Irakleia (also spelled Heraklia, Iraklia or Iraklea) is the most western island of the Small Cyclades south of Naxos and north-east of Ios, and a truly quiet island with barely any vehicles. The island has a surface of18 square kilometre and has two villages with 120 residents. Locals are occupied with fishing, livestock-farming, agriculture and apiculture.
Greater in extent and with a wilder beauty than the nearby Koufonisia and Schoinousa, Irakleia is a calmer island with impressive mountains and many beaches protected from heavy winds thanks to the islands of Naxos and Ios.
Life in Irakleia offers calm and relaxation and many alternative proposals for walks, exploration, swimming in spotless beaches, diving in marvellous seas and traditional island festivities.
The capital of Irakleia is Hora (Panagia). An asphalt street of 4 kilometres connects Hora with the second settlement and harbour of the island, Agios Georgios, on the northern coast. Residents of Irakleia are quite hospitable, probably because the island has not been overwhelmed by tourism such as in nearby Ios. There are about only 80 rented rooms on the island, so early booking is advised in summer. Restaurants, bars and island festivals abound.
Visitors will find an idyllic walk on the mule path from Agios Georgios along the west coast to the cave with stalactites near Vourkaria bay, continuing to Alimia beach. One of the island's most spectacular nature areas is the bay of Merichas on the southern coast, with very high rocks of over 100 metres all around, offering refuge to nesting birds.