Can we forget to die? Vacation course on longevity, island of Ikaria

Can it be really true, that the people on the Greek island of Ikaria ‘forget to die’? If yes, what is different about one small community living on an island of 255 square kilometers in the Aegean Sea? What can we learn from this community?  These are the questions that we will be examining during  the 10 day vacation course on longevity, on the island of Ikaria.

Course duration: October 4-13, 2018

Ikaria is a mountainous Greek island in the eastern Aegean, and has been in the news recently as one of the ‘Blue Zones‘, that is, an area of higher than average life expectancy. It is an area where people grow older, but ‘forget to die’, according to the New York Times and the Guardian.

We will try to give answers to the questions mentioned above, within the framework of a program of lectures and investigations. These will include:

  • Lectures on modern theories of longevity, and on the particular traditional foods and cuisine of Ikaria’s inhabitants, the traditional way of life, and the production and consumption of traditional local foods. Scientific oversight will be provided by Dr. Ana Canelada.
  • An in-depth understanding of the lifestyle and dietary conditions of people in Ikaria: we will visit local homes and get to know some of the local inhabitants, see how they cook, and eat together with them.
  • We will make visits to local farms and learn the ins and outs of Ikarian food production, for example, that of honey and wine.
  • We will participate in various activities which bring the members of the seminar together, for example, by participating in local festivals.
  • Ikarian topography is mountainous, with 1000 meter peaks covering most of the 255 square kilometers of the island. The program includes optional hikes – both short and long – into the mountains, for a closer look at the Ikarian landscape and its natural beauty.

We will consider the seminar a success if our visitors, after first giving their own answer to each of the questions mentioned above, find new questions to ask, and continue their personal investigation of longevity after the end of their trip.

Location and stay

The seminar is being organized by DIALOGOS at their campus a little outside of the small mountain village of Arethousa, in the center of Ikaria. The campus is about 3 kilometers from the north shore of the island, at a height of about 300 meters.

The island of Ikaria is perfect for those wishing an experience off the beaten path, and who would enjoy a seminar combined with a healthy dose of nature and community.  Although participants will have their own private room, with a bath and small kitchenette, the larger areas on campus – the patio, classrooms, and common kitchen – provide a place for group members to come together for learning, for discussions, for meals, and for enjoyment.

The port of Evdilos, where the ferry arrives, is a village of about 600 inhabitants, and is located 8 km (5 miles) from campus.  In Evdilos participants can find grocery stores, a pharmacy, bank, ATM, and car rentals.  The campus itself is in a mountainous area, with hiking paths immediately available, and several beaches fairly close by.

Lecture program

  • Ikarian festivals and community
  • Wine and Ikaria
  • The history of Ikaria, local architecture, and anthropology
  • The environment and local diet; Ikarian cuisine
  •  The olive and olive oil in the diet and the lifestyle of the island


Language: English. When visiting local families translation (Greek to English) will be provided.

Arrival and departure: We can accommodate participants for one or two days before and after the seminar. We provide pick-up from the harbor or the local airport.

Local transportation: Group transportation during local visits will be provided by a mini-bus. Individuals are also welcome to rent their own car, or to share a car rental with other group members.

The number of participants will be limited to 6 to 12 individuals.

About longevity, island Ikaria: