|Dafni Beach near Paralia Politikon|
Greece offers the entire holiday package – sun, sea, sand and soaring temperatures – but unlike other holiday resorts, the area also boasts a rich and vibrant history. This level of culture, juxtaposed with impressive scenery and effervescent entertainment, is what keeps holiday makers coming back for more year after year.
When you choose to holiday in Greece, you benefit from a great deal of choice. The mainland and each of the islands within the archipelago offer their own unique personality, allowing you to choose from the energetic shores of Crete to the small unspoilt fishing villages of Kephalonia.
However, for a combination of the two extremes, visitors flock to Evia, the second largest of Greece’s islands (after Crete) and an exceptionally beautiful place to stay.
What does Evia provide?
The ocean is an almost constant presence in Greece, and nowhere is this truer than the island of Evia – where green and lush landscape appears to topple into the deep blue sea. The island is renowned for its grand, imposing mountains which run almost to the shore of the Aegean Sea and the Evoikos Gulf. In many areas all that separates these expanses of glorious green and azure blue are the strips of yellow sand that make up the area’s beaches – the ideal location for an island getaway.
The sea offers a wealth of possibilities during your stay on Evia – even without considering the bountiful feast that can be harvested therein. Here is a place to relax as you lie on a lilo, explore the astonishing underwater environments with a snorkel, or indulge in something a little more extreme – like watersports.
Inland, the mountainous regions are the ideal backdrop for the avid outdoorsman or woman. Here, you will find a variety of different activities, from horse riding and climbing to hiking and mountain biking. As opposed to the usual holiday resorts with their busy streets and built environments, Evia offers the space to escape it all. Here, lovers of nature can satisfy their passion for exploration, with a number of forests to dive into and explore, in addition to the well-established tourist resorts.
Cultural activities in Evia
Evia holds a range of sites of historic interest, with ruins dating back to the early Hellenic period. However, there is evidence that parts of the island were lived on right back to the Paleolithic era. In days gone by, Evia also established colonies all around the Mediterranean.
Getting around Evia
Today, two bridges link Evia to the Greek mainland, so transportation is simple from airports to mainland Greece. To witness the entire area, including some of the best beauty spots off the beaten track, car hire is encouraged.
The most secluded beaches and inland mountainous areas are not covered by public transport links, so driving can provide complete freedom of the island and the Greek mainland should you choose to visit it.
Remember, if you are travelling from the UK, European vehicles may take some getting used to. Left hand drive cars make driving on the right side of the road easier but they take a little practice. Consider making a couple of laps around the airport carport before embarking on busy roads if you are a novice.
It is also useful to learn the rules of the road for Greece as they can differ slightly from country to country. Firstly, to hire a car you must have a valid license in a language that uses the Roman alphabet or an International Driving Permit. You must carry your license with you at all times. The legal age to get behind the wheel is 18 but car companies may restrict the hire of vehicles based on your age – or make you pay a higher fee.
As in the UK, car seats are required for babies and young children. Adults must wear seatbelts by law when travelling in the front seats. Children must always wear seatbelts, wherever they are seated. You should also note that radar speed camera detectors are illegal and drink driving is not tolerated – punishment can be anything from a fine to imprisonment.
In Greece, the level of car accidents is relatively high – more than 260 people are killed every year. Do not feel the need to be reckless and drive as you may see others doing. They have likely grown up using these roads and are used to the conditions. By driving safely and making sure you understand the rules of the road, your holiday in Greece will be more pleasant.