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Ikaria island footpaths network

In early 2023, the North Aegean Region administration assigned us the mapping and design task for integrating over 240 kilometers of trails into a hiking network with modern standards and minimal interventions.

The configuration of the routes, their numbering, and mapping of necessary intervention needs were carried out in excellent collaboration with locals and members of cultural and recreational associations as well as the Mountaineering Hiking Club of Ikaria.

Ikaria is arguably the most mountainous island in the Aegean Sea. Its geomorphology has shaped a complex network of trails that literally stretches across the entire island and its villages. A mountain in the middle of the Aegean, where an unparalleled variety of habitats, cultures, and people unfolds from sea level to 1037 meters. Artfully crafted footpaths alongside the sea, giant rocks put to use, paths, 'dousemedes' (stone-paved trails in Ikarian dialect), wooden signs – jewels, eerie rocks carved by wind and salt, vertical cliffs, transparent sea water as if it was Murano glass, successive waterfalls of tens of meters, flowing waters abundancy such as in Pelion.

After months of work, a vast web of trails totaling 310 kilometers in length was mapped and 'networked', addressing all their needs for restoration of accessibility and signposting. We saw to it that each village and settlement on the island will obtain at least one hiking or mountaineering trail. All this would not have been possible without the unwavering support and hospitality of dozens of Ikarians we encountered, as well as the island's associations, while we were accompanied in the field by the pioneering hiking maps of Greece – Geopsis maps.

The value of these trails is indisputable. They constitute a living cultural heritage for the island of Ikaria, a lever for the sustainable development of outdoor activities, as well as a source for well-being, exercise, and health. We hope that the Region, taking on this task, will proceed by transforming our mapping and planning work into a project of trail maintenance and waymarking.


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