Island Ikaria Travel & Tourism Guide

Ikaria Villages

Island Ikaria, renowned for its wonder working therapeutic hot mineral springs and unequaled natural beauty, has about 8,500 permanent inhabitants and is divided into three municipalities. Ikaria and her over 200 villages cover an area of approx. 270 km2. The many villages of Ikaria produce excellent olive oil, marvelous grapes, wine, raisins, nuts, almonds and delicious apricots. Ikaria is also renowned for its scented honey, its abundant fishing grounds, and its finest quality slate which it exports.

Ikaria, together with her villages, with its virgin and wild nature has many pleasant surprises in store for its visitors. The wonderful climate, the landscapes of exquisite beauty, the deep shaded gorges with the crystal clear running waters, the attractive beaches, and the cool clean sea compose all the elements that make it an excellent place to make a holiday and live healthily. Finally, every visitor to Ikaria must be ready to accept the warm Ikarian hospitality and the simple Ikarian kindness so that he/she can enjoy and appreciate the traditions, customs and rich cultural heritage of this unique land.


The picturesque village of Karkinagri stands solitary by the promontory of "Pappas" in the southwestern tip of Ikaria. It has about 300 permanent inhabitants, but in summertime the population increases substantially. In a landscape of wild grandeur this pretty fishing village, "the village of silence," is surrounded by giant rocks and in the background rises the majestic Atheras mountain range. The imposing topography is made even more dramatic by the coastline dropping off steeply in sheer cliffs, which do not however discourage the holiday makers and locals from enjoying the crystal clear sea around Karkinagri via the local beaches.

Karkinagri's village houses are well taken care of with their white-washed flowery yards and gardens. The beautiful village square with the typical "kafenia"(coffee-shops), the big church, and the primary school ornament this fishing village. A little farther on the inlet of the village, Livada, has a small marina full of boats and fishing caiques. There are also tavernas, cafes and pensions/rooms for rent. It is worth visiting the lovely traditional village feast on the 26th of July, the day of Agia Paraskevi.

The settlement of Pezi is situated on the plateau bearing the same name in the western part of Ikaria. It belongs to the community of Christos-Rachon and has about 20 inhabitants. It is built on a plateau amidst a flat imposing landscape which impresses the visitor who is accustomed to Ikarian villages perched high on mountain sides, steep ravines, or spread over small fertile valleys. In 1994 a dam of 1,200,000 cubic meters of water was built near the village. Aside from creating a refuge for local wildlife, it is responsible for irrigating the entire area of Christos-Raches. The uniqueness of the land is completed by the old village houses, the church, and the traditional feasts held by the locals. The parish church is dedicated to the Apostles Peter and Paul and was consecrated in the late 19th Century. The feast is held on the 29th of June.

The area around Pezi was one of the main hideouts of western Ikaria in the early 16th Century. The old dilapidated house, the so called "Girotokamada" with the huge oval shaped granite rocks placed there by nature to form a shelter, the fireplace and bed inside, and the stable for the livestock right next to it reveal the history of this land. More recent dwelling places are the anti-pirate houses built in the area. In the settlement you will come across various elements of folklore interest such as traditional stone wine presses.

Christos Rachon is situated approximately 500 meters above sea level in the northern part of Ikaria and has about 350 permanent inhabitants. This impressive large village of the Raches plateau is built amphitheatrically amidst pines, oaks, fruit bearing trees, and vineyards. Its picturesque square with the shops all around, the imposing church with its marble belltower, the pretty old and new houses, and the traditionally built local highschool, retain the traditional color of the settlement and reveal its unique architectural appearance. Every step and gaze presents a new picture more beautiful than the preceeding like the old windmill hidden away in the pines. Christos Rachon with its vast thick forests, the lush green ravines and slopes, crystal clear waters, and unique scenic beauty is an ideal place for summer holidays.

The center of the village is of particular interest as it retains its traditional flavor and color thanks to the efforts of the local population. All of the stores, the old coffee shops, and the imposing church are concentrated here. Around the village square you will find characteristic houses with their beautiful old balconies. The square and the surrounding pedestrianized roads are covered with Ikarian slate. ys.

Touring the plateau of Raches with its scenery of striking beauty, the unique architectural appearance of the villages will be strongly impressed upon the visitor's memory. The local road runs through a vast dense wood of pines and towering wild oak trees. The villages and surrounding area are filled with orchards and vineyards. A 15 minute walk from Christos brings you to "Litani" a rock with breathtaking views of magic sunsets. On your way to Armenistis from Christos, at a twist in the road, one more impressive site appears before your eyes- a huge upright rock called "oktwgramnos." This natural wonder is over 80 meters high, and soars wild and steep above the ravine as though praying to the creator for being so generous to this part of the island. ys.

Christos Raches holds perhaps the largest traditional feast of any Ikarian village on August 6th every year, the day of Jesus Christ. Locals and visitors gather here from all over the island to taste the traditional food and exquisite local wine, and to sing and dance non-stop to the sound of the violin played by local musicians until the morning light.

Langada lies in the western part of the island and belongs to the community of Christos-Rachon and has about 15 inhabitants. This lush green valley almost completely hidden from view was once the sacred ground of the Ikarian people's survival during the century of obscurity. Now desolate, it is cultivated agricultural area and a popular excursion for the inhabitants of the village of Karkinagri. The few devoted settlers preserve the history of their land which is very important to them. Langada is a shrine, a place of worship. It is of particular historical and cultural interest. Throughout this glorious valley survives structures and symbols of the historic and autonomous "Free State Of Ikaria."

According to the historian Ioannis Melas, Langada existed as a settlement during the early Byzantine years and flourished at the beginning of the early 16th Century after the Franks had left. During that time period the population of Ikaria moved to the natural refuges of western Ikaria, one of the primary ones being the valley of Langada because it was hidden from the sea by the surrounding mountains. The very old churches, the ancient jail of the settlement, the ruins of the government house, and most of all the local traditions, are the unerring witnesses of the glorious past of the settlement of Langada which served as the "Arc" of the Ikarians' survival and the preserver of the customs and dialect of the island's ancient settlers.

On the day of the "Langadia Festivities" on the 15th of August each year at the traditional village feast the valley of Langada comes to life starting in the morning. Since 1988 the Langadia Festivities have been organized and are comprised of a drama series which pays homage to the sacred hearth of the ancestral Ikarian struggles for survival. The festivities include a "tay dayum" speech, theater, and then a "panagiri" (feast) in the shade of the towering trees of the square with delicious local food, Ikarian wine and dancing. Langada's parish church is dedicated to Kimisi tis Theotokou, the Assumption. It is an old church with a beautiful wooded carved iconostasis and has many old icons. In the village square, next to "Kimisi tis Theotokou" stands the marble war memorial which is reminiscent of the great historical importance of Langada. There is also a taverna located in Langada, the only one in the surrounding area.

The old settlement of Vrakades lies to the west of the island, about 260m above sea level. This picturesque village is spread out in an area of lush vegetation below the bare mountaintops of Atheras. Its well cared for houses both old and new, the typical terraces filled with the villagers' cultivation, the main square with its grand church next to the primary school, the historical monument, beautiful cultural center, and the traditional coffee shops complete the picture of this little village. The vicinity of Vrakades lends itself to strolls and hikes on the hill of "Kasteli," which has a breathtaking view at dusk. There is also a small folklore museum in the village.

At the central square of Vrakades stands the beautiful monument reminding every Ikarian and visitor of the glorious struggle for Ikarian survival. The monument made of Ikarian slate depicts Ikaria with its 4 ancient cities and the areas which were the main hideouts of the 16th century as well as the figure of the Ikarian mother, the heroine of those days holding her baby in her arms looking onto the future full of hope.

The old settlement of Kouniadi lies west of Christos-Rachon. It belongs to the community of Raches and has about 45 inhabitants. Its name originates from the settler "Kounias." The village is built amphiteatrically on the mountain side of Atheras overlooking the sea. The houses are scattered in the green ravine where you will come across the characteristic terraces. Some of the village houses still retain elements of the traditional architecture such as the lean to roof and the more recent tower or "prigadi". The large imposing church with the two bell towers is dedicated to Agia Irini. This church was built in 1958 on the site of an older church. The nearby chapel of Agios Ioannis Theologos stands solitary and celebrates the 8th of May. On the same site survives the foundations of an idolatrous temple associated with the worship of the sacred Tavropolio of the goddess Artemis in Nas. A lovely traditional feast is held in the village on the 15th of August.

The settlement of Prospera is situated in western Ikaria south of Nas. In Greek its name means westwards. Together with the sea side settlement of Kato Prospera, they belong to the community of Raches and have about 120 inhabitants. Prospera is of particular interest with its pretty houses scattered over the slope, the terraces with the locals' cultivations, the old church, and a plethora of traditional elements which are preserved in the old houses. Although Kato Prospera is a more recent seaside settlement, it does not escape notice with its neat houses, well kept gardens, the small church of Agios Nectarios, and the local coffee shop.

In Prospera there are numerous old houses which preserve elements of the local architecture such as the lean to roof, courtyard wall encorporated into the front of the house, traditional wine presses with earthenware jars for storing the musto buried in the earth, still survive. An exceptional example is a restored house belonging to Dr. Kiriakos Karoutsos which is about 400-500 years old and typical of the traditional houses which existed when piracy was at its peak.

Magganitis is situated in the southwestern part of the island. It belongs to the community of Agios Kirikos and has about 150 inhabitants. The entry to the village is impressive, passing through a tunnel cut into the gigantic granite bluffs that surround it. Magganitis is also imposing as you view it from the sea with a large stone church soaring above the steep cliffs. It is an incredibly beautiful oasis surrounded by huge cliffs which captivate the visitor with a succession of scenery. The area around the church is called "Livadi" as it has ample water and vegetation. Magganitis is a unique place having many surprises in store for the visitor. Manganitis has pretty little houses, cobble paths lined with fig and fruit trees, a traditional oil press, two watermills, enchanting beaches, and a magnificent succession of landscapes sometimes wildly remote with various forms of rocks, and sometimes calm and reassuring with only the view of the lush green mountain slopes.

The quaint port of Magganitis, known as "Sirtiko," is a refuge for the small boats and caiques of the local inhabitants who have traditionally been a seafaring people. Visitors can enjoy the bar restaurant and taverna located at the port and which overlook the sea. The beautiful beach of Magganitis is frequented by many bathers. It is called "Firodi" by transformation of the name which belonged to a queen who was buried there according to local tradition. A small distance away from Manganitis to the east stretches the excellent beach known as Seychelles which was formed when the tunnel was opened.

From Armenistis a 3.5 km long paved road continues west to the small settlement of Nas which belongs to the community of Raches and has about 50 permanent inhabitants. The name Nas probably derives from the Greek word "Naos"(temple) or by alteration of the godesses' ancient name "Ma," as Artemis was called in Asia Minor where she was first worshipped. Nas is a small bay with few houses. Its terrain is characterized by numerous terraces surrounded by stone walls for the locals cultivations, and the tree filled gorge of Nas with the Chalares river flowing through it and ending in a small but pretty sandy beach. There are also several tavernas with excellent views of the surrounding sea, rooms/studio apartments for rent, and a local handicrafts shop.

The small bay of Nas used to be a significant port in former times when piracy was at its peak. At the first appearance of the Turks in the Aegean and the departure of the Franks from the island in the early 16th C, the Ikarians who moved to the hideouts of the western side for defensive purposes blocked up the ancient port. Today only part of the ancient jetty survives where one can still see the iron eyelids embedded in the ground used to make the ships fast in bygone days. Nearby stand the crumbling foundations of the Temple of Artemis, patroness of bulls, also known as the sacred Tavropolion. Mystic beauty unfolds in this idyllic place in the hours of dusk.

The large magnificent gorge of the Chalares river which flows into the Bay of Nas captivates the visitor. Walking along the river bank with the towering plain trees, the sound of running water and the song of the birds, you arrive at a waterfall which falls into a secluded rock pool and then continues along a stone riverbed amidst high rock formations up into the mountain. The beautiful beach of Nas with its fine sand and its small pool at the mouth of the Chalares River which ends at the beach where the ruined temple of the goddess Artemis stands is a truly unique and majestic setting.

Armenistis is a small sea-side settlement in the northern part of Ikaria west of Evdilos and just past Gialiskari. It belongs to the prefecture of Raches and has about 70 permanent inhabitants, a number which increases substantially in summer. Locally speaking, Armenistis is a small fishing village with a picturesque harbor, its parich church dedicated to Agios Nikolaos, patron saint of sailors, and the few year-round houses of its inhabitants. In recent years it has become a major tourism center for the island while still retaining a relaxed and traditional atmosphere.

In Armenistis' environs you will find some of the densest pine wood forests on Ikaria and an abundance of water features such as rivers and streams. Armenistis is also a starting point for local walking/hiking excursions. In addition, the area has some of the best beaches on the island. The large beaches of Gialiskari, Messakti & Livadi have fine sand and are surrounded with pine trees which stretch right down to the sea and almost up to Armenistis.

The variety of the tourist facilities offered and the convenient and quick access through the port of Evdilos make Armenistis the suitable base for excursions to western Ikaria, which is of paramount environmental, cultural, and religious interest.

The most picturesque part of the settlement is the harbor with its little boat jetty and the laid out nets ready for the fishermens' next catch. The harbor area, with its marine and tourism activity and fishing caiques, little sandy beach, and waterfront lined with the small shops, bars, coffee shops, and restaurants all in a row, is where holiday makers spend much of their relaxation time.

Gialiskari is a small seaside settlement in the northern part of the island west of Evdilos. It belongs to the community of Christos Raches and has about 165 permanent inhabitants. This pretty fishing village with the picturesque inlet, attractive beaches, the church of Agios Nikolaos, and surrounded by towering pine trees uniquely combines the salty sweet breeze with the sweet heady smell of pine wood. Its houses both old and new and set among the orchards are spread over pine clad slopes which contain crystal clear streams running down to the shore. On the 15th of August, the day of the Virgin, a traditional feast is held in the village with local wine, food, and dance until the early hours. Gialiskari is one of the main tourist centers on the island and is home to numerous shops, pensions/hotels, cafes, restaurants and tavernas. In Gialiskaris' environs you will find some of the densest pine wood forests on Ikaria and an abundance of water features such as rivers and streams.

It is also a starting point for local walking/hiking excursions. In addition, the area has some of the best beaches on the island. The large beaches of Gialiskari, Messakti & Livadi have fine sand and are surrounded with pine trees which stretch right down to the sea. The wide array of tourist facilities offered and convenient and quick access through the port of Evdilos make Gialiskaris the suitable base for excursions to western Ikaria, which is of paramount environmental, cultural, and religious interest. Especially picturesque is the small port anchorage. At the end of the jetty stands the Chapel of Analipsi, the Ascention, which looked like a small ship drifting in the sea before it was linked with the mainland. At the marina, with the small boats and fishing caiques of the village and nearby settlements, you can experience moments of traditional fishing life like the cleaning and untangling of the nets.

Almost in the center of the Ikaria and at an altitude of over 500 meters lies Frandato. The village has about 500 inhabitants whose number is multiplied in the summer. It is built on fertile ground with abundant vegetation and is one of the prettiest villages of Ikaria. The houses, both old and new, are surrounded by flowering yards, and contain gardens rich in fruit and many varieties of garden produce. Frandato's traditional vineyards produce the delicious "perimeritiko" wine. The picturesque village square is home to the parish church, and a bit further away the old windmill with a breathtaking view, and the grand primary school.

In the area of Frandato nature opened wide the gates of its aesthetic grandeur. There is lush vegetation in marked variation in and around the village. Pinewoods, wild oak trees, Komario bushes and other trees crowd in from every side. All around there are gullies with shady plain trees, willows, bushes, and gorges which remind one of canyons in the wild west. Landscapes of exquisite beauty abound such as Rima, Lazarina, Kakistasi, Vrihopi, and the silent imposing Ano Peza. The view is magnificent from the vicinity of Pitakata, the parish church courtyard, and the windmill of Kandia. The village parish church is dedicated to "Metamorfosi tou Sotira", the Transfiguration.

Kosikia, belonging to the community of Evdilos, is the highest of the Messaria villages. Its name derives from the word "kosifikia" dwellings of the Kosifikia as it was situated at a very high altitude. Today it has about 100 inhabitants. This quaint village with its houses spread over the mountainside, its gardens and cultivated fields, domesticated animals, and its big church and numerous chapels, preserves the style and character of Ikaria's older settlements. Higher up on the mountain of Koskinas stands the Byzantine Castle of Koskinas, an unerring witness of the history of this sacred land. In and around the area of Kosikia are located many of the island's best vineyards.

The beautiful village of Dafni is spread out amphitheatrically on a lush slope with Cyprus trees appearing like thousands of green spears aimed at the sky. Inside the village picturesque houses both old and new reveal their flowery gardens and the parish church dedicated to Agios Dimitrios sits secluded and perched high on the hill amongst its many chapels. Near the church of Agios Giorgios is the site where the traditional feast of Dafni is held on the 6th of August every year.

Akamatra lies to the south of Evdilos and belongs to the community of Evdilos. Together with the villages of Dafni, Steli, Petropouli, and Kosikia it forms the region of Messaria. Today it has about 150 permanent inhabitants. This beautiful village is one of the gems of the island. It encompasses pretty houses both old and new hidden away in lush vegetation, a picturesque square which serves as a silent witness of the land's rich history, an oil press, a primary school, a community folklore exhibition, a parish church, and numerous chapels.

The historic square of Akamatra features a 500 year-old oak tree which was formerly used for executions. There are also mansions with the pretty balconies, a local kafenio with an old marble inscription, and the general warmth emitted by scenes from the daily life of the village like the farmer riding his donkey or mule on his way to work or the little child playing carefully with a kitten. Near Akamatra to the southeast lies the area of "Alama," where a stoned paved path leads to an enchanting landscape with towering plane trees intertwined with ivy, old watermills, and a perennial spring which supplies the village with water. The spring flows into the cave of Alama where one can admire the grandeur of nature. Inside the cave stalactites and stalagmites formed millions of years ago rouse the imagination and inspire awe to the visitor.

Built amphitheatrically, Evdilos is situated in the northern part of the island, 40 km northwest of Agios Kirikos. It is a new seaside settlement built after 1830 when piracy was completely stamped out in Ikaria. Evdilos was a temporary capital before Agios Kirikos during the second Turkish Occupation 1834-1912. Its name means visible and freely rendered open horizon. Today it is the second port and capital of the island, and the center of northern, central, and western Ikaria. Together with the settlements of Arethousa, Dafni, Karavostamo, Manganitis, and Frandato, they form the community of Evdilos and number about 2,400 permanent inhabitants.

The picturesque small port and the pier with the old mansions and narrow roads, the paved steps, and the traditional and modern houses ornamented with many flowers forms an architecturally interesting village which reveals the artistic feeling of the inhabitants and the love for their land. Evdilos may be the most traditional settlement of Ikaria architecturally. It is built upon a small hill and its various types of houses: old, neoclassical, and modern traditional are taken care of with delicate taste and elegance.

The vicinity around the cobble roads of the town where the narrow paved lanes lead to neighborhoods where the houses are harmoniously tied to each other, leave the visitor sometimes wondering where one house ends and the other begins, and creates the feeling of a cozy neighborhood. Evdilos is also an ideal base for wonderful excursions into the Ikarian countryside. The Atheras Hotel & Kerame Apartments provide very pleasant accomodations for holiday makers and travellers, and Aventura Car Rental & Mav Car Rental can take care of transportation needs. There is also a fine beach located just outside of Evdilos.

Kampos lies in the northern part of the island, west of Evdilos. The village is built in a beautiful plain, "kampos" in Greek, with ample water from whence its name. The gentle lake abounds with reeds, thickets, and moss. The Voutsidis river flowing down to the shore, the enchanting beaches and well looked after houses old and new spread over the small valley, and the small yet picturesque square, with the traditional coffee shops, all fascinate the visitor. But apart from its scenic beauties, the settlement of Kampos is of particular historical and archaeological interest. The remains of the ancient capital of the island, Oinoe, and the hilltop of Agia Irini, with the imposing old church and the grandiose remnants of a Byzantine Odeon associated with thousands of legends and traditions of the island, are unerring witnesses of the history of this land. The Kampos Archaeological Museum located also on the hilltop of Agia Irini is well worth a visit. The local beach is also a popular place to swim and enjoy the seaside.

Avlaki lies west of Evdilos and just after the village of Kampos. It is a seaside settlement belonging to the community of Frandato and has about 100 permanent inhabitants. The village has lush vegetation and its pretty houses are hidden away in dense pine forests with trees that stretch down to the sea. Spread throughout Avlaki, old anti-pirate houses still survive with their lean to roofs and high courtyard walls. The primary school and imposing church dedicated to Agios Kostandinos stand amidst the pine trees. A bit further away a beautiful newly built structure houses the village cultural center. The small village port is particularly interesting. Here the locals anchor their fishing boats and caiques, prepare their nets for the next catch, and swim and dive from the rocks. In the traditional taverns above the port and along the coast one can have a delicious meal of freshly caught fish. There is also a top rated resort hotel, the Karras Star located in the area.

Chrisostomos is situated to the west of Agios Kirikos after Xilosirtis at an altitude of 350 meters. It belongs to the municipality of Agios Kirikos and numbers about 300 inhabitants. This pretty village forms a wonderful white and green ensemble with its houses built amphitheatrically among the lush vegetation of the mountainside, its large church and many chapels, playground, and the small fountain dressed in Ikarian slate. At the central square the ascending narrow roads are lined with the beautiful houses, the village primary school, the war memorial, and a cool spring.

Climbing up the mountain slope above Chrisostomos we find the old village with its ruined anti-pirate houses hidden away in the dense vegetation. When piracy was stamped out in Ikaria its inhabitants gradually moved lower to the present location of Chrisostomos. The village of Chrisostomos is where the martyr of the Ikarian Revolution, Giorgios Spanos of Evdilos, fell in 1912. The monument was erected in his honor and is reminiscent of those heroic days when the Ikarian people freed themselves from the Turks.

In this picturesque village one can find an abundance of traditional village elements such as the stone built public fountains, villagers riding their time honored means of transportation - the patient donkey, and implements from the Ikarians' process of producing charcoal, which was well known all over Greece. On the path leading to the famed spring, "Mana Tou Nerou," stands an old traditional oil press where there still remains the mill building and its millstone where the animals turned to grind the olives, the cistern where the oil was extracted, and the store rooms. The whole region around Chrisostomos is a major center of Ikaria's olive growing and oil production industry.

Xilosirtis lies to the west of the capital after the monastery and belongs to the municipality of Agios Kirikos. It is called the village of apricots and is especially beautiful and picturesque as it is hidden in the sweet shade of apricot trees. On the 26th of July a traditional feast takes place in the village with the enthusiastic participation of the local people and foreigners. The large pebble beach stretching out below the village hosts the summer visitors enjoying the sun and sea.

A little outside of Xilosirtis towards the monastery there is a famous spring called "Athanatou Nero," The Immortal Water, hidden amidst huge granite rocks. Its water is drinkable, very tasty and has therapeutic values for kidney and stomach ailments. In bygone days summer visitors and local inhabitants used to buy the "immortal water" from the water seller who wandered the villages of Agios with his donkey loaded with pitchers. One may visit the spring by following the small road that leads there and drink from its wonder working water. A little further on stands the permanent guard "Gria" or "Nerayda" or Maiden of the Seashore overlooking the sea. It is a huge rock formation by the sea which resembled an old woman and which a few years ago the sculptor Ikaris lent the features of a "Neriada" or Nymph. Also neaerby is an old watermill with two arches standing in a gorge which stretches down the mountain above the village.

Karavostamo is a large beautiful seaside village stretching out from upon the mountain. It is composed of an upper and lower village and is situated in the northern part of the island east of the municipality of Evdilos. It has approximately 485 inhabitants and is a must see for any visitor owing to its small houses amphitheatrically built, two big churches, plethora of chapels, nursery, primary school, modern oil press, streams with the crystal clear waters, old watermills, air filled with butterflies, beautiful beaches, and spring of Kalikas,. The traditional "Pigi tou Kalika," Kalika Spring, stands just off the main road in an enchanting lush landscape. Historically it was the central meeting place of the villagers. Here they would fill their pitchers with water, wash their clothes, rest, and discuss village issues.

This exclusively seafaring settlement has many interesting folklore elements to display. In the upper village with the farm houses surrounded by terraces, some cultivated and some not, one can view scenes from the villagers' daily lives such as the drying of figs in the sun, the making of onion strings for winter usage, and the shelling and drying of nuts and almonds. There is also a "kamini" or place where charcoal is produced, one of the few still existing in Ikaria which has had a long standing tradition in the field since before the war.

The lovely beaches of the community of Karavostamo, with their crystal clear sea, are a delight to every holiday maker. Coming from the southern part of the island you first come across the attractive beach of the Aris River. There you will find a cantina operating during the summer months offering a pleasant break to all suntanned bathers. Next you come to the beach of the lower village of Karavostamo where both young and old spend carefree hours, and finally a bit further down lies the wonderful beach of the Milios River.

Karavostamo retains several old watermills where the villagers once ground their wheat. Such watermills can be found in the gorge of the Aris river a little further behind the beach in the area of Exalima, in the village's green ravines, and by the Milios river where the watermill is over 200 years old. In Exalima, as you walk towards the heart of the ravine after the watermill you reach a dream like place teaming with lovely colorful butterflies in the spring.

Nelia lies in the northern part of the island and belongs to the community of Perdiki and has about 30 inhabitants. This small settlement has generous vegetation and ample water. Among the pine and cypress trees appear the pretty long and narrow houses with their traditional roofs covered with Ikarian slate and their well trimmed flowery yards. Nearby is the small village church of Agios Giorgios and in the background behind it the promontory of Kioni. The lovely village beach with the boat refuges is a real treat for any holiday maker. The Kioni area is of great archaeological and folklore interest because of the ancient graves of the Anamotafia area and the ancient foundry in the area of "Livada."
Agios KirikosMap

Agios Kirikos is situated on the southeastern coast of the island and was founded over three hundred years ago by local sailors who dedicated the city to Agios(Saint) Kirikos. It is the capital of Ikaria and the main gateway to the island by land, sea, and air. Most of the public services of the island can be found here. Today, together with its environs Panagia, Kountoumas, Agios Pantelemonas, Christos, and Glaredes it has about 2150 inhabitants. Agios Kirikos, with its old two story captains' mansions, flower filled neighborhoods, narrow cobble paths, endlessly ascending stone steps, central square flanked by shops, and the non-stop comings and goings of the people, combines the picturesqueness of the Aegean architecture with the bustle of a modern town.

The hot spring of Asclepious, previously called Moustafa, can be found in Agios Kirikos near the central square. Therapy seeking individuals from around the world frequent this bathouse and Ikaria's other springs for their outstanding healing virtues. Asclepious Spring emerges from the sea and anyone wishing may swim nearby it to take advantage of its radium content without having to take a traditional bath. The view from Agios Kirikos is expansive. From its broad horizon one can look out upon the Ikarian Sea, the islands of Patmos, Fourni, and Samos, and occasionally one can even make out the coast line of Turkey.

The main square or "platia," lined with Mulberry trees, traditional coffee houses("kafenia"), cafes, bars, and shops is the center of the town's life and is situated on the coastal road facing the sea. Here stands also the marble war memorial to fallen Ikarian soldiers. In and around the square's pedestrian only granite cobble roads and old alleys are located almost all of the restaurants, cafes/bars, pensions/rooms for rent, shops, public and private services, tourist offices, and agencies of the town. Wondering along the narrow paths of Agios Kirikos and its environs is a pleasant exercise and evokes memories of long forgotten times.

The area around Agios Kirikos exhibits beautiful natural scenery. Looking up and out towards the mountains one can see a green horseshoe shaped garland made up of villages starting at the foot of the mountain and ending a few hundred meters outside of Agios. On this stretch of pristine land pretty mountain side hamlets, small forests above the villages, tree lined ravines, and all varieties of fruit trees are combined into a breathtaking scene.

Therma, situated 2 km east of the capital and celebrated since ancient times for its therapeutic radioenergic hot mineral springs, is the main spa town of Ikaria. It has a picturesque bay with a small inlet and a lovely beach for swimming. The white-washed houses, some lower others higher standing one next to the other with their flowery balconies, come into view only a few meters from the beach. All around are hills and in the distance on either side rise the rocks of the gorge at the mouth of which lies Therma. It is a secluded place overlooking the sea and on the waterfront all around the small square stand the traditional coffee shops, restaurants, and bakeries. Nearby you will find the springs and further down the road the newly built church of Agia Anargiri with its beautiful stained glass windows built in 1966 to satisfy the religious needs of the holiday makers. The village feast is held on the first of July, the day of Agia Anargiri. Therma has 3 of the principle hot springs on Ikaria. The hot springs aid in the curing of a multitude of afflictions such as rheumatism, arthritis, arthrology, neuralgia, and infertility.

Therma takes its name from the ancient Ikarian town of Thermae. In bygone days the inhabitants of Thermae were known as Asclipians from the god of medicine(Asclipios) and in recognition for their miracle working hot springs. At a small distance east of the present day town at the location Xalasmena Therma stand the ruins of the ancient spa. It was a seaside town built on a small projecting peninsula and was one of the known spas of ancient times. This is proven by the fragments of broken marble bath tubs found in the area and traces of an ancient aqueduct partly hollowed out in the rocks. Unfortunately it is not known exactly when this ancient town was inhabited. However, from a marble Stele found in the area we know that the town existed and flourished in the classical era and was a member of the Athenian Naval League. Its disappearance, probably due to an earthquake circa 205 B.C., did not allow for more information to come to the surface about the life of the Thermaen people. Although no archaeological research has been carried out it is believed that the seacoast where Xalasmena Thermae is situated is the exact location of the ancient city of Thermae.

At the eastern tip of Ikaria lies the settlement of Fanari also known as Faros. Faros is located on a small plain with many vineyards and is home to a growing number of houses, most of them summer cottages used by the inhabitants of Agios Kirikos and Perdiki. Faros' coastline, with its two mile long beach, crystal clear sea, and abundant fish and sea life is a delight for every holidaymaker. An interesting architectural feature of the village is the non-existance of a seaside road, making it perfect for families with children. Instead, pedestrians pass through the yards of the houses and tavernas/cafes which are built on the waterfront.

On and around the beach there are a few seaside restaurants and cafes, a mini-market, art/gift shop, rooms for rent, and a few guesthouses/pensions, making extended stays highly desireable, especially for families with children and visitors seeking peace and quiet. Faros is also becoming a center for water sports including windsurfing, kayaking, scuba diving, sailing and snorkelling. The unobstrusive Ikarian airport is a mere stones throw away, but invisible from the beach or village and there is only 1 or 2 flights per day.

In the area of Faros lies Drakano Fortress, the ancient third capital of Ikaria. Its name originates from the mountain bearing the same name, which today is called Atheras. The Eastern promontory where the ancient town was situated was also called Drakano for the same reason. The location can be spotted from the sea and is a must visit for those staying in Faros along with Agios Giorgis Beach

Also of interest close by is Iero Beach and the Cave of Dionysos and the hilltop Italian Fortress from WWII.

Near Faros and at an elevation of between 100-150m and West South West of the airport near the main road, is located the ancient burial ground and tombs of Propezoulopi, thought to be associated with the cult of Dionysus. These megalithic monuments (Menhir) are identified by columns of limestone with heights between 1,22m and 2.80m. They lie in their original positions and are spread throughout the area. The stones that mark the tombs are characterized by sharp tips and are typically arranged in groups and in a straight row. .

Perdiki is situated in the northern part of Ikaria and belongs to the municipality of Agios Kirikos. It has about 400 inhabitants. Its name originates from the first settler, Perdikis, who is mentioned in a 1681 contract. Perdiki is a large village spread over a plateau. Its beautiful houses are hidden away in forests and surrounded by gullies with crystal clear running waters in the shade of perennial trees. The beautiful square, parish church and the plethora of chapels, primary school, sports ground, traditional loom workshop, lovely cultural center building under construction which will include a library and guest house, and windmills compose a picture of a still thriving Ikarian mountain village. The larger Perdiki area is also of great archaeological interest. North of the village stands the Castle of Lefas. The folklore museum near the square with its rich collection of old traditional utensils and tools provides a pleasant but instructive retrospective of the past.

North of Agios Kirikos after Mavraton lies Oxea, one of the oldest villages in the southern part of the island and one of Ikaria's highest village at nearly 600m. Besides its historical importance, the village has unequal scenic beauty. Its neat houses, both old and new, are spread in harmony over the mountain side hidden away in lush vegetation. Here and there its old chapels appear suddenly and higher up towards Mavraton stands the Monastery of Agios Nufrios, a church in the Byzantine style. The date 1809 is inscribed above the western outer gate of the monastery. Its small icons are old and faded and the ruined cells remind one of the monastery's former days of occupation by devout monks. At a small distance away stands the pretty chapel of Agia Marina in a dreamlike location where a traditional feast takes place on the day of Agia Marina.

The village of Plagia is built at the foot of a mountain slope where it gets its name from. It is a vast pasture land which drops steeply in abrupt cliffs. The houses of the small village are scattered over the area and the center is a beautiful village square with a large church, primary school, and a few shops. A little further away is a traditional oil press with the mill for grinding olives. At the square by the church the traditional feast of the village takes place on the 8th of September each year. The parish church of Plagia, "Yenithleon Tis Theotokou," The Birth of the Virgin, was built on the site of an older church in 1953. It is a Byzantine style church with old-icons.

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