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A Guide To Evia Island (Euboea Island), Greece
Evia (also spelled Euboea) is the second largest island in Greece (right after Crete), located very close to the Attica region. Connected to the mainland by means of two bridges, Evia can be a great summer destination for those who want to choose an island not too far from Athens.
The main features of the island are some genuinely wonderful beaches and incredible thermal springs. The island enjoys a mild Mediterranean climate with long, dry, and sweltering summers. The island boasts about 50 kilometers of coast, interesting archaeological sites, and fantastic natural trails perfect for hiking and sightseeing.
If you want to visit a big island that is not overcrowded or a hot tourist destination, you will enjoy spending some time in Evia. This complete guide to Evia Island has all the resources you need to plan the perfect Evia vacation.
Where Is Evia?
The island of Evia is located off the eastern coast of Central Greece, separated from the mainland by the narrow Evripus Strait (only 40 meters at its narrowest part). The island is long and narrow, about 180 kilometers long.
A long mountain range traverses Evia. The island is about a 2-hour ride from Athens (110 kilometers). Many believe that the island was originally part of the mainland but was separated from the continent by a strong earthquake.
Things To Know About Evia
Chalkis is the capital of Evia. It is a cosmopolitan city known for the rare phenomenon of tide shifting every 6 hours.
The island is known for its many sandy beaches, seaside resorts, beautiful villages, and archaeological sites. Evia is also close to the gorgeous island of Skyros, which can be a great day trip from Evia.
Evia Island, which used to be in the right in the center of the Ottoman Empire, underwent constant revolts and turmoil during the Ottoman occupation, with its population undergoing severe slavery. The island was officially handed to Greece only in 1930.
The island boasts perfect mild weather during the winter and a scorching summer season, generally from June to October. High temperatures are often mitigated by the common and relieving northeast winds.
How To Get To Evia?
As already mentioned, Evia is the closest island to Athens; therefore relatively easy to reach from the mainland. You can reach Evia by land with your rental car, bus, train, or taxi, or you can access Evia by ferry. The island does not have an airport.
Getting To Evia By Car
This is the most comfortable option for a spontaneous trip. The most common way is to travel from Athens, with a driving time from 90 minutes to two hours via the E75 Road. To reach the island, you can cross the modern and more trafficked bridge or the old bridge that borders the coast and finishes in the center of the capital.
Getting To Evia By Train
A unique experience, this route takes about one hour and a half, and it’s a beautiful, scenic ride. There are several trains to Chalki that leave from Athens Larissa Train Station. There are trains every one or two hours, depending on the season (Ticket: 6.50 euro).
Getting To Evia By Bus
The bus to Evia departs from KTEL Athens Liosion Station, and buses reach different points of interest on the island.
Getting To Evia By Ferry
Many ferry lines connect Evia to the mainland, and you can board many of them with your own car. Some of the most common ferry routes are:
- Oropos-Eretria: The busiest route (and also the most economical) that connects the city of Oropos in Attica and the ancient city of Eretria on the island.
- Rafina-Marmari: The ferry departs from the port of Rafina in Athens and takes you to southern Evia, arriving at the port town of Marmari.
- Glyfa-Agiokampos: The route goes between Glyfa (a small port in the region of Fthiotis) and the small village of Agiokampos on the island’s northern coast.
When Is The Best Time To Visit Evia?
Evia enjoys a pleasant climate all year round, making it a good destination for a winter holiday in Greece. You will find the most pleasant weather between May and October for a summer vacation, as with most Greek Islands.
Prices are often lower during the shoulder season, that is, between April and early June and between late September and October.
The central months of July and August are often more crowded, and prices are higher too.
How To Move Around In Evia
The island’s reliable public transport network will allow you to visit several landmarks and points of interest.
To reach a more remote area, it is always better to rent a car. Due to the somewhat rugged landscape of Evia, renting a 4WD or SUV can be a smart move, especially if you’re a fan of off-road driving experiences and adrenaline-infused drives.
Top Things To Do In Evia
Being so close to Athens, Evia Island is a popular destination for Greeks living in or near the capital. Evia is full of interesting places to visit, such as peaceful and remote villages, popular towns, woods, valleys, and mountains. There are also gorgeous beaches and hiking paths. Down below, you will find a detailed list of the best things to do in Evia.
Chalkida (also Halkida or Chalkis) is the capital and chief town on the island. The city features interesting places to visit, dozens of excellent restaurants, and landmarks worth a stop, such as the Archaeological Museum, which exhibits a collection of objects found in different Evia excavations.
Another interesting place to explore in town is the Church of Paraskevi, a medieval building and among the oldest churches in Greece that was erected on top of an ancient temple dedicated to the Greek goddess Artemis. As with many other churches and monasteries in Greece, the church was transformed into a mosque and later a military warehouse during the Turkish Era.
The district known as Kastro is a picturesque area with Venetian and Turkish buildings and a mosque dating back from the fifteenth century, the old Emir Zade Mosque.
Karababa Castle is another unmissable sight in the capital. The fortress is a historical monument from the seventeenth century with a main scope to protect the Bay of Chalkida. The ancient building features unique Venetian carvings, including the famous Lion of St. Mark.
Finally, on the northern part of the city, near the embankment, you can also visit the so-called Red House, an imposing mansion that once belonged to a local noble family.
Located about 20 km south of the capital, you can explore the ancient ruins of Eretria, with remains dating back to the ninth century BC. Among the ruins, there are two remarkable palaces, ancient baths, important temples, and a private residence with unique mosaics.
However, the most important feature in the site is the ancient theater, among the oldest ones in Greece, dating back from the fifth century BC. The most curious characteristic of the amphitheater is that it was laid on an artificial hill.
Eretria Archaeological Museum
After exploring the ancient site, it’s a good idea to head to the Archaeological Museum of Eretria, which features figurines, vases, and other relics found in the ancient site, such as a remarkable funerary amphora depicting Heracles fighting the Centaurs.
The museum is open every day, except Tuesdays, from 8:30 am to 3:30 pm. The entrance fee is 2 euro.
Thermal Springs Of Edipsos
The springs are located on the strait of Edipsos and have been known for their healing waters since Ancient times. They have been mentioned by the well-known philosopher Aristotle.
In the area, one of the most iconic places to check out is the high-end Thermae Sylla Spa, a lavish resort built back in 1897 which used to be frequented by some prominent local and international politicians and artists attracted by the therapeutic properties of the springs.
An area of the springs is open to the public, so everyone can enjoy the famous healing power of these waters, which are known for providing relief to muscular issues. The springs are located near a small beach where you can enjoy a bath in shallow pools with warm water from the springs.
Dragon Houses Of Evia
Located on the southern portion of the island, in the area of Styra, there are twenty-five mysterious megalithic structures on the hills. They have a typical triangular shape, resembling pyramids, made of limestone slabs, effortlessly blending with the landscape.
To check the most perfect example of these structures, you can hike up to Mount Oche, where you will find a drakospitia (Dagon House) dating back from the eighth century BC.
You can combine the visit to the drakospitia with a wonderful hike through the Dimosari Gorge with a landscape that alternates plane trees, pears, chestnuts, and other magnificent flora.
This hike can last at least 6 hours, taking you through romantic villages and valleys, passing in front of small but gorgeous streams and waterfalls. The trek ends at a beach where you can enjoy a rewarding swim after a long walk.
Located in the island’s northern area, surrounded by an old oak forest, the Drimonas Waterfall stands at more than 600 meters above sea level and boasts a beautiful green pool at its feet.
Although the waterfall tends to be dry during summer, the surrounding beautiful landscape makes the trip worth it. If you visit in late spring, you will find a more abundant torrent thanks to the snow melting up in the mountains.
Is there anything more romantic than a lighthouse at the tip of a Cape? Evia’s lighthouse is located near Chalkida, on the northernmost point of Kakokefali Cape (Bad Head Cape), which was an important burial site during the Classical periods.
The lighthouse, which resembles a small Medieval castle, dates back to 1886. This is one of the few lighthouses in Greece that have not yet been automated.
Take a boat trip from Agios Georgios port; fifteen minutes will be enough to reach the so-called Greek Seychelles of Greece, Lichadonisia.
This cluster of uninhabited, heavenly islets of volcanic origin is located off the island’s northwestern coast. These tiny islands are the result of an ancient and violent volcanic eruption. The waters surrounding the different islets offer excellent snorkeling opportunities thanks to the rich marine life and several old shipwrecks worth discovering under the sea.
Best Beaches In Evia
As you would have expected, there are some incredible beaches to visit on the island of Evia. We have picked our favorite ones to share with you.
This is the best-known beach on the island. It features a sandy shore with small pebbles and is well organized with snack bars, restaurants, and taverns. It also features a naturist section.
This long beach is located on the Aegean portion of the island, and it stands next to a huge mountain. There are gorgeous sea caves and a small beautiful church to explore. The beach is about an hour’s drive from Chalkida on a breathtaking mountain road past Mount Dirfi.
Also facing the Aegean, on the East coast of Evia, Klimaki Beach has soft, golden sand and calm waters, and it is protected from the wind by the high hills surrounding the area.
The beach has minimal organization or structures, so it is always better to pack your lunch and drinks.
This is the perfect shore for those who like pebbled beaches. Daphni Beach features a beautiful rocky seabed, crystal clear waters, and a myriad of springs that flow into the sea.
Right above the beach is Mount Kandili which provides a stunning backdrop to the landscape. The beach has limited organization, including a bar and a restaurant.
Two beaches, one next to the other; Kalamos is a famous beach and a favorite day trip for Athenians.
The larger of the two shores, known as Kali, is calm and wide, suitable for families. There is a beach bar that offers free sunbeds with the purchase of a drink. The second shore, Kakia, has more rough seas and is a favorite place for camping.
A dreamy beach that looks more like a hidden paradise, Vythouri is located on the Aegean shore. It features crystal clear turquoise waters and small pebbles.
There is no organization as the place tends to be relatively isolated. The beach is a secluded spot on the northern part of Mount Dirfi, surrounded by high, steep hills.
Top Evia Hotels
It is not difficult to find accommodation in Evia since the island is not as visited as many other Greek destinations. In this section, we’ve included our top picks for places to stay in Evia.
Budget Places To Stay In Evia
Archontiko Kymis Boutique Hotel is located only steps from the beach. This traditional property is located in the quiet village of Kymi, surrounded by olive trees and curated gardens. It features elegant yet convenient units with sea or mountain views, oak-wood flooring, hand-painted walls, a minibar, and a spa bath. Guests can start their day with a rich breakfast, including meatballs, local yogurt, pies, and fruit.
Porto Evia Boutique Hotel is only steps from the beach in the village of Amarynthos. It offers a seafront terrace, a swimming pool, and a 24-hour bar. All units have sea or city views. The hotel is about 30 kilometers from the capital of the island.
Mid-Range Places To Stay In Evia
Karystion Hotel is located only one minute from the beach, in an advantageous position, overlooking the Bay of Karystos, hidden in the tranquility of a lush garden. You can enjoy the views of the bay of Karystos or the park from your private balcony.
The Karystion Hotel is on a tree-lined promontory overlooking the sea. The small town of Karystos is 400 meters from the family-friendly hotel.
Miramare is a beautiful property 2 minutes from the beach. It is situated in a magnificent bay, only 4 kilometers from Eretria’s ancient town, amidst a flower garden and olive trees. It has modern, en suite rooms with big verandas facing the Evoikos Gulf.
There are two sweetwater pools, a private beach, tennis and basketball courts, and a fitness room. The on-site restaurant serves local and international delicacies.
Luxury Places To Stay In Evia
Eleven Views Resort features accommodation in Ilia, 7 kilometers from Edipsos. The units offer a fully equipped kitchen and a beautiful balcony with a sea view.
Eretria Hotel & Spa Resort is a gorgeous hotel with a fantastic wellness center, about 2.9 kilometers from the port of Eretria. It features suites and guest rooms with comfortable seating areas and panoramic views. The night fee also includes a daily buffet breakfast.
Best Places To Eat In Evia
These are some of the most delicious places to eat on Evia Island.
Cavo d’Oro is a well-known restaurant on Evia, in the village of Karystos, featuring homemade dishes typical of the local gastronomy, including octopus in red wine sauce, grilled halloumi, and a legendary spanakorizo (a famous Greek dish made with rice and spinach).
La Cubana is a seaside restaurant in Eretria with a picturesque waterfront terrace. It features fresh fish and seafood, grill, and vegetarian dishes.
Vrahos is a good restaurant in Chalkida overlooking the sea that specializes in fresh fish, grilled octopus, and various delicious appetizers.
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