The Old Forest

Road From Magganitis
It is a nice winter day, so we decide to cross the mountain for a hike.
Goats on Road
But no rush…
Petropouli Main Square
We return to the main church in the village of Petropouli to search for the trail into the Old Forest. This will be our second attempt to find the path.
Petropouli Bell Tower
Petropouli bell tower.
First arrow for Old Forest
On a side street off the main square, we finally locate a single red arrow, inconspicuously placed on a stone wall.
Old Forest Red Arrow at trail start
After several false starts that result in us standing at the top of a muddy hill amongst blackberry brambles and weeds, we come across this red arrow pointing up some stone steps.
Old Forest trailhead
Here is the sign denoting the trailhead, which is only visible after you’ve actually figured out where you’re going.
Old Forest poultry farm
The first part of the hike takes us through an extensive poultry farm. The geese and large turkey are clearly perturbed by our presence. Time to move on.
Old Forest view to the north
As we climb into the hills, we get a nice view toward the North.
View toward North
Petropouli gets farther and farther away.
Old Forest stone walls
The hills are strewn with old stone walls.
Old Forest Sign
The trail forks here, with one direction leading to Raos Houtra Cave, and the other to the Old Forest.
Old Forest Sage
We come across some wild sage.
Mountain heather is blooming on the hillside.
Old Forest daisy
These little daisies are everywhere.
Old Forest Crocus
But we only see about three of these crocuses on our whole hike.
Old Forest Arrow
We continue to follow red arrows.
Old Forest Dot
Or red dots.
Old Forest Dot
The red arrows and dots are painted onto a variety of surfaces. Sometimes they are even found on loose stones, which means they could easily be shifted to point in any direction.
Old Forest periphery
We come to the periphery of the Old Forest. There is a mix of trees here, with a predominance of various oak species.

Old Forest periphery

Old forest periphery

Old Forest
The Old Forest, or the “Randi Forest,” is considered the most ancient forest in the Balkans. It is home to the rare Quercus Ilex (Holm Oak) which evolved during the Miocene Epoch 5 million years ago.

Ilex Oak

Old Forest
This Holm Oak forest is one of the oldest remaining forests of its kind in the Eastern Mediterranean. It makes up almost 25 percent of Ikaria’s total forested area.
Old Forest
The Randi Forest is an EU Natura 2000 protected ecosystem, and is over 200 years old, with the most mature live oaks having reached ages over 300 years.
The Old Forest
There are other species of trees and bushes contained within the Randi Forest, including arbutus, fyllyrea and cistus.
Old Forest Arbetus
This type of arbutus, or “Strawberry Tree” develops smooth cream-colored and red bark as it grows.
Old Forest Arbetus
The peeling trunk of a Strawberry Tree.

Old Forest Arbetus

Old Forest Arrow
We are careful to continue following the red arrows or dots.
Old Forest
This forest is notoriously easy to get lost in, even for native Ikarians. Some areas of the forest, which we won’t reach today, are so dense that they are almost impenetrable.
Cicada exuvia
The ‘exuvia,’ or the shed skin of a cicada on a tree trunk. This ghostly shell was left behind when a cicada nymph dug itself out from underground and molted for the final time, emerging as a winged adult.
Old Forest Mushroom
As we are hiking directly after a period of rain, the forest floor is thick with mushrooms of various kinds.
Old Forest Mushroom
This large gooey mushroom is over 6 inches wide.
Old Forest tiny mushrooms
These tiny white mushrooms growing on a tree trunk range from 1 to 3 millimeters.
Tree-loving mushrooms
Other tree-loving mushrooms.

Mushrooms in cracks

Old Forest Mushroom
And then there are the ones that are easy to step on.

Old Forest Mushroom

Old Forest Mushroom

Old Forest Mushroom

Puffball mushroom
A puffball mushroom.
After a steep hike, we reach a small church at the top of the hill.
Old Forest Church
The Greeks have a penchant for building churches in the middle of nowhere.

Church bell

Church Interior
The interior of the small church.
Wooden Jesus
Wooden Jesus
Metal Jesus
Metal Jesus
Moldy Jesus
Moldy Jesus…
Outside, the butterflies bask in the sun.


Marker at the top of the hill
The marker at the top of the hill.

It is cool and windy while we’re up here, but one of the violinists from our village tells us he comes up here during the summer when it’s warm in order to have feasts and play music with people.

The view from the top
The view from this hill is remarkable: the sea on both sides of the island is visible, as well as all the villages below and the castle Koskina on a neighboring hill.
View of Castle Koskina
Castle Koskina.
View to the North.
The view looking toward the northern coast of Ikaria.
Marker on the hill
The southern part of Ikaria can be seen in the distance behind the marker. From this point, the trail descends into the denser area of the Old Forest. If followed for several hours, it would take us back to Magganitis.

The North Coast

North Coast
The northern coast of Ikaria is flatter than the mountainous region where we’re staying.

North Coast

North Coast Beach
In between the coastal villages, there are several flat sandy beaches that are empty now, but get very crowded in the summertime.

North Coast

Beach art
Beach art.

Nudism Sign

The port at Gialiskari, with a view of the Chapel of Analipsi, the Ascention, at the end of the jetty.
North Coast Pines
Pine trees start to appear along the coast.
Christos Raches
The outskirts of Christos Raches, the biggest village in the North with about 300 permanent residents.

Christos Raches is about four miles inland in a larger area called Raches. Raches is one of the greenest sections of Ikaria, dense with pine forests, wetlands, and an extensive series of hiking trails.

German Trail Guide
Sadly, the only trail guide we are able to locate is in German!
Christos Raches
We go out exploring the side-streets of Christos Raches.

Christos Raches

Christos Raches
The town center.

Christos Raches

Christos Raches
Many businesses in Christos Raches are closed during the day.

The village is quiet in the daytime, but comes alive late at night – a practice that originated long ago before cars existed. Because the village of Christos Raches was considered the center of the entire Raches area, people would leave on foot from surrounding villages at the beginning of the day, and not reach Christos Raches until evening. In order to serve these local merchants, businesses became accustomed to staying open late, a custom that continues into the modern era.

Christos Raches
The town square.

Christos Raches

Camo Hat
Time to break in the new sun hat. There were two choices at the hardware store: camo…or camo.
Christos Raches Health Food
We come across a health food store that is open during the day.
Women's Co-op
We also visit the Women’s Cooperative of Christos Raches. Eleven women of Christos Raches started this cooperative in 2009.
Womens Co-op
The cooperative sells many quality products that are made from locally grown or harvested food. The cooperative is fully committed to preserving local tradition and also to producing food with no chemical additives.
Womens Co-op
Amongst the products sold at the cooperative: jams, fruit liquors, chutneys, “spoon sweets,” and pickled vegetables.

The ingredients are purchased from small operations on the island which use sustainable and organic methods. The women’s cooperative offers a rare opportunity to these small-scale producers, who might otherwise never have a chance to market their goods successfully outside Ikaria.

Womens Co-op
Also for sale are these colorful woven fabrics.
Womens Co-op
The women’s cooperative also has a small cafe. These enormous slices of savory pie are made with either cheese or a greens and herbs filling.
Women's Co-op Group Photo
Three of the visionary women who run the cooperative: Eleni, Toula, and Thekla.

The women’s cooperative is helping to generate a source of ongoing income for farmers and their families, and thus fostering the continuance of traditional farming on Ikaria, while also contributing to a healthier local economy.

Through their ongoing work, the cooperative strives to support young women so that they don’t have to leave Ikaria, and to ensure that the cooperative members can continue living on the island and build a future here.

Thanksgiving in Ikaria

Duncan and Laura
Duncan and Laura Finch, the American couple responsible for our Thanksgiving feast in Magganitis village.

Duncan and Laura are living in Ikaria with their twin sons, Huck and Max. They are renovating Laura’s great-grandfather’s beautiful house in Magganitis.

Huck and Max.

Having recently moved from Atlanta to Magganitis, which has no more than 150 permanent residents, the boys are still adjusting to small town life, Greek school, and the lack of cheddar cheese.

An appetizer that Laura and the boys have made: bread toasted in olive oil, served with homemade hummus. On the right, small meatballs made with fresh herbs such as mint.

Laura and Duncan are hosting Thanksgiving at Kostas’s house because it has a big kitchen. Kostas is pictured on the right in the photo above. He is a retired ship captain and has many stories about traveling the world.

Eventually there are twelve people total gathered around the table – about half American and half Greek.
Our delicious meal includes grilled chicken, steak, mushrooms, broccoli and carrots, scalloped potatoes, salad, and copious amounts of wine.
Thanksgiving Cherries
No one could find cranberries anywhere, so we put out a jar of preserved sour cherries instead.
The Greeks are happy to see the tzatziki sauce on the table.
Thanksgiving Group
Here we all are, minus the boys.
Thanksgiving Pies
There were no regular pie shells to be found. Huck and Max made these two wonderful apple pies out of filo dough instead!
Whipped Cream
We even have whipped cream!

Even before we serve our food, Duncan tries to explain to the Greeks that in America, many people eat Thanksgiving dinners quickly and then fall asleep in front of the television.

Sure enough, five hours after the meal started, all but one American has gotten tired and left. The Greeks are still going strong and the wine is still flowing!

Crossing the Mountain


The landscape coming over the Atheras ridge is rocky and dry. Stone walls and terraces make up large portions of the land.
Roadside Church
Roadside church.
We pass through several very quiet villages where there appear to be more cats than people.
We stop in Petropouli to look for the path into the Old Forest.


There is not a single person around to give us directions to the trailhead. We’ll have to come back another time.
North Coast
Our first view of the North coast of Ikaria as we make our way to the town of Evdilos.
Evdilos, Ikaria’s second port city.

The newer port cities in Ikaria, such as Evdilos and Agios Kirykos, were built after the mid-1800s when piracy was finally eradicated on the island.

Evdilos Port
The name “Evdilos” is said to come from the word for “visible” or “eye-catching,” though if the word is typed into a translation program, it is directly translated as meaning “vindictive.”
Evdilos Port
Evdilos was the capitol of Ikaria from 1834 – 1912 (the second Turkish occupation), before Agios Kirykos was given the title of capitol city.

People regularly fish in this harbor. Surprisingly, the water is very clear, and dozens of medium-sized fish can be seen swimming in the shallow waters here.

Evdilos Cat

Evdilos is a gateway for many of the locations in the North. There are other smaller roads that bypass Evdilos and seem closer to certain destinations, but generally the decision comes down to the following: “One-lane paved road with blind corners or scarier one-lane dirt road with blind corners?”

Bearded Man
This man is selling bundles of herbs and wild mushrooms he’s collected in the mountains.

The herb pictured above is a type of sage that is native to Ikaria. The flavor is reminiscent of North American sage, but with a more complex and pungent flavor.

Balsam Tea
This is a freshly brewed pot of balsam tea. It has a more subdued flavor than the sage.
Mountain Tea
All over the island, this plant is dried and labelled simply as “Mountain Tea.”
It is what is known in English as “ironwort,” and is used regularly by the people in Ikaria. It is said to be good for digestion and immunity. Due to its high demand as a medicinal tea, and the subsequent harvesting of the flowers before seed formation, the species is in decline throughout the Balkan Peninsula and Greece.

People in Ikaria drink tea from herbs they have gathered themselves. Many people who live here have a deep connection to the natural world, and recognize the edible and medicinal plants that grow around them. Several times, I have walked into the cafe holding a strange herb I’ve gathered in the mountains, and most people know the name of it and can tell me how to prepare it.

Fresh wild mushrooms.

Evdilos Street

On our second day passing through Evdilos, every single business in town is closed. We are told by a Greek, in English, that it is due to a strike regarding “taxis.” We set off for home, perplexed as to why everything else was closed if it was only the taxis that were on strike. Later someone else explained that it all had to do with “taxes.”

Evdilos Port

Strikes occur very frequently in Greece. There is no reliable way of finding out about them ahead of time. As a result, we have three different back-up plans for getting off the island in January in case of transportation strikes.

Castle Road
On the way home, we see a sign for the “Castle Koskina,” and decide to take the road up the hill to check it out.
Castle Panorama
Castle Koskina, seen from afar. The Byzantine castle is almost all ruins now. The visible building constructed atop the castle ruins is “Agios Giorgios,” a renovated 10th century church.
Koskina Castle was built on the top of a very steep hill in order to provide a vantage point for enemy and pirate attacks.

Ikaria has several ancient castle ruins and a unique landscape that caught the eye of the major series “Game of Thrones,” which approached the government of Ikaria several years ago with the intention of filming the location of “Dorne” here. The official story is that “Greek bureaucracy” impeded the process. The local story is that the mayor of Ikaria said no. Regardless, “Game of Thrones” was forced to find another filming location and moved on to Spain instead.

Lone Goat
A lone goat stops to survey the landscape.
Marble hills
A goat herd makes its way over hills of marble.

There is evidence that most of Ikaria was once covered in forest. In recent years, due to EU subsidies, goats have increased three-fold. Overgrazing and associated issues have rendered many parts of the island barren, and are contributing to erosion and decrease in plant species.

Goat Herd

Castle ruins
This is the closest we get to the castle ruins. The road is rough, reaching the top involves a steep climb on foot, and we’re running out of daylight. Time to turn back.

There is really not much left of Koskina Castle – one must use the imagination. Though we hear from a friend that the 360 degree view from the top is spectacular, and also a perfect place to watch meteor showers.

Coming down, the paved road below us is a welcome sight.

Lone Tree

Back in Magganitis just in time for sunset.

Seychelles Beach

Road to Seychelles
The road from Magganitis to Seychelles beach.

In general, Ikaria is not known for its beaches. However, Seychelles beach, which is only one to two miles from the village of Magganitis, is thought to be one of the most beautiful beaches on the island. When the tunnel to Magganitis was created, a landslide opened up access to the beach.

Magganitis Outskirts
The outskirts of Magganitis as we leave town on foot.
Recycling Station
Just outside town, the recycling station for Magganitis.
Fig Weed
Figs grow like weeds through cracks in the sidewalk.
Beehives sit amongst the boulders on the hillside.

Ikarian honey has a reputation for being some of the purest most flavorful honey in the world. Due to the rocky landscape of the island, there is no agricultural farming here, and pesticide residue is therefore not a threat for the bees, which forage year-round on the island’s unique plant nectars.

Road to Seychelles
Looking back at Magganitis in the distance.
Seychelles Trail
On the trail heading down to the beach.
Seychelles Trail
Looking back up toward the top.
Hole in a rock
A hollowed out boulder.
Wild Thyme
Wild thyme grows on the sunny slope down to the beach.
Small anthill
Small anthill.
Seychelles Trail
Still going down.
Seychelles beach access
Beach access? This wasn’t in the brochure…


The waters at Seychelles beach are a rich turquoise color.


Seychelles Pebbles
The beach is made up of polished light-colored stones that sparkle with quartz crystals and are blindingly white in the sun.
We don’t stay long, after realizing the tide is coming in quickly.



First Visit to Agios Kirykos

Agios Kirykos Port
Our first view of Agios Kirykos, the capitol city of Ikaria. The population here is between 3000 and 4000 people.

We finally have a rental car, and the freedom to travel now. We are less thrilled when we realize that it will cost the equivalent of $150 to fill up our tank on the island.

Agios Kirykos Port
Agios Kirykos Port.

Pedestrian area

Agios Kirykos Street
Town center.

Town Center

We visit a sweet shop and buy chocolate, as there is none available in Magganitis.
And some cookies for good measure.
Grocery Store
A real luxury – an actual grocery store!
Spice Shop
A spice shop sells many locally gathered herbs and teas.
Agios Kirykos Cats
We stop to eat souvlaki and gyros. A large group of cats gathers around our table, hoping for a scrap of meat.

Yes, the middle cat is blue. It may have gotten too close to a paintbrush.

Agios Kirykos Cats

Agios Kirykos Church
The blue dome of “Agios Kirykos” church, seen from afar. Agios Kirykos is the patron saint of Ikaria and the namesake of the island’s capitol.
Bad Road
The road from Agios Kirykos back to Magganitis is somewhat treacherous, with rockslides, hairpin turns, goats, sheer cliff faces and Greek drivers.



Goat on the Road

Bad Road
Every so often, part of the road falls off the side of the cliff. After that, the lanes are just narrowed to conform to the new space.
Road Memorial
Not everyone makes it home.
The road that was built from Agios Kirykos to Magganitis in 1985 connected the small fishing village with the rest of the island. This tunnel, close to Magganitis, was bored through solid granite. The tunnel is also what allowed Magganitis to finally receive electricity.
Coming through the tunnel as we approach Magganitis.

Trying to Leave a Small Town

Waiting for Boat
Waiting for the boat to Agios Kirykos.

A boat stops at Magganitis on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday at 8:10am in order to take people to Agios Kirykos, the capitol city of Ikaria. In reality, whether it stops or not depends on the condition of the sea on that day. And there is no guarantee that it will come back to Magganitis later that afternoon.

Port Geology
Sculpted rocks line the port.
The boat arrives from Karkinagri, a town to the west of Magganitis. There is no road from Magganitis to Karkinagri. One must drive around the island the other direction in order to reach it.

After we are told that the boat would indeed not be returning to Magganitis later in the afternoon, and seeing how rough the sea is, I decide I do not want to be seasick/stranded in Agios Kirykos/pay for an expensive cab ride home. We walk back to Magganitis along the coastline.

Hannah on the shore
Standing east of Magganitis port.
Prickly plant
Various plants with spikes and thorns grow everywhere on the island.

Prickly plant

Prickly plant

Prickly plant

Prickly plant

We find this graveyard near the sea.
Hammer and sickle
A hammer and sickle etched into concrete on the side of the road.

After the Nationalist and Communist clashes during the Greek Civil War in the late 1940s, the Greek government exiled about 13,000 communists to Ikaria. Thus Ikaria acquired the title “Red Rock.” A number of locals still have left-leaning and communist tendancies.

Olive and host tree
An olive tree has found a new home inside another tree.
Saint Paraskevis
In addition to the main churches in each village, the landscape is dotted with many other smaller churches.

This church, completed in 2003, is called “Agios Paraskevis,” or Saint Paraskevi – patron saint for health of the eyes.

Road home
When the clouds clear, the top of the ridge is visible behind Magganitis.
Andreas house
Almost home! This is the property down the hill from our room. It is owned by a retired ship captain named Andreas.
91 Year Old
This 91-year-old man is still out picking olives. His wife is 93.

Longevity is a badge of honor for Ikarians. Almost daily, an Ikarian will excitedly point out to us who is in their 90s, often in front of the 90-year-old people themselves, who smile as everyone exclaims how they don’t look over 70. People’s ages are announced publicly and proudly here.

Lambros and Athina invite us to lunch.

This is a gesture of typical Greek hospitality. The meal includes stuffed zucchini, tomatoes, eggplants and peppers, feta, olives, greens with lemon juice, and bread. A large portion of it is olive oil. Athina continues giving me food, insisting that I am too skinny and must eat more.

Lambros and Athina
Athina and Lambros.

Patio Boat

Making Olive Oil

Mikalis Garden
Today we visit Mikalis at his olive groves in Paleohora.

Olives are bitter if they are eaten straight off the tree. If they dry out in the sun and become shriveled (but not rotten), the bitterness goes away, and they are delicious with a soft chewy texture. Olives are not naturally salty.

Washing Jugs
Mikalis is preparing to take a portion of his olives to the oil press today. These containers must be washed well and brought to the mill for collecting the oil.
Chrissostomo Hut
The olive press is about a one hour drive east from Magganitis in a village called Chrisostomo. The area around Chrisostomo is a major olive-growing and oil-producing region in Ikaria. This old stone hut lies below the olive press.
Cart of Olives
Ikarians from the whole area are lining up with their olive harvests.

Unloading Olives

Olive Chute
The olives are first emptied into a chute in a small upper-level building.

Olive Chute

Inside Chute
Olives inside the chute.
Olive Factory
The olives are conveyed to a lower level building where the magic happens.
This olive press is Italian-made.
Lower Level Chute
This is where the olives make their appearance on the lower level.

The olives pictured here are small, mostly green olives. They get an oil yield of 15%, versus larger black olives which yield 30% oil. However, the small green olive trees produce a reliable harvest every year, whereas the trees that grow black olives only produce a good harvest about every three years. Many Ikarians have both types of olives on their property.

Black Olives
These black olives get a higher oil yield.
Tending Olives
The man on the left is in his 90s, and still happily tending the olive press.
The leaves and twigs are separated from the olives and sucked outside through a pipe.
Leaf Chute
Leaves and twigs are deposited outside the building.
Water Bath
The olives drop onto another conveyor and receive a water bath.
Getting Weighed
From the water bath, the olives are dropped onto a scale so they can be weighed.

Weighing Machine

Masher Exterior
Next, the olives are put into a masher, which mixes the olives with warm water and macerates them for a total of forty minutes.

Sticky notes are labelled with the name of the person whose olives are in that particular compartment. Some people have so many olives that they take up two full segments of the masher or more.

The giant blades quickly turn the olives into a liquidy paste.
Full Masher
This chamber is getting full to the brim.
Waste Remover
This contraption takes all the solids out of the olive paste.
Olive Waste
The olive waste is sucked outside onto a giant pile.
Olive Waste
This debris will be dried over the summer, and then given away to people to be used in furnaces to heat homes.
For the final step, the mixture of juice and oil gets deposited into this machine, which filters out pure olive oil and discards the other liquids.
Olive Juice
Any liquid left that is not oil goes into this hose, which empties into a drain.
The pure oil flows into a trough, from which it can be funneled into containers.
The oil is being put into large jugs for transport.
Most of the oil produced in Ikaria never leaves the island. It is almost exclusively produced by and for people who live here.

Fresh olive oil may be used immediately, but is better to let the oil sit for several months before using it.

Net Yield
This is Mikalis’s net yield for the day. The smaller container on the right is the amount he insisted we take in exchange for our help in the olive harvest.

The whole process would take about one hour, if unimpeded. However, after driving an hour in either direction and waiting in line behind all the other people ahead of us at the olive press, it ends up taking half a day. A reward well worth the wait!

Olive Harvest

November is olive harvesting time in Greece.
These stairs lead up into the olive groves above Magganitis.
The stairs end abruptly after about 30 feet, and then we must make our way up a steep hill through prickly dry brush and boulders until we reach the olive grove.
There are different names for each area of Magganitis. This area above the village where we are harvesting olives today is called “Katsalika.” Many of these olive trees will not be picked by anyone, as the owners of them have long since died and their families moved away.
Pruning Olives
Olive trees can live several hundred years, and remain productive if pruned properly.
Olive Harvest
Picking olives is not easy in this region, as the ground is not flat. Nets must be laid over boulders, terraced walls, drop-offs, and spiky plants which tear holes in the nets.
Several different implements are used to pick the olives. One of the standard tools is called a “ktenaki,” (meaning comb in Greek), and comes in various lengths.

Olive Harvest

Olive Harvest Tool
This more modern tool is hooked up to a car battery and spins around quickly to remove the olives at the tops of the trees. It is more efficient, but more prone to malfunction.
Olive Harvest
Though slower, olives can be picked by hand when sparse or not hanging over the nets.

The Greeks also pick olives in this way just before harvesting the bulk of the olives for oil. Better quality olives are selected one by one from the trees and will be preserved for the year.

Olive Harvest
Once the olives are collected from each tree, they must be sorted and debris removed. Most importantly, if olives come off still attached to stems and leaves, they must be removed. At the oil press, if the olives are still attached to debris, they will be discarded, and oil yield goes down.
12 Kilo Olive Tin
The olives are then emptied into one of these 12-kilo containers. Two of these containers get emptied into a sack, and each 24-kilo sack of olives must eventually be carried off the mountain, along with all the equipment.
Full olive sacks plus equipment.
On the third day of harvesting olives, Mikalis prepares Greek coffee before we go up the mountain.
Michalis plays violin
Time for some morning music with our coffee. Mikalis and both his grown children are all talented musicians and play traditional music from Greece and the Eastern Aegean region.
Matthew enjoying a traditional Greek breakfast of sweet biscuits and coffee.
Mikalis and Achilles
Mikalis visits Achilles, the family horse.

This horse barn, small shed, and garden area are in the lower region of Magganitis known as “Paleohora.” Mikalis owns about fifty olive trees here, in addition to the ones on the hill.

Achilles and Panagiotis
Panagiotis, Mikalis’s son, with Achilles. Panagiotis also runs the Cafe Pantepoleio.

Hiking Behind Magganitis

These goats live at the last residence in Magganitis before the trail up into the mountains starts.
Goats Eating
Later in the day, the goats are munching on freshly cut branches of olive tree.
Forest Trail
Steep forest trail
Purple Flowers
These tiny purple flowers have sprouted everywhere.
Purple Flowers on Rock
No exceptions!
Old Oak
This very old oak has the same idea.
Mushrooms are starting to appear in the woods.




Kissing Boulders
Rock Formation
Granite rock formations


Small Flower
Forest flower
Strawberry Tree
Arbutus Unedo, “Strawberry Tree.”

This shrub is called “Koumaria” by the Greeks. It is an evergreen shrub native to the Mediterranean, and is one of many wild edible foods available in Ikaria. The fruit is ripe when red, and has a sweet soft interior, with slightly tart seeds covering the outside.

Mountain Hut
Old stone huts like this can be found scattered throughout Ikaria’s interior.

Mountain Hut

From the 16th through the 19th centuries, Ikaria was plagued by pirates. As a result, the island’s residents did not inhabit the shores, but instead built many dispersed dwellings in the interior of the island.

Mountain Hut

Stone Constructions

Hut Inside
A scattering of belongings still remain inside the huts: dishes, artwork, incense, bed frames, and old chests.

Hut Inside

Old Oven
The remains of an old outdoor oven attached to one of the stone huts.
Old Oven
This oven is inside a building that is separate from the main house.
A cross made out of silverware, attached to the outside of one of the stone huts.
Old Cistern
It is common to find stone terracing and old cisterns strewn about near the dwellings.
View while hiking
Ikaria’s landscape is extremely diverse.
Hannah Hiking
This is a lush forest of pine and strawberry trees.


Nearing the top
The rocky top of the ridge becomes visible as the vegetation thins out.

The ridge of the mountain Atheras separates the North and South of Ikaria. Magganitis is on the very steep southern slope of this ridge.

Rock lizard
Turkish rock lizard (Lacerta oertzeni). These lizards come out in droves to sun themselves on the rocks.
Lizard and beetle
This lizard, which has lost its tail, is in the process of hunting its next meal.
Lizard catches beetle