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The island of Ikaria is known for being the “Blue Zone” of Greece, where its inhabitants often reach 100 years of age and more. The island has carried rumors of longevity for more than 400 years. We share with you the secrets we uncovered, starting with the village of Faros, located a 30-minute walk from the airport.
When we arrived to the airport, we didn’t even need to rent a car as what better way is there to start our quest into finding out the secret to longevity than to do as the locals do: walk.
There is a man in his 90s that walks every day from Therma to Faros and back to see his grandchildren. This amounts to a minimum of two hours of walking every day!
It was a bit of an uphill walk at first, but then it got easier. We even rolled our luggage! The scent of wildflowers permeated the atmosphere and we got our hint of the next blue zone secret: the wild herbs. Ikarians forage for these wild herbs and make tea with them.
The wild sage smelled incredibly pungent. You can find teas from local herbs in grocery stores on the island too.
Faros Village in Ikaria Island, Greece Blue Zone
Faros is a town covered in grapevine. Ikaria is famous for its wine that was even mentioned in Homer’s Odyssey. It is believed that the Greek God of Wine, Dionysus, was born in Ikaria, and we will show you the trek to his cave in Faros in an upcoming video and blog post.
We saw an elderly local woman picking the grape leaves along with the wild fennel herb that grows everywhere like a weed to make a traditional Greek dish called dolmades. You may know it as grape leaves stuffed with rice.
Faros is a very small, but picturesque coastal town. There is even a small supermarket that carries various goods. We will show you the local food we bought here in a video and blog post soon. The shop has very friendly local workers that can speak some English.
It was a cloudy day in the evening of early May. But, we had the beach all to ourselves because we came during the off-season. This beach is right along the town’s main street and waterfront views of the restaurants. There is also a ladder to get into the water. Look at this beautiful color of water even on a cloudy day.
As you can see on this card, Ikarians do not track time and thus do not worry about getting things done on time. Instead, they live their lives stress free. Maybe we should learn to relax more in the western world too.
We will have more videos and blog posts on the longevity of the people of Ikaria, so subscribe to our YouTube channel to stay tuned and check our blog for updates. We feel that the diet is misinterpreted by many researchers based on the two months we spent living on the island.