Getting on a busy ferry boat with other thousand of people, spending some hours fighting its incredibly powerful air conditioning, for then arriving on an island where the only place you’ll have some privacy it’ll be your hotel room, your tent, or your Airbnb flat might not be your ideal Greek Island experience. Don’t get me wrong, all these troubles are worth the effort for at least a couple of times, top-visited Greek islands are breath-taking and still enjoyable in any case. But it might be the case that you want something different, less known and where you can experience a feeling of discovery. In this case Greece’s second largest island, Evia, can be what you are looking for.
To get things straight Evia is long, very long. To go from top to bottom it’ll take you a five-hour drive so depending on which part of the island your mean of transportation will change accordingly. South Evia is the area of the island that more looks like the famous Cyclades islands (Mykons, Paros, Ios, etc), it is reachable by ferry from Rafina and its perfect for visitors who like to explore where they are. There several ancient sites reachable by hiking and most of the beaches are windy little coves difficult to get to but definitely worth it. Karystos is the main town of South Evia, around it there easier to access beaches where snorkelling must be your number one activity. The sea is so crystal clear that you might not need any mask at times. Cape Kafireas is also worth the visit: a beautiful promontory from where is possible to see the island of Andros. This location has been referred to as Golden Cape for centuries; there must be a reason, right?
Central Evia is easy to reach from Athens by car thanks to the National highway. You can stop in Halkida, the capital of the island and the closest spot to the mainland. The boardwalk starts right where there is the bridge which connects it to continental Greece and it is an enjoyable experience to walk through the many cafes, shops, and tavernas. The south side of the walk is suggestive too: Turkish and Venetian style buildings surround a square where you find a 13th century church, a 15th century mosque, and a 19th century synagogue, a clear example of Greece’s melting pot history.
North Evia is perhaps the wildest part of the island. The road to get here is truly filled with stunning panoramas and sights with the green of the thick forests and the blue of the sea standing out as the two most predominant colours. I can’t really suggest you a specific place where to stop because most of the villages you’ll find kind of have the same charming traits and the beaches are all easy to access and enjoy. If history is what you are looking for you can check out Artemisum. Here the Greeks were fighting the Persians in 480 BC, right at the same time when 300 brave men led by Leonidas were doing the same at Termopolis.
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