Iraklia island
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Iraklia Iraklia Iraklia Iraklia Iraklia
Iraklia Iraklia Iraklia Iraklia Iraklia
The island of Iraklia / Herakleia in Greece
map of Iraklia Nederlands

The island of Iraklia is one of the islands of the so called "Small Cyclades" which surround the much larger island of Naxos. Iraklia measures 17,5 km2 and has around 110 inhabitants. The island is served by ferries but also sees visitors that come for a daytrip with an excursion boat from Naxos Town. The main port is called Agios Georgios which is situated in the north op Iraklia. Here you find some accommodations, a couple of tavernas and two mini markets. One of these mini markets also sells tickets for the ferries.

We absolutely adored Iraklia. The village where the ferries come in is very cozy and the people living there were very friendly. Everyone you met said hello, both walkers as the occasional motorist. The atmosphere is incomparable. Compared to other islands it is very quiet and the residents of Iraklia like to keep it that way: I was asked not to tell the world that I liked the island so much. Sorry :(... Iraklia is also a good destination for hikers, for most destinations can only be reached on foot (unless you bring a good car). Since the island requires some climbing in terms of heights a little bit of a good condition is necessary.

Agios Georgios has a sandy beach with some trees on it and benches where you can sit in the shade. Most of the accommodations are placed on the outskirts of the village towards the best beach of the island, which is called Livadi (south east of Agios Georgios).

Iraklia Iraklia Iraklia Iraklia Iraklia
Iraklia Iraklia Iraklia Iraklia Iraklia

Livadi is a large sandy beach with tavernas. It looks out over the neighbouring island of Schinoussa. From Agios Georgios past Livadi Beach the road continues to the village of Chora Panagia. On the way, a few hundred meters after leaving Livadi beach, you will pass an an old castle on the left hand side. It can be reached via a path. Panagia is a small village with a hand full of houses and a church. From Panagia towards the west there is a path that leads to a beautiful cave (including stalactites) near Voukaria Bay.

On Iraklia there are no banks so you must bring cash with you if you want to visit the island (Update 2015: we spotted an ATM machine in the village of Agios Georgios), and although there is a road leading from Livadi to Panagia there is no petrol station and there are also no taxis or a bus service. Iraklia is more of an island for walkers. The highest hill is in the south and it is 419 meters high and you can look around for your own beach. One of the beaches we visited was Tourkopigado beach, which is also accessible via an asphalt road. On the way to the beach you come across an exit on the right hand side of a path that leads to Merichas beach.

The beaches of Iraklia in Greece
Iraklia, Agios Georgios beach Iraklia, Agios Georgios beach Iraklia, Agios Georgios beach Iraklia, Livadi beach Iraklia, Tourkopigado beach
Iraklia, Tourkopigado beach Iraklia, Tourkopigado beach Iraklia, Livadi beach Iraklia, Agios Georgios beach Iraklia, Agios Georgios beach

In the port of Agios Georgios there is a small beach with some trees for shadow. The easiest option if you are staying in Agios Georgios. The water is clear and there are tavernas where you can have a drink or something to eat. The nearby beach of Livadi is the main beach of the island. This beach is about 200 meters long and has no facilities such as sunbeds and parasols. There are tavernas at the beach. Livadi beach can be reached from the harbour on foot in about 20 minutes, and you have to walk over a small hill. It is a sandbeach and it is shallow, so safe for small children. Besides these two main beaches there are a couple of others. Some can be reached on foot, some can only or better be reached by boat.

Karvounolakos in the south of the island is a small beach between Merichas and Alimia. The colour of the water here is very special. Best reached by boat.

Alimia Beach is a sandbeach and also has special blue waters. This beach is a special place for divers. In front of the coast of this beach lies a German plane from World War II.

Vorini Spilia is a sandy beach in the north of the island not far from Agios Gorgios. The beach is not always very clean because of the strong northern winds that usually blow over it.

Xilobatis Beach and Tribounas Beach are two more beaches in the north of Ikaria. There are many rocks on the beach and in the sea, but is is a good place for watching the sunset over Antiparos island.

Other beaches that can be found on the island of Iraklia are Tourkopigado, Merichas, Ammoudi of Merichas, Vourkaria, Vala, Strogylos and Cavos tou Thodorou. Some of these beaches can be reached on foot, others are only accessible by boat. During high season there are daily boat trips / excursions to some of these difficult to reach beaches on Iraklia and also to beaches of nearby islands.

The sights of Iraklia
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Agios Ioannis Cave, Iraklia Agios Ioannis Cave, Iraklia Agios Ioannis Cave, Iraklia Agios Ioannis Cave, Iraklia Agios Ioannis Cave, Iraklia

The cave church Agios Ioannis with its stalactites just below Iraklias' highest mountain (Papas) is the most important sight of the island of Iraklia. There are actually two caves that are located opposite each other, and one of them has a church bell hanging outside. You can walk to the church from the harbour of Agios Georgios or from the village of Panagia. From Panagia the walk takes about an hour. The Agios Ioannis Cave is the largest cave in the Cyclades. Bring a torch, because there are no lights in the cave. On Papas Hill itself there are spectaculair views across the sea and the surrounding islands.

There are several (remains of) castles on the island Iraklia: in the Bay of Meriha, in Livadi and on Papas Hill. The Bay of Meriha is surrounded by cliffs that are over a 100 meters high.

Tips for Iraklia by Iris Vlavianos, who knows the island and family living here
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Iraklia Iraklia Iraklia Iraklia Iraklia

Iraklia is an island for people that are looking for peace and quiet, a relaxed atmosphere and that want to avoid mass-tourism. It is authentic, picturesque and has few facilities. It is a beautiful island in the spring when it is green and there are many flowers. Especially in the summer it is dry and barren, but the island is still breathtakingly beautiful because of the wild, mountainous and rugged landscape. It is also perfect for walking, and a good place to eat, swim, snorkel, relax and experience the old Greek atmosphere. I have seen a couple of accommodations on Iraklia. Venetiko I know only from the outside and it is situated in a very beautiful location. Besides the fact that from Venetiko there is a beautiful sea view it is very central. About 5 minutes walk away you will find Livadi Beach and it is almost adjacent to Agios Georgios, where you can also walk to. I do not know if you like walking? If so, I do definitely recommend the walk to Panayia. From Livadi it takes approximately 25/30 minutes on foot and from the port about 45 minutes.

Panayia - In this village in the mountains there is a beautiful view over several islands. It consists of 1 long street. In this street live mainly older people. The last 10 years people that originate from Iraklia and have lived with their parents in Athens are coming back to Panayia and the rest of the island. After their studies they decide to live on Iraklia again. In the last 15/10 years there are also a few children that live Iraklia. In Panayia you can find a supermarket, a bakery, a restaurant, a church and from here there are several routes you can take to beautiful places.

Agios Georgios - This is the village down at the port. It is bigger than Panayia and more people live here. Here is where most accommodations and restaurants are found and it is the place where most people who come Iraklia have their holiday home. You'll find restaurants, a snack bar, a supermarket, a supermarket / cafe, town hall, harbor, beaches and churches.

Beaches - In Iraklia there are different beaches. The 2 beaches that are easiest to reach are the beach at the port and Livadi Beach. My preference goes to Livadi as it is a sandy beach is very large, with clear pool water, plus it is very shallow (it does not get deep very fast). At the back of the beach there are trees with stone benches where you can sit sheltered and in the shade. Because Livadi is situated in a bay, the water is calmer and less cold and especially in May, you really have a private beach here. In the summer months is a little busier, but because it pretty big it does not get too crowded. At the end of the Livadi beach, you will find a section where naturism is allowed.

The beach at the port is smaller and more steep, so after 3 steps into the sea you are deep in the water. The water here is also clear, but it is my feeling a little less, because off course all boats lie here and there are daily ferry boats and the big Blue Star a few times a week coming into this small bay. The nice thing of this beach is that you have a nice view of the fishermen, you also have trees for shelter and you're obviously close to the supermarket / restaurants, so it is easy to get something to eat or drink. Also handy is that you can leave everything (except money and important things) on the beach without something will happen to it.

Extra information on the island of Iraklia
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You can rent scooters on Iraklia in the highseason 10/12 euro per day. From Agios Georgios to Panayia and Tourkopigado there is a nice paved road and you can put your scooter anywhere and walk from there. You might end up in a traffic jam though when you get stuck behind a herd of goats or a few slow donkeys: p.

Since 2009 there is an atm machine on Iraklia to withdraw cash. There is a daily boat to Naxos and back (Skopelitis).

Travel to Iraklia - ferries in the small Cyclades
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Skopelites Lines has the small car ferry Express Skopelitis running from the island of Naxos to all the small Cyclades and then to the villages Egiali and Katopola in the island of Amorgos (see picture on the left). Route Skopelites Nel Lines route

This is a small, slow and not very comfortable car ferry, but the journey only takes one hour and 35 minutes from Naxos to Iraklia since it is the boats' first destination. Normally this ferry would do the route Naxos - Iraklia - Schinoussa - Koufonissi - Donoussa - Amorgos (Egiali & Katopola) three times a week, but in high season they do the route more often (15th June - 15th September every day). NEL-Lesvos Maritime also makes a connection to Iraklia and follows the route Syros - Paros - Naxos - Schinoussa - Koufonissi - Katopoloa - Egiali (see picture on the right). This car ferry is faster and more comfortable and the trip from Naxos takes about an hour.

The Blue Star Lines makes the route from Piraeus (Athens) to Paros - Naxos - Iraklia - Schinoussa - Koufonissi - Amorgos and then back. The journey takes about 6 and a half hour, 4 times a week in high season.

Note: schedules of ferries can change depending on the season and they vary from year to year, so always check. If you check and cannot find any schedules on than you are probably too early and the timetables haven't been approved yet. Please try again later in the season. Sometimes the owner of the hotel you booked knows best and you can ask him / her.

Maistrali Rooms - Iraklia / Herakleia
Maistrali Rooms, Iraklia Maistrali Rooms, Iraklia Maistrali Rooms, Iraklia Maistrali Rooms, Iraklia Maistrali Rooms, Iraklia
Maistrali Rooms, Iraklia Maistrali Rooms, Iraklia Maistrali Rooms, Iraklia Maistrali Rooms, Iraklia Maistrali Rooms, Iraklia

Here at Maistrali we have stayed a few days in 2015. I was totally euphoric about it immediately upon entering the place. It just felt good, like the whole island did anyway. Owner Nikos was waiting for us at the quay at 1 o'clock in the night, after our ferry was a bit delayed. A nice guy. We had two studios next to each other. Both were simple but comfortable, with a kitchenette and a bathroom. From the balconies was a fantastic view over the village and the bay down to the harbor. All just fine. The breakfast was also fine, with good coffee, orange juice, fresh bread, jam, fried eggs and Greek yoghurt with honey. We also dined at Maistrali in the evening dined and that was good as well. Recommended: both the island and Maistrali.

In Iraklia the biggest and most quiet island in the small Cyclades with 100 population of people, we have created in a panoramic place 700m from the two main beaches of the island, Livadi and Ag. Georgios. A house with 3 double rooms each with a private bathroom refrigerator, tv, coffemachine kitchen and veranda with a sea view. Also an apartment with 4 beds for a family or a company of 4 friends fully furnitured. For the fans of good Greek food 300m from the rooms in Ag. Georgios we have "MAISTRALI" taverna. A family taverna where you can have a taste of traditional fast and with discreet Iraklian dishes. We also offer free internet service.

Located in the seaside village Agios Georgios, Maistrali is only 100 metres from a sandy beach. It offers air-conditioned accommodations with free Wi-Fi and has a restaurant that serves seafood and regional cuisine. Maistrali studios and apartments feature balconies with panoramic views of the Aegean Sea. They have stone walls, simple wood furnishings and come equipped with a fully equipped kitchenette. In the morning guests can enjoy a traditional breakfast in the hotel's tavern. Hotel Maistrali also has a spacious open-air terrace where guests can enjoy a refreshing beverage. Maistrali is a 5-minute walk from the Iraklia Ferry Station and is 37 km from Naxos. Free private parking is possible on site.

Check availabilities & prices and book Maistrali Rooms on Iraklia - click here.

Villa Zografos - Iraklia / Herakleia
Villa Zografos, Iraklia Villa Zografos, Iraklia Villa Zografos, Iraklia Villa Zografos, Iraklia Villa Zografos, Iraklia
Villa Zografos, Iraklia Villa Zografos, Iraklia Villa Zografos, Iraklia Villa Zografos, Iraklia Villa Zografos, Iraklia

In the island of Iraklia between it's port "Agios Georgios" and Chora "Panagia" at a hillside with a view of the sea and the nearby islands, Yiannis and Evi built Villa Zografos, their home. In their garden (4.000m2) they built 5 double rooms and one family-sized room (for 3-4 people). They rent it to people who are sensitive to nature's beauty and appreciate quiet peaceful holidays. All the rooms have private veranda with a view of the sea. They're all tastefully furnished and each one has a private bathroom, air-conditioning, tv, a fridge, a coffee percolator, a boiler and a hair dryer. In the lovely garden, surrounding the rooms, we've prepared a summer kiosk equipped with everything you'll need for a barbecue with your company. For those who are interested in watching the stars and planets we organize special "sky-viewing" evenings with the help of two telescopes. We offer free parking space for all our visitors. Our rooms are a distance of 700m from Livadi beach. Transportation to and from the island's port is free (1,5klm). The rooms are cleaned everyday.

Check availabilty & prices and book Villa Zografos on Iraklia - click here.

Speires Hotel - Iraklia / Herakleia
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Speires Hotel, Iraklia Speires Hotel, Iraklia Speires Hotel, Iraklia Speires Hotel, Iraklia Speires Hotel, Iraklia

Speires Hotel is a newly built Cycladic-style complex located in the settlement of Agios Georgios, in Iraklia. It is built on a hill, with a view over the sea. The sandy beach is at 800 metres. Decorated mainly in white tones, the air-conditioned rooms and suites have a private balcony, most with Aegean Sea views. They are equipped with a satellite LCD TV, mini fridge and kettle. Toiletries and a hairdryer can be found in the modern bathroom. Traditional home-cooked specialities can be enjoyed at the restaurant of Speires. Guests can also have a coffee or a drink at the shaded veranda overlooking the Aegean Sea. The Venetian Castle of Irakleia is 2 km away from the hotel. The island's port is at 800 metres. On-site parking is available free of charge.

Check availabilties & prices and book Speires Hotel on Iraklia - click here.

Agnantema Rooms - Iraklia / Herakleia
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Agnantema Rooms, Iraklia Agnantema Rooms, Iraklia Agnantema Rooms, Iraklia Agnantema Rooms, Iraklia Agnantema Rooms, Iraklia

The new rooms "AGNANTEMA" are 9 in number and each can house 2-3 people. Air conditioners, TVs and a fridge are among the comforts one can enjoy in our rooms. Each room has a big veranda with a view of the sunset, the sea and the village "Ag. Georgios". We also have a lot of parking space. We can transport you to the other village Panagia, free of charge. The studios are found in a quiet and cool place near the centre of Ag. Georgios village, 500 m from the port and beach of Ag. Georgios and 500m from the beach "Livadi".

Check availabilities & prices and book Agnantema Rooms in Iraklia - click here.

Villa Aeolus - Iraklia / Herakleia
Villa Aeolus, Iraklia Villa Aeolus, Iraklia Villa Aeolus, Iraklia Villa Aeolus, Iraklia Villa Aeolus, Iraklia

Aeolus is a contemporary palace, occupying the highest position in the village Agios Georgios at the port of Iraklia. The large rooms have furniture with unique taste and they are equipped with air-conditioning, TV and refrigerator. The verandahs allow the visitor view the incredible, wide blue and the islands around, which look like water-lilies on a pond. In the complex there is a cafe-pizza restaurant where you can enjoy your breakfast or an entire supper with a view to the Cycladic sunset.

Check availabilities & prices and book Villa Aeolus in Iraklia - click here.

Angelos Rooms - Iraklia / Herakleia
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Angelos Rooms, Iraklia Angelos Rooms, Iraklia Angelos Rooms, Iraklia Angelos Rooms, Iraklia Angelos Rooms, Iraklia

Angelos Rooms is active in tourism since 1986. It is built according to the traditional architecture of Cyclades. Angelos Rooms are located in the centre of the village Saint George and offers you traditional holidays. Coming out from the rooms and walking in paved with slabs back street, you will meet in near distance the most of the shops, as well as the beach of St. George that is found just 100m from the Angelos Rooms. The rooms include air-condition, television, refrigerator, bathroom and are renovated.

Check availabilities & prices and book Angelos Rooms on Iraklia - click here.


Hans Huisman, Georgios Kovaios, Iris Vlavianos, http://www.angelfire.com/super2/greece/ 2014
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