The fertile island of Ikaria lies approximately 42 km. west of Samos. Its present name originates from the myth of Ikarus who, with his father Daedalus, fled Crete using wings held together with wax. Disregarding his father's warnings, Ikarus flew too near to the sun, the wax melted and he plunged into the sea and drowned. The sea area to the south of the island has since been called the Ikarian Sea. Mainly mountainous with a rocky coastline, Ikaria has been known since antiquity for its hot therapeutic sulphurous springs, breathtaking views, fresh air and clean environment.
Ikaria has a new airport 10 km. east of Agios Kirikos and there are regular connections to Athens (45 mins. by plane). The island can also be reached by ferryboat from Piraeus as well as from the nearby Agios. From June to October there is a regular connection by hydrofoil (' flying dolphin') service which connects Ikaria with the other Agios in the Eastern Aegean and the Dodecanese.
The island is believed to have been colonised by Ionian Greeks from (Asia Minor) around 800 BC. Frequently used by the Byzantine rulers as a place of exile, the island was ceded to the Venetians and ruled by noble families until it was captured by the Turks in 1567. Ikaria was eventually liberated and became part of the modern Greek state in 1912.
The picturesque capital of the island - Agios Kirikos - is built on a mountain slope on the SE coast facing the holy island of Patmos. The 18th century Cathedral and the church of St. Nicholas (17th century) with old icons and an intricately carved iconostasis (altar) are both worth a visit. The town also has a small Archeaeological Museum with findings from all over the island. There are several fine beaches to the west of the town. Two kilometres to the east is the health resort of Therma with its hot springs and organised spas. At Perdiki, 6 km. to the northeast, are the ruins of a Venetian castle built in the 13th century. Not far from there lay the ruins of the ancient city of Drakano, modern-day Fanari, which is known for its long beach, fish tavernas and the impressive Tower of Drakanos. The island's second most important port (26 km. NW of Agios Kirikos), Evdilos, is a charming fishing village with its own unique character and marvellous scenery. Two kilometres to the west, near the village of Kampos, are the remains of the island's capital in ancient times - Oinoe. The nearby 11th century church of St. Irini is the oldest on the island. Further to west lies the picturesque village of Armenistis, known for its magnificent beaches, its fine hotels and a variety of daytime and nightlife activities.