Situated on the west coast of central Evia and under 80 km north of Athens, Halkida is the island’s capital and one of the oldest Greek settlements.
It is referred to in Homer’s “Illiad” and has a fascinating past. Its strategic trading and financial location by the Euripus Strait has seen the city occupied or used by Macedonia, Syria, the Persians, the Romans, the Venetians and the Ottomans during its long and varied history.
The rivalry and battles with its neighbour, Eretria, caused its decline historically, but that has all changed and Halkida is now an expanding and lively city approaching 100,000 people. It still retains its earlier layout of narrow streets in the central areas and features such as the castle and the 5th century Byzantine church of St Paraskeve. There is a long promenade with terraces overlooking the sea where one can relax in the taverns and restaurants.
The archaeological museum has many important exhibits with some from as far back as the Paleolithic finds of 100,000 BC. Further archaeological remains can be found 4.5 km from the city in the Manika district; once the largest city in Greece dating back 4,500 years.
There has been a bridge linking the island with the mainland since 411BC and it is here one can watch an astonishing tidal phenomenon, the only one of its kind in the Mediterranean.
In 1993 a suspension bridge was built to provide a further road route to the island.
It is a popular destination, including for the Athenians, to enjoy its extensive shopping, restaurants, the sea food, the beautiful beaches and scenery of Evia. Many of the main hotels in the centre have been refurbished in recent years. A number have views of the sea, the Castro (castle), and the “ Sliding Bridge ” at the Euripus Straight.
How to get there:
Only an hour from Athens via the National Road . The city has rail and coach links to Athens.