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|The island of Ikaria in Greece - The town of Agios Kirikos and the village of Evdilos|
The island of Ikaria is located just west of the island of Samos in the northern Aegean Sea. It is named after the unfortunate Icarus who according to the Greek myth flew too close to the sun with his wings which were glued to his body with wax, and fell into the sea here. The mountainous island of Ikaria also has the shape of a wing, and its hills are scattered with pine trees.
Ikaria is a quiet island that many of the tourists seem to ignore. Most ferries arrive at Agios Kirikos, which lies in the southeast side of the island. This village was founded about 300 years ago and grew larger as it became a port for the nearby thermal springs of Therma. These springs however proved to be too radioactive and were therefore closed. Agios Kirikos has its own hot springs, the springs of Asclepious, near the central square. The village is not really big: it is only a few blocks deep. It is a quiet town with a couple shops, a large number of trees and a few hotels. The town is dominated by a huge church with red roofs and blue domes. The old houses, many of the old sailors / captains, are neo-classical in style. On many of the balconies there are hanging plants. The town has also got an Archeoligisch Museum with some 200 items as pieces of ancient columns, amphorae from lost ships, weapons, utensils made of brass and stone, and things that come from graves.
At the harbour of Agios Kirikos there are a number of tavernas and this is also the place where the majority of daily life is going on, as well as in the central square on the coastal road with his cafe's coffee houses, bars and shops. In the port there is a modernist sculpture meant to greet the visitors and it should represent Icarus, but it looks more like two slender wings or on the beak of a bird. There is not really much to see in the village and so most visitors come just to hop on a ferry to another island.
From Agios Kirikos you can take a bus along the north coast towards Evdilos (the second port of the island). The journey of Agios Kirikos to Evdilos goes along cliffs and through the mountains and a beautiful landscape to the more attractive north side of the island, where pine forests, vineyards and the best beaches are found.
Evdilos lies against a hill in a small bay and this village also has good ferry connections. Many people go through to the popular beaches of Armenistis, 8 kilometers away. 2 Kilometers further away is the inlet Papas and the excavation (the Temple of Artemmis) and the beach of Nas. Thereafter, the road turns into paths. This piece of the island is much less visited by tourists and it is a walking area.
Ikaria is known for its folding landscapes and deeply set, rustic mountain villages. One afternoon can bring you from a hot and sunny beach, to mysterious rock formations and patches of old oak forests in the mountains. A Temple to Artemis stands in ruins on the shores of Nas beach, where the Chalaris River flows into the sea. Ruins of Byzantine towns are also found on the island. During years of harsh pirate raids, Ikarians lived deep in the mountains and hid their homes by constructing them from stones under huge rocks or in locations hidden within forests, not directly visible from the sea. Thus, a walk through the Ikarian terrain today reveals many such hidden rock houses and storage caves.
More and more tourists are coming to Ikaria for its rich, preserved nature and relaxed lifestyle that remains very traditional, in comparison to more frequented Greek islands. The island is known for its Ikarian red wine and honey making, and also for traditional Ikarian music that can be heard live at traditional festivals. In addition, there are many thermal hot springs on the south part of the island, Ikaria that also attract tourists. But beware the radon springs are only for therapeutic use, are potentially dangerous if used as a spa, however the sulphur springs in Leukada (off Agios Kirikos) can be used at no risk.
|The island Ikaria in Greece|
Ikaria was planned for september 2006, but due to ferry connections it has been postponed. I tried it again a few years later, but than there were some isues with the ferries, so we stayed at the island of Samos. I haven't been there yet, but I wanted to go there for a long time: it's one of the islands on the top of my list, together with Leros and Karpathos. In the meantime we did visit Leros. One day, one day it will happen.
For hotels, apartments, studios, villas and holiday houses on Ikaria - click here.
|Hotel Atheras on Ikaria|
The island is situated in the north of the islandgroup that is known as the Dodekanese and includes islands like Samos, Patmos, Kos, Rhodes and Karpathos. There aren't many good harbours on the island Ikaria, but the ferries do stop in Evdilos in the north and in Agios Kirykos in the south. Ikaria is placed a bit on the edge of the islandgroup and stretches out to the Cyclades. it's underneath Chios and in between Samos and the Cycladic islands of Mykonos and Naxos. Most ferries that make a stop at the island travel from one islandgroup to the other.
Check availabilities and prices & book the Atheras Hotel on Ikaria - click here.
|Kerame Studios & Apartments on Ikaria|
Hotel Kerame is located by the Kerame Beach town and just 1 km from Evdilos town centre. Facilities include swimming pool, bar, restaurant serving Greek cuisine. Kerame Hotel also provides free wireless internet and 24 hour reception services. Room types include studios and apartments with sea view. All rooms are fully equipped with kitchen, air condition and TV. Evdilos is an ideal base for wonderful excursions into the Ikarian countryside.
Check availabilities and prices & book the Kerame Hotel on Ikaria - click here.
|Erofili Beach Hotel in Armenistis Ikaria|
Situated in the picturesque village of Armenistis, next to Livadi and Messakti Beach, this charming hotel offers a beautiful setting overlooking the sea and surrounded by the local attractions. The rooms at Erofili Beach are tastefully decorated and well-appointed for your comfort. Enjoy a great start to the day with a delicious breakfast served on the sunny terrace. Marvel at the magnificent sea views from your private balcony. During the day, Erofili's imaginative outdoor pool area is a delightful place to relax. Go for a refreshing dip or lie back on the comfortable sun bed and read a book. For further relaxation you can also spend time in the soothing Jacuzzi. Just steps away from Erofili Beach Hotel you'll find the charming local beaches and a variety of tavernas and bars.
Check availaibilities and prices & book the Erofili Beach Hotel - click here.
|Cavos Bay Hotel in Armenistis Ikaria - the hotel where Dirk stayed (see story below)|
Built in a traditional architectural style and located on the north coast of Ikaria, only the sea-dashed rocks provide a barrier from the Aegean Sea archipelagos. Built in 6 tiers on a hillside, you can benefit from brilliant views. From the verandas of the rooms you can admire the sparkling sea and the sky, before strolling outside and diving into one of the 2 saltwater swimming pools. Explore the beautiful island by hiking along some of the footpaths, or visit the fishing village of Gialiskari. Keep in touch with friends at the internet cafe, and enjoy snacks and drinks at the pool bar
Check availabilities and prices & book the Cavos Bay Hotel on Ikaria - click here.
|Dirk Slegers about Ikaria|
Ikaria was very nice and I will defenitely go back. Here I would really like to stay for three weeks (we were there for 10 days). We stayed in the village Armenistis. This choice we made after much reading on the internet. Subsequently it proved to be the best choice (for us at least). Two beautiful sandy beaches nearby, one with a bit of people, the other one very quiet. A little further by car or scooter: Nas beach. Clothing optional. There were a lot of small beaches where you were alone.
We stayed at the Cavos Bay Hotel. Armenistis is a small fishing village, yet authentic. In the evening it gets a little more busy but in a fun way. Few tourists, mainly Greeks. The food was delicious and cheaper than for example in Samos. Population is ... first time reserved but more friendly after a while as you stay longer.
Evdilos is a small port village. Some nice taverns, no beach. So in the North there are only Evdilos, Armenistis and Nas. Beautiful and rugged natural and green. Beware of the goats if you are by car.
In the South you have the port of Agios Kirikos. The south is beautiful with very steep cliffs and impressive, narrow roads. You need a 4-wheel drive, also for the west. The west is very rough. Here is a 4 x 4 required. Ikaria is almost as big as Samos but much less tourism and attractions. I think that the hotel and the town of Armenistis itself made our short holiday there.
|Ikaria - Greece|
Ikaria is a Greek island at about 19 kilometers southwest of Samos (North Aegean islands). The island belongs to the department (nomos) of Samos. Its name supposedly derives drom Ikarus, the son of Deadalus in the Greek Mythology, who after his attempt to escape fell down in the water near the island.
Tourism on Ikaria is to be neglected. In and around Armenistís en Therma Ikarias there is a little bit of organized tourism. Only between the end of Juli and the end of August is the island litterally flooded with mostly Greek tourists. The best months to visit and find peace and quiet and mild summer temperatures would be June and September.
Ikaria beaches: Evdilos. Just before the village of Evdilos, on the north side of the island, is the small sandbeach of Evdilos. The beach is rarely visited, mainly by the local people. There are no sunbeds or parasols on the beach. In Evdilos there are several hotels and restaurants.
Ikaria beaches: Faros. In the village of Faros, on a distance of 10 kilmeters east of Agios Kirikos, you can find the beach of Faros, which is a popular weekend destination for the people of Agios Kirikos. The beach stretches for kilometers and has sand and pebbles. At the beach there are several restaurants and there are rooms for rent.
Ikaria beaches: Drakano. Drakano beach is the official nudist beach of Ikaria. It is located near Faros between Kontou Tou Lakoma beach and Agios Giorgis Beach. To get there you take the path leading down from Faros to the Drakano Fortress or you can get there by walking to the north end of Kontou Tou Lakoma beach. There are signs leading to the beach. Close to the beach is the Church of St. George, the beautiful cove beach of Agios Giorgis and the Drakano Tower. There are no umbrellas and sunbeds for hire on this beach and there is no tavern, so you have to bring your own water. You need good shoes to get there.
Ikaria beaches: Ieros. In the northwest corner of the island you can find one of the less known beaches of Ikaria: Ieros Beach. Until recently there was no road leading to it. Legend tells that it used to be the place of a temple to Dionysos. The beach of Iero is situated in a protected bay with many pretty rocks. You can reach it via a road that leads from Faros in the eastern direction to the Drakoni fortress.
Ikaria beaches: Kampos. The beach of Kampos is situated in the north of Ikaria near the village with the same name, and not far from Evdilos. It is a long and relatively quiet sandy beach with a small restaurant and a club. In the nearby village there are a museum, Roman ruins, hotels, restaurants, a mini market and a cafe.
Ikaria beaches: Livadi. Livadi Beach is situated in the north of Ikaria and has a beautiful beach surrounded by green nature. Over the beach floods a river that divides the beach into 2. On this beach there are parasols and beach beds for rent. You can also eat or drink something here because there are several restaurants. Livadi is a populair and more touristic destination with quite some hotels, apartments and rooms for rent.
Ikaria beaches: Messakti. In the north of Ikaria you can find the beautiful Mestaki beach which is divided by two small rivers. In the distance in the front of it there is a tiny church on a small island. On this beach there are also sunbeds and parasols for rent and there are several restaurants and hotels.
Ikaria beaches: Nas. The beach of Nas is situated 6 kilometers west of Armenistis, in the north of Ikaria. On the beach there runs a river. Once this was the place of one of the first settlements of Ikaria. In the 6th century BC a temple was build here to honour the Goddess Artemis, protector of sailors and hunters. Only the foundations and some of walls are now left. The beach is mixed and also used by naturists. In Nas there are a couple of restaurants and hotels.
Ikaria beaches: Prioni. At a distance of 1 kilometer of Agios kirikos on the way to Therma lays the small remote pebble beach of Prioni. You can reach the beach over a steep path leading from above the beach or over another path that leads from the small church that is situated just off the road if you walk a bit along the coast.
Ikaria beaches: Seychelles. This is one of the most remarkable beaches of Ikaria. It is situated in the south of the island near the village of Manganitis at about a 25 kilometers distance of Agios Kitikos. It is a pebble beach in a beautiful bay / cove with pretty rocks around it and very blue water. In the small bay next to the beach there is a big cave. You have to get off the road just after the tunnel that you have to go through and just before the village of Manganitis. You can reach the beach over a path that leads along a riverbed. At the end the path gets more steep and more difficult.
Ikaria beaches: Therma. The beach of Therma is situated in the village of Therma. In this village there are healing springs. The beach is easy to reach. It is a sandy beach that lays in a protected bay. On the beach there are several restaurants and hotels. From Agios Kirikos you can get there by water taxi. After walking 10 minutes to the northeast from the beach (from the Agriolykos Pension) you end up at the ruins of the old therma and another hot spring.
Ikaria beaches: Tsoukala. The beach of Tsoukala is situated 1 kilometer outside of Agios Kirikos. It is a pebble beach and it can get quite busy sometimes. At the beach there is a small restaurant.
Ikaria beaches: Xilosirtis. The beach of Xilosirtis is a quiet, long stretched pebble beach. You can reach it by stairs in the village with the same name. During the summer months there is a small restaurant on the beach that is open.
|The Archipelagos Institute of Marine Conservation|
Archipelagos, Institute of Marine and Environmental Research of the Aegean Sea, is a Greek non-profit, non-governmental organization committed to conservation of the marine and terrestrial environments of the Greek seas and islands. Recent projects include: operating an Aegean Seed Bank, stopping distructive fishing practices and helping to protect local endangered species. Archipelagos operates a main terrestrial research base on Ikaria and a main marine research base on Samos. Archipelagos works closely with local communities in the Aegean, and also hosts environmental volunteers, researchers and scientists year round at its research bases.
|Samos and Ikaros ferries and planes|
Ikaria has got good almost daily ferry-connections to Piraeus and regular ferries to its neighbouring islands Fourni and Samos. If you want to know for sure you must check the routes / schedules of the ferries on the internet. Most of the times the hotelowner of the hotel where you booked knows best. It can also take a while before schedules are aproved and in this case you will have to return to look again and see if things have changed, because the first conclusion you make could be that there are no ferries between the islands you picked. In short: it is unpredictable but usually it is not a problem as well.
There are regular ferries from GA ferries from Piraeus to Paros, Naxos, Ikaria, Fourni and Samos (Karlovassi and Vathi - see picture on the right top), and there are also ferries from "Samos Ships" going to the nearby islands almost every day (see picture on the left top). For trips from Piraeus to Ikaria you can also check Kallisti Ferries and Hellenic Seaways who also makes the route to Samos having stops in Syros and Ikaria.
Samos has got good daily ferry-connections to Piraeus and regular ferries to its neighbouring islands Kos, Patmos, Leros, Rhodes, Ikaria, Fourni and several other islands. If you want to know for sure you must check the routes / schedules of the ferries on the internet. To check ferry schedules and book online - click here.
If you want to visit Ikaria it is wise to fly on the island of Samos. Samos has also got an international airport with regular flights from several countries during tourist season, and good connections from Athens served by Olympic Airways.