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Travel to Iraklia

View from Iraklia island, Smaller Cyclades, Greece - Photo Chrysoula StefanidouIraklia, the innocent

Iraklia is yet another of the islands known as the Smaller Cyclades.
This small island is not “selling” anything.
It isn’t “shouting”, but it is always there, waiting for you.
Waiting for the few, getting off the “Skopeliti Express”, the few, who know why they are coming. They know the truth about this island and its people, about their contagious, guileless smiles and the strange, innocent conspiracy of which you will become a member before you know it.

It has an area of around 18.000 km², being the biggest of the Smaller Cyclades, and it’s coastline length is 30 km. It has a moderate climate and a population of 115 people.

Of settlements you will find the port, Ag. Georgios (also Kato Chorio) and Panagia (Chora or Pano Chorio), which is joined by a 4 km long tarmac road, the only on the island. The distance from the port of Naxos is 18 nautical miles.
Iraklia has several beautiful beaches, most of which are connected by walking paths.

Colorful rural landscape of Iraklia, Smaller Cyclades, Greece

Iraklia offers peaceful holidays, ideal for relaxing, away from traffic and busy town life.

No banks, but one ATM.
No petrol station.
There are no authorities other than the municipality office.
The only way of transport is a minibus that goes from Ag. Georgios to Panagia
and the beach Tourkopigado.
You can rent scooters and motorbikes as a mean of transportation.
There are 2 dispensaries and a  doctor.
You’ll find water supply for yachts at the port.

Caves in Iraklia

In the southern part of the island you’ll find the most impressive Cave of Agios Giannis. It is a real treasure of Iraklia – the entrance to the cave is a very small opening in the rocks, barely leaving a human body to pass. Three impressive, successive cave halls have been explored but it is expected to be much deeper. Must be visited with precautions since it is slippery in many places and not that well lit.

Cave in Iraklia, Smaller Cyclades, Greece

A second cave in Iraklia is yet another Greek cave claiming to be that of Polyfimos, the Cyclops. According to the myth the Cyclops was living here when he was visited by Odysseas who blinded him in order to escape. Because of his mad rage the Cyclops threw  stones to sink Odysseas’ ship. The stones he threw are, according to the saying, those of the two islands Avelonisia, Mikros (small) and Megalos (big) Avelas to the southeast of Iraklia. You will find the cave of Polyfimos close to that of Agios Giannis.

Things to see
Gyps fulvus

Τhe Wings of Meriha: At the Bay of Meriha you’ ll find tall, vertical cliff dropping from a height of 100 metres straight into the sea like a tall wing. These cliffs are impressive like huge monsters with vibrant colours and strange forms. Here you’ll observe vultures by the name of Gyps Fulvus circling around the cliffs, they are members of a colony living in Iraklia.
Papas Hill is the highest point of the island with its 418 metres and here you can admire the view of all the islands around Iraklia. This point is perfect for bird-watching since some rare bird species can be spotted from here, among which are the Gyps Fulvus.

Ruins of the castle of Iraklia, Smaller CycladesShards of pottery, Iraklia, Smaller Cyclades, GreeceThe ancient fortress above Livadi Beach, Iraklia, Smaller CycladesThe fortress of Hellenistic period above the beach of Livadi – Two photos, left by Nektaria Karabatsi and right by Giannis Gavalas

The castle (Kastro): Above the beach of Livadi you’ll find the remains of a castle of Hellenistic Period (323 b.c-316 b.c.). It is built at a strategic point on a small hill overlooking the Bay of Livadi and the open sea. The atmosphere is quite special up here and it’s worth the walk to wander among the ruins of old buildings and fallen walls while enjoying the view and the tranquility.

Things to do
hiking

Hiking: Iraklia is a mountainous island. Enjoy the view from different points like Papas Hill and the ancient castle.
Snorkeling: Enjoy a fabulous underwater world.
Bird watching: From places where some rare species make their nests, for example  the vulture, Gyps Fulvus.
Boat trips: Cheap daily cruises with fishing boats taking you to beaches and islets only to be reached by boat.