Despite central Evia being dominated by the island’s capital city of Halkida, the area is home to an astonishing array of flora and a large diversity of landscapes. While the western section is mostly level seaside plains, the central and eastern areas of central Evia boast rolling hills which gradually turn into mountains and features several beautiful peaks and gorges. The southern edge of central Evia is home to one of the island’s most important biotopes, Lake Dystos. Though they still remain at serious risk of complete drainage, the lake and surrounding wetlands feature an impressive amount of plant and animal life.
Aesthetic Forest of Steni
Outside the central town of Steni, visitors have the privilege of exploring one of the richest and most scenic forests throughout the country. The area is teeming with rivers and streams thanks to the unusually large number of springs within the area. Its large variety of flowers has made it an invaluable biotope for a great deal of species, which has secured its protection via Presidential decree. Throughout the forest several different types of trees grow, though chestnut, plane and Kefallonian fir are the most common examples. Aside from vegetation, the forest is also known for its geomorphologic features, including rock surfaces dating back to as far as the Jurassic and Triassic periods.
Kolovrechtis Wetlands of Psachna
Located 12 klm. north of Halkida, the Kolovrechtis Wetlands should be famed for the natural utopia it provides to hundreds of different plant and animal species. Unfortunately, over the past few decades, industrial pollution has all but turned this beautiful landscape into a chemical wasteland. Despite the fact that it provides shelter to 49 endangered bird species and numerous other amphibians and unique flora, little has been done to stop the pollution to one of Evia’s most valuable biotopes. Supposedly protected by Presidential Decree, evidence of such is sadly, hard to see.
Roughly 7 klm. south of Kymi lies the village of Oxylithos, meaning “acidic rock”. This would be an accurate description for the jagged hill which ominously looms over it, since it’s actually a volcano. Fear not, it’s been inactive since ancient times. It’s an interesting area to explore and visitors will also see the picturesque church of Evangelistrias.
At the southern edge of central Evia sits Lake Dystos, an invaluable habitat for countless plant and animal species. Though it has dried up several times during its known history, the Lake and surrounding marsh areas have managed to keep afloat during the last few years. Its size is impressive, covering an area of over 7,500 stremmata, though large sections of this are frequently dry. Farming, livestock, hunting and industrial activities have all had negative effects on the lake over the past century. Despite this, the area continues to be a haven to migratory birds during the spring and remains an important biotope for a number of plants and animals, and for this reason it is part of Europe’s Natura 2000 initiative.
Evia’s highest mountain is also one of the island’s most important landscapes. Its highest peak Delphi, reaches a height of 1743 m. and offers climbers and nature lovers views over both the Aegean Sea and the Euboean gulf. Its southern side is covered with the wild mountain tea plants that the famous eponymous tea is made up of. This is also the greenest section of Dirfys, covered in chestnut, plane, oak and fir trees. In contrast, the northern section facing the Aegean is mostly dry and bare, though two rivers, the Metohiou and Stroponon flow through this area year-round. The mountain is also the source of the island’s two largest rivers, the Messapios and Lilas. Due to the wide variety of both plant and animal species that it supports, Mt. Dirfys is included in the Natura 2000 program.
Download the new Mount Dirfys hiking/adventure app!
At an elevation of 1743 meters (5720 feet), the volcano-like Mount Dirfys in the heart of Evia will amaze adventure seekers and hikers. Download the Mt. Dirfys topoGuide here, complete with 13 hiking routes, 2 MTB routes, 2 marathon race routes and an SUV tour. Easy and moderate trails available, including challenging mountain ascents over a total length of 70 km (43 miles). The detailed offline maps, in-depth information, pop-up photos and points of interest were compiled in 2016.