Introduction

At night the heart of Ikaria beats in the cool highlands above Armenistis, where a cluster of picturesque villages comes to life after dark, with children playing in the streets and adults drinking coffee or ouzo. These nocturnal habits hark back to the times when, fearing pirates based on nearby Fourni, Ikaria pretended to be an uninhabited island. An occasional roof covered with stone slabs is another vestige of that epoch, when people tried to camouflage their dwellings as piles of rocks. By day, Hristos Rahes is the departure point for many exciting hikes through Ikaria's highlands, covered in pine forest and fruit orchards.