Discover Greece’s hidden gems – Chalki

12/09/2022
Home » Discover Greece’s hidden gems – Chalki

Just west of the popular holiday getaway of Rhodes lies a lesser-known island that could soon offer a unique tourist attraction for visitors who come over to get away from the hustle and bustle.

The relatively undiscovered Dodecanese Island of Chalki, 6km from Rhodes, is leading the way in sustainable development and innovation. It’s taking part in a pilot energy-saving project that, once concluded, will be rolled out across the whole of the Greek islands.

The recently launched national GR-eco Islands initiative, a collaboration between Greece’s environment ministry, local government and multinationals such as Vodafone Greece, will use the island’s natural resources to provide cheaper electricity, deliver electric vehicles and install Internet of Things technologies.

A key part of the project includes the operation of a solar-power boat, which will offer tours around the island for visitors, as well as facilitate local transport requirements.

It’s expected demand for such boats will pave the way for smaller businesses to take off elsewhere in the Greek islands, helping to create more local jobs.

The pilot project is sure to put Chalki on the map, but in the meantime, this 10km long, 3km wide island, which gets its name from the copper mines that have attracted inhabitants since prehistoric times, remains a hidden gem for people seeking peace and quiet.

There are few cars on the island and one inhabited town, Nimporio. Another town, Chorio, is now deserted. Some of the island’s buildings have been restored and are now hotels, apartments and villas for those looking for a Greek island that allows them to get away from the hustle and bustle and reconnect with nature.

Getting there

There’s no airport on Chalki, but it can be reached by regular ferry from Rhodes and Kos, which are the nearest islands with airports that are served by UK airlines.

Two local ferries connect Chalki with Rhodes, and there is a twice-weekly catamaran linking Rhodes, Kos, Chalki and other islands. Because of these connections, Chalki makes a perfect quiet half of a two-centre option with Rhodes or Kos.

Ferry arrivals come into Nimporio, where Chalki’s port is located and the town itself has plenty to explore, including the Folk Art Museum that takes visitors back through the island’s local heritage.

Its seafront is lined with café, tavernas and shops and it’s the best place to enjoy walks along the sea.

Beaches

Most of the beaches are rocky and the ones that are best suited for tourists, with tavernas/cafes, sun lounges and umbrellas, are within easy reach by foot or by bus from the town.

Pontamos is the only sandy beach on the island and, with its shallow waters, is family friendly. Ftenagia beach is rocky but with turquoise waters; Kania beach is a pebble beach surrounded by lush vegetation.

There are many others a little further away, such as Trahia beach, can be reached by boat or crossing a path that goes through the abandoned village of Chorio.

Things to do

A climb up the steep hill to the now-deserted medieval village of Chorio rewards visitors with the remains of the Castle of the Knights, 15th-17th century murals in the deserted church of Agios Nicholaos and panoramic views over the Aegean, including Rhodes.

There are many other places to visit, including churches of Panaghia, Agios Nikolaos, Aghia Triada and the monastery Taxiarchis Michail Panormitis.

The clear waters around Chalki are transparent for up to a depth of 40 metres, with underwater caves and shipwrecks waiting to be discovered with the local diving school.

Board a boat for a day trip to islets east of Chalki, such as Nisaki and Alimnia, or to Rhodes.

Find out more about Chalki at: www.visitgreece.gr

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