EUBOEA



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Euboea - general

General

The grandeur and beauty of Euboea’s landscapes are matched only by their constantly unfolding variety. The island is like a microcosm of all of Greece: the northern tip has the feel of the wooded and bucolic landscapes of Corfu; the mountainous gorges of the centre are like parts of Epirus and Roumeli; the valleys inland of Kymi have a gentleness and a wealth of painted churches which remind one of parts of the Peloponnese; the area around Dystos feels uncannily like Boeotia; and the south of the island, hemmed by windy beaches, is wild and rugged in the grandest Cycladic manner. On top of all this, there are parts of the island that are unlike any where else at all, such as the majestic, watered valleys of Di­rfys and Ochi—the island’s highest mountains, with their impressive and puzzling stone structures known as ‘drakospita’, or ‘dragon’s houses’, which are unique to Euboea. The mountains of Dirfys and Ochi and Kandili—all of them with summits equivalent to or substantially higher than Ben Nevis—are so fundamental to the appearance and the water and the weather of the island, that they merit individual exploration. Each possesses a strong personality, quite distinct from the other two.
   Lying so close to the body of Greece, Euboea maintains much of the welcome normality of mainland life, yet it conserves the tranquillity and individuality of an island. There is no airport and the several harbours of access are small and informal. It is possible to drive to the island across the old or the new Euripus bridge. And once out of the busy capital of Chalcis, you can be in forests and gorges and mountains within a matter of minutes. Some of Greece’s remotest villages even are to be found at the island’s southeastern corner.
   The long, winding ridge of the island is like a mountainous breakwater, protecting the eastern flank of Greece. In the placid stretch of safe water in its lee it has nurtured a number of rich, productive and very ancient centres which flourished in prehistoric and early historic times— Eretria, Chalcis and at Lefkandi­. Fertile Euboea was some times called the ‘larder of Greece’: even the sound of its name ‘Ευβοια’ seemed to some to imply the quality of its livestock.1 It later exported grain to Rome—together with the largest quantity of decorative marble from any single place in the Mediterranean. The Roman Imperial Fora are everywhere built and lined with the blue-veined Karystos marble from Euboea—just as those who built those same fora, may have been sustained by the island’s grain.
   Because of its geographical shape, Euboea requires a meandering exploration up and down its protracted length. This survey begins at the north and finishes in the southeastern extremity of the island beside the wild Cavo Doro straits, for no better reason than that we read a page from top to bottom. But a journey for many will begin at the island’s capital, Chalcis, by the Euripus bridge: for others, at Karystos in the south, at the nearest point to Athens. For this reason, the description of the island has been based on five different centres—Aedipsos, Limni, Chalcis, Kymi and Karystos—from which it radiates out into the surrounding areas of the island, so that the read er may approach the discovery of this richly rewarding island in whichever order should suit best.

(1 Probably no more than a ‘folk-etymology’. The root ‘-βοια’ is more likely to be cognate with the name of ‘Boιωτíα’ which lies directly across the water, than with ‘βóεϛ’, meaning 'oxen'.)


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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