Cave of Agios Ioannis
The cave of Agios Ioannis is one of the largest and most beautiful in Greece. It’s located in the south-western part of the island, near the bay Vourkaria, and it can be reached on foot in about one hour from the village Panagia. Inside the cave anyone can admire the successive spacious halls, the impressive columns or the beautiful stalagmites and stalactites.
On 28 August, the eve of the death of John the Baptist, a church service is performed at the first room of the cave.
In the north-east side of the island, just above the Livadi beach, there are the ruins of a fortress of the Hellenistic era. Inside the fortress traces of older buildings were found, probably a temple for Zeus. Two statue bases, two oil mills and many fragments of vessels and amphorae were also found in the region. It was inhabited during the middle Ages and recent years and still many of the later constructions can be seen.
Scattered around the island can be found many spiral rock carvings. Most of them date back to the Early Bronze age. They were made by the repeated impact of a sharp object on the flat surface (usually marble). There are many theories to explain their purpose depending on their location and the type of image. Some are thought to be astronomical markers, maps or symbols for good luck.
It’s located in the northwest part of the island. A path can lead you to this beautiful settlement with the traditional stone houses and the breathtaking view
Panagia is built at the foot of Mount Papas. It’s the starting point for most of the trekking routes (the summit of the mountain, Merixa, the cavern etc.).There also lies the biggest church in Iraklia, dedicated to Virgin Mary, which is celebrated on August 15th
Agios Georgios is the largest settlement of the island, and also the port of Iraklia. It’s amphitheatrically build on a natural bay. Do not forget to taste the traditional products when you visit the local restaurants there.
On 17th September 1943, a German seaplane used for reconnaissance crushed near Iraklia after a battle with British aircrafts. On 1982 a fishing ship caught it in his nets and brought it to its present location, in the bay of Alimia. It’s submerged to a depth of 11 meters and it’s visible even from the surface of the sea.
You can find 9 churches and small chapels scattered around the island. Each one is celebrated on its name day.
Reminiscence of another time, when people had to grind their wheat for their daily bread are the three deserted mills on the island.
With a height of 418 meters it’s the highest mountain of small Cyclades. From the top the visitor can admire the breathtaking view of the surrounding islands and islets and with little luck can see the rare birds of prey that live in the island
For those who love hiking there are eight signposted trails of total length 16 km. It’s the best way to get to know the island and they definitely worth the effort.
- Trail 1 Panagia- Papas
- Trail 2 Panagia-Merixas
- Trail 3 Panagia- cave of Agios Ioannis
- Trail 4 Agios Athanasios-Seladi
- Trail 5 Cave of Agios Ioannis-Alimia
- Trail 6 Alimia-Agios Athanasios
- Trail 7 Agios athanasios-Agios Ioannis
- Trail 8 Agios Ioannis-Vorini spilia