The panoramic views all the way to the sea from the terraces of the Filion Eco Hotel will put a spell on you. Boasting true bioclimatic architecture, the 13 rooms and suites have their backs to the cool hills and views overlooking sea and mountain. They offer all 21st century comforts such as wi-fi, computer and USB TVs yet without losing the local charm and traditional design wisdom. Best of all, Filion’s location between sea and mountain makes it the perfect escape in nature, but minutes away from the little resort town of Nea Styra with its vibrant beat and beautiful beaches.
A true local feast for the palate
Start off your day with a rich local breakfast here, from freshly-baked cakes, Greek yoghurt and local cheeses to seasonal fruit, savory pies and homemade jams. For lunch or dinner this little hotel has a very good restaurant that embraces all the best of local cuisine, using the finest meats, vegetables, herbs, cheeses and of course virgin olive oil. Finish off your meal with some sweet ‘halva’ made with semolina, almonds, cinnamon, olive oil and butter (this delicious recipe is on the hotel’s website!). There’s also much local wine and ouzo to go around, as well as some good Greek beer.
For a change you can also head to a seafood ‘taverna’ by the beach to try out some squid and quality fish. It the nearby village of Zoodochou Pigi there are some traditional restaurants that serve very fresh (free range) meat and other dishes that will unveil a more mountainous yet equally delicious local cuisine.
In the afternoon, relax in the lounge-café area overlooking the valley and Euboean Gulf for a cocktail or glass of wine. You can also order a dessert or an ice cream, as well as a variety of savory snacks.
Hike, swim, dive, canoe and explore
It’s the nature all around that will really impress you though, with some amazing hiking routes and opportunities. You can certainly hike alone or ask the hotel to arrange a professional guide. Noteworthy is the great canyon of Dimosari with its fresh-water ponds. The canyon was a byzantine walking path, underlining how the canyons represented natural hiking routes, many of which are still used today.
Diving off the shores of Evia is a great activity to enjoy, thanks to the support of professional diving clubs in the area. You can even learn to dive in the hotel pool before you head out to sea. Also interesting for speleology lovers is the cave of Mount Ochi, about an hour away by car, with Europe’s only underground waterfall. The cave however requires professional guidance in the company of speleologists, and the Filion can help arrange a cave trip. If you’re more into open spaces, head for a kayaking or canoeing experience on the Manikiati river near the picturesque village of Monodri (later winter and spring).
For history and archaeology lovers, the area is littered with ancient graves. You can hike for a couple of hours to the ancient acropolis of Styra with remains of the Gate of the Armenians or Larmenians. The gate was built by Franks as part of an old castle and replacing a much older acropolis from Ancient Greek times. There are also two notable archaeological museums worth visiting, one in Karystos about 30 minutes away and another in Eretria about 40 minutes away.
Worth mentioning as well on nearby Mount Ochi are the Dragon Houses or ‘Drakospita’, impressive megalithic abodes from ancient times with a unique rock-building style. Southern Evia is also known for its ancient marble quarries, to the extent where the locals worshipped it in some form.
Closer to the shore, if you’re the beach type, you’ll be happy to know that the area has some great beaches that are a short drive away from the Filion Eco Hotel. The busiest is in the modern tourist town of Nea Styra that’s just a few minutes by car, complete with seaside cafes and restaurants. There are however many other secluded spots if you seek a quieter experience. This little haven in nature holds a lot of surprises up its sleeve, and the team at the Filion hotel is eager to unveil their beautiful area with all its riches.