Evia and Skyros Islands

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Evia and Skyros Islands

Aidipsos, Evia by Y.Skoulas, courtesy of GNTO, www.visitgreece.gr
Aidipsos, Evia by Y.Skoulas, courtesy of GNTO, www.visitgreece.gr

Evia (Euboea), Greece’s second largest island was originally part of the country’s mainland, from which, according to legend, it was split with a blow from Poseidon’s trident. Scientists say that the cause of the split was probably a formidable earthquake. At the narrowest point of the strait that separates the island from Thessaly on the mainland, the current changes direction several times a day, a phenomenon that has intrigued visitors for centuries.

Dotted with many villages and interesting sights, many nice beaches and thickly wooded areas, Evia has a lot to offer. Inhabited since pre-historic times, it flourished thanks to its natural copper resources and in antiquity it became a trading centre of great importance. The landscape presents great diversity with rich forests – Steni, Platania, Kastanologgos – high mountains, exquisite blue waters, thermal baths – Aedipsos – and popular summer resort centers –Chalkida, Karystos, Eretria and Kyme.

Mt. Diriys in Central Evia is the highest mountain (alt. 1,743 m.), very close to the sea and 35 kilometres from Chalkida, the island’s capital. It is covered with thick forests of fir-trees, while its slopes are wooded by “aesthetic” forests of chestnuts. At the foot of the mountain there is the Agali Gorge located between the villages Loutsa and Ayios Athanasios. Evia is abundant in forest-mountain ecosystems, such as: the Chestnut Forest of Metochi and Plateau of Vromonera located between the villages Metochi and Androniano (Kymi area); and the Petrified Forest of Kerasea (Kerasa) in North Evia; Dimosari Gorge in South Evia running from south (Karystos’ area) to north (Beach of Kallianos Bay).

The capital of the island since antiquity, Chalkida, is chalkidabuilt over the site once occupied by a very ancient city. It is said that its name originated either from the copper which the inhabitants once processed or from the word “chalki”, which is a type of shell used in antiquity for dyeing red fabric.

Evia sticks to age-old traditions extended all the way to the culinary habits of its residents. Each village has at least one special dish prepared locally. There are hundreds of villages on Evia to visit, such as Paleochora which has an interesting cave as well as several remains from antiquity; Ano Potamia with a castle built by the Frnaks during the Middle Ages, Rouvies with the fascinating monastery of Osios David Gerondas, Orei crowned by a Frankish fortress and the nearby lovely plain of Istea. In Gialtra there are springs with curing waters, while radioactive hot spas can be found in Therma as well.

The island of Skyros is the destination that offers visitors the opportunity to get acquainted with two different island types, one half pine-clad and the other half rocky, together covering an area of 240 square meters in the center of the Aegean Sea. The island gives the impression that it is isolated, although it lies a mere 22 miles from the port of Kymi in central Evia.

It has an age-old historical, folklore and cultural legacy, made known by the works of Homer and the travels of folklorist Aggeliki Haztimichali. On the small woodcarvings, the gold-threaded embroidery, the hand-woven textiles and a unique architectural language, we see the historic memory unaltered by time. An island of contrasts, it is surrounded by 33 rocky islets of unsurpassed morphological wealth, ideal for exploration, diving and sea sports.

Its coastline is dotted with white-sand beaches, pebbled coves, occasionally volcanic and then sandy, in harmony with the colours on the nature’s palette, dominated by a three-kilometer sandy beach.

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