When looking at a map of Greece many people do not realize that Evia (Euboea) is actually an island but accessible by a choice of two road bridges and various ferries. Just as revealing is that it is the second largest Greek island after Crete. Its size means it has much more to offer than many of the traditional tourist destinations, particularly for travellers with a sense of adventure who participate in the outdoor activities of walking, cycling, horse riding, gorge walking, climbing, sailing, kayaking, kite sailing or diving. It is excellent for exploring since there are many interesting and historic places worth visiting including villages, churches, monasteries, castles and ancient monuments. Of course there are plenty of good beaches as well, and depending on where you stay, you can enjoy some real peace and quiet, or a hectic nightlife. Either way you can find yourself indulging in the magic of this uncharted island. Just pick one of the cycling or walking tours below and forget all about everyday routine.
Evia has been inhabited since pre-historic times and its name means “rich in cattle”. One of its most important early settlements became today’s Chalkida (Chalkis), since it was the closest to the mainland and had natural resources of copper, making the city a trading centre of great historical importance. Evia is mentioned by some as Greece in miniature and has about 800 km of coastline. Evia with its historic and cultural heritage, a wide variety of beaches, 5 private and 7 public ports, nature reserves, alpine forests and mountain scenery to enjoy; it surpasses all other Greek islands in diversity.
Evia Island is connected to the mainland by two bridges and is just an hour away from Athens . It is mostly unexploited and is free for the evolution of alternative kind of tourism. It is the ideal holiday destination both for foreign and local tourism. Come and discover the hidden gem of central Greece.
Man made his first appearance on Evia and the nearby island of Skyros as early as the Palaeolithic Era. Primitive stone tools have been excavated in New Artaki, some kilometers away from Chalkis. Those first inhabitants of Evia are known by the name of Avandes (Abantes). Already in prehistoric times, from 1200 B.C. on, we can document a major wave of new settlers belonging to the Ionian Greek culture. Eretria, one of their cities, seems to have contributed ships for the expedition against Troy, if Homer’s list in the Iliad is an accurate one. Eretria, together with Chalkis, were the most important city-states in Evia in the centuries preceding historical times. According to legend, the two city-states were involved in a war, which took place sometime in the 9th century B.C., which was one of the first such “civil” wars in antiquity. Controlling the bridge over Evripos Straight and being connected to Athens by railroad, Evia developed industrial plants and tourism evolved, pointing the way to prosperity.
The capital of Evia, Chalkida, has been the capital since antiquity. It is a modern town today, with many shops, banks, bars, restaurants and so on. This is also where the bridge and ferryboats to and from the mainland are. Here, you can visit an interesting archaeological museum and see the ruins of ancient temples, as well as a 15th century fortress. The second largest town is Eretria, and this was also an important financial and cultural center in ancient Greece. It also has an archaeological museum, and you can see ancient ruins of a theatre, houses and temples here. Kimi is situated high above the sea, and here you can visit a folklore museum, as well as ancient ruins and a Byzantine monastery. This is one of the oldest towns on Evia. Limni is another interesting town. Here, you can visit the nunnery of Galataki, and see ancient remains. Note: when visiting a monastery, make sure you are dressed accordingly: longs skirts and covered shoulders for women, long trousers for men. Edipsos has had healing baths since ancient times, and you can enjoy the spas to this day. You can also visit the site of an ancient town here.
There are beaches all around the island. You can find beaches that may stretch up to 5-10 km, or even ones than cannot even be seen on a map. Be a modern explorer by land or by sea and visit about 800 km of shoreline and stunning beaches that just kiss the mountains and pine trees. Just to mention a few: Artaki, Nea Stira, Heliadou, Kimi, Angali, Agiokambos, Thapsa (the greek “The Beach” from the Di Caprio movie), Mourteri, Vythouri, Petali, Almyrihi, Agios Dimitrios (a stream flows all year long) and Agios Georgis.
Evia is connected to the mainland with two bridges (Chalkida). There are also ferryboats, buses and a railway. Get a direct flight to Athens, and from there it is about 1 hour drive (Athens-Chalkida=88km). Kymi has ferry-boats to and from Volos, Alonissos, Skopelos, Skyros, Kavala, Skiathos and Limnos. The southern part of Evia is dominated by the two ports Karystos and Marmari both with a ferry link to the Athenian port Rafina. Many Athenians make a weekend crossing to escape from their busy metropolis. Karystos is the best of the two and lies in a wide bay with a Venetian style port and the fortress Bourtzi. In this picturesque fishing village are also a number of fine neoclassical buildings. Above Karystos is the Castello Rosso (Red Castle). Marmari is less attractive but from here excursion boats depart to the green islands Megali Petali and Xero in between Evia and the mainland . The seaside resort of Kimi on the east side of the island of Evia is the place where the ferries to the island of Skyros in the Sporades and in the high season a few times a week to other islands in the North Aegean area leave. It is a very beautiful little town and just below the harbour is a beautiful beach. Unfortunately, here in this village it is no easy to find accommodation. Especially northern Evia is very mountainous and besides the few more touristic spots, there are beautiful beaches and unspoiled villages to be found. The wooded hillsides are dense with pine trees and other trees and streams are running through it. In addition there are the valleys with olive trees.