Greece - Evia on Foot
Exodus’ Kasia Crompton is enchanted by Evia
Despite it being the second largest island in the Aegean, Evia remains unspoiled by tourism. This makes it just about perfect for exploring on foot. Our Mountains and Villages of Evia (Trip code: TVE) trip takes you to some of the most picturesque parts of this little visited Greek island and I was lucky enough to go there.
Evia is a long, sinuous island situated on the eastern coast of Central Greece. It is 175 kilometres in length and its width ranges from just 6 to 50 kilometres. Its dramatic landscape of blue crystal waters and dominating mountains welcomed us as we crossed the Petalia Gulf on a ferry from Rafina to Marmari. From Marmari port we had just a short drive to our hotel in Karystos on the south of the island. Karystos is next to a large semi-circular bay complete with a multitude of lovely beaches.
The Trip Notes refer to the Galaxy Hotel as “our home for the week’’ and that’s exactly what it felt like. The hotel has been run by a local family for over 30 years and they really make you feel at home with their warm hospitality, which makes up for the slightly outdated but charming decor. All Exodus clients get a room with a sea view. If you are a light sleeper you may ask for a room away from the marina and switching rooms can be arranged without a fuss.
We began our first walk through the town of Karystos. I quickly realised that Karystos is not just a lively town with the traditional Greek taverns and cafes on the sea front, it actually has a very interesting and rich history, with many monuments showing the power and importance of Karystos during the ancient history of Greece. The export of the renowned Cippolino Green Marble, which decorated every big city of the ancient world, began from there leading to the growth of the island’s trade. The town was built in the shadow of Ohi Mountain, where the 13th century castle of Karystos – the Castello Rosso, dominates the foothills.
During this week long trip we passed through many picturesque villages giving access to Mt Ochi, but the one that stuck in my mind was the village of Grabia, situated west of the castle. It is remarkable because the water source for the castle comes through an aqueduct (to me it looked just like a big ancient urinal), which is still preserved on the north slope.
An uphill walk following an ancient trail on Mt. Ochi proved to be the most challenging. Reaching the ancient Roman quarry on the top of the Myloi valley was very rewarding as we enjoyed the view and rested amongst the 12-metre marble columns which were still lying there. Hewn from solid rock, they have been awaiting shipment since biblical times and should have been used to adorn one of the many fine builidings of the time.
If you ask me what the highlight of the trip was, I would have to say the Demosaris Gorge. We were welcomed by mist at Petrokanalo (1000m) where we traveled by taxi in the early hours of the day to start our descent down the medieval stone-cobbled path that runs parallel to the river. By the time the midday sun was out we were in the shade provided by the thick foliage of the massive trees. Sounds of gurgling water falling into the turquoise pools created a unique sensation. Absolutely stunning!
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