11 must-do things to do in Iraklia

Visiter Iraklia

A visit to Iraklia will give you a moment of calm and serenity in the Cyclades archipelago. If you’re wondering what to do in the next few days, just follow our advice!

Iraklia is an island in the Cyclades, part of the Small Cyclades archipelago. It comprises six islands to the south-east of Naxos: Iraklia, but also Keros, Kato Koufonissi, Pano Koufonissi, Schinoussa and Donousa. Its size surprises many: it’s 18 square kilometers. At present, it has a year-round population of around 150. They make their living from farming and tourism in summer.

Perhaps you’re wondering what to do in Iraklia if you’re planning to spend a few days there? Well, you’ll be able to, just… enjoy! On this island, there are no luxury hotels, no late-night music or souvenir stores. It’s a true haven of peace, particularly appreciated after a stay in Mykonos, for example.

Here, you’ll rediscover a taste for the simple things in life: visiting Iraklia, going for walks, swimming in its turquoise waters, admiring the landscape and lush nature. Rest assured: there’s plenty to see and do in Iraklia to keep you busy for a few days. Here’s our selection.

1. Agios Georgios

Village Agios Georgios, Iraklia

Photo credit: Shutterstock / Milan Gonda

This is the island’s port. If you’re wondering what to do in Iraklia, it’s the hub of almost all the island’s activity. Take a stroll through the village and admire the fishing boats. Don’t miss the 19th-century church of Saint Georgious.

2. Livadi beach

Plage de Livadi, Iraklia

Photo credit: Shutterstock / Antoniadis Dimitrios X

Its white sand and turquoise water delight bathers. But what they appreciate most is the space! As the island is very quiet and not very touristy, you’ll have no trouble putting your things down wherever you please. But don’t forget to bring your own equipment, as there are no beach umbrellas or deckchairs for hire on the island. If you’re wondering what to do in Iraklia, Livadi beach is a must.

3. Agios Ioannis cave and Mont Papa

Grotte Agios Ioannis, Iraklia

Photo credit: Shutterstock / ale7.grassi

Little is known about Iraklia’s history. However, it was undoubtedly a hideout for pirates and privateers operating in the Cyclades. The most famous cave used for this purpose is that of Agios Ioannis. If you’re looking for something to do in Iraklia, this is the island’s must-see spot. It’s impossible to visit Iraklia without making a detour here. In fact, it’s said to be the largest cave in the Cyclades (covering almost two kilometers). It is located in the north of the island.

You can reach it on foot, after a hike of around two hours. If you wish to enter, be sure to bring a flashlight: the cave is not equipped for tourists. In fact, you’re advised to take care when exploring. It comprises a total of 16 chambers. Its walls are covered with stalactites and stalagmites. Allow a further two hours or so on site to visit the cave.

Mont Papa, or Pappas, is one of Iraklia’s highest points, dominating the island from a height of 419 metres. Once you’ve completed the ascent, you’ll be able to admire the most beautiful panoramic view of the surrounding area. You’ll also find natural water springs. Don’t forget that Mount Papa is close to the Agios Ioannis cave, so plan to visit both on the same day.

4. Tourkopighado beach

If you like to swim in a pretty bay, surrounded by a few fishing boats and no one around, Tourkopighado beach is for you. It’s a good thing the sand and turquoise water are there to confirm that you’re in the Cyclades, as this tranquility is not common here.

5. A boat trip


Photo credit: Shutterstock – Giovanni Rinaldi

To make the most of the island and its crystal-clear waters, what could be better than a boat trip?

In fact, renting a boat allows you to enjoy breathtaking panoramas, between cliffs and coves nestled in a heavenly setting.

And having your own small boat gives you the choice of stopping wherever you like to explore the rich seabed all around the island. An unforgettable experience for families and friends!

Find a rental boat to explore Iraklia and the surrounding area

6. Hiking

Petite église typique à Iraklia

Photo credit: Shutterstock / kokixx

If you like hiking and are wondering what to do in Iraklia, there are eight trails on the island. So you can discover the island at your own pace.

7. Chora or Panagia

Vue aérienne de Panagia, Iraklia

Photo credit: Shutterstock / ale7.grassi

This is Iraklia’s second village. It consists simply of a street and a church, but its architecture is faithful to the Cycladic islands. A four-kilometer asphalt road links it to Agios Georgios.

8. Southern coves

Bateau à Alimia, Iraklia

Photo credit: Instagram – aliboratav

Some of Iraklia’s beaches, such as those to the south, are only accessible by boat. This is the perfect opportunity for a little sea excursion! Ask at your accommodation or at the port of Agios Georgious. If you go to Alimia, you may be able to spot a German seaplane on the seabed. It was shot down during the Second World War.

9. Merichas Bay

baie de Merichas, falaises, iraklia

Photo credit: Shutterstock / ale7.grassi

This magnificent bay is surrounded by hundred-metre-high cliffs, which have become a paradise for feathered animals. Most of the species that nest here are protected worldwide. If you’re a birdwatcher wondering what to do in Iraklia, it’s an ideal spot for birdwatchers of all levels.

10. Agios Athanasios


Photo credit: Shutterstock – Georgios Kritsotakis

It’s an abandoned village. However, its typical Cycladic architecture is well worth a visit. It’s a lovely place to visit Iraklia and take in all its charm.

11. What else to see and do in the Iraklia area

Port de Koufonissi, Cyclades

Photo credit: Shutterstock / Constantinos Iliopoulos

Once you’ve fully enjoyed the peace and quiet of Iraklia, don’t hesitate to extend your visit to the other islands of the Lesser Cyclades. They’re all ideal for a peaceful stay, with hiking trails and white sandy beaches.

  • Koufonissi: three islets (Kato Koufonissi, Pano Koufonissi and Kéros). The latter is unreachable, but the first two offer beautiful beaches, hiking and even camping.
  • Schinoussa is particularly famous for its August 15 festival in Chora.
  • Donoussa: its two pretty churches are worth a visit in themselves.

How do I get to Iraklia?

Visiting Iraklia has to be earned: the route to get there is far from direct. The best thing to do is to study the possible crossings and dates according to the period of your trip, so as not to waste too much time on transport. That way, you’ll be able to organize your explorations in the best possible way.

To get to Iraklia, you’ll first need to travel to Greece. The quickest way is by plane. To find the flight that suits your dates and budget, consider using a flight comparator like Ulysse. Depending on the season and your departure airport, you can land in Athens or directly in Mykonos.

  • From Athens: to visit Iraklia, you have two options when you arrive in Athens. You can board a ferry to Iraklia from the port of Athens, Piraeus, for an 8-10 hour crossing. However, if you’re prone to seasickness and want to keep boat journeys to a minimum, you can take another flight to Mykonos (40 minutes) followed by a ferry to Naxos (35 minutes), then a second to Iraklia (1 hour).
  • From Mykonos: if you’ve landed in Mykonos, all you have to do is take a ferry to Naxos and then, from Naxos, take another ferry to Iraklia. The Mykonos-Naxos crossing is daily. In the high tourist season, there can be up to 5 departures a day. The crossing between Naxos and Iraklia takes place three times a week.
  • From another Cycladic island: Iraklia is very well connected to the other islands of the Lesser Cyclades. If you’re planning a holiday among them, Iraklia is easily accessible from Donousa, Koufonisi and Schinoussa. These are the inhabited islands of the Lesser Cyclades. There are also ferries from Amorgos, Paros and Syros.

Getting around Iraklia

  • On foot: this small island has a special feature: you can get around… on foot. If you want to visit Iraklia at your own pace, you’ll have to go hiking.
  • By scooter: in the high season, you can rent a scooter in Agios Georgios, although they are quickly snapped up.
  • By bus: there is also local bus transport, but it is very irregular.

Where to stay in Iraklia?

Accommodation in Iraklia couldn’t be easier: it’s all concentrated on Agios Georgios. However, if you’re planning to visit during the high season (i.e., the summer months), be sure to book your accommodation before you arrive, using a hotel comparator or Airbnb. There are very few establishments on the island. For the rest of the year, you’ll have no trouble finding accommodation and visiting Iraklia at your leisure.

Now you know what to do in Iraklia to spend a holiday at your own pace while discovering this peaceful island.

Map of hotels and accommodation – Iraklia