- Category: ROUTE 12
Ikaria owes its name to Icarus, the hero of Greek mythology son of Daedalus, both of which managed to escape from the labyrinth of Crete, due to the feathers and wax wings they made. However, Icarus flied too close to the sun, so his wings melted and he fell into the Aegean Sea, where he died. When he was found, he was buried in an island that was given its name (Ikaria), in honor of the fallen Icarus. However, apart from the legend of Icarus, Ikaria has been known from ancient times due to elements, such as its thermal springs, east and west of the main port of Agios Kirikos, and its famous dark red wine.
In comparison to its neighbors, Ikaria may not result immediately appealing for some types of visitors. However, those who love hiking around wild beauty, with no added infrastructure and crowds will enjoy the typical immaculate ancient Greek vibe of the island, almost untouched by tourism influence. For example, the twisting, mountainous road that connects Agios Kirikos, the capital of the island, with its second port, named Evdilos in the north; this is recommended for those who like adventure, and as a final result it offers the greatest views of the coast, the sea and neighboring islands. Ikaria is one of the greenest islands of the Aegean Sea, counting on a great variety of wildlife. The most popular resort is found in Armenistis, an area with some excellent beaches and an increasing amount of tour facilities. In fact, the whole profile of the island is orientated to those who enjoy simple and traditional facts, instead of tourist whims. But despite these facts, Ikaria counts on several places for amusement, since locals are actually fun and hospitable people that enjoy socializing and partying.
Ikaria has been inhabited since at least 7000 BC, when it was populated by the Neolithic pre-Hellenic people that Greeks called Pelasgians. Around 750 BC, Greeks from Miletus colonized Ikaria, establishing a settlement in the area of present day Campos, which they called Oenoe for its wine.
Ikaria, in the 6th century BC, became part of Polycrates' sea empire, and, in the 5th century BC, the Ikarian cities of Oenoe and Thermae were members of the Athenian-dominated Delian League. In the 2nd century, the island was colonized by Samos. At this time, the Tauropolion, the temple of Artemis was built at Oenoe. Coins of the city represented Artemis and a bull. In the 14th century Ikaria became part of a Genoese Aegean empire. At one stage, during this time, the Ikarians actually destroyed their harbors to deter the aggressive visitors. The Knights of St. John, who had their base in Rhodes, exerted some control over Ikaria until 1521, when the Ottoman Empire incorporated Ikaria into its realm. The Ikarians hanged the first Turkish tax collector but managed to escape punishment, as none would identify the guilty one and the Turks realistically determined that there was neither profit nor honor in punishing all. Thanks in part to the island's primitive conditions and poverty; the Turks imposed a very loose administration, not sending any officials to Ikaria for several centuries.
- Category: ROUTE 12
Mykonos Island is part of the Cyclades islands group in the Aegean Sea. Mykonos is, with Santorini and Crete, the most famous and popular Greek islands and attracts thousands of visitors every year. The Greek island is famous for its cosmopolitan atmosphere, its gay community, its exciting nightlife that is often compared to Ibiza, its picturesque Cycladic capital full of mykonian whitewashed houses and blue domed churches, its luxury hotels, the sightseeing’s and its magnificent sandy beaches.
Mykonos is the most famous and expensive island of Greece. It used to be very cosmopolitan and to attract very wealthy tourist and celebrities from all over the world. Often compared to Ibiza, Mykonos has a crazy and diversified nightlife. Most of the people are concentrated in the capital Hora, or Mykonos Town or in the area surrounding the city; to find a bit more calm and peacefulness, one has to go a bit farther away. Despite the very populated aspect of the island, visitor will realize that Mykonos is very beautiful with a wonderful mountainous landscape, clear waters, long sandy organized golden sandy beaches, beautiful churches, chapels and windmills and picturesque villages. The Greek holiday cliché that you never get bored of it.
The capital of the island, Hora or Mykonos Town is particularly charming and considered as one of the most beautiful little cities of the Cyclades. It is representative of the island’s architecture which is typically Cycladic with whitewashed cubic houses with flat roofs, blue doors and windows, narrow paved streets, flowered balconies and a picturesque and magical atmosphere.
Delos and Rhenia are the islets surrounding Mykonos and closely related to it’ they were Greece’s most important spiritual centers during ancient times with Delphi and the acropolis of Athens. They both are hilly and treeless, almost deserted, with a very few shepherds and many lizards wondering around the ruins of the great Ancient Greek civilization.
Archaeological finds indicate that the Ionians settled on Mykonos in the early part of the 11th century BCE. Recent discoveries have uncovered remnants in Ftelia beach from the Neolithic Kares tribe dating back to as far as 3000 BC.
In ancient times, Mykonos, due to its proximity to the then highly populated island of Delos (situated about 2 kilometers (1.2 mi) away), became very important as a supply island and possibly as a getaway location for Delian citizens.
- Category: ROUTE 12
The island of Leros belongs to the Dodecanese, located between Kalymnos and Patmos,. The sea scalped the coastline of Leros with lavish artistry giving it lacy shores, sandy beaches, protected harbors and multitude of little islands all-around it. Nature there has been endowed with lush vegetation and landscape of pleasant alterations. History has played an important role on the island since ancient times. The people who have lived there have shown it respect and built monasteries, churches and mansions in a unique architectural style. Today Leros gives the impression of being one of the last little paradises. At the beautiful, organized beaches of Agia Marina, Alinda, Krithoni, Panteli, Vromolithos, Xerokampos and Laki one can enjoy all swimming activities as well as relaxing.
Leros Island is another place ideal for those who crave for most absolute tranquility on a beautiful island. Having a coastline 71 km long as well as a mountainous topography, it offers a number of gulfs and beaches, some of them with some vegetation. In general terms, the villages of Leros are the typical Aegean villages in this specific area, and are scattered all around the volcanic area, from which there is a rather high visibility towards other neighboring islands. Its waters also have a great visibility, as it is usually easy to see distant points located as far as 30 or 45 meters deep. Tourists enjoy visiting the several shipwrecked warships and tankers, a result of the World War II. They also enjoy sunbathing and bathing in the warm waters. There are many underwater caves to explore on Leros, which is why the island is developing as a diving destination. Most tourists also enjoy the local festivals, full of typical music and traditional dances.