The island of Evia (Euboia in Attik Greek, meaning ‘rich in cattle’) is close to the Greek mainland and there is now a bridge connecting it at Chalkida although there is also a ferry which takes 45 minutes. Which route you take basically depends which part of this large island you want to go to. You can get there from the port of Rafina or if you want to go to Aedipsos in the northern part of the island you can go from Arkitsa, which you can get to by bus from central Athens.
Because it is so close to the mainland and convenient for a weekend stay, many Greeks have apartments there and the island can get packed in August which it the traditional Greek holiday month. At other times you could pick up some cheap self-catering accommodation in one of these apartments.
My favourite place on the island is Aedipsos with its thermal springs. There is a municipal pool and you can also see steam from underground springs rising over the town. Legend has it that Hercules rested there, taking advantage of the hot springs and their healing waters after his labours, taking strength from them so that he could go on to the next Herculean task.
In Aedipsos there is a small beach where the rocks have been stained by the minerals in the waters which run into the sea. This beach is close to the Thermae Sylla Spa hotel, which offers guests the full spa treatment.
The spa town was famous in Roman times, with Marcus Aurelius one of its illustrious visitors as well as the General Scylla from which the modern hotel took its name. More modern visitors have included Sir Winston Churchill, Onassis, Maria Callas and Edward and Mrs. Simpson.
Evia is said to have been where Zeus, the Father of the gods, married Hera, at the ancient site of Elimnion (now Limni). Another myth says that Hera’s sacred bulls grazed in the fields at Istea and there is the Temple of Artemis close to Aedipsos on the cape, where that goddess of hunting (Diana in Roman mythology) used to hunt.
There are some wonderful sandy beaches on the island and the clear blue water always seems to be warm, especially where the thermal waters flow into it.
The houses that line the sea front on Aedipsos were built with their own thermal baths which are partially underground in basements. Wouldn’t it be great to have your own thermal spring?
There are many traditional tavernas on Evia, and the sun-dried octopus is just one of the specialities you could try there, especially if you visit Amarynthos.
Wherever you go on the island, which is the second largest of the Greek islands after Crete, you can be sure of a warm welcome.