Just a breath away from the Asia Minor coast, in the northeastern part of the Aegean Sea, five big islands (Ikaria, Samos, Limnos, Lesvos, Chios) and some smaller ones (Agios Efstratios, Agios Minas, Antipsara, Thymaina, Oinousses, Samiopoula, Fournoi and Psara) offer you exciting holiday options.
Despite their distance from mainland Greece, they have grown into popular destinations thanks to frequent ferry and flight connection. Discover fascinating green landscapes, crystal clear waters, beautiful sandy and pebbly beaches, traditional villages and a rich history on each island.
According to the myth, Daedalus (father) and Icarus (son) flew over the Aegean Sea wearing waxed feather wings. During the flight, Icarus ignored his father’s advice not to fly close to the sun. When he approached the sun his waxed wings melted, he fell and drowned in the sea off the island coast.
Apart from sun-drenched beaches, Ikaria has a great variety of archaeological sites, natural monuments (part of the European NATURA 2000 network), traditional villages, hot springs known since antiquity, and endemic species of fauna and flora for the visitor to explore. Open air festivals and sports events take place here throughout the year, so don’t miss the chance to live this experience.
The island of Hephaestus (god of fire and protector of blacksmiths) is the ideal laid back holiday destination. Visit Myrina, which is the island capital and port, learn more about its interesting history and enjoy fresh fish dishes. Explore the volcanic areas and visit the island’s museums. Visit Alyki and Chortarolimni Lakes, the areas are part of the European NATURA 2000 network.
Sappho, one of the most famous lyric poets of ancient Greece, was born on the island of Lesvos. You will find grand beautiful houses in Mytilene, the island capital, and traditional villages across the island (Agiassos, Assomatos, Vatousa, Eresos, Mantamados, Mithymna, Petra, Plomari, Polichnitos, Sigri, Sykamia). Plomari Village is known for its top quality ouzo, which is famous across the country and around the world. Accompany your ouzo drink with sardines from Kaloni. Enjoy the hot springs at Thermi, Eftalou and Gera or walk along unspoilt, golden beaches.
Chios is known as the mastic island because of this unique natural resin collected from mastic trees cultivated at the south part of the island. Explore the Mastichochoria, a group of fortified villages of great beauty built in the 14th century when the island was under Genovese rule. Mesta is a medieval heritage town with preserved towers, ancient churches and magnificent stone houses joined together with arches. Taste delicious dishes cooked with mastic, or have a sip of soumada, a traditional drink made of almonds.
Quite a few museums and traditional open air festivals reveal the island’s long history and interesting culture. Long sandy beaches, secluded or not, as well as quiet coves are also there for the visitor to explore.
Samos is the birthplace of the Greek philosopher and mathematician Pythagoras, the philosopher Epicurus, and the astronomer Aristarchus of Samos, the first to suggest that the Earth revolves around the sun.
Visit the UNESCO monuments of Pythagoreion, an ancient fortified port with Greek and Roman monuments, as well as the Heraion, the temple of the goddess Hera. Attend cultural events and music festivals. Stroll around Vathy, a traditional village, and learn more about the island’s history.
Samos is a green island with many white-sand beaches and picturesque villages. The island is also well-known for its top quality natural sweet wine.
Samiopoúla is the largest islet surrounding Sámos, visited by tourists mostly during the summertime.
Oinousses is a complex of nine islands, located between Híos and the Erythraia Peninsula of Asia Minor. Here, the Naval Museum is dedicated to the century-long nautical tradition of the islands. The whole island complex has been included in the European network NATURA 2000.
Psara.The island was first mentioned in Odyssey, rhapsody III by the name of “Psyrie”. Being the birthplace of famous warriors of the 1821 Greek War of Independence, Psará became a symbol of the Greek history. The island also used to be the third nautical power in Greece, after Hýdra and Spétses.
Antípsara: part of the Psará island group, it is located 48 miles west of Híos. During the summertime, here you will enjoy lovely beaches and clean waters. In August, St. John’s small church becomes a place of religious pilgrimage. The island is also included in the community network NATURA 2000 as a Special Protection Area (SPA) and has been declared an Important Bird Area of Greece.
Fournoi. Interesting flora and fauna – aromatic plants, thyme, savory, sage, lentisk, bearberry and dwarf juniper, mandragora and olive groves form a stunning landscape. Here Mediterranean monk seal populations, dolphin and sea turtle species find refuge.
Ayios Efstratios (called Ái Strátis) is a small volcanic island in the northeastern Aegean among Límnos, Lésvos, and Skýros. Due to its ruins of ancient cities, and serene unspoiled landscapes, the island has been declared as a Site of Community Importance (SCI), and an Important Bird Area of Greece.
Ayios Minás: an islet of the eastern Aegean which lies east of Foúrnoi, and south of Sámos. The island has been included in the European Community network NATURA 2000 as a Special Protection Area. It is also one of the Important Bird Areas of Greece.
Thýmaina is an islet located between the western part of Foúrnoi and the eastern part of Ikaría, rich in aromatic plants, savory and sage, and home to rare species of flora and fauna.
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