Chalkida

The capital of Evia is Chalkida, or Chalkis, the industrial port which you drive into if crossing from the Greek the mainland over the Evripos Channel, which here is at its narrowest point, a mere 40m (131ft) across.

Chalkida on EviaChalkida

The channel is renowned for having inexplicable currents, and it is still not known how they can sometimes change direction over a dozen times a day, and sometimes only once. A legend says that Aristotle was so frustrated at his inability to understand the phenomenon that he threw himself into the waters and died. He did actually die in Chalkida, but whether in this fashion is another matter.

Bridge to the Mainland

The Bridge Linking Evia to the Greek MainlandThe Bridge Linking Evia to the Greek Mainland

The channel has been bridged since 411BC (the present one only dates from the 1960s), and initially the town was one of the independent Greek city-states until it was conquered by Athens in 506BC. Like the rest of the island it was later subject to rule by a range of peoples: Macedonian, Turkish, Franks, Venetian.

The name of the town is thought to derive from the Greek word for copper, chalkos, as this mineral was one of the island’s early major sources of wealth. An indication of the power that the town once had is that it controlled and gave its name to the Halkidiki peninsula (also spelt Chalkidiki in Greek) and it had several Italian colonies too.

For many years the town of Chalkida vied with Eretria for control of the island and especially the fertile Lelantine Plain which feeds much of the island, but it was not until the 7th century B.C. that Chalkida finally proved its superiority and developed as Evia’s capital.

The Chalkida Waterfront

Today, although at first sight not immediately attractive to the visitor, Chalkida is worth a day or two of your time, for its museums, old town, and waterfront areas. The main waterfront area is to the left as you cross the bridge, where you will find restaurants, cafes, ouzeries, and hotels. It makes a good place to sit over a coffee or a full meal, gazing out over the channel back to the mainland. 

The fish restaurants are so highly-rated that it is said Athenians will drive out for the evening in order to eat here, a distance of 88km (55 miles). Here too is the market, where you can see the island produce brought in by the farmers. It's busy most days but on Saturday in particular, and Saturday morning is the worst time of the week to consider driving through Chalkida or across the bridge with the mainland.

Kastro

If you head for the quarter known as Kastro, heading inland and to the right, away from the bridge, you will find much quieter streets and many old houses that testify to the Turkish and Venetian legacy of the town. An unusual element in this is a community of Muslims from Thrace, much further east, bringing a touch of the Orient, added to by a lovely 15th-century mosque, a Turkish aqueduct and the remains of the 17th-century fortress itself. The aqueduct used to bring water to Chalkida from springs on Mt Dirfys some 25km (16 miles) to the northeast.

Agia Paraskevi

The Christian element is in the form of the rather bizarre and imposing church of Agia Paraskevi. This vast building was built in the 13th century, but in the 14th century the exterior was converted by the Crusaders into a Gothic cathedral, while inside it is a mixture of all of the island’s historical influences. Note the ornate wooden pulpit and the wooden ceiling.

Museums

A two-minute walk from Agia Paraskevi is the Cultural Museum, which has the usual collection of folk costumes and rural artifacts, but better is the town’s Archaeological Museum. This is back in the modern part of Chalkida and has some of the excellent finds from Ancient Eretria, as well as from some of the island’s lesser-known sites, like Karystos. Neither museum is among the best in the country, but they are worth visiting if you plan to have more than just a brief visit to Evia.

Some other Evia pages

  • Exploring Evia

    There are lots of pretty towns and villages to explore on Evia, and these are some of the places worth seeking out, including Karystos, Kymi, Steni and Prokopi.

  • Eretria

    Ancient Eretria is the most important historical site on Evia, a city that at one time fought with Chalkida for dominance of the island.

  • Driving in Northern Evia

    This drive exploring northern Evia takes you from the busy town and port of Chalkida, out along the coast road and up into the mountains.

  • Evia (or Evvia or Euboea)

    Evia or Euboea is the second largest Greek island and popular with Greek holidaymakers but off-the-beaten-track for overseas visitors.

Enjoy this page? Please pay it forward. Here's how...

Would you prefer to share this page with others by linking to it?

  1. Click on the HTML link code below.
  2. Copy and paste it, adding a note of your own, into your blog, a Web page, forums, a blog comment, your Facebook account, or anywhere that someone would find this page valuable.

Latest Posts

  1. The Greek Holiday Calendar 2022

    Will there be a holiday or national celebration taking place during your trip to Greece? Find out here.

    Read More

  2. Tripadvisor Travelers’ Choice Awards: 4 Greek Destinations Named

    Three Greek islands and a city proved among the world’s most popular destinations with the users of the famous travel platform.

    Read More

  3. The Summer of My Greek Taverna

    The Summer of My Greek Taverna by Tom Stone is a memoir of his time on the Greek island of Patmos in the Dodecanese, running a restaurant.

    Read More

  4. Tasteful Stays: 8 Athens Design Hotels for Foodies

    Athens is on the rise as a gastronomy destination, and connoisseurs know that it’s not just about tavernas anymore. Here are eight fine places to check into if you’re a foodie.

    Read More

  5. Arcadia: Amid the Sweet Aromas of the Moschofilero Grape

    The rich and fertile lands of Arcadia in the heart of the Peloponnese, where the vines of the Mantineia PDO flourish, are a feast for the senses.

    Read More

  6. 60 Guest Houses in Greece for the Perfect Winter Getaway (Map Included!)

    From Thrace to the Peloponnese, our comprehensive list of guest houses for that perfect winter escape caters to all tastes and budgets.

    Read More

  7. The Times Changes Side in Parthenon Marbles Debate

    London newspaper speaks up in favor of the reunification of the Parthenon Sculptures at the Acropolis Museum.

    Read More

  8. Greece Among Top Choices of US Travelers Over 50 for Holidays in 2022

    Greece is among the top 10 international destinations that US travelers over 50 want to visit in 2022, according to a survey recently released by online travel magazine TravelAwaits.

    Read More

  9. Corfu to Reveal Secrets of Old Town Through New AR Tourism Guide

    Internet users will soon have the opportunity to explore the historic monuments and hidden gems of the old town of Corfu through a new augmented reality (AR) tourism guide. A UNESCO world heritage sit…

    Read More

  10. Greece PM: Italy Museum Sets Example for Parthenon Marbles’ Return

    The time has come for the Parthenon Marbles to return to Greece, their natural home, said Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis on Monday, during a special ceremony at the Acropolis Museum, where he welc…

    Read More