The Island of Chalki (Halki)
West of Rhodes Island lies a chain of islets, the biggest of them being Chalki, ideal for a relaxing and rejuvenating holiday. A low profile… island with an ancient history, inhabited since the prehistoric times, taking its name from the copper mines (Chalkos is Greek for copper) that were in use on the island in antiquity. The buildings bear the signs of prosperity the island knew, during the second half of the 19th c., as trade growth and sponge harvesting business brought wealth to the locals. After 1912, the Italians occupied the Dodecanese group of islands (Chalki included) until 1948 when they became part of the Greek State.
As you approach Chalki’s natural harbor, you will be impressed by the picture-perfect and colorful Nimporio (or Emporeio) – the island’s only town, built by the harbor and up the hillside. There are very few cars on Chalki, but you probably won’t need them, as distances are short.
Strolling the Island
Strolling along the town’s picturesque little alleys, you’ll pass by the neoclassical stone-built two or three-storey houses, which possess the most amazing yards: their floor is paved with chochlakia i.e. black and white pebbles arranged in impressive mosaic patterns. The colored walls and roof tops, add to the locale’s magic.
Walking up the hill towards Chorio, you will find the island’s deserted medieval village, which was inhabited until 1870, with the locals gradually settling by the harbor, as in the late 19th c. piracy ceased to be a threat.
The Windmills of Chalki, also situated on the hilltop, is a sight not to be missed, as they are an important part of the island’s history. Even though they have been renovated, they are not in working order anymore.
There are many churches, country chapels and monasteries you can visit oo Chalki Island, such as Panagia Choriani church, which should definitely be on your list, as there are incredible murals inside it. The views from that location are quite impressive.
Beaches – Water Sports
The island of Chalki, is blessed with both sandy and pebbly shores, just pick the one suiting your taste. You can reach them by bus, car or by boat, if there’s no access by road. If you’re a family with young children, the ideal beach for you would be Pontamos beach (SE) due to its shallow waters and the fine white sand. Up North, you can visit Areta, Agios Georgios, Dyo Gyaloi, and Pyrgos; these beautiful pebbly beaches can be reached only by boat. Take a trip also to Kania (E) and Ftenagia (SE) beaches. To the South, visit pebbly Giali beach and Tracheia peninsula, where you will discover two lovely beaches, on a walking distance from each other, one pebbly and one sandy, forming a stretch of land, resembling a bottle neck.
For the diving lovers, there is a diving school where you can get the gear you need or take lessons by an experienced trainer. You will be amazed at the incredible clarity of the waters around Chalki, which remain transparent up to a 40-metre depth. Explore the seabed, the underwater caves, and the shipwrecks in the area, and enjoy the activities for both children and grownups alike. You can also board one of the local boats offering day trips to the islets east of Chalki, or take your private boat and explore the pristine waters of the area.