CHALKI

Majestic and mystical; ethereal; elegant yet unpolished; in one word, authentic. In the south-eastern corner of the Aegean, west of Rhodes, is the tiny island of Halki, a truly untouched gem of the Dodecanese. It is the realm of rock and absolute peacefulness; an island with great nautical tradition and proud islanders with an innate politeness. The journey to Halki seems like an initiation in the art of living at a slower pace and in finding happiness in simplicity; the unspoiled beautiful scenery; the relaxing melodies of lyres; the sweetness of folk songs (“mantinades”); the ever-true look in the eyes of the locals.

Characterized by UNESCO as the “island of Peace and Friendship”, Halki warmly welcomes the visitor and unfolds its unique history that goes back many centuries. From antiquity, when the flourishing copper mines gave the island its name (Halkos is Greek for copper), to the ancient civilizations (Pelasgians, Carians, Dorians and Phoenicians) who prospered on the island; the Arabs, Genoese and Venetians who occupied Halki and built unconquerable medieval castles; the Turks who granted the locals with financial and educational privileges, thus contributing to the island’s great prosperity during the 19th century, to the rough years of the Italian colonists and the great emigration of Halki’s residents across the Atlantic.

The first sight of Halki is mesmerizing. Framed against an amphitheatre of houses rising on all sides of the small bay, Emporio (or Nimporio), the capital and only settlement of the island, emerges out of the turquoise waters like an old, romantic movie set. Brightly painted Italianated mansions with huge windows and tile roofs, restored neoclassical mansions and deserted captains’ houses tell the story of a glorious past; Halki was famous throughout the world for its sponge-diving and flourishing commerce. Stroll around the flagstone alleyways of the old town, decorated with bougainvilleas and opuntias (prickly pears), and feel the locals’ sincere respect to the natural beauty and aesthetics of their homeland.

Emporio is a town of many beautiful surprises. The majestic church of Agios Nikolaos, the patron saint of the island, built in 1861, has many stunning features: the ornamented wooden iconostasis; the sublime black and white mosaic floor in the courtyard and the impressive belfry, the tallest in the Dodecanese, that stands on an arch incorporating stones from the ancient sanctuary of Apollo. The all-white Town Hall, with the massive blue windows and the twin winding staircases leading to the building’s entrance is a sublime sight. In front of the Town Hall, stands the tall, central Clock Tower, an impressive tourist attraction. The picturesque quay with the appealing tavernas and cafés overlooks the three restored windmills on the low ridge to the right of Emporio, a picture-postcard and a sample of exceptional folklore architecture that stands strong through time.

  • view_headlineSights and routes in Halki

    Ancient cities, medieval castles, old picturesque churches and fine beaches with crystal-clear waters make up the ethereal scenery of Halki, a true paradise for hiking.

    • Hooked on the slope on the inner side of the island, the deserted Palaio Chorio was once the old and ancient capital of Halki. This magnificent settlement that reached its peak in the 18th century, was gradually abandoned around the mid-19th century, when the locals moved to Emporio. Today, the settlement is an impressive cluster of ruined stone houses, small churches, graves, troughs and ancient stone inscriptions. The abandoned village has been recognised by Unesco as a sight of significant cultural value. Don’t forget to visit the thrones of Zeus and Ekati, as well as the arched church of Panagia Choriani (16th century) with its beautiful frescos. The church celebrates the Dormition of the Mother of God on August 15th with a grand feast.

    • On the top of the hill above Chorio stands the imposing fortification of the Venetian Castle of the Joannites Knights built in the 14th century. At the entrance one can still see the crest of the Grand Master D 'Aubusson. Inside the castle-town stands the church of Agios Nikolaos, the biggest medieval church on the island with icons and frescos dating back to the 15th-17th century. From the crenellations, the view across the Sea of Karpathos and Trachia peninsula is stunning.

    • The Monasteri of Ai Giannis Alargas, on Halki’s most remote (west) point, is not just one of the most celebrated pilgrimages of the Dodecanese (on August 29th) but also one of the most unforgettable hiking destinations on the island, an ode to the grandeur of rock, earth and sky. The trail takes you from Palio Chorio to Stafia through dry sceneries with drystone walls, stone shepherds’ huts (called “kifes”) prickle pears and herbs.

    Kamenos Spilios is one of the most important natural and historical monuments in Halki. A living symbol of the sacrifice of the island’s residents, who, in 1658, came face to face with the revengeful Venetian admiral Francesco Morosini.

    • The Monastery of Taxiarchis Michael (Panormitis) on the hillock of Agios Onoufrios, close to Chorio, impresses the visitor with its rare frescoes, the fine pebbled courtyard with geometric motifs and, most of all, with its astonishing view towards the surrounding islets and Rhodes.

    • The wild beaches of Halki with crystal-clear, blue and turquoise waters; the popular beach of Pontamos, the famous Ftenagia and Kania; the secluded paradise of Areta, Giali, Trachia and Ano Thekla (accessible only by boat). Dive into the rejuvenating waters of the great Aegean Sea.

  • view_headlineWhat’s not to miss...

    • Schedule a day trip to the uninhabited island of Alimia, located between Halki and Rhodes. Walk through a natural paradise and witness the long history. Experience the unprecedented archaeological and underwater wealth and relax on the stunning beaches.

    • Taste local dishes such as the famous pasta of Halki, ofto lamp, fakorizo (rice with lentils) and local cheese (axevoutiriasto). And of course, sample some souma raki, the famous drink from Rhodes.

    • Stop at Dimitri’s traditional bakery in Emporio for delicious sweet and savoury pies (bougatsa or cheese pie with thyme).

    • Enjoy a panoramic view of the port of Emporio from the windmills hilltop.

    • Take a sea taxi or boat to visit the magical Fokospilia, a natural cave with clear blue waters on the south part of the island.

    • Buy traditional halkitika pasta and local thyme honey.

    • Visit the Traditional House of Halki, a two-storey home that is over a century old and serves as a folklore and archaeological museum.

    • Taste the excellent prickle pears that grow naturally all around the island.

    • Take a boat from Emporio to visit the beautiful cave Kelia, an old refuge for hermits, and appreciate the impressive frescoes on the rocks.

  • view_headlineTravelling to Halki

    Travel to and from Halki with ANEK LINES. Enjoy a comfortable journey with one of the leading passenger ferry operators in the Mediterranean.

    ΑΝΕΚ connects Piraeus and other popular destinations with Halki through the Cyclades, Crete and Dodecanese route (Piraeus, Milos, Santorini, Anafi, Heraklion, Sitia, Kassos, Karpathos, Diafani, Halki, Rhodes) with port-to- port itineraries. The company offers top quality services and authentic Cretan “philoxenia” on board.

    The modern fleet and highly trained crew of ANEK, promise a pleasant on board stay, meeting the needs and demands of the modern traveller. ANEK ferries have spacious cabins of all categories, comfortable and air-conditioned all-user areas with many entertainment options, modern stores, gourmet restaurants and café -bars.

    ANEK highly values gastronomy and offers exquisite menus based on authentic Cretan products and tastes of the Cretan cuisine. All ΑΝΕΚ ferries offer 24hour internet service (wi-fi and Internet Corners) at designated areas.

    Discover our best prices for ferry tickets and unique offers for passenger tickets and cabin accommodation throughout the year.

  • view_headlineArriving at Halki

    ANEK LINES ferry arrives at the port of Emporio, the capital of Halki and only settlement on the island. You will see that there are only a few cars moving around the island and vehicle access to the settlement is restricted. Because of the short distances, everyone gets around on foot. A minibus service is provided by the municipality during the summer to connect the port with the beaches and various attractions around the island.

    From Emporio you can take a boat or sea taxi to reach some of the island’s remote beaches.

  • view_headlineUseful telephone numbers

    ΑΝΕΚ LINES – Central Reservation Dept: 0030 210 4197400, 0030 210 4197420 ZIFOS TRAVEL Chalki: 0030 22460 45028 Halki Port Authority: 0030 22460 45220 Halki Town Hall: 0030 22460 45072 Halki Police Station: 0030 22460 45213 Halki Doctor’s Office: 0030 22460 70910

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