Greek Islands at a Glance Page Fourteen

The Island of Euboea (Evia)

Greek wetlandsFor the many Greek vacationers who drive there, or go by bus or train (the latter taking only a little over an hour from Athens), it certainly must feel different than getting on a ferry to go to 99% of the other Greek islands.

Euboea is a green island with beautiful farmland and pastures, and noted for its wine. Its name means ‘with cattle’, of which it had more in the past than in the present, though its kid and lamb are highly esteemed.

A large forested mountain traverses most of the northern half along the inland road, and the drive along the west coast (accessible from a fork half-way up) is very scenic. Along the way are some very pretty valleys with nice woods. In the northwesternmost end are the ancient spa with mineral baths (Loutra Edhipsou) and the lovely fishing village of Limni, with neoclassical houses; in the central east a mountain peak of 1745meters/5725 feet (Mt. Dirfys) with good hiking. There is an ancient site (Eretria) with a temple to Apollo south of the main industrial town of 50,000 population (Halkidha), which is only 40meters/131feet across from the mainland, where the old train station sits beneath a fortress near the old drawbridge which can be walked or driven across. The southeastern part of the island is very narrow, with some lovely coves, and on the bottom tip the town of Karystos, with a population of about 3500. The east coast of Evia is extremely rugged, with high cliffs, and a small port for ferries to the island of Skyros below the village of Kymi. Evia is a popular island for camping, hiking, swimming and nature lovers.

It seems that uninitiated people see Evia as not sharing the familiar qualities of an island, because they see it as too similar to the mainland adjacent or as not having the important feature of a main port.

Evia IS an island however (and the second largest in Greece, after Crete), though geologists say that seismic activity separated it at some point from the mainland, leaving varying amounts of sea distance at different points, accounting for seven ferry crossings along its 175 km/108 mile length, running southeast to northwest (as does the mainland from which it separated). For more info on Euboea

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