Photo: www.evia-guide.gr

Southern Evia

Like a siren’s song, there’s something eerily beautiful and intriguing about the delicate landscape of southern Evia, though the only danger awaiting you here is the temptation to never leave. Centuries-old forests lie in the shadows of jagged peaks. Treacherous waves crash onto its eastern coast as dolphins swim carefree above myriad shipwrecks deep below the surface. The mysterious structures of the “Drakospita” or “dragon’s houses” built millennia ago still ominously stand on mountain peaks, marking and defying the passing of time.

Hundreds of metres below, modern cities with traditional hospitality and local culture flourish. Aside from the seaside towns of Styra, Marmari and Karystos, the rest of southern Evia is made up of small villages where authentic agrarian life prevails. Some of Greece’s finest meat and cheese is produced within this region, and the friendly islanders are always looking for a chance to impress a hungry traveller with the fruits of their labour.

And the hiking trails, gorges and mountain routes will certainly work up your appetite, both for delicious cuisine and adventure. The famous Demosaris Gorge is one of the most well-known throughout the country, though it sees a mere fraction of visitors as do the Samarian and Vikos Gorge. Tumbling waterfalls amidst lush forests and rock pools entice walkers to take a refreshing dip during the summer months, while the changing colours of autumn and spring bring an enchanting aesthetic to an already mesmerizing place which leads to an amazing hidden beach along Evia’s Aegean coast. The Archampoli and Agios Dimitrios gorges lead to their own private paradises, and include similar scenery and adventure.

Photo: dtsiabai

The south central part of the region is dominated by Mt. Ochi, which has acted as a haven for humans, animals and plants over millennia. It is here that some of the finest examples of the infamous “drakospita” still stand, built centuries ago by stacking giant rocks on top of one another, leaving nothing but a slender slit down the middle of the roof to allow sunlight in. Unsure whether or not the structures were built to be temples or homes, researchers have suggested that those remaining today may have been a mixture of both. One thing that is certain is that their unique style of primitive architecture has not been previously recorded elsewhere. They are extremely well preserved,are relatively easy to reach on foot, offer incredible views and are an absolute must for visitors to the region.

Mount Ochi’s allure comes from more than mysterious mountain-top buildings. It is home to several rare and endangered bird and reptile species, as well as a large diversity of flora which sustains a delicate eco-system unique to its peaks. Greece’s famed mountain tea grows here, along with a chestnut forest which dates back to centuries before. Its streams water the fertile valleys below and provide all types of life with a resource that continues to dry up elsewhere year after year. A beloved hikers’ haven, Mt. Ochi is great for those of all ages and abilities who wish to explore this lofty utopia.

Photo: www.visitgreece.gr

For those who wish to do some exploring at much lower altitudes, southern Evia has a large number of hidden beaches which are some of the most unknown throughout the country. Only during summer weekends one can find several campers at these stretches of sand virtually surrounded by imposing rocks all around. Most of these lie along its Aegean coast, and some of the most beautiful are Schinodavila, Kallianos, and Varrelai. Windsurfing is becoming more and more popular, particularly at the exotic beach of Chrysi Ammos along the southern Euboean coast which enjoys northerly winds and currents that are anything but predictable.

Though Evia is geographically a bridge between the Greek mainland and the Aegean Sea, southern Evia feels as though it could be the edge of world thanks to the strong currents that surround it and its imposing landscape found within. And whether you choose to discover it via its seas, by foot or by bike, the sweet, enticing song whispering promises of adventure will never be forgotten.

 

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Location - Southern Evia

Agios Dimitrios Gorge

Well-known for its rare geological characteristics and plant species, the gorge of Agios Dimitrios is the perfect opportunity for those new to canyoning. A newly-built road runs through the gorge, though a footpath within its slopes takes walkers through the picturesque village of Agios Dimitrios, passing strange layers of cippolina marble and other geological oddities until reaching the pristine beach of Schinodavlia along southern Evia’s northern coast.

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Chrisi Ammos

The exotic beach of Chrysi Ammos just outside of Marmari is considered one of Evia’s finest and is popular with water sports enthusiasts. Due to its unique geographical location and the northerly winds which blow here, Chrysi Ammos is paradise to avid wind and kite surfers. Its fine sand and shallow aqua waters are worshipped by many during the summer.

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Marmari

Both of the coasts east and west of Marmari enjoy frequent winds suitable for windsurfing and most are organized as well.

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Southern Evia’s unique geographical position as a bridge between mainland Greece and the Aegean Sea makes it an ideal stopover for migratory birds. In fact, about 80% of the bird population throughout the region is seasonal, with only 20% of the species choosing to nest within the area. Several types of birds can be observed in Southern Evia, though the area of Mt. Ochi is of great importance to rare and endangered species, and serves as an ideal location for bird watching.

Some birds to keep an eye out for include Cretzschmar’s Bunting (Emberiza caesia), the Eurasian Eagle-owl (Bubo bubo), Western rocknuthatch (Sitta neumayer), and the Yelkouan Shearwater (Puffinus Yelkouan).

Mt. Ochi is also an important haven for rare and threatened species, though the presence of these birds is decreasing each year at an alarming rate. The Golden eagle (Aquila chrysaetos), Bonelli’s eagle (Hieraetus fasciatus) and the Long-legged Buzzard (Buteo rufinus) are some of the rarest raptors seen here, and primarily visit the region along their migratory routes or to breed. Perhaps the dwindling number of birds of prey is reason that Ochi’s smaller protected species are flourishing. Rock partridges, Wood larks, Tawny pipits, Fan-tailed warblers, Protzcshmar’s and Black-headed buntings all boast significantly larger numbers on Mt. Ochi compared to their other habitats throughout Europe.

Southern Evia is home to several lush gorges filled with dense vegetation, a variety of wildlife and beautiful waterfalls. The close proximity of between the gorges and the large number of hiking trails between them has led to the area becoming more and more popular with canyoning enthusiasts.

Photo: travel-around-greece.blogspot.com

Agios Dimitrios Gorge

Well-known for its rare geological characteristics and plant species, the gorge of Agios Dimitrios is the perfect opportunity for those new to canyoning. A newly-built road runs through the gorge, though a footpath within its slopes takes walkers through the picturesque village of Agios Dimitrios, passing strange layers of cippolina marble and other geological oddities until reaching the pristine beach of Schinodavlia along southern Evia’s northern coast.

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Archampolis Gorge

One of Evia’s most mesmerising areas is the small but enchanting Gorge of Archampolis. Stretching from East to West between the villages of Evangelismos and Thymi, the gorge features sheer cliffs that plunge down into the crystal clear Archampolis stream. The area is home to several plant and animal species, as well as a variety of birds who take advantage of the numerous caves along the gorge’s route. Though the most fascinating aspect of Archampolis is the ancient city found within the cliffs. Evidence of mining has been found, though researchers are still unsure whether it was a permanent settlement or simply a mining outpost. Canyoners will enjoy the beautiful flora found throughout the area as well as the small pools left over from the stream. Anyone walking through Archampolis is bound to enjoy the gorge’s ending at its eponymous hidden beach.

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Demosaris Gorge

Arguably Evia’s most well-known gorge is this the extensive Demosaris Gorge which stretches from the central region of southern Evia to the northern coast at Kallianos Beach. Along the way, explorers have the opportunity to walk through dense centuries old forests, encounter rare flora species, dive into sparkling pools of waters, admire beautiful waterfalls and enjoy breathtaking views. The easiest and most picturesque route takes walkers ten kilometres starting from Petrokanalo Pass and finishes at Kallianos Beach. The Demosaris Stream runs through the gorge most of the year and many springs can be found along its meandering path through the gorge.

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Southern Evia offers a variety of different landscapes for cyclers of all ages and abilities to enjoy. Along its western coast, roads and paths along the seaside can be easily found around the areas of Styra, Marmari and Karystos.

Heading north towards the eastern coast, the terrain becomes much more challenging, especially around Mt. Ochi. These areas are more suited for mountain bikes, and offer riders some of the most beautiful scenery throughout the island.

Its unique position and unique undersea geological formations has made southern Evia a popular destination for diving enthusiasts of all abilities.

Despite the fact that it’s practically surrounded by sea, locally-raised meat has always taken the centre stage in kitchens throughout southern Evia. In fact, the livestock which is primarily raised within the fertile plains and mountainsides of Oxi is well known as being top quality throughout both Evia and Greece. Dishes such as stuffed goat and smoked pork are some regional staples.

Photo: pitenis.gr

 

The cheese produced from these animals are equally sought after, including the spicy touloumisio cheese, anthotyro, kefalograviera and several other varieties. Like the rest of Evia, the island’s southern region produces aromatic organic honey, which is fantastic on its own and even better when used to make some of the area’s desserts, such as walnut pie and the syrup-soaked cake known as Ravani. An unusual sweet that is commonly made here is halvas with sweet myzithra cheese. But don’t take our word for it; the only way to know for sure is to indulge!

Southern Evia is a hikers dream. Mt. Ochi and the gorges of Agios Dimitrios, Archampoli and Demosaris provide a backdrop of thick forests, rocky cliffs, refreshing waterfalls and dazzling pools of water to enchant walkers of all abilities. The fact that most trails lead to hidden, pristine beaches is a plus, though one of the greatest advantages of hiking throughout the region is that it can be done year-round.

Agios Dimitrios Gorge                                            Time: 1.5 hours                 Difficulty: Easy

Despite the fact that a road now passes along the bottom of the gorge, hikers can still choose from a variety of different trails that traverse the ravine. The easiest and most popular route is one which begins from the village of Agios Dimitrios and descends through the gorge until reaching the impressive beach of Schinodavila.

Agios Dimitrios Gorge (Sara Trail)                         Time: 2.5 hours                  Difficulty: Easy

A newly-built road through the gorge means walkers can choose to start at the end of the gorge westward towards Sara instead of starting from the gorge’s beginning. The path is particularly breathtaking as it follows the Aegean coast for the majority of the way.

Archampoli Gorge – Archampoli Beach                  Time: 1 hour                      Difficulty: Easy

There are several ways through Archampoli Gorge, though the southernmost path that begins within the village of Evangelismos is the easiest. Along the way walkers will get a chance to follow the Archampolis stream passing colourful wildflowers and sapphire pools along the way. The ruins of an ancient settlement can be seen within the rocks before the path descends to the magnificent beach of Archampolis.

Dimosaris Gorge                                                     Time: 4 hours                    Difficulty: Easy

The municipality of Karystos offers an extremely convenient bus service which transports walkers to the start of the path throughout the warm months. Though slightly lengthy, the route of the trail is entirely a descent, and one which passes some of Evia’s most beautiful scenery complete with myriad wild flowers, diverse wildlife and a thick canopy of trees. Tumbling waterfalls and shallow pools make for unique bathing opportunities within untouched nature along the way. The path also crosses through picturesque villages like Lenosaioi and Kallianos before reaching Kallianos beach.

Drakospita (Styra) – Armenon Acroplis                Time: 2 hours                    Difficulty: Easy

This trail begins above the port of Styra at the site of some of the best-preserved Drakospita and continues towards the Armenon Acropolis.

Myloi – Mt. Refuge – Summit of Mt. Ochi               Time: 4 hours                    Difficulty: Easy

Despite the fact that this trail leads to the summit of Mt. Ochi and takes approximately four hours to complete, it’s a route that can be done by walkers of all abilities. Starting from the village of Myloi,  located a few kilometres north of Karystos. Walkers begin their ascent to Mt. Ochi heading eastward until reaching the Mt. Ochi refuge. From there it’s about an hour’s walk through the edge of the beautiful Kastanolongos forest until reaching Ochi’s summit and witnessing some of the most breathtaking views that Evia has to offer.

Mount Oxi provides several trails through which hikers can reach its summit. Though considered more of a hike, rather than a climb, the scenic routes throughout the wider Oxi area are popular with climbing enthusiasts.

Photo: www.skaikairos.gr

The route from Petrokanalo to Anemopyla crosses both Mt. Oxi and the smaller Cavo d’Oro mountain ranges and offers the most difficult hike within the area. Other mountain trails include the route from the village of Myli which passes the Mt. Ochi refuge and continues onto the summit and the village of Petrokanalo. An easier route takes hikers from the Karystos Environmental Information Centre and past the village of Lala before heading towards Oxi’s peak.

Telephone: +30 22240 22378

Southern Evia features the largest number of unorganized beaches when compared with central and northern parts of the island. The swimming spots along the southern Euboean coast are markedly cleaner and more picturesque than the rest of its shore, thanks to its proximity with the open waters of the Aegean.

Without a doubt, the beaches along southern Evia’s Aegean coasts are among the region’s, if not the island’s best. Several are small, hidden coves found at the end of dramatic ravines, adding to their remoteness and exotic feel.

Almyropotamos Beach

Despite the fact that it lies next to the port connecting Agios Dimitrios with the mainland, the sandy beach of Almyropotamos is extremely clean and very popular with swimmers. Bars, tavernas and hotels line the road behind the beach, though quiet spots can be found.

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Archampoli Beach

This magnificent hidden beach is the just reward of those who traverse the eponymous gorge leading up to it. The large cliffs on either side combined with the deep blue-green waters add to the beaches’ beauty and remoteness.

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Armirichi Beach

Another contender for Evia’s best beach was the site of a commercial for the Greek beer, Mythos. It’s a very small, hidden cove featuring turquoise waters and fine sand. A small taverna lies just behind the beach.

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Bouros Beach

The quiet bay of Bouros can be found ten kilometres south of Karystos near the island’s southern-most tip. For the most part, the beach consists of fine sand, though there are rocks scattered throughout. The beach is unorganized and ideal for those looking for a relaxed swimming spot.

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Chrisi Ammos

The exotic beach of Chrysi Ammos just outside of Marmari is considered one of Evia’s finest and is popular with water sports enthusiasts. Due to its unique geographical location and the northerly winds which blow here, Chrysi Ammos is paradise to avid wind and kite surfers. Its fine sand and shallow aqua waters are worshipped by many during the summer.

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Fygias Beach

Clean, shallow water and natural shade backing the sandy beach await all who choose to swim at this beach outside the eponymous village. Located just 3 kilometres north of Marmari, it is quite popular during the summer months.

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Kallianos Beach

Marking the northern endpoint of the Dimosaris Gorge, Kallianos Beach lies between two large cliffs and features a small stream running down from the gorge and into the sea. It features the same remoteness as Archampoli, though offers two tavernas above the beach. Walkers along the Agios Dimitrios Gorge can also finish here.

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Karystos Beach

The long stretch of sand lining Karystos’ coast and situated next to its port is surprisingly clean and offers swimmers and convenient bathing spot. There are umbrellas on a portion of the beach, as well as free sections where you can lay your towel.

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Limniona Beach

Another splendid yet more cosmopolitan swimming spot is the popular Limniona Beach located between the villages of Tsakei and Mesohoria along Evia’s eastern coast. Sea caves and several cliffs suitable for jumping line the edges of the beach, while a small island directly adjacent provides swimmers with plenty to explore.

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Livadi Beach

Cerulean waters caught between two ridges with a sandy beach in between give Livadi beach a remote, deserted feel. That is, unless you decide to visit during the weekend or within the peak summer months, when the beach can be full of campers. The beach is located about 15 kilometres from Karystos along Evia’s small southeastern coast.

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Marmari

Both of the coasts east and west of Marmari enjoy frequent winds suitable for windsurfing and most are organized as well.

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Nea Styra Beach

Another port-side beach, the clear waters of Nea Styra are an ultra convenient swimming spot along the town’s waterfront. Though it’s quite narrow and can be difficult to snag an umbrella if you don’t go early, the beach is long enough to accommodate everyone.

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Niborio Beach

Named after the quaint seaside village where it’s found, this quiet sandy beach lies in a small gulf south of Styra on the way towards Marmari. There are no umbrellas and the beach is unorganized.

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Porto Lafia

Another good choice for those seeking tranquillity is the beach of Porto Lafia along the coast between Styra and Marmari. Its shallow, turquoise waters make it very popular with families as well. The beach is sandy and unorganized.

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Potami Beach

This beautiful remote beach lies within a small gulf and features shallow water and fine sand. Bathers should be aware that the area is prone to strong currents and waves.

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Schinodavila Beach

Arguably one of the finest beaches throughout the island is the enchanting hideaway beach of Schinodavila.

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Varellai Beach

The seven-mile trek along a difficult dirt road is well worth the splendours of one of Evia’s most remote beaches. Varellai features deep light blue waters and smooth white pebbles along its shores. It’s a great place to go if you’re seeking solitude, though campers do set up tents from time to time. It goes without saying that there are no facilities within the close vicinity.

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Zarakes Beach

Small white pebbles and dazzling emerald waters can be found at another one of Evia’s top beaches. Zarakes Beach lies roughly 3 kilometres outside the village of the same name. Its crystalline waters deepen quickly and the strong winds and large waves that are usually found within the area make it less than ideal for small children. A few tavernas can be found behind the beach, though aside from that, it’s unorganized.

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Zastani Beach

Another popular bathing spot near Marmari is the dazzling beach of Zastani. Its crystalline waters contrast with the white stones which line the beach and seabed here.

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Agios Dimitrios Gorge

Well-known for its rare geological characteristics and plant species, the gorge of Agios Dimitrios is the perfect opportunity for those new to canyoning. A newly-built road runs through the gorge, though a footpath within its slopes takes walkers through the picturesque village of Agios Dimitrios, passing strange layers of cippolina marble and other geological oddities until reaching the pristine beach of Schinodavlia along southern Evia’s northern coast.

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Chrisi Ammos

The exotic beach of Chrysi Ammos just outside of Marmari is considered one of Evia’s finest and is popular with water sports enthusiasts. Due to its unique geographical location and the northerly winds which blow here, Chrysi Ammos is paradise to avid wind and kite surfers. Its fine sand and shallow aqua waters are worshipped by many during the summer.

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Marmari

Both of the coasts east and west of Marmari enjoy frequent winds suitable for windsurfing and most are organized as well.

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Strong northern winds and its unique geographical position and characteristics have provided southern Evia for several spots ideal for windsurfing. Though it has yet to become a “hot spot” of the sport, year after year, more surfing enthusiasts are visiting this region.

Chrisi Ammos

The exotic beach of Chrysi Ammos just outside of Marmari is considered one of Evia’s finest and is popular with water sports enthusiasts. Due to its unique geographical location and the northerly winds which blow here, Chrysi Ammos is paradise to avid wind and kite surfers. Its fine sand and shallow aqua waters are worshipped by many during the summer.

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Marmari

Both of the coasts east and west of Marmari enjoy frequent winds suitable for windsurfing and most are organized as well.

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Almyropotamos

Evia / Southern Evia
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Drakospita

Evia / Southern Evia
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Karystos Mausoleum

Evia / Southern Evia
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Temple of Apollo

Evia / Southern Evia
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Zarakes

Evia / Southern Evia
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Bourtzi

Evia / Southern Evia
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Castello Rosso

Evia / Southern Evia
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Fylagra Castle

Evia / Southern Evia
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Agia Triada

Evia / Southern Evia
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Agios Grigoris

Evia / Southern Evia
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Agios Nikolaos

Evia / Southern Evia
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Southern Evia is natural paradise full of mountains, forests, rivers and lush valleys, all of which support a diverse range of plant species. Many of rare and endangered flora can be found within the many gorges of the region including Demosaris, Agios Georgios and Archampoli.The remoteness of Mt. Ochi has made it an invaluable refuge full of lush vegetation which attracts feeds a large number of migratory birds each year.

Demosaris Gorge

Evia / Southern Evia
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Kastanalongos Forest

Evia / Southern Evia
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Mt. Ochi

Evia / Southern Evia
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As a bridge between mainland Greece and the Aegean as well as its large number of remote areas within the region, southern Evia is an extremely important haven for a large variety of wildlife. Lake Dystos, the large number of gorges and ranges of Mt. Ochi and Cavo d’ Oro are all microcosms of species, many of which are rare and endangered.

Reptilian life has flourished within southern Evia, and species such as the Mediterranean tortoise, (Testudo hermanni), Marginated tortoise (Testudo marginate , European pond turtle (Emys orbicularis),  a protected species, and the Caspian turtle (Mauremys caspica) can be seen in various places throughout the region.  Southern Evia is also home to several snakes, including the poisonous Long-nosed viper (Vipera amodytes). Other harmless varieties include the common grass snake (Natrix natrix), the Balkan whip snake (Coluber caspius), and the European rat snake (Elaphe situla) can all be seen at large in southern Evia. The eastern four-lined rat snake is a strictly protected species. Lizards  inhabit several different types of habitats, including wetlands, forests, rocky mountainsides and river pools. They range from the bizarre European legless lizard (Ophisaurus apodus), the brightly coloured eastern green lizard (Lacerta viridis) and the snake-eyed skink (ablepharus kitaibelii), are just a few examples of some commonly spotted varieties. Amphibians are another important link in the eco-system chain, and several speiceis of frogs, toads and salamanders are found in abundance throughout several areas of southern Evia.

Mammals also play a significant role in the vitality of the region. Foxes, rodents, ferrets, hares hedgehogs, weasels and several rodent species are just a few examples of critters which can be spotted within the region. A strange and fascinating species of mouse lives here, particularly in the Kastanolongo forest. The dormouse (Glis glis) looks more like a squirrel and has large eyes which it uses to locate food during the night. The highly protected Mediterranean monk seal (Monachus monachus) has been occasionally spotted within the areas of Kallianos beach and Actaio.

The area is also home to a dazzling array of butterflies including the two-tailed pasha (Charaxes jasius) and the small blue butterfly as well as varieties of moths such as Europe’s largest Emperor moth (Saturnia pavonina). The giant Saga hellenica cricket can be found near Karystos, and is much larger than other species commonly found in Greece.

The waters surrounding southern Evia are also teeming with life. The southern Evia gulf is home to one of the most interesting eco-systems within the country. Reefs, coral, sea weed beds flourish in these warm, shallow waters. It is also a haven to shellfish and crustaceans. Despite its treacherous reputation among sailors (or maybe because of it) the waters near Cape d’ Oro reaches depths deeper than 300 metres and enjoy strong currents which bring with them a large variety of fish and other sea mammals. Dolphin pods can commonly be been here during the early months of summer.

Since antiquity, Evia has carried on its proud legacy of winemaking. The island is home to several well-known Greek brands, and several small-scale producers operate at the local level.

Photo: www.thetoc.gr

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