At the most eastern part of Ikaria lies the resort of Faros, also known as Fanari. It is located on a small plain, surrounded by some of the island’s best vineyards. Faros is approximately 13 km away from Agios Kirikos, the island’s capital and it’s connected with it by the highway. It takes its name from the lighthouse (“Faros” in Greek) that existed in the cape. In ancient times, the settlement was called Drakano.
Nowadays, visitors can see the restored tower of Drakano, located a few kilometers away from the village center. Drakano was used as a lighthouse and also as a military watchtower. According to Greek mythology, this was the land where god Dionysus was born. The tower can be spotted by the sea and is a must-see when in the area.
Faros is the place where the airport of the island is also situated, but with a limited number of flights on a per-day basis there is hardly any noise pollution and the airport is not visible by the village or the beach. The number of houses in the area is increasing year by year, as many of the permanent residents decide to build their summer cottages there. It is not by accident that it is one of the locals’ favorite resorts, as it’s surrounded by numerous pristine beaches with crystal clear water, ideal for sea lovers.
Faros, with its abundant fish and water sport activities, is a delight for every holidaymaker, local or foreigner. One of the largest beaches of the island (Fanari beach) is located in the area, with a combination of sand and pebbles. The beach stretches a long distance, running the full length of the village and then curving around towards the northern tip of the island. Watersports like windsurfing, kayaking, scuba diving and snorkeling are available during summer. The beach, due to its large size and the many watersports provided, can get quite crowded during the peak months.
Besides the homonym beach, there are many other wonderful remote beaches around the area: Kerame, Nyfi, Anefanti, Atsipades, just to name a few! Most of them (if not all) are not organized though, so when you visit make sure to carry some water and hats with you! Access is quite easy to all of them by car.
For history (and mystery) lovers, near Faros is also the ancient burial ground and tombs of Propezoulopi, believed to be associated with the cult of Dionysus. These huge monuments are called “Menhir” and are easily identified as they’re columns of limestone with heights between 1.2 and 2.8 meters, lying in their original proportions and spread through the area – a definite must-see of Faros.
Where to stay in Faros
Faros is an ideal place for accommodation during your stay in Ikaria, especially if you are on family holidays. An interesting architectural feature is that there is no seaside road on the village, making it perfect for families with small children. Instead, pedestrians pass through the yards of the houses, cafes and taverns which are built on the waterfront.
The village offers a variety of rooms, studios and apartments for rent on and behind the beach.
If you require peace and quiet, you will find it in Faros. Although you can find lodgings a stone throw away from the beach, that doesn’t mean that your budget will be washed away. As Faros is a relatively small village, without much nightlife, the prices for accommodation are quite reasonable, as the locals are trying to attract more visitors there.
If you are low on budget, a sea, and water sports lover, or you’re vacationing with your whole family, Faros can be a great option. If you can find, rent a room on the beach without any hesitation. In case you are not one of the lucky ones who have already booked there, there are plenty of other options around.
Where to eat in Faros
Most of the restaurants and taverns are on the seaside, offering great views and even greater dishes. You can find taverns with tables that almost touch the sea! Fish and seafood are the highlights of the area. Most of the taverns offer only daily catch, and if you happen to be around the area early in the morning, there a high chance you’ll see the local fishermen delivering their catch to the taverns.
My personal favorites of Faros are the two taverns, named after their owners (look for them!). There you can taste great fishes, shrimps and mussels paired with ouzo and also yummy meat dishes, paired with the local Ikarian wine. Sufiko (mixed vegetables) and the traditional pies with local greens and herbs can also be found there –must try starters and extremely healthy ones, too! Do not forget to try the local Kathoura cheese. It is the Ikarian version of mozzarella and it accompanies every local meal!
Faros is not a place for clubbing and wild parties. It is more of a relaxed village, where you can enjoy a drink by the beach, do some romantic walks and spend some quality time with your other half, friends or family away from the hustle and bustle of the busy life. Nevertheless, if you happen to be there around July, you cannot miss the traditional Ikarian panigiria.
There are at least two panigiria taking place in Faros during July, one around the 7th and the other one towards the end of the month. Visit one of these traditional Greek festivals, and you’ll understand what Ikaria is all about! For the rest of the days, you can spend your evenings in the cafes by the seaside. Most of them become serve drinks during night time and are kept open till late at night. If you really like Greek food you need to check out some of the best here.