Travels with V
Ikaria – the nature, food & tempo
There’s plenty of possibilities for hikers on Ikaria, and the trails are different in terms of difficulty. There’s a net of ancient paths running all over the island, in old times connecting the villages. We try a fairly easy route on top of the mountain ridge, partly through a forest of a rare species of oak. The stillness and the views from up here are really amazing and powerful.
Ikarian food is as we have mentioned, often acclaimed in descriptions of Ikaria as a tourist destination. But we found this a mixed bag. In “our” village Maganitis there are three tavernas, but we found out the hard way that none of them really had anything to enjoy. Probably this is because so few tourists come here, most of their guests are locals who eat at home and then go to the taverna for a drink and a chat with the neighbours.
But next to “our” house where we parked the car there was a hand-painted sign where we could read “Restaurant-Grill”. But then there was an arrow pointing right out into the bushes. So we ignored it until we had a real panic and never again wanted to go to the other places. So we got out our flashlights och stomped off into the darkness. There were no street lamps here, so it was pitch black.
After a couple of hundred meters we could see a light by the side of the path. We walked up to it and came to a house, a normal villa where there was some lit windows in the basement. We opened a door and there was this couple in a kitchen, watching TV. They looked at us with some surprise when we entered and asked: Is this a restaurant? –Sure, they said and turned on some lamps on the veranda where there were three tables.
We had goat and horta that night, the goat on a kind of casserole, and horta is boiled greens, like spinach, with generous bouts of lemon juice. Just super tasty! So we went there again and again during our last week. Taverna Apostolis is the name of the place where Loula from Albania makes genuine, fresh and nutritious Ikarian food. Bless her!
I guess Maganitis is kind of extreme, and there are definitely better tavernas in other villages. But you need to check with Tripadvisor befor you choose. We had a fantastic lunch at Anna’s fish tavern in Nas, and it has a well earned high score on Tripadvisor. And we had a couple of luches at Klimataria in Agios Kirykos, they make a fantastic moussaka. And in the village square of Agios Dimitrios we had a very nice dinner at Taverna Platanos, unfortunately we got some stomach problems as a bonus.
In that part of the island, called Raches, there are lots of picturesque little villages and also two monasteries, both open to visitors. One of them was used as a hospital for TBC patients during the deportations. Almost all of them got well thanks to a doctor who was also a deportee.
The most picturesque villages are definitely Therma on the south coast, and Evdilos onthe north. Both climb up mountainsides above a little harbour with small fishing boats. Just as you want a greek village. Tavernas and café line the quays. People are nice and the tempo is relaxed. Which actually is just the things Ikaria is so good at!
And the wheather, did we mention that? Sun and 30 degrees celsius. Every day.
And finally, som more impressions from lovely Ikaria: