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Euboea

Euboea is located in the western Aegean Sea and is the second largest island of Greece after Crete. Mountains and steep coasts alternate with beautiful hilly landscapes, secluded bays and picturesque small villages and towns. Yet Euboea is little noticed by the mass of tourists, hardly anyone knows the island. In fact, it is mainly the Greeks themselves who enjoy their leisure time on Euboea from Easter until the end of the season. Hotel complexes and developed tourism infrastructure are few to none and that is good.

Euboea is separated from the mainland only by a narrow strait, which is crossed by a bridge at the town of Chalkida. The mountains in the east of Euboea can be seen from afar as I cross this bridge, which I reach in the late afternoon after about an hour’s drive from Athens. The way to Euboea is easy to find, the roads are clear, the barren hills behind Chalkida glow orange in the evening light. It’s the end of April, so there’s not much going on here. The navigation system guides me along tiny roads through villages. Into the hills.

My destination is Kymi on the northeastern shore of Euboea. The drive across the island takes just under two hours. There aren’t really any big roads here, the night is getting dark, and Mediterranean herbal scents are wafting through the open windows. It is already summer here, at home in Berlin it is still snowing. I take Euboea straight into my heart.

Adventures in Greece

But what is it actually that makes the island of Euboea so special? I think about it for a long time and in the end I decide for the peace and quiet. On Euboea you will find peace. You will also find solitude and beautiful nature, friendly people and spectacular views. You’ll find some of the clearest sea water I’ve ever seen, sleepy villages and small towns, and you’ll find delicious food and mountains – the highest of which is Dirfi at over 1,700 meters. But in the end, it’s the tranquility I find here that makes Euboea so special to me.

There are no big roads here, the wind blows gently and incessantly through the grass and the broom bushes, everything happens very slowly. The colorful flower meadows lie calmly in front of the dark blue Mediterranean Sea. Above the horizon hovers Skyros, the small island off Euboea, which can be reached from Kymi by the ferry that runs once a day. Here it is dark at night and the only sound comes from the nightingales outside my window and the crickets of the cicadas and the distant lapping of the sea water.

The base for my trip across Euboea is Platána, a small town on the east coast of the island – about three kilometers south of Kymi. A good place to explore the island from. A quiet place in the whole sense of the trip.

Trip to the dream beaches of Euboea

From Kymi the road leads north and then west along the northern coast of Euboea to the two beaches Paralia Chiliadou and Paralia Metochiou. I have heard of both of them being hopelessly crowded in the summer. At this time of the year I was almost the only person at both. Even though it is supposedly only 35 kilometers from Kymi to Paralia Chiliadou, you should plan at least one and a half hours for the route.

The road is very winding and becomes a gravel road in some places. Also, the views from high above the coast and the mountains of Euboea are sometimes so breathtaking that you want to stop and get out and admire it all.

And beware, it’s only 35 kilometers if you dare to drive down a dirt, unpaved and also steep rocky road from Koutouria to Paralia Chiliadou beach. This is indeed not possible with every vehicle! And if you prefer to drive the paved road a bit further through the interior of Euboea, it’s more than 50 kilometers in total.

On the beach, the water of the Mediterranean Sea is incredibly clear. The scenery is unique. Rocks in front, cliffs and in the background the mountains of Euboea. On the beach promenade there are several taverns (see below), from whose terraces the view is just as beautiful as from down here.

By the way, to Paralia Metochiou you leave in Metochi – after about 25 kilometers from Kymi, from where you just follow the stream to the sea.

Breathtaking cliff on a mountain in Euboea
Breathtaking cliff on a mountain in Euboea

Trip to two lonely bays

Near Kymi there are also two relatively lonely bays, which are worth a visit. Also on the road leading northwest out of Kymi in the direction of Metochi, after about ten kilometers there is a turnoff to the right onto an unpaved dirt road. If you don’t have a four-wheel drive, I would recommend to park the car here and continue the way on foot. With a simple car it is impossible to continue here. There is no parking lot far and wide, but there is actually room for one or two vehicles on the wide driveway.

The descent to the two bays from up here takes about one and a half hours, first you reach the first bay and after another half hour the second. The second, more distant bay I like even a little better, the rocks are higher and the water more turquoise.

On the way back it goes steeply uphill, on the way I meet only many goats and four cows. Since there is no tavern on the whole way, it makes sense to take enough water (and beer) with you.

Hike to the secluded bays on Euboea
Hike to the secluded bays on Euboea
euboea-bay
One of the beautiful lonely bays of Euboea

Kymi and Platána

During my stay on Euboea I stay the whole time in Platána. It turns out that the place is excellent for exploring the island. Platána is located about three kilometers south of the port of Kymi, directly on the sea. The actual town of Kymi is located a few kilometers away from the port in the hills and offers a beautiful view over the port, the mountains and the sea to the island of Skyros. The central square of Kymi looks like a large terrace over the vast landscape.

Many cafes and restaurants can be found in the center of Kymi – more on that below. There is also a gas station and numerous small stores as well as a supermarket here.

We recommend a walk over the hill with the transmission tower to Enoria. The path is beautiful and you have a great view – first on Kymi and later over the whole landscape, the sea and the hinterland. On the way you pass a small chapel and the village of Enoria is also very pretty. Here you can find an approximate route description.

The port of Kymi is basically a small town of its own, from where the ships sail to Skyros and where some bars, cafes and restaurants bustle along the beach promenade. There is also a small club where I like to drink a beer and breathe the summer air with loud music.

On the road up from Kymi harbor to Kymi, old red and white car tires bear witness to the fact that this was once a rally track, and when you drive the road, you quickly understand how a rally driver must feel.

In Platána there are also restaurants, cafes and one or two grocery stores distributed along the beach promenade. In the restaurants you can get something to eat until late in the evening.

Typical landscape on the east coast of Euboea
Typical landscape on the east coast of Euboea
Three pointed hills in the interior of Euboea
Three pointed hills in the interior of Euboea

Walk near Agios Georgios

My guide recommends me to go to Agios Georgios further south, a small village in the hills, to go for a walk. I do that to see if he is right and this area is so special.

And indeed, up there in the hills I find a lot of quiet landscape with a wide view up to the mountains. Everywhere the broom is blooming and it is hot. It smells like a herb garden again and walking up here is really nice. And best of all, I discover a gorge from up there that I haven’t read anything about yet. My navigation app helps me to find the place on the map approximately, I let it guide me in an hour’s drive to the gorge and this then presents itself adventurously in the evening light.

The gorge is located here, by the way, and is actually quite easy to get to via some small roads.

A lonely path that leads through Euboea
A lonely path that leads through Euboea
canyon-euboea
A wild canyon in Euboea

The lake that is no longer a lake

Lake Distos was once a real lake with water – today it is actually more of a reed field. The small plain lies crater-like between the hills and it’s nice to wander around here a bit. It’s not far from the village of Distos and the path across the fields is easy to find.

A dried up lake on Euboea
A dried up lake on Euboea

Other activities on Euboea

My experiences so far are limited to the northeast of Euboea. There was already too much to discover there, so the south and northwest of the Greek island will have to wait until the next visit. If you want to expand your radius around Kymi and Platána a bit more by driving to Lake Distos, I can recommend two more routes across Euboea.

The first route goes from Orio to the east coast of Euboea, to the village of Mourteri, where there is a beautiful and windy beach. From there you can follow the winding road up to Oktonia. On the way you will find beautiful views over the bay and the hills, millions of flowers are blooming everywhere at this time of the year and also from here Skyros is very visible on the horizon – provided the weather is reasonably clear. From Oktonia you can drive back down on the other side, via Pirgi back to the larger road.

The second route can take you a little further south and then a little west to the other side of Euboea, where you will find the town of Aliveri. From the outside, it looks a bit forbidding at first, which is mainly due to the power plant that can be seen from afar. But inside you will find a friendly modern atmosphere and many cafes.

On Euboea in spring incredibly many flowers bloom
On Euboea in spring incredibly many flowers bloom

Tips for your Euboea trip

Below you will find some more useful tips for a trip to Euboea.

Food and drink

Actually one is yes first of all the opinion that the Greek kitchen vegan living humans shows gladly their highly raised middle finger, particularly on an island in the Greek Mediterranean. Masses of fish and other animals are cruelly murdered and unconscionably eaten here, the sea is everywhere. On closer inspection, however, it soon becomes apparent that there is a decisive advantage: In Greece, and thus also on Euboea, there are very tasty starters. A meal in a restaurant can easily be composed of several such appetizers. And with these appetizers there is then nevertheless a choice of vegan food.

So you can order green vegetables, fried potatoes, fried zucchini and peppers, beet and much more, which then taste really good and after all it is fun to assemble the meal from many individual parts.

Because it is sometimes not so easy to find the right food on Euboea with the Greek writing and the language, the dear woman in the fruit and vegetable store in Platána wrote me a list with translations, with the help of which it was much easier to find the right food. Thank you again for that!

The food on Euboea is by and large relatively inexpensive. With 15 to 20 euros you get for two people a huge meal with bread, water and wine.

Typical shopping list for a successful shopping on Euboea, if you don't know Greek
Typical shopping list for a successful shopping on Euboea, if you don’t know Greek
Euboea is a wonderful place to eat
Euboea is a wonderful place to eat

Restaurants and cafes

In Platána I liked best the restaurant O Psaras (Ο Ψαράς). Especially the seats under the tent roof directly on the water under the big old tree are great in the evening. And with the woman from the restaurant I finally even learn a little Greek. So: Efcharistó for some nice evenings with great food and good house wine!

Also nice is the Bar Lunar a little further south in Platána. Here, too, you can sit inside, outside or directly by the sea.

In the port of Kymi, the Café Compass (ΠΥΞΙΔΑ) is nice, the restaurant Lianammos opposite the abandoned building and the last restaurant on the street (ΨΑΡΟΤΑ ΒΕΡΝΑ or something like that). Near the abandoned building there is a small club with music and drinks.

In Kymi itself, I can recommend the pastry cafe located at the northeast end of the central square and the cafe right on the square, from whose tables you can even see the sea far below.

At the beach Paralia Chiliadou I liked the Taverna Ouzeri (or something like that), the terrace offers good views over the bay and the food was also good.

A particularly beautiful place is also the Platanenhof. The Platanenhof is a horse farm and café just outside Platána and you can sit there in the shade of the trees and drink coffee. To reach the Platanenhof, just follow the road that goes west away from the sea along the creek in the center of Platána and after a few kilometers turn right onto the bigger road. After a few meters you will see the sign to the Platanenhof on the left in the trees. Here you can find the Platanenhof on the map.

The magnificent Platanenhof on Euboea
The magnificent Platanenhof on Euboea

Bier auf Euböa

Das griechische Bier hat mir im großen und ganzen gut geschmeckt, auch wenn der Hauswein oft vorzuziehen ist, den man in den Restaurants eigentlich immer bekommt. Der unschlagbarste Preis war dabei 1,70 € für den halben Liter schmackhaften Rotwein. Da freut sich nicht nur der Geldbeutel. Aber zurück zum Bier, im Wesentlichen gab es die Sorten Fix, Alpha, Mythos und Vergina.

Also good Greek beer like here in the picture you can find on Euboea
Also good Greek beer like here in the picture you can find on Euboea

News from Euboea

In August 2019, devastating forest fires occurred on the island. Several villages were evacuated and thousands of wild animals died. Even the head of the government of Greece interrupted his vacation and traveled to the island.