The third municipality of the island is mountainous and is named Raches, with 2200 residents. Its topography is very contrasting with its green slopes and bare, rugged rocks. Ikaria is mostly mountainous. It is crossed by the mountain chain of Atheros (Pramnos), of which the highest peak is 1040 meters. The majority of its villages are located in the valleys near the seaside and only a few are in the mountains. Ikaria has a tradition of producing a strong red wine (Pramnios Oinos, wine from Pramnos).
Many areas on the island are covered with big bushes, which give the landscape an image of rich vegetation. There are no rare animal species on the island. Besides the common types of animals, there are only a few flocks of sheep and goats called “raska” which break the silence of the island with the sound of the bells they have around their neck. The climate of Ikaria is mild.
Ikaria or Icaros as it was known during the classical years belongs to the Eastern Sporades, a group of islands along the coastline of Asia Minor, which was called Karia. 12 miles northeast from Ikaria stand the bare dominating cliffs of mount Kerkis of Samos, while in the south one can distinguish the little island of Patmos. Some miles to the east there are Fournoi, a complex of small islands, known in the classical years as Korsies. Geologically Ikaria is part of the formation that starts from Asia Minor, passes from Samos and extends to the Cyclades.
There is little arable land. The mountain chain ends up to the sea in the south, leaving very little land for cultivation, and this land is being utilized by the locals with the ancient technique of “pezoula”. However, the ground is much flatter on the north side of the mountain. Kambos, – ancient Enoe- in the windward side of the island, is a well-watered small plain but in general, there is more vegetation in the north part of Ikaria compared to the south.
Ikaria has rich water supplies especially after the construction of the two dams on the mountain. Ikaria has 76,2 cm of rain yearly. The most rain falls between October and March. However, as the cold is modified due to the influence of the sea, winter looks more like autumn of North America or Europe, with only some colder periods.
Our apartments, located a few meters from the beach of Therma, consist of 10 one-bedroom apartments (studios). All apartments are autonomous, two and three beds each with a great view over the picturesque bay and sea. The apartments located on the first floor have balconies.
In just a few meters from our hotel, there are taverns and cafes where you can enjoy fresh fish and delicious local dishes. The island’s capital, Aghios Kirykos also the name of the port is situated 10 minutes from our hotel. Also, in walking distance from our hotel are the thermal spas, famous worldwide for the quality of the water and healing benefits.
The geography of Ikaria is unique and best featured in its coasts and mountainous locations. Most of the villages of Ikaria lay on the plains near the coasts and only a few villages can be found in the mountains. The pristine coastline displays a wide range of unique coves and beaches which have remained totally unspoiled. The great beauty of the island is its luxurious greenery and its abundance of spring water, which is forming streams, refreshing waterfalls, rivers and impressive gorges. Halari Gorge is the most famous trekking spot on Ikaria island.
ANCIENT ROMAN BATH HOUSE IN THERMA
The city of Therma is the principal region on Ikaria for organized hydrotherapy, and its reputation and history date from the Classical Period. “Natural” hydrotherapy is also popular on Ikaria. Along Ikaria’s coastline, there are many areas where radioenergic hot mineral springs flow into the sea from the shoreline where it is possible for one to bath/swim. The hot mineral spring water pictured right is a popular natural bath in the area of Levkada.
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