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Τρίτη, Απριλίου 08, 2014

Evia - Something For Everyone


Evia is the second largest of the Greek islands. It is connected to the mainland by two bridges, rendering it both a place filled with boundless opportunities for exploration and culture in its own right, and easy to reach or incorporate as part of a tour of continental Europe. Evia provides something for everyone - from history and culture to relaxing beaches and warm spas, the desires of every person within a holidaying party can easily be fulfilled upon this beautiful island.


There is considerable evidence to suggest that Evia has been inhabited since at least the Paleolithic Era. The island is saturated with centuries of Greek history and culture. The town of Karystos, for example, is said to have had a unique mythological founder – Chiron, the “wise and just centaur” who tutored the legendary hero Achilles. A great many ancient monuments litter the island – some more enigmatic than others. The Drakospita (‘Dragon Houses’) of the mountainous Styra region, for example, are mysterious, awe-inspiring megalithic structures about which much remains unknown. These large, imposing, and ancient buildings are generally located in positions of strategic importance, suggesting that they may have had a military role – perhaps guard towers or part of an early-warning system designed to aid attack preparations. Others point out evidence that some of the dragonhouses show evidence of being used as shrines to Zeus – although this role undoubtedly grew up after their first construction. Whatever their purpose, the dragonhouses are mysterious, awe-inspiring, and provide some wonderful photograph opportunities!

Sparkling Seas

Evia has the distinct advantage of being set in the beautiful, pellucid Mediterranean. The Med is a consistent draw for visitors, and in many ways the islands of the Aegean are best viewed from a marine perspective. Cruise operators are well aware of the Med’s potential – Planetcruise note that “the Mediterranean is one of our most popular cruising destinations” - and for very good reason. Historically, according to the Telegraph, the Med was “not so much a barrier between Europe and Africa, Western Christianity and the Holy Land, as a highway”. Boats were the easiest and often, paradoxically, safest way for merchants and pilgrims to travel between nations and continents, meaning that dwellers on the land had to draw traders in from the sea to their settlements. As such, some of the most impressive mediaeval architecture to be found on the islands is specifically designed to be viewed from the sea itself – rendering a cruise or boat trip around the coast an excellent way to get the best out of the island’s vistas.

Hot springs

One of Evia’s great draws is her thermal spas. Hot water bubbles up from the ground, and has been enjoyed for centuries by people seeking cures for various maladies, or simply wanting to luxuriate in the glorious spas. At Edipsos, the spring waters are clean, fresh, warm, and laden with pure minerals. The reputation of the Edipsos springs has been known for many years – the Romans were well aware of them and even built their own small spa here. The Roman baths at the site were originally built by a general named Silas, who visited the springs often for medicinal purposes. The GR Reporter describes how they were later used by such illustrious Roman figures as “Augustus, Hadrian, and Marcus Aurelius” who “expressed their gratitude for the healing waters by the numerous sculptures they donated to the city”. Now, modern holidaymakers too can enjoy these wonderful waters. A popular spa industry has resurged in the area, and modern tourists are encouraged to take full advantage of the facilities on offer in this beautiful area.


Agia Anna Beach - Evia 
Evia is famed for her beaches, described as “crystal clear” by the Greek Reporter, and is a popular destination even for native Greek beach-lovers. Politika Beach, near to Beach Cottage, is a beautiful, pebbled beach lapped by sparkling blue waters which remain calm, safe, and shallow enough for even the most wary child swimmer. Other beaches are larger affairs suited to the more adventurous paddler, or those who wish to sunbathe upon sand. Rovies Beach is relatively secluded (although not small!), making it ideal for a relaxing dip in the sea. Mourteri Beach is a quite amazing location with water at bathing temperature and a consistency somewhere between sand and stones (with the benefits of both and none of the drawbacks). There are also a great many secluded coves and special, secret beaches dotted along the coast for those willing to hunt them out!