Ikaria, one of the 227 inhabited islands of Greece, but probably the most unique. There isn't another like it. It's not even close. Why? Well, first off, time. They have a lot of it and they never ever feel in a rush. Want to go sit for coffee? You better set aside a good amount of time. The waiters are in no rush to serve you, and they don't expect you to be a in a rush either.
Life longevity. Ikaria is known as one of the 6 blue zones in the world. People are expected to live longer here. Many live over 100, comfortably, some reach 125! They swear it's all because of the relaxed lifestyle, the honey, the thermal spas, and the stress free life.
What else is unique? The infrastructure. The size of the villages. There is no big city, or town, just spread out villages. All connected by a road that circles the island. Its one lane and if you are behind someone going very slow, there is not getting around! The roads are too tight and its constant turns with blind views. Take your time! Some of the villages are in the middle of the island up on the mountains, those roads too are tight. You will find many times where a road that seems like it should be a one way is in fact two way traffic. You will come to points where you have to squeeze slowly by the car coming in the other way. Tuck that mirror in!!
I spent a week here this summer with several friends. Below I will quickly go through the 5 things you must try and do when you visit the island of Ikaria.
1. Try and disconnect. Ikaria will help you, the phone signal is very poor, and wifi is very slow. I was only on social a couple times a day to post and to update my story. This is why my stories would all come at once and not spread out.
2. Swim in the thermal spa in Therma. Considered a therapeutic, it’s one of the most sought out natural springs in the world. This spa is one of the reasons people believe they live so long, they take their often dips into it for healing.
3. Try the Ikarian way when it comes to food and wine. Spend an evening at the Karimalis Winery (@ikarian_way_of_life) for dinner and learn all about it. From how the food is prepared, how it’s consumed and what makes their wine so unique. Michael Karimalis, the founder, will enlighten you over dinner all about the Ikarian way.
4. Visit Seychelles Beach. An adventurous beach by foot, or you can take a small boat! The landscape here looks and feels like the famous beach on Seychelles in Africa!! Trust one of the most unique beaches Greece as a whole has to offer. You can also swim to a really cool cave, just a couple minutes away.
5. Explore the villages!! There are many hidden inside the mountains!! I loved Raches village. Also bring a car, the local rentals rent out fast and doing anything without a car on this island is IMPOSSIBLE. Unless you like to hitchhike!! (Which is common and normal here.)
Honorable mention: If it wasn’t for the current circumstances in the world, this would be on the top of the list. Go to the panigiria!! Ikaria is known for its incredible all night village dancing celebrations. This year and last year, there haven’t been any, but hopefully they return by next year!
There are more things to do, like find incredible beaches, learn to surf, etc... maybe on your next trip here you will find something unique!!
I hope this list excites you about the possibility of visiting Ikaria. Truly one island you will never forget after experiencing.
I have been to over 35 Greek islands and this one definitely sits near the top.
If you have any questions about Ikaria, please do not hesitate to reach out my email or Instagram/Twitter.
By: Tony Kariotis