Ikaria tips. The best tips for a holiday on Ikaria in Greece / Ikaria Travel Guide
Have you ever heard of Ikaria? When you plan a holiday in Greece, you probably think of the typical islands like Rhodes, Crete, Kos, Corfu or Mykonos. But it is also worth taking a look away from the popular travel destinations and exploring the unknown Greek islands. Don’t feel like mass tourism, are you longing for adventure and want to plan an individual holiday? Then the Ikaria tips are a welcome source of inspiration for you. The island in the East Aegean belongs to the Greek archipelago of the Southern Sporades and offers a retreat far away from the stress of everyday life. Between mountainous and wooded nature you will find incredible peace and originality and you can spend a relaxing holiday on secluded bays and beaches. The motto here is: deceleration, delicious food and a stress-free atmosphere. The clocks literally tick differently there.
Facts about Ikaria
West of Ikaria is the island of Mykonos, to the east is Samos, not far off the Turkish coast. The hilly island, which is almost 40 kilometers long, is also affectionately called the “island of the centenarians” because the proportion of 90 and 100-year-olds is considerably higher than the rest of Europe’s average age.
The reasons for this are varied and have been studied for years. The island seems almost modest compared to the bustling islands like Mykonos and Santorini, even in high season.
But how can the island be briefly described? Rustic, simple, relaxed, wild or untouched are a few adjectives that will come to mind when you visit and then think about the question again. The almost 1,030 meter high Atheras mountain range alone gives the island a fantastic atmosphere.
The island, whose name has its origins in Greek mythology and was named after Icarus, is also shaped by the legendary stories of the Greek god of wine, Dionysus.
On the relatively undeveloped island, many of the locals still live from the cultivation of their own products and olive oil, honey and wine are particularly popular here. That’s why you absolutely have to enjoy the numerous products.
The paradise for hikers is the tranquility itself, so you should also be prepared for the fact that shops and restaurants often do not open when the advertised opening times say so. All in all, the motto applies: enjoy this attitude to life and don’t be put off by possible transport problems, sporadic traffic routes or atypical opening hours of the restaurants.
Getting to Ikaria / By plane to Ikaria
First of all, you can probably already guess that you cannot get to Ikaria by direct flight. But the island has a small airport and offers flights to and from Athens several times a week.
Depending on the month of travel, you can also get to Ikaria from the airport in Heraklion (Crete), Thessaloniki, the island of Limnos or Mykonos. Here you have to plan a little more time for research.
By ferry to Ikaria
Alternatively, you can also take the ferry to Ikaria. Several times a week you have the chance to reach your destination from Piraeus for currently around 60 € in just under six hours, arriving in the small town of Agios Kirykos.
Or do you fancy island hopping? From Ikaria you can be on the island of Fournoi in two hours.
Getting around in Ikaria
And what about getting around on Ikaria? One of the top Ikaria tips is definitely to arrange a transfer to your accommodation as far in advance of your arrival as possible.
The same applies to renting a rental car or scooter. In general, the roads on Ikaria are not well developed and you have to expect that you will take one or two potholes with you or that there are sometimes no markings on the roads.
Apart from that, the larger towns are served by buses or you can head to different destinations from Agios Kirykos or Therma by boat.
Best time to visit Ikaria
Of course, the question of the best time to travel to Ikaria should not be missing from the list of Ikaria tips. The Mediterranean climate on the island ensures that you can expect hot temperatures in the summer months and at the same time the winters are quite mild.
If you are after the warmest temperatures, the best travel time can be limited to the months from June to September. But you can also spend an unforgettable holiday in spring and autumn with a pleasant climate.
In addition, the prices for accommodation and flights are often cheaper in the off-season, outside the holiday periods. As you would expect, you have to reckon with the most precipitation in the winter months.
Holiday resorts on Ikaria / Coastal resorts in Ikaria
Of course, planning a holiday also includes looking for possible excursion destinations. So that nothing stands in the way of an unforgettable stay, you will now get to know the most important coastal towns on Ikaria.
The main town of the island is the small town of Agios Kirykos with almost 2,300 inhabitants. Surrounded by hilly landscapes, the town’s houses blend in picturesquely with the east coast of the island and offer you the perfect starting point for your round trip.
Around the port of Agios Kirykos, where you arrive on ferry trips, you can taste delicious Greek cuisine in some taverns and enjoy dreamy atmospheres. We continue on the north side of the island with the holiday resort of Armenistis.
One of the top Ikaria tips is home to some of the most beautiful beaches on the island and should therefore be at the top of your to-do list. The largest beaches of Ikaria are between Armenistis and Gialiskari village.
Now the path leads you to the port of Evdilos, 20 minutes away. Around the harbor of the fishing village you can capture typical whitewashed houses with lush green nature in the background on your camera.
If you are hungry, here are a few options for a short break. Heading towards the east coast again, the small spa town of Therma welcomes you five minutes by car north of Agios Kirykos.
As the name suggests, one of the most beautiful Ikaria tips is home to some healing thermal springs. You should also know the places of Nas, Magganitis and Karkinagri before your trip.
Mountain villages in Ikaria
Between wild mountains, grapevines, olive groves, oak forests and fruit trees you can discover some rustic and original mountain villages on Ikaria. As soon as you make your way inland, you will feel nostalgic and will not shake the feeling that time has stood still.
An absolute must and one of the special Ikaria tips is the village of Christos or also called Christos Raches. Surrounded by pine trees, you will find cute bars and relaxed atmospheres in the place.
But beware: the shops and bars usually close at 4 p.m. and only open at around 8:30 p.m. As long as you pay attention to this, nothing stands in the way of an unforgettable visit – you will love it.
Other villages worth seeing are Vrakades, Kouniadi and Akamatra.
Best Beaches in Ikaria
A holiday by the sea also includes the picturesque beaches and bays of an island. During your island vacation you can discover crystal clear bays and some magical beaches on Ikaria.
The well-known Seychelles Beach is undoubtedly one of the top Ikaria tips. Crystal clear water, white stones and towering cliffs are reminiscent of the country in East Africa and create a special oasis.
But of course word has gotten around about this paradisiacal atmosphere and the small bay can get full more quickly. That’s why you should definitely be there early and be prepared for a rocky and steep descent. Speaking of which, slippers are worth it.
We continue with the bay of Nas Beach, which is located six kilometers from Armenistis. You should visit the fine pebble beach at sunset, because here the sun usually magically disappears on the horizon and depending on the swell, swimming is also too dangerous.
Another gem in Armenistis is Ikaria’s Livadi Beach. Once there, you are guaranteed to find a quiet place and can enjoy a relaxed atmosphere.
If you are looking for a change, you can reach Paralia Mesakti beach in just under 15 minutes and one bay further. Even if the waves are often very strong, you should spend a day here. There are beach loungers or parasols on site and a few bars will take care of your hunger and thirst.
Other recommendations are Paralia Armenistis, Paralia Iero, Kampos Beach or Paralia Faros.
Places to visit in Ikaria
The special features of the island of Ikaria are that the locals have taken care to preserve the unique originality and create a positive feeling of seclusion and idyll. The Greek island is characterized above all by its lush forests, striking hilly landscapes, fascinating hiking opportunities and quaint places.
But apart from picturesque beaches you will also find a few sights on Ikaria. The famous thermal springs of Ikaria are among the most famous excursion destinations.
In the town of Therma and on some beaches you can bathe in the beneficial springs and do something good for your body. If you are interested in historical architecture for a change, you must visit the Theoktistis Monastery, a rock structure worth seeing.
Otherwise the motto should be: just drive off and let yourself be surprised!
Activities in Ikaria
Do you love to be out in nature? Then hiking on Ikaria is a must.
Armenistis is the perfect starting point for extensive tours through nature. From there there are some signposted paths, but otherwise you will often come across trails.
Or would you like to go on guided hikes? Then contact the provider Ikarian Footprints for possible tours.
Alternatively, an exciting adventure awaits you while surfing on Ikaria. The Paralia Mesakti beach with the surf school Ikaria Surf School is an absolute insider tip, especially for beginners.
Drifting on the sea in a kayak and going snorkeling or going on exciting sailing tours to the neighboring island of Fourni – sounds fantastic, doesn’t it? If you want to enjoy a special feeling of freedom and discover the landscapes from different perspectives, you should take a closer look at the offers of Island Ikaria Activity Tours.
In contrast, the Ikarus Festival has been held annually on the island of Ikaria since 2006. In some places on the island there are concerts, exhibitions or performances that aim to combine different styles of music and cultural events.
The extraordinary Ikaria tips undoubtedly include the so-called village festivals Panigiri, where the locals pay tribute to their respective patron saints on different days and celebrate this with lots of dancing and delicious specialties.
The convivial atmospheres will make you feel at home straight away. In short: just ask after your arrival about possible festivals that you can visit during your stay.
Excursions from Ikaria
If you bring enough time you have to plan an island hopping in Greece. Before you start your holiday, you should plan a possible route and check and book your planned ferry connections.
In the immediate vicinity is the Greek island of Samos, which knows how to inspire with its green nature, dreamy fishing villages and places steeped in history such as Pythagorio. If you’re already there, the Turkish mainland is not far away.
The same applies to the island of Chios. There you can perfectly combine a holiday in Turkey with some Greek islands. On the other hand, the small island of Fournoi is closer to Ikaria and is ideal for a day trip.
Idyll and seclusion await you there far away from the typical Greek travel destinations. Or have you already heard of the island of Patmos?
You can reach one of the Ikaria tips in just under an hour by ferry and you can look forward to a mysterious and magical island paradise.
The harbor town of Skala, the old town of Chora or the dream beach Psili Amos will not let you go. And the island of Lipsi is not far either.
Are you still not convinced? Then plans trips to the islands of Mykonos and Syros.
Eating and drinking in Ikaria
During your stay, the island’s cuisine is one of the unique Ikaria tips. On the island, the locals attach great importance to regionality, fresh ingredients and their own cultivation.
Different herbs, so-called “Horta”, play an important role in the preparation of food. In addition, honey, legumes and nuts are used in many dishes or, of course, Greek olive oil.
You absolutely have to taste the dishes made from different mushroom variations or you shouldn’t miss the freshly caught fish. You can also taste delicious wine from Ikaria.
One of the typical vegetarian dishes that you will discover on the menu at one or the other tavern of Ikaria is called soufiko and can be compared to ratatouille.
As you drive across the island, you will always come across small wineries and you can buy a few souvenirs or do a spontaneous tasting. Worth it!
All in all, sustainable living has a high priority for the locals and you will notice this especially when dealing with gastronomy.
Bars & Taverns on Ikaria:
Anna’s Fish Tavern
Wine on Ikaria – Wineries of Ikaria:
Karimalis Winery & Farmhouse Restaurant