Icaria


Icaria the name is often spelled Ikaria is situated in the eastern Aegean not far from Samos and the Turkish mainland. About 8000 people live on the island that has an area of 250 square kilometres. Capital is the town of Agios Kirykos. The port is located there as well.


Icaria is well known from Greek mythology. It derives from Icarus. He was the son of famous Daedalus. Daedalus was a genius artist and most skilful craftsman. Among other things he build labyrinth in Knossos where the Minotaur was kept. To keep the secret King Minos ordered to arrest Daedalus and his son Icarus. The only way to escape imprisonment was through the air.

Daedalus designed wings made of wax and feathers and tried them out. They worked just fine for him so he taught his son how to fly. He advised him to be careful when using them. Icarus should not fly to high since the sun would otherwise melt the wax and not to low either since they must not get wet. Then they escaped.

Everything went well for a while but kids don't listen. Icarus got overconfident and climbed higher and higher until it was too late. The sun got too hot and the wax melted. The wings disintegrated and Icarus fell. This allegedly happened near Icaria. The mourning father named the island after his son so he shall be remembered.

These days the island is well know for its hot springs. The water contains sulphur and radium. That may not sound very healthy but apparently is. They hot springs in the little village Therma are close to the capital (app. 2 kilometres).

The capital Agios Kirykos - despite some new buildings - is still quite nice and a typical Greek island capitol. You'll find rooms to rent, some hotels, holiday homes and a number of restaurants. More accommodation is available in Therma. In the local museum are a number of interesting artefacts from the islands long history. The first settlers came here about 7000 B.C.

Another good place to stay on the island is Armenistis, a little village on the west coast. There you'll find a fantastic beach. The village is surround by beauty; forests, springs and streams. It is really laid back with some fantastic restaurants. Needless to say that it is popular with tourists.

There is a lot of green on Icaria, well at least by Greek standards. Forests normally are a rather rare sight on the islands. With plenty of shade the island is popular with hikers. Maps are available; some of the paths are marked.

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To get to Icaria take a ferry from either Athens or Samos. During high season there is a boat from Kavala as well. There might be additional boats to other islands but you'd need to check that at the ferry port.

Icaria has a small airport with connections to Athens, Thessaloniki and Samos. There are no international flights.

The bus system on the island is not exactly brilliant but one could call it sufficient.



 
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