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THE ISLAND OF HALKI OR CHALKI IN GREECE & ALIMNIA ISLAND
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map of Halki or Chalki Greece, plattegrond van Chalki of Halki in Griekenland

Halki or Chalki is a bare and rocky island just west of the larger island of Rhodes. I myself have never been there but I have heard of people that have visited the island and liked it very much. There are almost no tourists in Halki, so if you like it quiet then you came to the right place. Halki is a bit of an "up market" island, not cheap, just as for instance Folegandros or Symi. The houses in the port of Halki (Nimborio) look a bit like the houses in Symi (in style). In Chalki, they are often white with red roofs and they look a little Italian or Venetian, and some houses have a pastel color or a brighter color. It resembles the port of Symi (which includes a freestanding bell tower, just like here), only the port of Nimborio is a lot smaller. The big houses show that the island must have been very prosperous. It was also prosperous in earlier times, given the large number of coins that have been foud on Halki by archaeologists.

Halki or Chalki has a surface area of 28 km2 and is home to only 300 people. Chalki or Halki means "copper" (like the metal) and the island is named after the mines that were here. It is a dry island that has no own water supply. All the water is brought from the island of Rhodes and the tapwater is diluted with seawater, making it taste very salty. The electricity comes in by cables under the sea from Rhodes. If there is a power failure it can sometimes take several hours before it gets fixed. Chalki had many residents but at one point it didn't have much to offer anymore, especially after around 1900 when the sponges in the sea were affected by a disease, and the sponge fishermen lost their jobs. Many of them went away to try their luck in America. Of the 8000 people who once lived on the island not many are left.

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Chalki, Halki Chalki, Halki Chalki, Halki Chalki, Halki Chalki, Halki

The port town where the ferries arrive is called Nimborio and this is the only village on the island of any size. The port is shaped like a horseshoe around the bay of Nimborio are Venetian and neo-classical mansions. On the hill behind it are three derelict windmills. Some of the houses in the village have turned to ruins, but in recent years, more and more houses are being renovated and restored. Many of the restored houses are now holiday villas. These are mainly owned by wealthy Brits who have settled on the island. Of all the houses you see in Nimborio perhaps only one third is occupied by the people who live on the island. Many of the inhabitants of the island still have a traditional job and live for example from fishing. Nimborio does have a bakery, a supermarket and there are taverns, but there is no bank (although recently there seems to be an ATM machine in the harbor next to the information stand). If you want to visit the island and be sure the best would be to bring some money. There is no public transport on Halki (no buses) and there is only one taxi. The number of cars on the island, is negligible.

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Chalki, Halki Chalki, Halki Chalki, Halki Chalki, Halki Chalki, Halki
THE BEACHES AND NATURIST BEACHES OF HALKI OR CHALKI IN GREECE

Pondamos Beach is located in the southeast of Halki, near Nimborio, about a ten minutes walk away. The beach has a number of facilities. At Pondamos Beach there are sunbeds and parasols for rent and there is a tavern. Apparently this is the best beach on the island and also the only sandy beach. The beach is shallow and it is easy to get into the sea, so well suited for families with small children.

A little further to the west you find Trachia or Trahia Beach. Actually Trachia is the name of a peninsula. On both sides of the peninsula is a small beach and it is very quiet. The water here is very clear and it is a good place to snorkel. From Chorio it takes about 20 minutes to walk to these beaches. The beaches are a bit sheltered and most of the time out of the wind.

Ftenagia Beach is located on the other side of Nimborio at a distance of about 15 minutes walk. After Pondamos Beach Ftenagia Beach is the most popular beach on the island. This beach is a pebble beach. It is accessible by a path along the rocky coast or from the road that leads from the windmills. The trail is marked with signs. There is a taverna that also rents out sunbeds and parasols.

Yiali or Gialli Beach is a beach on the south side of Halki. The beach can be reached via a winding path from Chorio. The walk takes about 30 minutes. It is a small beach with white pebbles (Yiali = white pebble). There are no sunbeds or parasols for hire but you can find some shade under the high cliffs at the beach. There can be some wind at the beach and there can also be a strong current.

Kania Beach is located on the east side of the island of Halki at a walking distance of 25 minutes from Nimborio. It is a pebble beach and it is not organized (no sun beds, parasols, tavern). Around the beach there is a bit of vegetation so there is a little shade. Take water with you when you go to this beach.

Areta Beach is a quiet beach on the north side of the island and it is a good spot for snorkeling.

ACCOMMODATIONS ON THE ISLAND OF HALKI OR CHALKI IN GREECE - HOTELS, APARTMENTS AND STUDIOS

There is not that much choice on Chalki for people that want to book a hotel or apartment, allthough the number of accommodations that you can book online in Chalki has increased over the last couple of years. Unless you're a long way outside the high season, it is recommended to arrange an accommodation in advance.

Book a hotel, apartment or studio on the island of Chalki - click here

Hotels on the island of Chalki or Halki - Atlantis Houses
Atlantis Houses Chalki, Halki Atlantis Houses Chalki, Halki Atlantis Houses Chalki, Halki Atlantis Houses Chalki, Halki Atlantis Houses Chalki, Halki
Atlantis Houses Chalki, Halki Atlantis Houses Chalki, Halki Atlantis Houses Chalki, Halki Atlantis Houses Chalki, Halki Atlantis Houses Chalki, Halki

Atlantis Houses is a complex of typical traditional houses of Halki. Guests enjoy easy access to the crystal clear sea. The totally renovated residence overlooks the breathtaking bay of Halki and the beautiful landscape of the island. Its apartments have white-washed walls, carefully selected furniture and wooden floors. Each includes a kitchenette with dining area.

Check availabilities and prices & book Atlantis House on Chalki - click here.

Hotels on the island of Chalki or Halki - Villa Dolphins Studios and Apartments
Villa Dolphins Studios and Apartments Chalki, Halki Villa Dolphins Studios and Apartments Chalki, Halki Villa Dolphins Studios and Apartments Chalki, Halki Villa Dolphins Studios and Apartments Chalki, Halki Villa Dolphins Studios and Apartments Chalki, Halki
Villa Dolphins Studios and Apartments Chalki, Halki Villa Dolphins Studios and Apartments Chalki, Halki Villa Dolphins Studios and Apartments Chalki, Halki Villa Dolphins Studios and Apartments Chalki, Halki Villa Dolphins Studios and Apartments Chalki, Halki

Situated in the centre of the main town in Halki, Villa Dolphins offers self-catering accommodation with free Wi-Fi access overlooking the Aegean Sea. Emporio beach is just a few steps away. The studios and apartments of Dolphins feature stone walls and wooden floors. They all include a well-equipped kitchenette, a TV and air conditioning. All rooms also have a private balcony enjoying views over Halki harbour. Within walking distance, guests can find many shops, bars and traditional taverns. Ftenakia beach is a 15-minute walk away.

Check availabilities and prices & book Villa Dolphins on Chalki - click here.

THE SIGHTS OF THE ISLAND OF HALKI OR CHALKI IN GREECE

In the harbor of Nimborio is the highest freestanding clock tower in the Dodecanese islands. It belongs to the Agios Nikolaos Church which dates from 1861.

The former capital of the island, Chora sometimes called Chorio, is crowned by a castle of St. John, with several churches inside, including the church of Agios Nikolaos (another one) with frescoes and mosaics. Nearby is a ruined monastery. The village was once built out of sight to prevent attacks by pirates. At its height about 4000 people lived in the village, but now it is almost completely deserted.

The nearby island Alimnia can be reached by kaik (wooden fishing boat) and here there are a couple of beautiful beaches, a deserted village and on the southeast side there is a castle on either side of a ridge.

THE ISLAND OF ALIMNIA IN GREECE
Alimnia Alimnia Alimnia Alimnia

Next to Chalki on the east side between Chalki and Rhodes is the 6.5 km2 uninhabited Dodecanese island of Alimnia. The highest mountain on the island is 265 meters high. The island was already inhabited in prehistoric times. This is shown by excavations on the island that archaeologists have done. The people lived from fishing, farming and agriculture. You can still see the terraces that were constructed to prevent erosion. Here the crops were grown.

In the Middle Ages, the Knights of St. John of Rhodes built a castle on top of the remains of an acropolis that once stood on the island. In 1912 the island came in the hands of the Italians who made a naval base (for submarines) here because there is a well protected bay on the island. When in 1943 the Germans took over the rule over the island, this naval base was expanded.

After World War II the inhabitants slowly left the island. The wells were not maintained and the houses fell into disrepair. In the seventies all the residents of Alimnia had eventually left. Only two churches on the island (the old village church and the church of the monastery of St. Minas) are still maintained by a priest from the nearby island of Chalki. Currently the island is mainly used as pastureland for sheep and goat by shepherds that live on Chalki. The houses in the village are abandoned here and you can see the broken old furniture that was left behind. There are also people that walk over the island and still find things that remind of the Second World War.

The island of Alimnia now attracts mainly tourists who want to visit the beautiful beaches of the island. You arrive in the harbor where there is a nice church (and a dilapidated monastery) is set on a kind of pier. Here in this place is a nice pebble beach.


Hans Huisman, http://www.angelfire.com/super2/greece/ 2014
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