chalki island holidays
Chalki is just perfect for those who want to spend a vacation away from the stress of modern living. Lying just a few miles off the island of Rhodes, this tiny island has completely escaped the busyness of its larger neighbour. Once a self-sufficient island made rich by sponge diving, Chalki is now a quiet island promising relaxing, though interesting holidays where you will cover all distances on foot as vehicle circulation is prohibited... Chalki is a small mountainous island, of about 400 inhabitants, that covers a surface area of 28kms. Its only settlement, Nimborios or Emborios, lies around a beautiful, natural harbor of crystal clear water, fishing boats at anchor, and a backdrop of rugged mountains. Its tall 2 and 3-story renovated mansions make it unrivalled in beauty amongst other island towns. Life on the island of Halki is simple and unhurried and you can spend happy hours just lazing under the sun and swimming just wherever you fancy. Chalki is an ideal island for walkers. Take long walks to discover the approximately 360 country chapels, most of them very old and now ruined. The hospitable Chalkians will be happy to suggest you paths and trails to discover the island's unrevealed beauty.
Finally, if you wish a few hours' escape from the absolute quietness of the island, the bustling island of Rhodes is nearby. Ideal for families and romantic holidays.
chalki | cultural INFORMATION
Chalki possibly got its name from the copper (in Greek chalkos) workshops that were there in ancient times. The Titans were according to Greek mythology the first inhabitants of all the surrounding islands. The Pelasgians lived here for a long time, leaving several constructions behind, before they were succeeded by the Carians, the Dorians and later the Phoenicians.
Aretanassa, the illustrious queen of Halki lived here once, before being exiled in Karpathos where she committed suicide after her husband's death. Remains of three temples of the god Apollo are preseved at the location of Pefkia, today's Nimborio (along the coastline). The god was worshipped here with exceptional honours. During the flourishing period of the Athenian state, Chalki regularly paid the alliance taxes.
In the 7th century it is conquered by the Arabs, until 825 when it is liberated. Venetians and Genovians arrived on the island in 1204 and repaired the ancient acropolis, building at the same time a fortress on the island of Alimia. In 1523 Chalki was conquered by the Turks. It takes part in the 1821 revolution for the liberation of Greece but it is conquered by the Italians in 1912 and finally is annexed to Greece along with the rest of the Dodecanese.
Visit the Traditional House of Halki, which runs as a folklore museum and gives visitors the opportunity to get a glimpse of the daily life of old Chalki (from the chest with the bride's dowry, to the handmills for making bread and rare embroideries) for bread.
What to see
- The Church of St. Nicholas in Nimborios with its impressive belltower and pebbled yard. Built in 1861, St. Nicholas is the patron saint of the island.
- The Clock in front of the Town Hall
- The buildings of the Post Office and the Customs Office beautiful examples of Italian architecture
- Ancient crusader castle of the Knights of St. John – built NE of the island in the 15th century, on the remains of a Hellenistic period castle and next to the remains of the ancient city. Amongst others, one can see the coat of arms of the Grand Master D’Aubusson inside the castle. There is also the ruined Church of St. Nicholas with remains of 15th and 17th century frescoes.
- Ancient Necropolis – it stretched down the hill up to Pontamos beach
- Chorio – abandoned settlement which once used to be the island’s capital. It was inhabited until the 19th century. It was a settlement built at the top of the hill and it could not be seen from the sea (for protection from pirated raids). This is where the ancient settlement was constructed and amongst the abandoned stone built houses one can distinguish ruins of the ancient homes’ walls...
- Monastery of Stavros
- Old monastery of Taxiarchis Michail Panormitis
- Small chapel of Ai Giannis
- Phoeniki with the half ruined monastery of St. Zaharias
- Pefkia with Apollo's temple
- The islets of Alimia and Krevati
chalki | Villages
The village of Vathi accommodates beautiful and calm beaches with crystal clear waters. One can also take pleasure in the fresh fish dishes and other local delicacies in the traditional taverns and ouzo bars available. Near Vathi, there are two ancient limestone caves, the Cave of the Dragon with deposits of stalaktites and stalagmites and the other one is the Cave of the Negro.
chalki | Beaches
First of all you can simply swim in the harbor! The water is crystal clear! All houses on the waterfront usually have little steps so you can dive in the water!
Chalki is surrounded by beaches – others are accessible on foot and others with small caiques. The five most popular beaches that can be reached on foot are the following:
Pondamos – It is Chalki’s biggest beach with fine, white sand. 10’ on foot from the port; it has a tavern, a canteen and sun umbrellas. Right next to it is a small gulf preferred by nudists.
Ftenaghia– on the side of the island’s hotel, organized with pebbles; next to the port with crystal clear waters. There is a tavern.
Kania – A pebble beach that you will reach on foot (25’ walk) or by mini bus. Maybe the best of the island. There are sunbeds and umbrellas
Giali – small beach with white pebble; not organized – you have to take water and food with you. Can also be reached by caique.
Trahia – a ‘double’ beach beyond Pondamos. It is a piece of land that goes into the sea creating two beaches. It can also be reached by caique.
Excursion boats will take you to the beaches of Yiali, Trachia, Kania or Areta and to the islet of Alimia with its sandy gulf.
- ATM – Yes
- Local mini bus - yes
- Water taxi – yes
- Newspapers / foreign press – no
- Health Center – no (only doctor’s office)
- Town Hall 2246045207
- Police 22460 45213
- Doctor’s Office 22460 45206
- Harbourmaster 22460 45220
The island of Halki has no airport. The nearest island to Chalki is Rhodes which can be reached either by boat (appx. 12 hrs from Pireaus port - Blue Star Ferries www.bluestarferries.gr) or airplane.
Chalki is 45’ away from Rhodes by boat – there are daily sea trips from Kamiros Skala/Rhodes to Chalki and there are two connections per week from Piraeus port to Chalki (ANEK LINES).
By air: Fly to Rhodes international airport (Diagoras). From there catch a sea connection to Chalki departing either from the main port of Rhodes or for the smaller port of Kameiros Skala.
By sea: From Pireaus port (Athens) to Chalki direct - Lage ferry boats of ANEK LINES three times a week - duration of trip 22 hrs. (‘Cornaros’ and ‘Ierapetra’ boats). They follow the “off-the beaten track” route : Pireaus, Cyclades, Crete, Kassos, Karpathos, Chalki and finally Rhodes.
Information : www.anek.gr
From Rhodes central harbour to Chalki – Large ferry boats – three times a week - duration of trip 2 hrs. These are the same ferries that depart from Pireaus port and go to Chalki directly. You will catch them on the days that they pass through Rhodes.
Information : www.anek.gr
From Rhodes to Chalki by catamarans - Dodekanisos Seaways departs from the Kolona Harbour in Rhodes Town. Duration of trip 1 hr.
Information : www.12ne.gr
The “Panaghia Spiliani” local Dodecanese boat twice a week from Nisyros to Tilos, Chalki, Rhodes with return on the same day. Telephone in Nisyros 22420 31750
Small local boats from Kameiros Skala port – Kameiros Skala is a small port 35 klms from the airport on the W side of Rhodes. It can only be reached by car or bus (duration 1:20’ by municipal bus). The duration of the trip from Kameiros Skala to Chalki is 1:30’
There are 2 local boats that run the boat service between Halki and Kameiros Skala :
Nikos Express - +30 22460 45309
Nissos Halki - +30 22460 45266
They depart every day from Chalki at 6.00 a.m. and from Rhodes at 2.30 p.m. (from the Kameiros Skala port).
Tickets are sold on board, and there are no reservations possible.
You will cover all distances on foot. There is a municipal mini bus that goes to all beaches.
chalki | SPORTS & ACTIVITIES
Sailing & Yachting
Every summer a jetty is installed in the small port of Chalki for the berthing of about 15 sailboats. Water, electricity and food can be supplied from nearby stores. However Halki does not offer the possibility in refuelling and water.
The nearest refuelling station is the neighboring island of Rhodes.
You can moor in several parts of the island, even just outside the the port.
Festivals & Events
- Every 29th of August - The whole island celebrates with a memorable passion, and everyone is more than welcome to join in. The island's biggest feast, held at the monastery of Ai Giannis Alargas (St. John), is honored by Chalkians living throughout the world coming back this particular day to celebrate.
- Assumption of Virgin Mary- August 15th
- Every year there are two important sea sport events:
- The High Speed inflatable boats’ race which is usually organized in June or September by the Rhodian Club of inflatable boats and the Soccer Matches.
Excursions & Sports
There are local boatmen who offer trips around the island and to other beaches.
There are no organized watersports; Chalki is ideal for fishing and snorkeling!
Chalki’s waters are ideal for snorkelling and spearfishing. Every year, during October, the Rhodian Freediving Club organizes the underwater fishing competition with participations from all over Greece
Trekking: Chalki is ideal for walking – bear in mind that you will encounter wooden gates or fences on the course of the paths. They are used by sheperds in order to prevent herds from straying! Feel free to continue your way but remember to close the gate behind you! There are trekking maps available for sale on the island.
One of the best routes is to depart from Chalki’s port and walk to the Venitian Castle (45 minute walk). The castle is in very good condition offering fantastic views of the most beautiful areas of the island. From the castle you may then continue towards the Monastery of Ai Giannis (St. John). The entire walk takes about 2 hrs.
Chalki can be combined with the islands of Rhodes and Symi.