Built on both sides of the Euripus Strait, with one part situated on the island of Euboea and the other one - in Boeotia, Continental Greece, the town of Chalkída is an ideal place for a few days vacation and not only.
In ancient times, it was one of the most active independent cities of ancient Greece with colonies from Thrace to Italy and Sicily. Its strategic geographic location was often the reason for it being conquered but also for it being an integral part of the great empires in antiquity and in the Middle Ages too.
Today, Chalkída is the main town and port of the area of Euboea. It is located about 70 km away from Athens and offers opportunities for excursions and walks along the beach, the hill where the ancient fortress Karababa is situated and of course, along the bridge over the Euripus Strait where you can see the unique currents that reverse their direction.
Where to go sightseeing
Upon entering the town, you will see the new impressive bridge - a technological achievement of modern thought, which facilitates the access to the town and relieves the traffic in the centre. Visitors use the old swing bridge to watch how the Euboea Bay currents reverse their direction. There starts the most cosmopolitan part of the town, the promenade with restaurants, taverns and cafeterias.
The City Hall, a beautiful three-storey building in neoclassical style, and the "Red House", built by the French architect Flengis in 1884 will draw your attention, when walking along the promenade.
There are archaeological and ethnographic museums too. Findings from excavations carried out in various places in Euboea and especially in Eretria are exhibited in the Archaeological Museum. At the Ethnographic Museum, you can see rare items (weapons, coins, traditional costumes), revealing the way of life in the town and its surroundings.
A Byzantine collection mainly of Byzantine and post Byzantine sculptures is exhibited in the mosque. Mosaics, ceramics and other artworks can be seen in the National Art Gallery.
Finally, in the centre of the Castro neighbourhood is the medieval church of "St. Paraskeve" (protector of the city) - a Byzantine church built by the Venetians in the 14th century.
Other sights are the Roman aqueduct and the marble fountain.
Karababa fortress is located on a hill from the side of Boeotia. The hill is called Furka and has a strategic location, since Euripus Strait and the town of Chalkída can be controlled from there. The Turks built the fortress, preserved to this day, in 1684 in order to protect the town from the Venetians.
You can have a cup of coffee at the "Turistiko" cafe as locals call it - on the top of the fortress, where you will enjoy a panoramic view of the town and Euboea Bay.
The currents that reverse direction
Chalkída is known for a unique phenomenon in the Euripus Strait - the sea currents reverse their directions. This phenomenon has been drawing the interest and admiration of people since ancient times, both from an astronomical and geophysical point of view and in philosophical terms.
From the old bridge, the visitors of Chalkída can see how the sea currents reverse their direction from north to south and vice versa every six hours.
How to get there?
As you drive north along the Athens - Lamia highway, at about the 60th km and almost immediately after the second toll booth, you will see the sign of Chalkída. Turn right onto the Chalkída -Schimatari road and you will reach the town after about 15 km.
Where to eat?
You can try seafood, meat dishes and tasty salads at reasonable prices at a restaurant called "Vrahos", the fish tavern "Telonio" - almost at the port of Chalkída. The "Piaty" restaurant in the neighbourhood of Kourenti offers modern Greek cuisine and an excellent selection of wines. You can try the establishments offering ouzo - "5F" (www.pentefi.gr), "Τo talami" (www.tothalami.gr) in the region of "Pharos" and "Tsaf" (3, Papanastasiou Str.).
In Nea Artaki, about 9 km north of Chalkída, you can visit the restaurant "Tsesko", where you'll find fresh fish and good service and the tavern "Mouria", where you can try any seafood.
In Nea Lampsako, about 5 km from Chalkída, we recommend the tavern, offering ouzo -"Kapetanios" (http://ouzerikapetanios.gr).
Where to stay?
At Pelagos hotel (www.hotelpelagos.gr), 4 km away from the old bridge of Chalkída, over the magic beach in the northern part of Euboea Bay, in Agios Minas, the renovated Lucy Hotel (www.lucy-hotel.gr) with a view over the strait of Euripus and Paliria Hotel (www.paliria-hotel.gr) in the centre with a view of the bridge over the Euripus bay.