hiking-in-ikaria

Project: Hiking path

Supporting the “creation of hiking paths” on Ikaria is not only a project that is very close to our hearts, but it is also one that we are following on a continuous basis.

Support for the “creation of hiking paths” from 2017 – 2019: wood and paint to make the hiking signs for the following associations: Hiking Club “OPSIkarias”, local associations of Faros, Arethousa and Fytema, as well as the “Ioannis Melas” cultural club of Agios Kirikos.
Total donation: 1.250 EUR
Supporters: Participants in the «Ikarian Days 2016 and 2018» 

hiking-in-ikaria

Project: Hiking path

Supporting the “creation of hiking paths” on Ikaria is not only a project that is very close to our hearts, but it is also one that we are following on a continuous basis.

Support for the “creation of hiking paths” from 2017 – 2019: wood and paint to make the hiking signs for the following associations: Hiking Club “OPSIkarias”, local associations of Faros, Arethousa and Fytema, as well as the “Ioannis Melas” cultural club of Agios Kirikos.
Total donation: 1.250 EUR
Supporters: Participants in the «Ikarian Days 2016 and 2018» 

The story behind the project

When you arrive on Ikaria – whether it be by boat or by plane – you get the impression that Ikaria is more or less just a big rock. The island is not known for being a hiking paradise, but for its summer “panigyria”, its beaches and its good food. But if you have ever walked around, you might have noticed various red and white dots alongside the paths as well as red signs, indicating the direction to different destinations. These are the signs marking the hiking paths on Ikaria, running right from the furthest eastern side (Drakano) to the furthest west (Kavos Papas).

In total, the hiking network on Ikaria covers several hundred kilometres. Contrary to general perceptions, this project has not been initiated by the government or the local administration and therefore financed with public money, but is based on the efforts of the villages, local associations, volunteers and individual hikers, who are eager to preserve the culture of walking on their island and to revive the old and abandoned paths. They are also responsible for maintaining and expanding the network of hiking paths on Ikaria. This is being done against the background that historically, walking on Ikaria represents the most natural way of crossing the island. And nowadays hiking also offers an opportunity to expand the holiday season on Ikaria, as more and more hiking holidays are being organised, also offering job opportunities to locals and especially to younger people.

When we got to know the various associations who had been working for years on the hiking paths on Ikaria, we learned that there is only a small number of volunteers, with very few financial resources. This means that the maintenance and expansion of the paths is moving ahead very slowly.

As the association “Friends of Ikaria” is aiming at supporting local activities in the field of tourism, environmental protection and local entrepreneurship, we decided to offer financial support to some of the associations. These were: Hiking Club of Ikaria “OPSIkarias” and the local associations of Faros, Therma, Arethousa and Fytema. We donated EUR 250 to each association. With the money, signs and marks were made and put up in the area between Faros and Katafygi (organised by the association of Faros), Therma and Nealia (“Ioannis Melas” cultural club in cooperation with the local association of Therma), Arethousa to Droutsoulas (local association of Arethousa) and in the area around Fytema (association of Fytema).

Over the last four years it can be seen that “hiking on Ikaria” is becoming not only more and more popular, but that also a higher number of hikers are coming to Ikaria outside the peak summer season in August. It seems that the efforts of the different associations to mark the paths is achieving some positive results.

To be noted: we are not only supporting the “creation of the hiking paths” financially. No, since 2018 “Friends of Ikaria” is also organising “Volunteer Hiking Holidays” on Ikaria to assist the work of the different associations. But this is a different story.

Read more about it here: Volunteer Hiking Holidays

Lessons learned

It is very nice to realise that big things can happen when little projects are connected and efforts are shared among different partners. We are very happy to be part of the “creation of hiking paths” on Ikaria … and we will continue to contribute to this project.

The story behind the project

When you arrive on Ikaria – whether it be by boat or by plane – you get the impression that Ikaria is more or less just a big rock. The island is not known for being a hiking paradise, but for its summer “panigyria”, its beaches and its good food. But if you have ever walked around, you might have noticed various red and white dots alongside the paths as well as red signs, indicating the direction to different destinations. These are the signs marking the hiking paths on Ikaria, running right from the furthest eastern side (Drakano) to the furthest west (Kavos Papas).

In total, the hiking network on Ikaria covers several hundred kilometres. Contrary to general perceptions, this project has not been initiated by the government or the local administration and therefore financed with public money, but is based on the efforts of the villages, local associations, volunteers and individual hikers, who are eager to preserve the culture of walking on their island and to revive the old and abandoned paths. They are also responsible for maintaining and expanding the network of hiking paths on Ikaria. This is being done against the background that historically, walking on Ikaria represents the most natural way of crossing the island. And nowadays hiking also offers an opportunity to expand the holiday season on Ikaria, as more and more hiking holidays are being organised, also offering job opportunities to locals and especially to younger people.

When we got to know the various associations who had been working for years on the hiking paths on Ikaria, we learned that there is only a small number of volunteers, with very few financial resources. This means that the maintenance and expansion of the paths is moving ahead very slowly.

As the association “Friends of Ikaria” is aiming at supporting local activities in the field of tourism, environmental protection and local entrepreneurship, we decided to offer financial support to some of the associations. These were: Hiking Club of Ikaria “OPSIkarias” and the local associations of Faros, Therma, Arethousa and Fytema. We donated EUR 250 to each association. With the money, signs and marks were made and put up in the area between Faros and Katafygi (organised by the association of Faros), Therma and Nealia (“Ioannis Melas” cultural club in cooperation with the local association of Therma), Arethousa to Droutsoulas (local association of Arethousa) and in the area around Fytema (association of Fytema).
Over the last four years it can be seen that “hiking on Ikaria” is becoming not only more and more popular, but that also a higher number of hikers are coming to Ikaria outside the peak summer season in August. It seems that the efforts of the different associations to mark the paths is achieving some positive results.

To be noted: we are not only supporting the “creation of the hiking paths” financially. No, since 2018 “Friends of Ikaria” is also organising “Volunteer Hiking Holidays” on Ikaria to assist the work of the different associations. But this is a different story.

Read more about it here: Volunteer Hiking Holidays

Lessons learned

It is very nice to realise that big things can happen when little projects are connected and efforts are shared among different partners. We are very happy to be part of the “creation of hiking paths” on Ikaria … and we will continue to contribute to this project.