Ikaria - A backpackers guide
We Last Visited Ikaria in 2001
There are 3 major arrival points to Ikaria. The north coast port of Evdhilos from Piraeus or Samos (Vathy & Karlovassi), the southern port of Agios Kyrikos from Karlovassi & Pythagorio (again on Samos) or the airport at the far eastern tip. Thankfully rivets have replaced the wax of early aviation attempts since Icarus flew too close to the sun and inadvertently removed himself from the gene pool. They did name the island after him though.
Unlike the fairly good ferry and flight timetables, the bus service has to rate as one of the worst in the greek islands. Perhaps a subliminal attempt to discourage mass tourism. Lets hope this succeeds because there is a very laid back feeling to the island with at times the impression you are interupting the everyday running of the place. It is not that the locals are un-friendly just that they would rather be doing something else instead of taking money off you in their establishments.
Agios Kyrikos is a lively port with a large shaded, taverna lined front. All major facilities are also here - Bank, Post Office, Ticket Agencies and keeping up with technology - Internet access available at Icaria-sea up the staired alley to the left of Dolcis Tours. A web cam is used on their site www.icarian-sea.com
Proprietors don`t tend to meet the boats but as you dis-embark you will see the clean, friendly but over-priced Hotel Akti on your right hand side. Take the alley to the right of the Alpha Bank. There seemed to be plenty of accomodation around the harbour area. We stuck to the usual rule of thumb and avoided eating on the front but found the Taverna Klimitaria a row or two back under the shade of vines serving very generous portions making it good value. It is worth getting a drink on the front though with prices surprisingly reasonable.
Armenistis, Evdhilos & North Coast
After one night we were itching to get away to see if the beaches at Armenistis are as good as they say, so all aboard the only bus to the north at midday (weekdays only). An hour later will get you to Evdhilos for the change of bus to the aforementioned, only 12km further on. We were not dissappointed. Within easy walking distance to the east of the pretty village and harbour of Armenistis are the beaches of Livadhi and Mesachti. Almost mirror images of eachother with broad sand, backed by fresh (but I wouldn`t swim in it !) water, kantina and end of beach taverna. The Atsahas Taverna at Livadhi is particularly recommended and also has rooms overlooking the sea (10,000drs sept/01).
For our lodgings we used the highly specified Armena Inn. All rooms come with en-suite bathroom, fridge, stove and balcony for 8000drs (sept/01). Plus it has a communal roof top kitchen area with well stocked fridges operating on an `honesty book` basis. Armena Inn is signposted up the road to Christos Raches 100m from the bus stop. Most of the tavernas around the harbour are pleasant if un-remarkable and you wouldn`t go home hungry. Drinking is another matter. The Enplo Bar on the top has awful service only beaten by their choice in music and the nautical flavoured Rebelo Bar to the far west of the quay, conspicuous by the open door standing in the middle of nowhere, has a very intimate atmosphere but extortionate prices. Somewhere in between is the Minos Bar sandwiched by Charlies Taverna (good pasta) and Symposio (good vegetarian selection) on the water front.
Apart from the town beaches and the smaller, nudist tolerant Nas beach, a forty minute walk west of Armenistis (which is good but not really worth the effort unless you want to freelance camp) there is an excellent `eco-walk` taking in the villages of Agios Polykarpos and Christos Raches with detours to the monastery of Moundes and if you have the time, a path to the south coast. Click here for Ikaria Eco-walk