Your secret greek island; Ikaria, the island of long life

Chrisa Lepida | Live the World

November 23, 2022

Being Greek, I’ve many times found myself in conversations where I’ve been constantly asked by international people to provide them with info about the “hidden” and not touristic islands that are worth-visiting while in Greece. The options of where to go in Greece are seemingly endless, and they all look great. Whatever you’re after, a holiday in Greece has something for everyone, it’s just a question of knowing where to look!

To get to the point and save you some time from crawling into the web for info, I’ve decided to start this series of pages, "your secret greek island" during which I’ll be presenting you each week an awesome greek island, out of the beaten track! I’ll do my best to provide you with the most local suggestions about each one of them; promise! Whether you’re looking for a romantic holiday with your significant other and your family, or a party vacation with your group of friends, stay tuned, cause I’m pretty sure that in this series you’ll find what you’re seeking for!

Ikaria, the longevity island!

Ikaria, also spelled Icaria, is a Greek island in the Aegean Sea. According to tradition, the island derives its name from Icarus, the son of Daedalus in Greek mythology, who was believed to have fallen into the sea nearby. According to the mythology, Icarus disobeyed his father and flew too close to the sun… upon his fall, he gave his name to this rocky island in the north Aegean.

Long live Ikaria

According to studies, people in Ikaria live much longer than the population on other islands and on the mainland. In fact, people there live on average 10 years longer than those in the rest of Europe and America – imagine…one out of three people live longer than 90 years old..Not only that, but they also have much lower rates of cancer and heart disease, suffer significantly less depression and dementia, maintain a sex life into old age and remain physically active deep into their 90s! Isn’t that impressive?!

But what’s the island’s secret? Well, the fact that no one is ever in a hurry can account for those incredibly long life spans…Some people also claim that one of the reasons, is the unique Ikarian diet that includes a lot of beans, and not much meat or refined sugar. At the same time, the locals grow their own greens that are said to contain 10 times more antioxidants than the ones sold in the markets! Potatoes, red wine, goat milk and cheese, combined with an hour nap everyday after food, are said to be the keys to the longevity that runs the island!

The beaches

Two of the most popular beaches of the island and definitely worth a visit are Messakti and Seychelles! Messakti, is huge and golden beach, ideal for water sports, sand castles & refreshing drinks! It is very busy during summer and ideal for families traveling with young children! It is organised with umbrellas and sun loungers, so all you have to bring with you is just your sunscreen and your good mood!

Seychelles, is a small beautiful beach, reached after a good ten-minute hike. Listening to the name of the beach, an exotic paradise comes instantly to mind…and that’s what this beach is! White rocks, boulders and cliffs combine with translucent blues to magic up the stuff of dreams. In contrary with the first beach suggested, it’s a good idea to bring supplies of your own, as only occasionally does a small boat come by hawking “something to eat, something to drink”.

Ikarian Panigiria ( traditional village celebrations)

Ikaria is famous throughout Greece for its "Panagiria", traditional feast days that celebrate the Saints and other religious holidays. If you're planning a trip to Ikaria during summer, make sure to check in advance the Panagiria dates and their locations, in the island’s official website! People come to Ikaria from all over the world to take part in the celebrations and in fact more than thousands of tourists attend the annual feasts, especially in August! Don't miss the unique opportunity to revel with the Ikarians amidst village surroundings, traditional food, live music, non-stop dancing, and plenty of delicious Ikarian wine. Panagiria typically start in the early afternoon and go on until the next morning!

Stay tuned, more island suggestions are about to be revealed soon! Cheers!

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