Halki (Chalki) is a small island approx 10km by 3km, a few miles off the west coast of Rhodes. There is no mass tourism, life in Emboria (Halki town) is much that of a traditional fishing village. The houses are scattered around the picturesque harbour with rugged mountains as its backdrop, in the distance you can see the ruins of the crusader castle which still stands guard over the old town, which mostly stands in ruins. The only road on the island, Tarpon Springs, runs from the centre of Emboria past Pondamos beach on its way to the Monastery of St John.
Life on Halki is quiet and your days are spent lazily swimming or sitting at one of the five bars watching the world go by, if you want to expend more energy the walk to the castle ruins is well worth the climb for the views and for those with more energy there’s always the walk to the monastery at the far end of the island, although there is now a mini bus which will take you for a few euros.
The closest beach is Pondamos, a sandy beach, the water is very shallow here really good for the children, sun beds and umbrellas are available also a great taverna. You can walk to the beach, a gentle 10 minute walk or catch the new mini bus from the village centre by the ATM machine, it also goes to the other main beach Ftenagia. Ftenagia has rocky coves, the beach is mainly small pebbles, sun beds and umbrellas available here too, very peaceful, a good taverna where you can sit have a drink and listen to the waves breaking against the shore. it’s a good 20 minute walk or again the mini bus.
Kania, this is a small secluded beach, sand and pebbles, no sun beds here, the only shade is that of a few trees. You will need the swim in the clear blue water when you arrive it’s a good 45 minute walk over the hill, take plenty of water, worth it though.
Yiali even more peaceful than Kania, again only natural shade and take your own refreshments, the only thing to watch at Yiali sometimes are the under currents. But you will find some of the cleanest beaches, in the south Aegean, on Halki, and the sea a beautiful turquoise blue.
There is not a lot of sightseeing to be had on Halki. The old village Chorio, which up till the 19th century was the capital has been abandoned for many years, in the last few years a few of the houses have been renovated, it still plays an important role in Halki life as on the 14th August many villagers make the pilgrimage up to the village for the festival of the Virgin Mary, where dancing goes on well into the night. Carry on up through the village towards the Kastro, the ruined castle built for the medieval Knights of St John, it’s a good climb but more than worth it, because when you reach the castle the panoramic views are breathtaking.
Right at the other end of the island, a good 2 hour walk from Emboria, the mini bus and the islands only taxi can get you there a bit quicker, you will find the Monastery of St John, which is tended by the caretaker and his wife. A wonderful peaceful place, shade under the big pine tree in the courtyard, with a drink that can be brought from the caretaker. The walk is a hard walk and not to be tackled in the heat of the day, the best way is to get the mini bus or taxi up and walk back that way you will enjoy the spectacular view and the peacefulness of Halki. You can also spend the night here in one of the simple cells, a small donation to the caretaker for this.
Apart from the two taverna’s on Pondamos and Ftenagia, all the other taverna’s are found along the harbour front, as with most Greek islands, Halki has own traditional dishes, its always worth asking what the special for that night is.
As with the taverna’s there is a handful of bar/cafeteria’s along the harbour side.
Halki has 3 supermarkets, not like your Sainsbury or Asda, more like your corner shops, where you can find most things. Dimitri the Baker makes wonderful bread and honey pancakes for those with a sweet tooth. Gifts can be brought from the three small gifts shops, one on the harbour front, two on the road going out of the village.
How to get there, Halki has no airport so you fly into Rhodes, then get a taxi to Kamiros Skala approx 30 mins, then onto the ferry, there are two, the Nissos and Nikos both go to Halki and take approx 75 minutes. Its then a 1minutes walk to the house. Nissia Holidays can arrange your travel from the airport.