North Aegean Sea Islands, Greece
Just a breath away from the Asia Minor coast, in the northeastern part of the Aegean Sea, we find an impressive collection of 5 big islands, Ikaría, Sámos, Límnos, Lésvos, Chíos, and 8 smaller ones, Áyios Efstrátios, Áyios Minás, Antípsara, Thýmaina, Oinoússes, Samiopoúla, Foúrnoi and Psará. Hot springs, fortress villages, rich history, delicious seafood, some of the best beaches in the Aegean are waiting to offer you memorable, and authentic experiences.
Take a ferry or an airplane, and visit some of Greece’s most remote islands, yetbreathtakingly beautiful.
Ikaria. Here, according to the mythological tradition, Icarus, ignoring his father’s, Daedalus, advice, flew very high towards the sun; his wax feathers melted, and he fell and drowned in the sea. Today, apart from sun-drenched beaches, in Ikaria you can discover archaeological sites, natural monuments (included in the European network NATURA 2000), traditional settlements, thermal springs known since antiquity, and endemic species of fauna and flora.
Limnos. Since the 4th-3rd millennium BC, Límnos has had a remarkable network of settlements: some of them faced the Troad, while others faced the northern islands of Greece. In the town of Mýrina enjoy with the locals fresh fish dishes, and explore the town’s massive volcanic rocks. Visit the island’s museums and go on a tour at the Alikí and Hortarolímni lakes (also included in the European network NATURA 2000).
Lesvos. Also known as “Mytilíni”. Here, Sappho, a woman poet of ancient Greece, was born. Traditional settlements are scattered all over the island (Agiássos, Assómatos, Vatoússa, Eressós, Mantamádos, Míthymna, Pétra, Plomári, Polihnítos, Sígri, Sykamiá). Plomári is famous for having the best oúzo, and the strongest. Accompany a drink of oúzowith Kaloní’s superb sardines. On the island you can also find a Zen centre and other spiritual and cultural forums. Kaloní is the bird-watching capital of Europe, also rich in wild flowers. Cure yourself at thermal spas at Thermí, Efthaloú and Yéra. Walk also along unspoiled, golden beaches.
Chios or Hios.Known as the “Mastic island”. Explore the famous Mastihohória, a series of fortified villages built in the 14th century during Genovese rule. Amongst them, Mesta is a medieval treasure with preserved castle towers, ancient churches and magnificent stone houses tightly joined together with arches. Here you can enjoy delicious dishes cooked with mastic, or have a sip of soumáda, a traditional drink made of almonds. Rich history, numerous museums, and religious feasts reveal this island’s long tradition in history and culture. There are always long sandy beaches, secluded or not, as well as deserted coves waiting to be discovered.
Samos is the birthplace of the Greek philosopher and mathematician Pythagoras, the philosopher Epicurus, and the astronomer Aristarchus of Sámos, the first to propose that the Earth revolves around the sun. Follow their footsteps, and visit numerous archaeological sites –the Heraion of Samos is a monument of World Heritage–, old monasteries and churches, and attend cultural events and music festivals. The Philosophy Conference of the University of Athens is also organised every year at Pythayóreio. Sámos is an island extremely rich in vegetation with white-sand beaches, and traditional villages. The island is also known for the “samiótiko krassí”, the sweet Samian 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.