Updated: Aug 19
Evia, Greece has a long and storied past. That combined with its proximity to Athens and a bridge leading to the island from mainland Greece, made it the perfect first stop on our Spring 2022 Greek adventure. Listed here are the 13 things not to miss when staying in Eretria, Evia.
Evia is the second largest of the Greek Islands. There is evidence of Bronze age, wealthy city-states existing on the island in as early as 3200 BCE. Today, Evia is blissfully unspoiled by tourism. It is primarily a weekend and holiday destination for Athenians and some European tourists. We stayed in the historic beach town of Eretria, which is about 25km south of the bridge at Chalkidis.
There are beautiful beaches, interesting museums, delicious restaurants but very little organized tourism.
Stay at Elia Luxury Apartments
On Evia, we stayed at the Elia Luxury Apartment, just outside of Eretria. This is a beautiful, budget friendly, property that is walking distance to the town center of Eretria and the beaches. This very affordable apartment was lovingly restored by the owners. All the woodwork including headboards, tables and countertops were handcrafted. There is a delightful shaded porch with a view of the ocean and the mainland. It is a great place to enjoy your morning coffee or a pre-dinner glass of wine.
Dinner at La Cubana
La Cubana's came recommended by the apartment owners as well as several guidebooks. It was an excellent place to enjoy our first meal in Greece. This fish taverna sits directly on the quay and you can watch the ferries come and go as you enjoy your meal. We had a Greek salad, grilled Sea Bream and Shrimp Saganaki. All of it was delicious.
Walk along the Beach
Eretria has long stretches of golden sandy beaches, broken up by quays securing colorful boats. At the southern end of town is the "Island of Paradise." A small island attached to Evia by a bridge. It has beaches, a protected boat harbor, cottages to rent and walking paths. We were there early in the season and on a weekday, so it was delightfully quiet. There are portions of the beach that are lined with lounge chairs and umbrellas for rent. We saw some chocolate colored jellyfish, about the size of a small plate. I have never seen jellyfish this color. They were so interesting to watch.
Have Coffee at Rospy Workshop Coffee
Both mornings we were in Eretria, we had our morning coffee at Rospy's. Mostly frequented by locals, their coffee is outstanding. They offer both table service and takeaway. One of my favorite past-times while traveling is sipping a leisurely cup of coffee and watching people. It is such a treat to slow down and be observant. Especially when the coffee is as delicious as it was at Rospy's.
Take a Roadtrip to Kimi
Evia is a large island. It is 110 miles miles long and at its widest point 31 miles wide. During ancient times there were several individually ruled, wealthy city-states on the island. We took a roadtrip along the moutainous and winding roads south along the coast, then inland across the island to Kimi.
Once a wealthy harbor town, gaining most of its wealth from the trade, along the Silk Road, today, Kimi is a charming town overlooking beautiful beaches. The nicely shaded town square is home to a Byzantine era, Greek Orthodox Church. It is a pleasant place to have a refreshment after the ride from Eretria. There is also a large Folklore Museum with extensive displays about life on Evia. Unfortunately, it was not open on our visit.
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Have Lunch at Diporto
If you are looking to eat where the locals eat in Eretria, have lunch at Diporto. The owners have their charcoal rotisserie grill set up just outside the restaurant. Each day they offer several types of meat served open face Gyro style. The meat is flavorful and juicy and the accompaniments fresh. CaptK ate his Gyro Sandwich style with the French Fries in the sandwich.
Visit the Eretria Archaeological Museum
Eretria has a small but very well organized Archaeological Museum. This museum houses the Antiquities found when excavating the remains of the Roman Village just across the street from the museum. The pieces are surprising well preserved and arranged from oldest pieces to newer pieces. It is orderly and easy to follow, even though the written placards are in Greek and in French. There are flyers at the entrance in multiple languages that explain what you are seeing in each room.
Have Pizza at Gema Pizzeria
Most of coastal Greece was ruled by the Venetians at some point in history. Today you can see evidence of their rule in the architecture and the food you find in Greece. You will see pasta dishes on menus and many restaurants serve Pizza. Gema's in the main square of Eretria serves up delicious pizzas that would satisfy the most discerning pizza lover. We enjoyed every bite of ours!
Wander through the Archaeological Dig Sites
After viewing the antiquities in the museum, it is interesting to walk through the dig sites. This area was first excavated from 1885, followed by excavations in 1891-1895 and an ongoing excavation that was started in 1961. You can clearly see a small ancient theatre, part of the city walls, and foundations of houses and temples. It is not as well marked as other sites in Greece we have visited. However, you do get a sense of how people lived in ancient times and it is not crowded.
Admire the Floors at the Mosaic House
One of the most recent archaeological finds was uncovered is the remains of a house with several mosaic floors. The "White House" was built to protect these mosaics and to show the size and scope of the home who’s floors were so beautifully decorated. These small pebble mosaic floors date back to 370 BCE.
Sip at Cocktail at Acera Cafe on the Beach
One of the pretties places to sip a beverage with a view in Eretria is Acera, on the southern edge of the main town. You have beautiful views of the "Island of Paradise," the Aegean Sea and the deserted island, Harmil. This Boho Chic cafe is open all day serving, coffees, cold drinks, adult beverages and light bites.
Visit the Chalkis Archaeological Museum
The Archaeological Museum of Chalkis is a true gem. Located near the waterfront in old town, this museum is housed in a restored, early 20th century distillery and factory. You meander through the exhibits in chronological order, moving from the 3rd millennium BCE to the 17th century CE. The displays are engaging and informative. This museum is not large or overwhelming. It describes life on Evia in an intriguing manner. You can easily see everything in the museum in two hours and it is well worth the time.
Stop at Elias Souvlaki
Looking for a bite to eat before headed back to Athens? Stop at Elias Souvlaki just off the highway in Schimatari. At this family owned restaurant, the food is made fresh to order and the service is quick. These were some of the best Gyro Sandwiches we ate in Greece.
Have you been to Eretria or Evia? Share with us your must see places in the comments section. Want to understand more about the history, terrain and evolution of Evia, the book "Evia: Travels on an Undiscovered Greek Island" offers great insight to this complex island.
CLICK HERE FOR EXCLUSIVE ACCESS TO MY RESOURCE PAGE Are you ready to book your trip to Greece? Check out booking.com. Here are my best recommendations for Hotels in Athens: For a luxury experience: Grande Bretagne Hotel For a more budget friendly experience: NEW Hotel
Here are my best recommendations for Hotels throughout Greece:
Agios Nikolaos, Crete - Ikaros Art Hotel
Nea Chora, Crete - Sea & Town Getaway
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