Ikaria is one of those islands that makes you feel as if you’ve truly escaped the stresses of modern life. Located in the Aegean Sea, the island is known for its traditional way of life, gorgeous beaches and scenery, and for its unique diet. This is the perfect place to visit if you want to get a feel for what traditional Greek life is really like. Here are some things you should absolutely do while here:
Visit the Halari Gorge
Halari Gorge is one of those beautiful places where the natural environment is untouched by the modern world. A multitude of small lakes, rivers, and waterfalls are connected by ancient, stone bridges. It’s the place to go bird watching and hiking, along the web of interconnected trails.
It is located about 50 km away from the island’s capital, Agios Kirikos, and is also a short drive from the village of Armenistis. A hiking path also connects the area with Nas beach and Jesus Rachon, a traditional village high in the mountains.
Visit the Ruins of the Temple of Artemis
The first thing many visitors to Greece think of is the fabulous ancient temples, and the Temple of Artemis in Nas will not disappoint. It was built in the 6th century BC to honor the mother goddess Artemis. Historians believe that Nas was the first settlement on Ikaria, and provided safe passage for the vessels that sailed to and from Asia Minor. The ancient jetty, and the floor of the temple remain on the picturesque beach. The adventurous visitor can also go snorkeling off the beach to view the huge columns of the ancient temple.
Bathe in the Thermal Springs
The island of Ikaria has many very therapeutic thermal springs. In fact, they are highly regarded as some of the best hot springs in the world. Since the 4th century BC, Therma in Ikaria has been very popular for its healing waters. There are three main springs in Therma, and the waters are reputed to heal rheumatism, arthritis, neuralgia and even infertility. Therma is located just 2 km from Agios Kirikos. In addition to the hot springs, the elegant white-washed homes of the town with their intricate balconies and explosion of flowers always draw admiration from visitors the world over.
Take an Excursion to Fourni Island
Fourni is actually a complex of ten islands in the Aegean Sea. Of them, only two are inhabited. Fourni is remote and is a travel destination for true nature lovers. The village of Fourni is a quaint little hamlet, with small, family-owned hotels and restaurants featuring the delicious, freshly caught local seafood. The islands have fabulous hidden coves with crystal clear water and soft, sandy beaches. A ferry from the islands of Samos or Ikaria can bring you to Fourni, if you crave an island destination full of peace and nature.
Visit the Byzantine Odeon
The Byzantine Odeon is in the village of Kampos located in the northern region of Ikaria. It sits on Oenoe the very wealthy ancient capital of this island. The Byzantine Odeon is a small theater built in the 1st century AD. The ruins show that it was constructed in the same fashion as the Roman theaters of the time. It once was the place where the ruling nobleman of ancient Oenoe would gather to enjoy music and plays, as well as important religious, military and civic events.
While visiting Ikaria, there is certainly no shortage of things to do. You should make time for at least some of these activities while here.