Again within the 16th century, Juan Ponce de León left Spain and crossed the Atlantic Ocean searching for the Fountain of Youth. Lengthy earlier than the Web and social media, Ponce de León had no concept that such a magical place already existed in his European yard.
Enter Ikaria, one in every of Greece’s islands within the North Aegean Sea. Accessible from Athens through a nine-hour ferry or a one-hour flight, this mountainous island isn’t solely filled with postcard-worthy views and seaside villages, but additionally holds the key to longevity. Ikaria is called a “Blue Zone”—one in every of solely 5 areas on the planet the place folks reside the longest. One-third of the inhabitants in Ikaria lives previous the age of 90 and it is common for residents to succeed in 100 years previous.
Learn on for our information to this island, and why visiting might allow you to uncover just a few secrets and techniques to dwelling longer.
Stroll this fashion
Ikaria is a mix of sandy seashores, coves, mountains and luxurious hillsides. Most Ikarians reside close to the ocean and you may go to fishing villages like Agios Kirykos, Evdilos, Gialiskari, Avlaki and Karkinagri for recent seafood. Strolling the cobblestoned streets will set the tone for this peaceable vacation spot.
These residents who’re the oldest are likely to reside within the highlands and train is simply constructed into their lifestyle, whether or not it’s strolling to a neighbor’s home or doing yard work on terrain that’s not flat.
By now, everybody has heard of the Mediterranean weight-reduction plan and the way it can do wonders for one’s well being. The standard Ikarian weight-reduction plan is not any totally different and consists of recent produce that helps cut back irritation within the physique. (There are greater than 150 varieties of untamed greens discovered on the island and relaxation assured, all of them discover their option to plates by some means.)
When eating in Ikaria, count on a plant-heavy meal that features issues like beans, complete grains, wild greens and potatoes together with fish, goat milk and honey. Olive oil is a given and recent fruit tends to be dessert. Natural teas, particularly these made with wild rosemary, sage and oregano, are fashionable drinks that additionally act as antioxidants. In fact, don’t neglect in regards to the native purple wine, Pramnios, which was even celebrated in Homer’s Iliad and Odyssey.
Head to the seashore
In Greek mythology, Icarus flew too near the solar and fell into the ocean; the close by island was thus named Ikaria. At this time, the solar nonetheless performs an vital function to residents as they flock to the seashores and absorb some vitamin D. Seychelles seashore shaped attributable to a landslide in 1985 and is now one of the fashionable spots for its emerald waters and hidden caves. Mesakti seashore presents each a family-friendly environment attributable to its shallow waters, but additionally attracts surfers to its shores when robust winds blow in.
Within the northwest a part of the island, Nas seashore has unpredictable currents, so it tends to attract guests extra for its sunsets and views of the ruins of the temple Artemis Tavropoulos. Divers favor Iero to discover the underwater cave and shipwreck positioned west of the coast.
Discover the island
Along with admiring the well being of the locals, Ikaria additionally presents quite a few methods to find out about native tradition and see the sights. Hike to Halari Gorge, which is near Nas seashore and the village of Armenistis, the place you’ll be able to cross stone bridges to totally different paths and trek previous lakes, rivers and waterfalls.
The island is residence to thermal springs, some that rank among the many most radon-rich on the planet, however all recognized for therapeutic properties. Some don’t have any charges, like Lefkada Spa, however there’s additionally no lifeguard on obligation. For a extra conventional spa expertise, head to a municipal thermal spa like Apollon in Therma or Asclepius in Agios Kirykos. Near the village of Xylosyrtis, yow will discover a cool spring generally known as Immortal Water, which is reported to have medicinal qualities for treating gallstones and kidney issues.
Take a step again in time on the Folklore Museum of Vrakades, on the northwest facet of the island, which shows issues like conventional utensils relationship again to the 17th century in addition to previous beekeeping and farming instruments. One other historic focal point is the lighthouse of Cape Papa, constructed between 1886 and 1890, whose mild blinks each 20 seconds and might be seen from 2.5 miles away.
Act like an area
Once you’re on trip in Ikaria, there’s no have to rush to see the whole lot. That is the form of place the place life encourages you to decelerate. So, go on, take part a sport of late-night dominoes. Attend one of many year-round conventional feasts that celebrates the title days of Christian Orthodox saints or different spiritual holidays. Take that noon nap to revive your batteries. Loosen up on the seashore. Have amusing or two. Simply bear in mind to maintain a few of these classes whenever you get again to actuality.