A small Greek island has been named one of the world’s best value holiday destinations.
Lonely Planet has announced its annual trending travel destination list for 2024.
And to celebrate its 50th anniversary, this has Best in Travel 2024 has included the 10 cheapest travel destinations.
The top ten includes the island of Ikaria, a Greek island also called Icaria.
The island is best known for the longevity of the locals and is one of the few “Blue Zones” in the world.
There are only five original Blue Zones – where people live longer than average – and one in three locals on Ikaria live to be 90 years old.
It is also one of the best value for money destinations according to Lonely Planet.
Basic rooms cost from €35 (£30), while a pint can be had for as little as €4 (£3.50).
But theThe island is associated with two famous Greek gods.
Icarus is said to have crashed on the island after his wings melted while flying too close to the sun – the island is now named after him.
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And the god of wine Dionysus is said to have been born on the island.
This now leads to festivals on saints’ days called Panagiria with lots of wine and dancing.
For this reason, there are many wineries to choose from on the island – the most popular are Karimalis Winery, with stunning views, and Afianes Winery, which produces the popular Begleri white wine.
Otherwise, goat cheese and milk are a staple alongside locally produced honey.
But while on Greek islands like Santorini you might expect to see the classic white and blue houses, the locals of Ikarian had a much more unusual style of living.
Back when pirates attacked the island, locals built their houses to look like large rocks to camouflage themselves.
Back to the 1st century BC. Since 2000 BC, the locals have now moved out of the unique houses, although they continue to be a tourist attraction.
Local Eleni Mazari, who is interested in the history of Icaria, told the BBC: “Ikarians built houses designed so that no one could see them, and to achieve this they had to venture high into the wilderness where they could not be observed from the sea.”
Eftychia, who runs a winery on the island with her father, added that they were often built without chimneys to avoid giving them away, and also didn’t have dogs to prevent them from being caught barking.
She added: “The structure would be low, only one story high, and lower than the maximum height of the boulder.”
But for vacationers, the beaches are one of the biggest draws.
One of the most popular is Messakti Beach, considered the best on the island with its golden sand.
Or there’s Seychelles Beach, named for its resemblance to the East African island and featuring marble-like pebbles and bright water.
Or head to the port of the town of Therma, where there are natural hot springs in an open cave where you can swim in the balmy waters.
To get to the island, you can travel from Athens by plane or, in addition to Kos or Mykonos, you can also take the ferry from the mainland.
Flights from the UK to Athens start at £16.99 with Ryanair, with flights from Athens to Ikaria from £44.
Read more at the Scottish Sun
Here is another Greek island that is still “untouched” and known only to locals.
Or we found a little-known Greek island that is just like Santorini but without the crowds.
Lonely Planet’s 10 Best Travel Destinations in 2024
1. The Midwest, USA
4. Danube Limes, Bulgaria and Romania
5. Normandy, France
7. Ikaria, Greece
9. Southern Lakes and Central Otago, New Zealand
10. Night trains of Europe