The need to forget their woes and have some fun has recently convinced thousands of Greeks that enduring the long ferry trip to Ikaria is worth the trouble. It is not long before visitors find themselves caught up in the magical frenzy of the island’s world-renowned spontaneous partying, where the combination of local wine, delicious goat dishes and live music keeps them moving to the island’s traditional dances into the early hours of the morning.
But the magic of Ikaria goes far beyond its festive celebrations, which help raise money to improve local infrastructure and support the island’s health centers.
Ikaria’s endless beaches, the mountainous regions and the individuality of its villages are all part of its distinctive charm. Above all, the Ikarians’ carefree mindset, dubbed by international media as “slow living” and “well being”, as well as their amazing longevity, have become legendary around the world.
A desire to be part of this particular collective lifestyle, to adopt this calm and laid back attitude towards life’s troubles, but also to savor the local cuisine, are some of the reasons why travelers return to the island again and again. Formerly a place of exile for Greek leftists in the mid 20th-century, Ikaria has now become a popular destination with Greeks and has, against all odds, managed to maintain and further enhance its individuality despite 15 years of intense development.
WHERE TO SWIM
The most beautiful but also the most crowded beaches lie in the northwestern part of the island. Driving from the village of Evdilos towards Nas, visitors will come to the beaches of Kampos, which is frequently hit by strong waves, Messakti, Armenistis and finally Nas. Numerous other appealing beaches can be found along Ikaria’s southern coast, close to the main town of Aghios Kirikos and the village of Therma. The exotic, colorful Seychelles cove, also located in the south, is highly recommended for a memorable swim.