Chalki in Greece
Chalki (also spelled Halki), just west of Rhodes, belongs to the Dodecanese islands. It is a small island, both to the surface and the number of residents, here lives about 480 people, the surface is 28 km2 and the highest mountain - Maistro - measuring 518 meters above sea level.
It looks like Gialos in Symi, but it's Emborio in Chalki.
Chalki is situated between Rhodes and Tilos. It is one of the most barren islands I have ever been on. Water shortages are evident; all fresh water comes from Rhodes by ship once a week. During high season, it is not uncommon that the water runs out.
Luckily the water surrounding the island will never run out. Like the sponge has done. Chalki was once one of Greece's five most important islands for sponge fishing, the other was Kalymnos, Lipsi, Symi and Hydra.
When the sponge fishing ceased, a large part of the island's population moved to Florida. As most there lived around 3,000 people on Chalki, now there are living slightly less than 500.
Emborio is a very beautiful and cozy village.
I like Chalki for the peace and quiet, for the lovely village of Emborio and the crystal clear turquoise waters. I also like the evenings very much. There are many good restaurants to choose from, and the food is generally very good. The only negative with Chalki is the nature, it is not especially beautiful.
TRAVEL TO CHALKI
Take the plane to Rhodes and then continue by ferry from Rhodes Town or from Kamiros Skala which is located 50 kilometres south of Rhodes Town. Boat connections are also available from Karpathos, Tilos, Nisyros and Symi.
GETTING AROUND CHALKI
A minibus runs between Emborio and the monastery of Agio Ioannis. The bus stops along the way, including at the beaches Pondamos, Kania and Ftenagia and to the uninhabited village of Chorio. There are no car or moped rental services.
The sunrise is magically beautiful in Emborio.
VILLAGES IN CHALKI
Have you been in Gialos on Symi, you will smile in recognition when you see the picturesque Emborio which is the only village on Chalki. Like Gialos, Emborio lies at a horseshoe-like bay surrounded by pastel-coloured beautiful old rich man's houses, some are renovated, and others are in need of restoration.
The seafront promenade (closed to traffic except when the ferries arrive) is the heart of the village; here are most of the tavernas, cafes and shops. Evenings can be magical, in the sea you see reflected images of the beautiful houses and the many cosy tavernas are to say the least inviting.
The bell tower in Emborio.
In the far end of the promenade, is a bell tower donated by islanders who emigrated to Tarpon Springs in Florida. The road leading from Emborio to Chorio, however is named Tarpon Springs Boulevard.
BEACHES IN CHALKI
The beaches are few and not very good. Pondamos, 10 minutes walk from Emborio, is the island's only sandy beach. There is a taverna and sun beds with umbrellas for rent.
Ftenagia is a tiny pebble beach just south of Emborio. The beach is not much to write home about, but the crystal clear turquoise waters are tremendously inviting. Also here there is a taverna. The beach Kania, north of Emborio is another pebble beach, which takes about 25 minutes to go to. No taverna.
SIGHTS IN CHALKI
About 35 minutes walk from Emborio is the former capital Chorio. The village is uninhabited since the beginning of the 19th century, most houses are in ruins, and only a few have been renovated.
The uninhabited village of Chorio.
Above Chorio there are remnants of an impressive medieval castle (Kastro) from where one has a splendid view. It takes 10-15 minutes to walk up to the Kastro.
Another attraction is the monastery of Agio Ioannis which stands on a plateau on the western part of Chalki. You get here by bus or on foot, the hike takes about two hours.
ACCOMODATION IN CHALKI
Nearly all rooms are booked by tour operators; therefore it can be hard to find a place to stay if you are travelling independent. To be sure to find a place to stay, the best option is to book ahead. If you arrive without any reservation you can ask at one of the travel agency. Below we have hand-picked some very good hotels in Chalki.
Villa Amalia in Emborio.
Emborio on Chalki.
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