Magganitis Village

Center of Town
Much of Magganitis is on a steep hill.
Afternoon Walk
Heading into town on an afternoon walk.
This school is no longer in use.

There are too few children in Magganitis to justify school funding, so instead, the government subsidizes a taxi service to shuttle all four of them to school in Evdilos, a town on the northern part of the island. The back building is used by the town doctor, who is only available several days a week.

Magganitis House
Magganitis House
Water Faucet
These water faucets, built into stone walls, can be seen facing the street outside some homes. This one is outside the home of the famed violinist John Rossos.
Patio Garden
Many patios are filled with potted plants of various sorts, including geraniums, peppers, figs and citrus.
Orange Tree
The oranges are almost fully ripe now.
Pomegranate tree.
Magganitis Looking West
Looking out over the Western edge of Magganitis.
Pantepoleio, town cafe and grocery
Cafe Pantepoleio. The town cafe, grocery, music venue, and post office, all in one.

During winter, this is the business that is open most frequently in Magganitis. Most days it is open from 11am to 3pm, and then opens again at 7pm for the evening. People come by during the day mainly for groceries and coffee. In the evening it becomes a lively meeting place for the town’s residents, and the room can be filled with over twenty people at a time, all drinking and exchanging conversation. The social fabric is healthy, and all people, including the elders, are well-integrated and cared for.

Pantepoleio Wall
A decorated wall in Pantepoleio
Church in Magganitis
The church in Magganitis, next door to Cafe Pantepoleio.

Each village’s main church is dedicated to a particular saint of the Greek Orthodox religion. The church in Magganitis is Agios Nikolaos (Saint Nicholas). There are over one-hundred churches on Ikaria, and not enough priests for all of them. A priest comes to Magganitis to run a church service every other week.

Saint Nicholas, patron Saint of Greece, protector of sailors and seamen.

Saints play such an important role in Greek life that a person’s nameday is much more important than their actual birthday. (If someone is named after a Saint, there is a large celebration on their “nameday”). If they are not named after a Saint, they celebrate their nameday on “All Saints Day.”

Magganitis White House
White has always been a practical color for houses in Greece, as it reflects heat well during intense sun.
Blue Window
Blue everywhere!

Magganitis House

Blue was a common color for many years because people had an ingredient on hand to use with their whitewash that tinted materials blue. In the 60s and 70s, in an effort to promote unity and tourism, the Greek government made it law that all buildings had to be painted with blue paint. This is no longer the case, but nonetheless, blue remains a prominent color, especially on the islands.

Wooden Door
Painted Wooden Door
Magganitis View
View looking Southeast over Magganitis, toward the island of Patmos.

It is said that on a very clear day, Turkey is even visible from the coast of Ikaria.

First Days

Ikaria Sunrise
Sunrise over the Aegean Sea.
This is our first daylight view of Ikaria.

Our rental is locked and dark when we arrive in the village at 1am in the morning, and a brother and sister named Lambros and Athina eventually come to retrieve us and give us a room for the night. This view is from their patio.

Lambros and Athina Patio
This is Lambros and Athina’s patio.

There are trees throughout Magganitis that are pruned in this fashion. They have a sparse growing habit, and pruning them like this forces them to grow back more densely in the spring and provide better shade in the hot summer months.

Image of Alek Studios
Our home for the next several months

We are renting a downstairs room in this building. Because there are almost no tourists here during the winter, we have the patio to ourselves. Even many of the Greeks who live here now go to Athens or elsewhere to work or spend winter with their families. Ikaria is undergoing a transition from a place people permanently live to a place people use for summer vacation.

Alek Studios Patio
The patio outside our room
Tiny House
Just below our patio is a very small house, with a separate toilet in the shed to the right. It is vacant, but may get rented out in the summer when tourism increases.
Orange Cats at Alek Studios
These cats visit us every morning
None of the cats in Magganitis appear to be spayed or neutered.
Big Jar of Honey
Two kilos of Greek honey. Most of my daily calories come from here.
Yes Fairy
Shopping is always more entertaining when traveling!

Pasta Butt

The Greeks are serious about feta.
Feta Planter
And the containers get recycled.
Wild Samphire
Gathering wild edible samphire, which grows on rocks near the sea.
Cactus Fruit
Prickly Pear
Cutting Cactus
The locals show us how to cut and eat prickly pear fruit
The port at Magganitis. Most of the boats have been taken back up into town for the winter.



Fishing is important here in Magganitis, and a large portion of the village’s men have sailing and fishing experience. Up until 1985, Magganitis was only connected to other towns by sea.

The shoreline east of Magganitis