Evia: Greece’s Second Largest Island

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Bridge of Khalkis Euboea (Evia) Greece

Evia is Greece’s second largest island after Crete. Ferries and a drawbridge link a popular destination for vacationing Greeks from the mainland, Evia over the narrow Evripos Channel to the capital of Halkida.

Halkida, mentioned in the “Iliad”, is the gateway to Evia. It has a lively shipping and agricultural center and the waterfront by the Old Bridge comes to life at night. Just south of Halkida is Eretria. Islanders from Psara who were fleeing the Turkish founded the modern town during the War of Independence.

It features a small harbor and plenty of tavernas for visiting families to enjoy. Its ancient acropolis offers excellent views over to the mainland. To the west of the acropolis are the remains of a palace, temple, and theater. The Archaeological Museum of Eretria features items from ancient Eretria. The House of Mosaics dates from the 4th century BC and the Sanctuary of Apollo dates from the 8th century BC.

Continuing inland, Steni is a mountain village that features springs and pine trees. Experienced hikers begin their climb up Mt. Dirfys, Evia’s highest mountain, here. It takes approximately 6 hours to reach the summit. Just north is Paralia Hiliadou where a grove of maple and chestnut trees borders a beach.

On the east coast is Kymi, which is built on a cliff high above the sea. Its port, Paralia Kymis, is the only natural harbor on Evia’s east coast. It’s the departure point for ferries headed to Skyros, Alonnisos and Skopelos. Kymi’s Folklore Museum features an impressive collection of local costumes and historical photos. A prominent display honors Dr. George Papanikolaou, the Kymi-born inventor of the Pap smear test. Figs of Kymi is an agricultural co-op. Visitors to the shop can buy dried, preservative-free figs. The town square in Kymi is the place to be at night.

Heading north, Psahna is the gateway to the interior mountains of Evia. Northern Evia is where you’ll find Loutra Edipsou, the classic spa resort. It offers therapeutic sulfur waters and features Greece’s most up to date hydrotherapy and physiotherapy centers. The town beach, Paralia Loutron, is busy year round due to the thermal waters. Limni is a picturesque port that features charming whitewashed houses and a busy waterfront that offers plenty of cafes and tavernas. The cultural museum in Limni has many archaeological finds including antique looms, costumes, and old coins. The Convent of Galataki features mosaics and frescoes in its main church.

In Southern Evia is where you’ll find Lake Dhistos, a shallow lake that is home to many wetland birds. Karystos, set on wide Karystos Bay below Mt. Ohi, is a remote but charming resort on the coast. It’s the starting point for journeys to Mt. Ohi and Dimosari Gorge. A hike to Mt. Ohi’s summit takes about an hour and a half and the 6-mile trail around Dimosari Gorge can be covered in 4-5 hours. South Evia Tours offers Mt. Ohi and Dimosari Gorge guided tours and many other tourist friendly services.

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