Please sign in to post.

Travel to Island of Icaria

Thank you and this forum has been fabulous in the past. Has anyone been to Icaria? Would anyone recommend visiting this Island in October? Also has anyone been to Chios or Lesvos recently and what were some impressions? Thank you again! Leslie

Posted by
1177 posts

I was on Ikaria in early October 2018 and loved it.

It's not the usual hyped Greek Island and may not be the first Greek Island one goes to but if you are looking for an island filled with character an characters then Ikaria is great! It's known for its free-spirited locals and exciting summer festivals.

I split my time between Armenistis in the north and Agios Kirikos in the south so I could explore both area of the island.

Check out my photos of Ikaria:
https://tinyurl.com/y4e5dsj6

I was on Chios in early October 2017 and found it to be one of the last large Greek Islands not over run with tourists.

Beautiful Mastic Villages, spectacular abandoned village of Anavatos, beaches, mountains and welcoming locals.

Check out my photos of Chios:
https://tinyurl.com/ycgkrqza

I was on Lesvos in 2019 (the island of my ancestors) and found it to be very Greek and just a real nice laid back Greek Island.
Also the Ouzo Capital of Greece!

Any of the above islands were beautiful in October, few tourists, comfortable weather, great food and so much more!

Posted by
2145 posts

We visited Ikaria in September a few years so. It was spectacularly beautiful but very quiet. We stayed near Armenistas and rented a car to explore.

Lesvos is one of our favorite islands. We’ve been there many times but always in September — sometimes into the first week of October. This is the third largest Greek island, with lots to do. Gorgeous beaches, inland villages, lots of birdwatching, thermal baths, abandoned monasteries, archeological sites, fabulous food. Our first trip, we sampled all four sides of the island, starting in Vatera, then Skala Erresos, then Molyvos. Our final stop was Hotel Votsala, on the east coast just north of Mytilene. Absolutely loved it & made it our base on all future trips, usually renting a car for a day or two to explore. I think Votsala closes for the season in late October.

Posted by
141 posts

Thank you so very much Tommyk5 and Charlene-I printed your very useful and enticing replies. I feel more excited about this pending trip. I wonder how are the ferries in October? Do the locals welcome tourists from the USA that are Not on packaged tours or cruise tours...we love off the beaten path and learning from locals.

Posted by
2145 posts

None of these islands have very frequent ferries. Look up the ferry schedule from last October to get an idea. We actually got stuck on Ikaria for a couple of days because the ferry broke. But Lesvos and Ikaria both have airports. We’ve always flown to and from Lesvos — it’s an hour in the air compared to a long (12 hour?) ferry.

I should mention — there is a ferry to Ayvalik in Turkey — daily? — from Mytilene on Lesvos. From there you can pick up a tour to Pergamon. Highly recommended.

Posted by
141 posts

Thank you Charlene- I would like to go by ferry into Turkey but feel sad thinking of the migrants on this route trying to go from Turkey to Greece. I also wonder if you have a Greek Island that you prefer above all the others and what makes it so special. Our trip is only for 2 weeks..I appreciate your information.

Posted by
1177 posts

Ikaria has an airport which makes it super easy to get to and much quicker than a ferry.

For such a under the radar island having an airport one would think it gets over run with tourists . . . but it doesn't.

Not sure about a ferry but it would be a very long ride from Piraeus. You might get there via ferry from a nearby island but if possible fly from Athens to Ikaria and you'll there be under 1 hour.

I wasn't there during the height of the tourist season but the majority of tourists who go there are Greeks who want to take part in the over-the-top festivals.

While there locals in Armenistis would super friendly, helpful, love to talk about Greece, politics, and their history.

Same for Agios, very welcoming locals and ready to help tourists.

Ikaria was the dumping ground for anarchists, socialists and other nonconformist when the Greek Military took over the country in the 1970s.

That free-spirited atmosphere is still there and it was a joy to meet and talk to locals all over the island.

Posted by
2145 posts

Leslie — It is sad to think of the dangerous crossing of migrants from Turkey to Greece. But the people of Lesvos have been so generous and welcoming, and still need support from tourist dollars. And it is a lovely island. So to answer your question about a favorite island, Lesvos has always been our favorite.

But last year we visited Crete for the first time. And this year we debated returning to Crete or Lesvos. And Crete won. What we like about both islands is the ability to spend some time in one spot, and then move to another for a complete change in scenery without complicated logistics.

For you, it sounds like you’re intrigued by Ikaria. I’d recommend reading Matt Barrett’s Greek Island Hopping website. Study ferry & flight timetables. Our trip there began with an Athens to Samos flight. We had a few days on Samos (with a day trip to Ephesus). Then ferried to Ikaria. Ferry issues cancelled our ferry to Patmos, but we got back to Samos two days later, and finally a ferry to Patmos. We then ferried to Leros and flew to Athens from there.

In the end it depends on what sort of trip appeals to you — a busy adventure or a more relaxing one.

Posted by
141 posts

Thank you again Charlene for the interesting and useful information, Did you enjoy the Island of Samos?

Posted by
2145 posts

We were only on Samos for a few days, but yes, we did enjoy it. There are two ports, Vathy and Pythagorion (which is more of a resort, and closer to the airport). We stayed at both ports on our Ikaria trip, and Pythagorion seemed to be more "touristy," in a good way. Which you choose may depend on where your next ferry arrives or leaves, although it's a relatively short taxi ride between them. You can rent a car for a day to explore the island from either port.

Here's the section on Samos from the Matt Barrett guide:
https://www.greektravel.com/greekislands/samos/index.htm

I encourage you to also read his sections on other islands you've mentioned. As you will see, he loves Lesvos too, and was in fact our inspiration to visit there the first time.