Myth and History
According to the legend here was buried Icarus who gave his name to the island.With handemade wings made by his father Daedalus, they managed to escape from the Palace of Minos in Crete and flew over the Aegean Sea. Icarus flew higher ignoring his father's warnings and the sun melted the wax that glued the wings and so he fell into the sea.The island had the names Makris and Dolychi because of its shape, Ichthyoessa for its rich sea and Anemoessa because of the strong winds. Findings confirm it to be inhabited by Pelasgians.The Milesians founded colonies in Therma and Campo in the 8th century BC that was called Inoi at the time.In the 6th century, the Temple of Artemis was built, a very important port in antiquity.The Persians used the island to pass towards the West, but after their defeat and because of the Ionic wars, Ikaria joined the Delian League.The population of the island in the 5th century was estimated around 13,000 with more residents gathered in villages of the north side, around Campos.it is sure that the island was used as a base for Saracens pirates.To protect themselves from raids that continued from the 8th to the 11th century, the Icarians built forts and watchtowers and established the first mountain villages.In the 14th century the island was in the hands of the Genoese until 1481 when it came under the power of the Knights of St.John until the year 1522 when the island was conquered by the Turks for many centuries.After the revolution of July 17, 1912 the Turks left the island and the Icarians founded the Free Ikarian State.The integration into Greece officially became with the Treaty of Bucharest, 1913.The participation of The Icarian people against the Resistance was very important and the years of the Civil War it was used as a place of exile for thousands of Communist that left their marks on Icaria, since then called "Red Rock."
Ikaria is for the tourist that is looking for an alternative holiday to enjoy hiking in the island's natural landscape, exploring the island'smountains, ravines, lakes, rocky shores, forests, plane trees, olive groves, vineyards, orchards, and wild flowers. There are many hiking trails old and new in the mountains that pass through traditional villages .The best time to go hiking or walking through the trails is from March through June & September through November. During July & August the sun is hot so the best time is to go early in the morning or late in the afternoon. During the winter months the temperatures are mild however it rains a lot and you need appropriate clothing.
Traditional Villages & Festivals
Ikaria Island is a paradise for those that want to enjoy nature and the daily laid back life of the locals.In recent years Ikaria became the tourist destination for young urban individuals that want to get away from the city and want to enjoy nature and the relaxed lifestyle of the locals in the traditional villages. You can discover the small villages in the area of Raches, such as Christos mountain village. In Christos you can relax in the main square's coffee shops and restaurants under the old plane trees where locals don't care about time. The concept of time is different here. You will experience a lifestyle long gone in the modern world. Village festivals are huge parties in honor of the patron saint where people eat, drink and dance all night long.
Highest Life Expectancy
Ikaria is the island where the people live to be beyond their 90's due to their lifestyle, traditional healthy cuisine, relaxation and daily activities. Ikaria is one of the five "Blue Zone" places in the world.
Health & Wellness Spa
Until a few years ago, Ikaria was mostly famous for its hot springs (health spa) and less for its wild natural beauty.The island's mineral hot springs "Therma", which many believe that cures many conditions such as arthritis, are located in Agios Kirykos Town in the southern part of the island.