village is located southwest of Agios Kirikos and is built into the mountain slopes with steep terrain and many cliffs. You will see houses scattered in this village and find a sweet center with a church and a few shops.
This village holds a wonderful traditional celebration on September 8th, each year, where you will enjoy folklore, music, dancing, and of course, eating. An important church in Plagis is Genethlion Tis Theotokou, which means The Birth of the Virgin, and was built in 1953 on a spot formerly held by another church. Plagia also hosts traditional oil press sites with mills for grinding olives. Plagia is the right choice for you if you’re looking to immerse yourself in the traditional Greek experience.
Map of Ikaria Island, Greece