Beginning in Chalkida, set out on a fascinating journey around the northern part of the island of Evia in Southern Greece. Follow the road from Chalkida to Aidipsos and explore a lesser known part of Greece beautifully surrounded by the deep blue waters of the Aegean and the Northern Evoikos Gulf. Let yourself be captivated by rugged mountains, cascading waterfalls, dense pine forests stretching down to the shore and magnificent beaches with azure, crystalline waters.
Follow a scenic serpentine route through the mountain to reach the top, known as Aghios by the locals, and cast your eyes upon the undulating natural surroundings; the little villages nestling on forested mountain slopes; the fountains flowing with crystalline water; the small chapels and the picture-perfect tavernas.
Our first stop is Prokópi; its first inhabitants were refugees from Cappadocia, who brought from their homeland the relic of St. Ioannis Rossos (St. John the Russian), a sacred artifact that Christians from all over Greece come to worship. A road on the right leads to superb beaches along the coastline of the Aegean: Pilio, Vlahia and Sarakiniko.
Continue straight forward along the riverbed of river Kireas, which flows through an ancient-old plane tree forest, and you will find yourself in Limni. Limni is an important town with a long naval tradition, which is built like an amphitheatre and overlooks Evoikos Gulf. Stroll around the narrow cobbled streets and you will feel like stepping back in time; admire beautiful houses with Bougainville trees adorning their yards and grand captain mansions revealing the town’s glorious past. Before leaving, sip a glass of coffee or ouzo (certainly accompanied by local delicious dishes!) by the waterfront, the most popular meeting point for locals and visitors alike!
Visit: The hermitage of Aghios Christodoulos (12th cent.) on the west side of the town; the church of Zoodochos Pigi (the Life-Giving Fountain) with the submerged ruins of an Early Christian basilica; the monastery of Aghios Ioannis at Katounia; the historic monastery of Aghios Nikolaos (7th-8th century), better known as the Monastery of Galataki at the foothills of Mt. Kandili; the Folk art museum and the Scout’s House.
Activities: sailing, fishing and hiking through beautiful forest paths are only some of the activities offered.
Accommodation: choose among a wide variety of hotels, rooms to let or agrotourism lodgings.
After leaving Limni behind, follow a northern route leading to the villages of Hronia and Rovies boasting crystal clear beaches. At Rovies you will also find an organised campsite. Following a route on the right you will come across a famous pilgrimage centre, the Monastery of St. David; invigorate your senses at Drymonas waterfalls; visit the museum of petrified mammals and the Petrified Forest of Kerasia. In close distance lies the well known resort of Aghia Anna endowed with marvelous beaches such as Agkali and Fragkaki (or Ahladi) and the legendary gorge of Nileas (or Arapis).
The hotspot (literally!) of Northern Évia though is “Loutra Aidipsou”, meaning Baths of Aidipsos. With more than 80 thermal baths and excellent tourist infrastructure, this beautiful spa resort welcomes every years hundreds of visitors who wish to revitalize their body and soul! You can reach Loutra either by following the road from Chalkída to Aidipsos or by ferry boat from Arkitsa, in the area of Fthiotida.
Visit: the Monastery of Dormition of Virgin Mary built in baroque style in the central square of the village; the Archaelogical collection at Loutra; the mountainous village of Polylofos to enjoy a panoramic view to Aidipsos and the Gialtra Gulf and the women’s monastery of Aghios Georgios.
Highlight: Immerse yourself into natural therapeutic waters!
Accommodation: Choose among family run pensions, welcoming guesthouses or luxurious hotels and spas.
On the north-western side of Évia lies the Lihada peninsula, which is home to some of the most beautiful beaches of the island: Yialtra, Gregolimano and Aghios Georgios. According to mythology, this peninsula formed part of Liha’s body, who was killed by Hercules. The myth continues to say that from his head, were created the “Lihadonissia” (meaning islands of Lihada). You can reach those verdant tropical islets- known as the “Greek Seychelles”- either by ferry from Aghios Georgios or from Aghios Kostantinos.
Visit: Cape Kyneo; the stone-built Lighthouse of Vassilina and the church of Panayia.
Activities: scuba diving and swimming in Gregolimano
Accommodation: Choose among elegant hotels in Gregolimano or traditional guest houses by the sea in Aghios Georgios or Yialtra.
The next stop of our tour around Northern Évia is a place inhabited since the prehistoric times, Orei, which is now one of the most well known tourist resort. Along the coast you will find many fish tavernas, where you can sip a glass of sweet-smelling ouzo as you watch the fishing boats casting colourful reflections on azure waters.
Visit: the Town Hall where important archaeological finds are exhibited; the church of Aghios Vassilios, built on the ruins of an ancient temple; the marble statue of a charging bull (4th century. B.C.), a grave of a tomb monument and the verdant island of Argyronissos, opposite the town of Orei. Don’t forget to visit Neos Pyrgos boasting a beautiful paved street by the waterfront and… a superb night life! Last but not least, admire the remains of a Venetian castle standing on one of the two citadels of ancient Orei.
Activities: the area is an ideal fishing spot; action lovers can try trekking or horseback riding around the villages of Kamatriades and Taxiarhis.
Accommodation: choose among beautiful guesthouses in Oreoi or Neos Pyrgos!
Our last stop is Pefki, the port of Artemissio, an ideal family tourism resort that attracts many visitors every year. Its trademark?! Lush pine forests ending where the shore begins! At the bottom of the sea was found the famous bronze statue of Poseidon or Zeus (c. 460 BC) in 1930, which is now exhibited at the Archaeological Museum of Athens. In close distance you will find the marvelous sandy beaches of Asminio, Ellinika and Psaropouli- the beach of Vassilika.
How to get:
The capital of Evia, Chalkída, is approximately 70 km away from the Greek capital, Athens. The journey takes 45 minutes. The city can be reached by bus, car or train (www.ose.gr). There is also a suburban railway connection. By car you have to take the E75 National Road Athens-Lamia towards Lamia and take the first exit to Chalkída. After crossing over the bridge of Chalkída you follow the signs towards Aidipsos to reach Northern Evia.