How to live forever on the island of Ikaria, where time does not exist. Here are 5 things to do on the Blue Zone island.
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 5 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 is unique about Ikaria?
The infrastructure. The size of the villages. There is no big city, or big 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 while in Ikaria.
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. Try the local wine of Ikaria.
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.
BROWSE TOURS IN GREECE
4. Visit Seychelles Beach of Ikaria.
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 many villages of Ikaria.
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.)
Bonus: Go to the panigiria!
Ikaria is known for its incredible all night village dancing celebrations.
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!!
So, what makes Ikaria a Blue Zone, exactly?
Ikaria is considered a "blue zone" because of the high number of centenarians (people who live to be 100 years or older) living there. The term "blue zones" was coined by demographer Dan Buettner, who identified five regions in the world where people are particularly likely to live long, healthy lives. These regions include Ikaria, as well as Okinawa (Japan), Sardinia (Italy), Nicoya (Costa Rica), and Loma Linda (California).
There are several factors that contribute to the longevity of people living in Ikaria. One factor is the diet, which is rich in fruits, honey, vegetables, and legumes, and low in processed foods and meats. Ikarians also have a strong sense of community and social support, and are physically active throughout their lives. Additionally, Ikarians have a relaxed attitude towards life and are known for taking regular naps and getting plenty of sleep. Finally, Ikarians have low levels of stress and follow a Mediterranean-style pattern of eating, with a large lunch and smaller dinner.
In Ikaria, you must relax, to digest.
What makes the diet in Ikaria unique?
The diet of Ikarians is unique because it is based on traditional Mediterranean foods and emphasizes plant-based foods, including fruits, vegetables, legumes, and whole grains. It is also low in processed foods and meats. Some specific foods that are commonly consumed in Ikaria include olive oil, beans, greens, potatoes, tomatoes, figs, and grapes.
The Ikarian diet is rich in nutrients and antioxidants, and has been linked to a number of health benefits, including a lower risk of heart disease, diabetes, and certain types of cancer. It is also high in fiber, which can help with weight management and digestion.
One of the key factors that sets the Ikarian diet apart is its focus on locally grown, seasonal foods. Ikarians tend to grow their own fruits and vegetables and rely on locally produced products, which are often fresher and more nutrient-dense than imported foods. They also follow a Mediterranean-style pattern of eating, with a large lunch and smaller dinner. This type of eating pattern has been linked to a number of health benefits, including improved blood sugar control and weight management.
Before you go!
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 40 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. I also build people custom itineraries to Greece based off their personality and needs. You can learn more about how that works, by click here.
I also recently published my first book! You can check it out below here:
Article written by: Tony Kariotis
How can you follow along our journey? Easy, here are the social channels that our travels are documented on: