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May and June Blue Zone Retreats: Ideal for the Hikers and Foragers...



When most people think of the Greek islands, they immediately have images of swimming in the blue Aegean Sea in the middle of summer. But here on Ikaria, one of the most beautiful seasons is actually in the spring.


I remember over twenty years ago when I first moved to Ikaria from the States – I took a drive up to the mountain village of Raches in early May and I’ll never forget what it was like seeing all the colourful wild flowers that dotted the side of the road, and across the mountains – there were bright colours of yellow, red and purple. Then there was the smell – it’s the time the wild thyme, rosemary and sage starts to grow and the smell of the herbs and the flowers was so intoxicating, I almost felt drunk once I reached the top of the village.


From that moment on, spring has always been my favourite season – it signals the true beginning of the year, the first buds of life, the beginning of the warmer days as the sun starts rising earlier and setting later in the day.


Spring is also the ideal month for hiking and exploring some of the incredible views from the mountainous heights of Ikaria, that can only be seen guided and on foot. This year to celebrate the spring, we will host one of the best things you can do on Ikaria as a signature feature of our ‘Blue Zones’ May and June retreat – the 5-6 hour hike across the mountain range that stretches right through the middle of the island – beginning high up in the village of Raches, then hiking to the south village of Maganitis. This is a guided hike that is best done in the spring and is one of the most spectacular things you can do on Ikaria.


Whilst out on the hike, you will be expertly guided by my husband Ilias on all the special herbs that are available to forage and pick. You will have the chance to fill your backpacks with wild verbena, thyme and rosemary. Then on return from the hike, we will have a special cooking class the next day that will incorporate the herbs you have picked, while also getting some expert local knowledge, (from yours truly), about what the locals use some of the special herbs for.


Not to mention the other aspects of exploring Ikaria as a Blue Zone hotspot: getting to know how important close family and community ties are to daily life, exploring some of the recipes that include fruits and vegetables grown locally, and the way we move without the pressures of the usual nine-to-five routine that causes so much stress in modern day life.


The spring retreats in May and June are ideal for those who would love to get close to nature as the weather starts to warm up. Please don’t worry if you are not someone who is used to hiking long distances, if you’d like to come to experience the spring, shorter and less challenging walks will also be available.


I look forward to sharing my favourite season with you all.


For further details and bookings, please email me at theaparikos@gmail.com

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