General information of Ikaria
The island of Ikaria is located in the North part of the Aegean sea between Samos and Mykonos. It has a coastline of 160 km and a territory of 660 square kilometers. The name of the island derives from Greek mythology as it is named after Icarus, son of Daedalus. Icarus is said to have fallen into the sea nearby Ikaria as he didn’t pay attention to his father’s warning not to get too close to the sun, and the wax on his wings melted.
The greater part of the island is mountainous with forested hills on the North side and arid steep rocks on the South side. The mountain range of Atheras (Pramnos) crosses the island and its highest peak is at 1042m covered with an exceptional footpath network. The only plain areas are the area of Kampos and Faros on the north.
Ikaria is one of the most green and forested islands in the Aegean which is characterized by the continuous alternation of ecosystems. This gives a special value to the island creating a wide range of fauna and flora, a very significant heritage of caves, hot springs, rivers, unseen valleys, forests with centenarian oaks, rocky plateaus and canyons.
Ikarian history dates back to 7000 BC; evidence of Neolithic culture has been discovered nearby Kampos and it is related to Pre-Hellenic populations. However is mostly famous because it has been a lair for pirates for centuries. This fact played a crucial part in the formation of settlements around the island. Inhabitants moved up to the mountains leaving the coastal area abandoned. This is the main reason why Ikaria has no urban centre, but has many villages scattered around, some of them with a couple of houses only. These were built being hidden in the mountains applying certain camouflage at all times. Only after piracy ceased in the middle of the XIXth century coastal life started to flourish again.
Today Ikaria has approximately 8000 residents who live in 3 municipalities: Agios Kirykos, Evdilos and Raches, the first one being the official capital of the island. Its residents are known for their devotion and respect for nature, love of good wine, food, music and dancing.