Aviation buffs, take note of this special island. It takes its name from Ikaros, the son of the inventive Daidalos who according to ancient legend flew with waxen wings. But impetuous Ikaros, similarly equipped, disregarded his father’s sage advice not to fly too high, and hence close to the sun, so his wings melted and he plunged into the sea near the island. Ikaria’s inhabitants, perhaps reflecting Ikaros’s own fatal stubbornness, are known for their volatile and eccentric temperament. Ikaria in bygone days was plagued by pirate raids, reflected in the defensive layout of some villages. The island’s food is reputed to be of the best, and one simply has to taste the local red wine from Phocian vines. There are ferry sailings from Piraeus and flights from Athens most days a week.
Ikaria was first inhabited when it became a station between continental Greece and the coast of Asia Minor, in the beginning of the Bronze Era, since the commercial contacts between Europe and Asia were boosted and travellers passed from one continent to the other following the route: Paros, Naxos, Delos, Syros, Mykonos, Ikaria, Samos.
According to Anaksimenes the Lampsaceus, Miletos colonized Ikaria between the 8th and 7th centuries BC. The first colony of the Milisioi (the people of Miletos) in Ikaria was most probably established at the south coast of the island, the one that is protected from the wind and lies opposite the coast of Asia Minor. The second colony was in Enoe, on the north windy side of the island, the coast sailors avoided during July and August, when there are the seasonal strong winds called “meltemia”.
More ambitious than the Lydians, the Persians did not stop at the coast of Asia Minor but penetrated the Aegean and included in their domain the Eastern Sporades, among which was Ikaria, aiming at using the islands as bases for conquering the Greek mainland. However, when in 499 BC they crossed the Ikarian Sea and tried to occupy Naxos, the inhabitants resisted and impelled the Persians, a fact that gave hope to the Greeks as well as the spark for the outbreak of the revolution in the cities of Ionia.
The Greeks believe that Ikaria ows its name to Dedalus’ son Ikarus, who fell unto the waves while flying, when the sun melted the wax which was holding the wings on his shoulders. The oldest reference to the legend appears around 300 BC, while the legend of Dedalus and Ikarus dates back to the 5th century BC. According to this legend, Minos, the king of Crete, considered Dedalus responsible for the escape of Theseus, this is why he imprisoned him. He tried to escape together with his son, by making wings to fly with. This legend has ever since undergone many changes.
A wonderful little sandy cove, just south of Armenistis. One of the most popular beaches on the island, and, surely, one of the most picturesque.
A quiet and long pebbly beach between Agios Kyrikos and Livadi. There is a beach bar and a tavern.
A usually rather quiet beach, with a few facilities and amenities, including umbrellas and sunbeds.
A long sandy beach, near the Karavostamos fishing village.
It is often said that a picture is worth a thousand words. When thinking of beaches in the Aegean Islands, Mesachti Beach should be one of the first to come to mind.
A nice sandy beach near Agios Kyrikos with a few facilities and a hotel at the end of the cove.
One of the top beaches in Ikaria, at the island’s northeastern tip. There is a beach tavern and a shower.
A nice sandy beach near Evdilos, with a few facilities.
This pebbly beach is in a beautiful cove surrounded by rock formations.
Police Tel. 030 22750 22222
Ikaria airport Tel. 030 22750 32216
Ag. Kirikos Port Authorities Tel. 030) 22750 22207
Evdilos Port Authorities Tel. 030 22750 31007
Hospital Tel. 030 22750 22330
Sources: www.ikaria.gr, www.samos.gr, www.nylou.com