If Greek islands were humans, then magical Ikaria would be the weirdest and most charismatic. Its outlandish terrain, largely untamed by agriculture, comprises dramatic forested gorges, rocky moonscapes and hidden beaches with aquamarine waters. Ikaria's independent spirit, unique culture (characterised by dwellings pretending to be rocks), nocturnal lifestyle and rave-like panigyria village festivals grew out of centuries of isolated life under the constant threat of pirates and foreign invaders.
Supposedly named after mythical Icarus, said to have crashed here after flying with wax wings too close to the sun, Ikaria is also honoured as the birthplace of Dionysos, god of wine. Ikarian villages famously throw wild parties with loads of food, wine and traditional dance. The island gets packed with Athenians and foreign visitors at the height of August's panigyria, but come any time to enjoy Ikaria's serenity and the locals' sybaritic attitude to life, which results in extraordinary longevity.