Ikaria: The place where time has its own special meaning
One of the strangest places to visit in Greece is surely the island of Ikaria. By “strange” I am talking more about the mentality and behavior of the people who leave there, because it is certainly unique. I really doubt if you can find it anywhere else in the world. I’ll explain later what I mean…
A “jewel” island in the Aegean Sea
Ikaria is a Greek island situated in the Northeastern part of the Aegean Sea. It took its name from Icarus, the mythological figure that wanted to fly to the sun. According to the Greek mythology Icarus died there after falling from the sky and the island took his name. I’ve visited the island 4 times with my wife and we really love it.
It’s a medium sized island compared to other Greek islands but you can move around with the public transport if you do not want to rent a bike or a car. That’s actually what we do every time we visit Ikaria, since neither I nor my wife have a driving license.
The special mentality of people of Ikaria
The first time we set off to visit Ikaria we had been told a lot by friends about it. We had a picture of an island where everything moves slowly, its inhabitants have a special culture, which has disappeared from most places. This means that although many tourists visit the place, they have to settle with that mentality which is not exactly what people ask when they go on vacations.
Our boat arrived at Evdilos, which is one of the two ports of Ikaria. It was really early in the morning so before we went to our room we sat at a café and enjoyed a cup of coffee during sunrise. Around the harbor there are cafes, and bars. We sit in a cafe together with some locals who were very pleasant to talk to, smiling and cheerful. The problem with Ikaria is the service offered by the locals. Literally nobody is rushing things.
It took the waiter about 15 minutes to come and take the order and another 25 minutes to prepare and bring two cups of coffee at, and there were no more than 4 other people at that time in the restaurant… In fact, this is quite normal in Ikaria, some may even call that fast… When I talked to the store keeper about it, he told me that when anyone is in a hurry he is free to make his own coffee in the kitchen.
The fact is that he was not joking, he really meant it… Therefore, if you are an impatient person don’t even think about visiting Ikaria. If on the contrary you want to relax and forget about time schedules and time, this is the perfect place to visit. This is the mentality of the people of Ikaria and how all things work.
Places to visit around Ikaria
There are wonderful beaches around Ikaria. “Armenistis beach” is probably the most popular and crowded beach on the island and there are several rooms to let along the road that goes there. Other great beaches are available but you should certainly visit Petrokopio beach and Kamari beach
A few kilometers further away from Armenistis beach you can find “Ne”, a beautiful area that has been transformed to a place of alternative holidays during the last few years. A river descends from the mountain, surrounded by trees that form a magnificent landscape. The river reaches the sea and is surrounded by a lovely sandy beach.
Another wonderful place to visit is called “Christ”. It’s a unique destination in Ikaria. Mainly it’s a village on the mountains. There’s a legend that says that the people there do not sleep during the night, but only during the day. Elegant shops, cafes and bars, beautiful houses and a nice square with an enormous tree in the middle form the image of the picturesque village. Outside of Christ there’s also a beautiful stone church where you can relax. This is what Ikaria special meaning is all about, relaxing…
The capital city of Ikaria is called St. Kirikos, but I would say that it’s rather indifferent. I believe that it’s much better to go for a walk in the neighboring Fournoi where you can go by small boats. At first we were expecting to see a fishing village, but Fournoi to our surprise was a fairly large settlement, not beautiful nor ugly, I would say it’s neutral.