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“Evia? Where’s that? I haven’t heard of it…”
This is the reaction I received from everyone I spoke to (besides a Greek Cypriot friend of mine) when I told them that I was whisking myself away on a walking trip to Evia. Kos, Corfu and Santorini are well-known to Brits as popular Greek island beach holiday destinations with their pristine sands, an array of bustling restaurants and bars, and scorching temperatures, but these islands are minuscule in comparison to the sprawling beauty of Evia.
Thankfully, this fascinating island has managed to keep its charm a secret, much to the advantage of those visiting who want to escape the busy tourist hubs of the country and see the ‘real’ Greece.
I joined the Mountains and Villages of Evia trip in December 2015 to discover a part of the world which was unknown to me. Walking through incredibly beautiful coastal paths, forests, mountains and gorges, we not only soaked up the scenery just by simply being surrounded by it, but we also got wonderful history lessons on each walk from Thanos, our leader, who was born in Evia and is extremely passionate about his homeland.
He provided us with a completely different layer to the walks that enabled those with a vivid imagination to picture just what the island was like in Ancient and Roman times.
Some Surprising Facts About Evia:
• Evia means well-fed cattle in Ancient Greek
• There are dozens of Albanian villages nestled on the hills near the coastline
• One of the villages uses a whistling language which still exists to this day
• From one of the walks, you can see the town of Marathon which is 42km from Athens. This is the same length as the modern Marathon and where the name of the race derives from
• There is no airport on the island which helps with keeping Evia’s magic a secret
Evia is one of the largest islands in the Mediterranean along with Corsica, Sardinia, Cyprus, Sicily and Crete, and is a stone’s throw away from the ancient capital of Athens, yet it is worlds apart.
For this reason, it is known as ‘the Island Apart’ by locals due to how apart and separate you will feel from the mainland yet how near it actually is. So why is it unknown to most people? Why does it not have a bustling tourist industry like many of its much smaller neighbours?
I think these questions become unnecessary as soon as you step onto its shores and become quite relieved at the untouched, serene beauty of it, which is almost entirely yours to discover.
Alice spent a week on the Mountains and Villages of Evia trip, soaking up the history of the island whilst walking through incredibly beautiful and pristine scenery. You may not have heard much about Evia but once you go you’ll certainly never forget it.
Discover Evia for yourself with our tours below.