Ikaria is a Greek Aegean island in the far east of the Mediterranean. The island, also spelled Icaria, is named after Icarus, the son of Daedalus, the young man in Greek mythology who fled from Crete, flew too close to the sun by means of wax wings and fell into the sea close to Ikaria.
For centuries it was known as a health destination because of natural hot springs on the island. More recently it has been identified as one of five so-called "blue zones" by the author Dan Buettner and National Geographic, where residents enjoy great longevity. The island is, indeed, home to some of the world's happiest and longest-living people. However, Ikaria's greatest charm is that it is an unselfconscious sort of place, as Andrew Anthony aptly commented in his article on Ikaria, for The Guardian.
Ikaria is different. Ikarians are far from wealthy, they are not interested about getting rich and making more money; though they seem to be happy and contented, possibly because life in Ikaria is largely unaffected by the westernized way of living.
Ikarian life has stayed in an era where front doors are left unlocked and strangers are warmly welcomed, where crime is virtually non-existent and community spirit is strong.
Their lifestyle is based on a strong tradition of solidarity among their society and an active social life where all age groups participate. Local communities organize everything and everyone is invited to join in, this is especially the case with weddings and the famous panigyria, the 24-hours festivals.
Above all, Ikarian’s are known for their relaxed and laid back attitude to life. There’s no such thing as time constraints or deadlines, Ikarian life moves to a different rhythm, a slow and steady beat permeates every aspect of life - that’s what gives the island it’s unique character and soul.