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Ikaria: Living By Night, Sleeping Through the Day

Life in Ikaria, Greece, moves at a very slow pace. Especially in the village of Christos in Raches, people live their lives by night and relax or sleep during the day. In fact, this is a habit whose origins lie in the age of pirates.

All shops are closed during the day and there is not a person to be found on the streets. However, around 7pm people lazily get to start their day.

From the outside, Christos looks like any other village in the Greek islands. It is located at an altitude of 400 meters and is surrounded by a forest. From the inside though, as soon as you enter the village, everything changes. Time moves differently. There are no deadlines, no reason for anxiety and no stress about running behind on errands.

Every Saturday at around 1am the square fills up. People sit at the local cafes or enjoy their meals in one of three traditional taverns, while others go shopping.

The only places open before 10am are schools, the post office and of course the local bakery, which opens early in the morning. The baker finishes his work around 11am, places the loaves of bread on the counter and leaves. He goes fishing to the nearby village of Evdilos and leaves his shop unlocked so anyone who wishes to buy bread can go inside, take as much as they need and leave the money in a drawer.

The people of Ikaria may have found the elixir of longevity since they live an average of ten years longer than other Europeans and Americans. According to scientists, the secret of Ikarians’ longevity lies in the island’s fresh air, friendly and open way of life, fresh vegetables and goat milk. Furthermore, the mountainous terrain has also played an important role, as people exercise more and are in good physical condition.


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