EUBOEA



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Euboea - Chalcis, Eretria & Amarynthos - Around mount Dirfys & mount Olympos - Around mount Dirfys & mount Olympos

Around mount Dirfys & mount Olympos

This section covers a large rural area, stretching between, and to either side of, the two peaks of Central Euboea— Mount Di­rfys (1,743m) the island’s highest mountain, and the gentler Mount Olympos (1,171m) to its south. The area is one of the loveliest landscapes in the Aegean Islands. It is dotted with castles, mediaeval churches, springs, gorges and simple villages, forested with many varieties of trees, and generously watered. This is also an area rich in flora and fauna. The geography suggests no obvious itinerary: so the points of interest have simply been grouped and listed instead. For convenience, we propose making a base at Steni­ as a pleasant centre from which to explore the area.

Steni­ (26km from Chalcis) is an attractive village of balconied houses and stone dwellings—old mixed unselfconsciously with new—in a valley of plane-trees at the mouth of the pass across the east shoulder of Mount Di­rfys. At c. 600m a.s.l. it remains pleasantly cool in the summer months. There is a delightful square shaded with planes, and the sound of running spring water is every where.

 

The mountain
Above the village, the road climbs rapidly and unrelentingly to the watershed through forests of chestnut, pine, spruce, wild cherry and plane. At the top (8.5km, c. 1,000m a.s.l.)—still heavily forested and scented with pine—the views are magnificent into Boeotia and to wards Mount Parnassus, and over the east coast towards Skyros. The bald, conical peak of Mount Di­rfys (1,743m) rises clear to the northwest. The mountain’s presiding deity was Hera, who assumed the epithet ‘Dirphya’. A track climbs from the ridge to the northwest above the tree line to the Fountain of Liri Refuge (36 beds. Information from: E.O.S. Halkidas, 22 Angeli Goviou, 34 100 Halkida, T. 22210 25230). From the refuge a path which is marked all the way leads to the long ridge of the summit in under two hours.
   The top of Di­rfys is largely convex in relief, i.e. it does not have the convoluted form with protected rifts and gorges which characterises the summits of Mount Parnassus and Mount Olympus (the Great) and which create rare microclimates rendering their flora so diverse. Notwithstanding there are several endemic species, such as the rare Minuartia dirphya, a kind of sandwort—which grows on the northern slopes of the mountain around the 900–1,000m altitude, in small mat-like cushions—recognisable by its starburst of long, woody stems tipped with the modest, white flower. Also at the higher altitudes and on the escarpments there are fritillaries, aubretia (Aubretia deltoides) and Viola delphinantha.
   The road descends tortuously on the northern side to Stropones (16.5km), with many traditional stone houses, continuing beyond through magnificent scenery to the isolated shore at Chiliadou(29km).


The lower slopes
To the southwest of Mount Di­rfys extends a wide, sloping apron of watered valleys which settle into a folded landscape, with something of the appearance of the rural areas inland of San Francisco in Northern California. In mediaeval times this fertile landscape was parcelled out amongst local feudal lords—hence the many Frankish and Venetian towers which punctuate the area, as for ex ample at Pisonas (a particularly well-preserved example) in the west, and at Amithea and Pyrgos, further east.


Euboea Island, Greece


access

Euboea Island, Greece.

Access to the island is either by road via the Euripus bridges (1 hr from Athens, exit "Schimatari" from Athens/ Thessaloniki autoroute) or via short ferry crossings from Rafina (Attica) to Marmaris (c. every 3 hrs), Aghia Marina (Attica) to Nea Styra (c. every 2–3 hrs), Skala Oropou (Attica) to Eretria (every 30 mins), Arkitsa (Phthiotis) to Aedipsos (hourly), Glyfa (Phthiotis) to Agiokampos (hourly).
A hydrofoil service, four times weekly in the summer also links Chalcis with Limni, and Limni with Loutrá Aedipsoú and Aghios Konstantinos.

Euboea Travel Guide

eating

Euboea Island, Greece.

In Aedipsos, the central Mezedopoleion Armenizontas often has good, live rebetiko music.
In Limni, To Kyma (new), in a handsome stone house on the waterfront, is attentive both to service and to the freshness of its delightful variety of classic, Greek dishes. The well-established To Astro, at Katounia, remains good for fresh fish. To Neon, 1km below Stení, delightfully spread out beneath immemorial planes by a stream, specialises in local sausage and charcoal grilled vegetables and meats.
Geroplatanos in Myli, near Karystos, is somewhat similar in setting, with a good choice of dishes, especially at lunchtime on Sundays.
In Karystos itself, Kotsika Street is lined with simple, inexpensive street-eateries; these may look uninspiring, but do not underestimate the quality of meat and the freshness of the wine at the minuscule I Melissa, at no 27

Euboea Travel Guide

further reading

Euboea Island, Greece.

Sarah Wheeler, An Island Apart, 1992; Barbro Noel Baker, An Isle of Greece: The Noels in Euboea (2000), Archaeopress, Oxford; or from www.deniseharveypublisher.gr

Euboea Travel Guide

lodging

Euboea Island, Greece.

North Euboea. Spa hotels in Aedipsos: the luxurious Thermae Sylla Spa (T. 22260 60100, fax 22055, www. thermaesylla.gr) or the Avra Spa Hotel (T. 22260 22226, fax 23260).
Alternatively, the Hotel Aigli (T. 22260 22215, fax 24886), is a comfortable hotel, without spa facilities.
In Limni, choice is limited: the 81959), near the museum is a pleasant option.

Central Euboea. At Steni, the Hotel Dirphys (T. 22280 51217) is tranquil and delight ful, but very basic. Chalcis is not an obvious choice to stay in but if necessary, the Paliria Hotel (T. 22210 28001, fax 81959), near the museum is a pleasant option.
At Kymi the Hotel Corali (T. 22220 22212, fax 22002, www.coralihotel. gr), a little way outside the harbour, is modern and comfortable.

Southern Euboea.
At Karystos the Apollon Suites Hotel (T. 22240 22045, fax 22049 www.apollonsuiteshotel.com) is an Italian-run hotel on the beach, with large rooms to the eastern end of the town.  Hotel Plaza (T. 22270 31235, fax 31336), on the water front is quiet and simple, and currently represents the best option. Closer in to the centre is the Hotel Karystion (T. 22240 22391, fax 22727, www.karystion.gr) less spacious, but a little more modern and stylish, and with pleasant service.

Historic Villa Rentals For those seeking a luxurious base for a longer period (preferably in a small group so as to share the cost) these two historic houses are excel lent and elegant solutions: Villa Averoff at Kirinthos, (www.villa-averoff.com); and the Konaki at Prokopi (www. candili.gr).

Euboea Travel Guide

museums

Euboea Island, Greece.

Folklore Museum
Archaeological Museum

Euboea Travel Guide

other attractions

Euboea Island, Greece.

Drakospita
Thermal springs

Euboea Travel Guide

practical info

Euboea Island, Greece.

340 01-346 00 Evia, Evvia or Evvoia: area 3,661 sq.km; perimeter 729km; resident population 191,009; max. altitude 1743 m. Port Authorities: Agiokampos T. 22260 71228; Aedipsos T. 22260 22464; Chalcis T. 22210 22236; Eretria T. 22290 62201; Kymi T. 22220 22606; Nea Styra T. 22240 41266; Marmari T. 22240 31222. Information: T. 22210 82677, www.naevias.gr

Euboea Travel Guide

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