General Information on Evia
The island of Evia is the second largest in Greece, following Crete, and is situated off the eastern coast of Central Greece. Long and narrow, it stretches over the Aegean very close to the shores of the mainland. The two shores are separated by the Gulf of Evia and the famous Evripos Straits. A main highway and ferries from several terminals form connections with the island, which offers natural beauty and scenery. Evia is full of interesting places. Towns teeming with tourists, peaceful villages forgotten by time, large fertile valleys and wooded mountainsides, stunning beaches and archaeological sites are some of the attractions of this amazing island.
The capital city of Evia is Chalkis, a cosmopolitan city with many famous archaeological sites and a particular charm and nobility. The city is famous for the rare phenomenon of tide shifting every 6 hours, intriguing many people during antiquity, such as Aristotle. In Chalkis, you will never get bored, as there are lots to do and many places to visit. There are magnificent sandy organised beaches with crystal-clear waters, numerous restaurants, taverns and bars. With Chalkis as a base, you may visit many beautiful villages and seaside resorts, as well as the lovely island of Skyros which belongs to the same prefecture.
History of Evia
Human traces in the nearby island of Skyros suggest that the first man made his appearance in Evia as early as the Palaeolithic Era. Primitive stone tools have been excavated in New Artaki, few kilometres away from Chalkis. The first inhabitants are known by the mane of Avandes. Starting from 1200 B.C., we can document a major wave of new settlers belonging to the Ionian Greek culture.
The city of Eretria seems to have contributed ships for the Trojan expedition. Eretria and Chalkis were the most important city-states in Evia in prehistorical times. According to legend, the two city-states fought against each other, sometime in the 9th century B.C., and this is considered one of the first “civil” wars of antiquity. The two city-states, centres of many colonization attempts, were easy prey to Roman expansion.
Histiaea, a city in northern Evia, along with its seaport Orei, was completely destroyed by Athenians. Plutarch reports that after Evia revolted against Athens in 447- 446, Pericles ordered the destruction of the walls that protected the Histiaea plains and replaced the population with Athenian colonists. However, in 410 B.C., the island succeeded in regaining its independence. During the Byzantine period, many churches and monasteries were built on the island, which kept its trading status, even though parts of the island were occasionally raided by pirates.
In modern times, Evia came into prominence after the Fourth Crusade. The island was divided into three fiefs under the protection of the Venetian Republic, henceforth the sovereign power. On 12 July 1470, after a heated battle, the well-fortified city of Chalkis (Negroponte) was captured by Mehmed II, and the island fell into Ottoman rule. The Venetians came back in the 13th century, and Evia became a battleground between them and the Turks, because of its strategic position.
Under Ottoman occupation, Evia was in turmoil. In the middle of the Ottoman Empire, and thus strategically important, Evia went through hardships, and the population suffered heavy slavery. Although the rest of the southern Greece was liberated in 1828, Evia was not for another century. It was officially handed to Greece through a decree issued on June 13, 1930. In the following years, its fate improved considerably when Evia became a country, with Chalkis as its capital. Since then, its development was the main concern of the residents. Controlling the bridge over Evripos Straits and connected to Athens by railroad, Evia developed its industry and tourism, on the way to prosperity.
Towns & Villages in Evia
Eretria: South of Chalkis, the road leads to Eretria, which in ancient times was the second most important city on the island. It was a major maritime power, and the standard of its intellectual activities was high. Today, the ancestral homes of several renowned seafarers still stand in the town. In the Archaeological Museum of the city, you can see finds dating back to prehistoric, archaic, classical and Hellenistic times. However, the city is not just another important archaeological site. Thanks to its beautiful beaches, it has become a busy summer resort with many tourist facilities and is now a popular destination.
Karystos: This is a small coastal town situated 129km south of Chalkis. Set on the wide Karystian Bay, below Mt Ohi, the city is the most attractive of the island's resorts and has two lovely and organized sandy beaches. It is an ancient city that is said to have been built by Dryopes. Don’t miss the reconstructed Venetian fortress of Castle Rosso, built in the 13th century on the eastern beach of the town. Other interesting sites here are the ruins of the Venetian castle built in 1030 and ancient marble quarries, the town hall, built at the end of the 19th century, and the Orthodox monasteries of Taxiarches, St. George and St. Mavra.
Agia Anna: This small village is situated at the northern part of Evia in the middle of a dense forest. The settlement is one of the most charming parts of Evia, having retained its strong traditional style, its customs and country fairs. About 10km from the village lays the beautiful beach of Agia Anna. It is a very long beach, famous for its deep and hot waters. Moreover, nearby, there is another beautiful beach called Angali which is also long and has crystal clear waters.
Kymi: This is one of the oldest town in Evia and is miraculously perched high above the sea on a cliff 250m high. The port of the town is situated 4km downhill and it is the only natural harbour on the east coast. The town has characteristic “island” architecture and if you like non-crowded, lively towns, you will enjoy your stay here. Its houses have a traditional style and the surrounding district has numerous attractive villages, beaches, monasteries and plenty of woodland.
How to Reach Evia
Coach: There are several daily KTEL coach services connecting Chalkida, the capital of Evia, with Athens, Thessaloniki and other major cities of Greece.
Train: The suburban railway (Proastiakos) connects Athens and Chalkida, with frequent services.
Weather in Evia
As with most of Greece, Evia enjoys mild winters, making it a pleasant place to come even off-season. Summers, typically Mediterranean, are hot, but a northeast wind regularly blows from June to October, providing welcome relief from scorching days.
Top 10 Destinations in Evia
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Map of Evia