A TOURIST DESTINATION FOR ALL SEASONS
Evia is the second largest island in Greece, an ideal and exceptional destination for people of all ages.
The island of Evia has only become known as a tourist destination for all seasons within the last several years. It is a land of natural beauty, cultural heritage, local tradition, popular art and a warm welcoming smile of hospitality from its residents who offer delicious and mouth watering traditional Greek cuisine. Evia has an unchanged natural environment totally unaffected by mass tourism and yet growingly popular as a new destination. A place that remains genuine, authentic and traditional. The route from Athens and the international airport of Eleftherios Venizelos is by main highway and just one short hour drive away. Access is by bridge from the mainland and there is also several drive on drive off ferry boat services available at other access points. The island boasts more than nine hundred kilometres of coastline and 1.200 thousand acres of natural forest and woodland. There are endless sand and pebble beaches, areas of natural beauty, archaeological monuments and museums.
THE ISLAND OF SKYROS
Skyros is a small isle under the jurisdiction of Evia lying in the Aegean Sea with magnificent landscape amid a rainbow of colours. Turquoise waters gently lap the golden sand beaches leaving a mark on the memory of all visitors. A Byzantine castle adorns the skyline over towering the graphic village below. Skyros is also famous for its miniature ponies which are found nowhere else in the world and visitors are invited to allow their children to ride them. Skyros is accessible by ferry boat from Evia or directly by plane from Athens airport Eleftherios Venizelos.
THE TIDAL PHENOMENON OF CHALKIDA
Chalkida is very well known for its tidal phenomenon. Visitors watch in awe as for six hours the waters rush towards the north and six hours later to the south. This is due to the difference of the level of waters between the North and South Evian Gulf. During summer days, groups of trainers with kayaks can be seen battling against the strong current.
SPA AND THERAPEUTIC SOURCES
The famous Spa area of Edipsos and Gialtra are two townships found in Northern Evia. The therapeutic sources are considered to be among the most comprehensive in therapeutic components and the most effective worldwide. There are more than 80 sources of spring whose temperature rises from 28 to 80 degrees Celsius. Doctors and other scientists have concluded that the curative waters of Edipsos and Gialtra are therapeutic for a large number of diseases such as: Arthritis, Rheumatism, Lumbagos, Sciatica, Migraines, Tendonitis, after injury healing and also the invigoration of aesthetics and beauty.
KERASIA FOSSILIZED FORESTNORTH EVIA
The fossil forest of Kerasia village can be found in Northern Evia and is a unique natural monument of our Geological heritage with an exceptional interest. The discovery of fossilized trunks in the entire region is heralded as a monumental discovery as they have been appraised as being between 10 to 25 million years old. This fossil forest is connected to the intense volcanic activity from the same period.
THE KERASIA FOSSIL MUSEUM OF MAMMALS
This museum was inaugurated in September 2006 and accommodates the paleontological wealth of the region. Excavations in the territory discovered fossils of mammals that lived in Evia more from six million years ago according to professors of the University Athens.
THE DRAGON HOUSES OF KARYSTOS
Slate gray limestone stone buildings of massive dimensions, hand built together without mortar and are to be found in Southern Evia. There are 20 of these dragon houses and their age is said to be between the 2nd and 7th century. The walls are so thick and heavy it leads the mind into the fantasy that they were actually built by giant dragons. Although it has been considered that they were in fact temples, dedicated to the ancient gods Hercules and Ira.
SAINT JOHN THE RUSSIAN CHURCH IN PROKOPI VILLAGE AND THE ABBEYS OF EVIA
The greatest of adorations to all visitors is that of The Church of Saint John The Russian to be found in the village of Prokopi, one hour drive from the capital of Evia, Chalkida. Here lay the holy remains of Saint John who is worshipped by followers far and wide and in particular on May 27th, when pilgrims may make the walk of faith from either the capital Chalkida or from Limni in the north to this tiny village to pay homage. In addition, there are sixteen monasteries to be found throughout the length and width of Evia, all monuments of Greek Orthodoxy, a significant part of Hellenic heritage.
ERETRIA ARCHAEOLOGICAL SITES AND MUSEUM
Eretria hosts a considerable amount of ancient discovery with its magnificent archaeological excavations. Visitors can dwell in ancient times and stand upon stoned where perhaps Gods once walked. The museum portrays a wealth of artefacts all discovered within this ancient area.
All in all there is so much to see and do in Evia like now where else in Greece. Whatever your needs may be, diving, cycling, swimming, mountaineering, climbing, trekking, sailing, religion, pure natural beauty, Evia has it all in one package.
THE REGION OF STEREA HELLAS
EVIA ISLAND. GREECE
Mr. Nikos Peppas: Tourism Promotion Manager
Tel. 00 30 222 10 353
Lots of Britons living in Greece have picked this island for their holiday and even their permanent homes. Yes, technically, Evia is an island, but for all intents and purposes it can be considered a part of the mainland, accessible by a short road bridge across the narrowest part of the Gulf of Evia.
Just over 109 miles long and 35 miles wide, Evia (called Euboea in the history books) offers huge possibilities for economical holidays. Modern 5-star resort hotels vie with hillside villages and holiday home complexes, from the tree-covered north to the sun-baked south. The main town is Halkida, just north of the connecting bridge and separated from the mainland by a mere 130 feet and a drawbridge that opens and shuts as London’s Tower Bridge used to do, to let the tall-masted yachts through.
This narrow channel has treacherous currents that alternate several times a day, so it’s best to avoid swimming here. Just sit at one of the many excellent fish tavernas and enjoy the view. These very currents so mystified the philosopher Aristotle, an apocryphal story goes, that he drowned trying to unravel the mystery at close quarters.
The road north from Halkida winds through beautiful pine-clad hills to the spa at Aidipsos, known as a therapeutic warm springs centre since Roman times. You can also get to Aidipsos by ferry from Arkitsa on the mainland. There is a pleasant resort at Gregolimano, reachable both from Arkitsa and Aghios Konstantinos, the jumping-off point for ferries to the Sporades islands.
South from Halkida the main road passes through Eretria, the town’s main rival since very ancient times. In fact, the first ancient Greek war after the Trojan War was fought over the intervening plain that still produces olive, citrus fruit and tomato crops worth killing for. A lot of archaeological relics have come to light around Eretria, visible in the town’s impressive archaeological museum. The town was razed by the Persians just before they got their come-uppance at Marathon, across the water, in 490 BC. Eretria has a ferry connection with Oropos on the mainland, easily accessible from Athens which is four hours away by bus.
Further south still lies Karystos, a seaside town once famous for its goats but now a favourite location for summer and retirement homes. The whole southern part of Evia, in fact, has become known as something of a British retirement colony.
The only port on the east coast of Evia, looking out onto the Aegean, is Kymi, from where a ferry connects with the island of Skyros. Dominating the island (and the view from the plane as it starts its descent to Athens) is Mount Dirfys, thrusting its wooded peak 5,700 feet into the Greek sky. Among the myriad spurs and folds of the foothills of Mount Dirfys lie a host of villages that offer tranquillity as well as the convenience of not being too far from Athens.
Text by John Carr, photos by Kalimera Hellas magazines, evia-guide.gr