Halki is not only the smallest inhabited island in the Dodecanese, it is possibly the quietest. There are very few vehicles, only one real road and about 300 permanent residents with everyone living in Emborios, where tranquillity reigns.
Following the government’s recent announcement indicating that international travel could resume from 17th May (subject to a Global Travel Taskforce review), it’s sparked much speculation as to when we will be in a position to travel to Greece. Olympic Holidays has seen a surge in bookings this week with Michael Vinales, MD of the company commenting ‘an air of confidence has certainly returned and not a moment too late. September bookings have been most popular followed by August and July. We envisage a second-round surge of late bookings for May & June once clearer guidance on exactly how international travel will resume and to where is announced’.
The Muncipality of Halki office this week (on 21st February) confirmed that they have successfully vaccinated the island’s permanent population against Covid-19 with all permanent residents, regardless of age and profession being protected. With the island receiving a relatively large volume of foreign visitors each year, the vaccination programme is a shield to keep residents lives safe.
So why Halki
A quest for the holy grail of Greece is a constant challenge – finding a place where time really has stood still, where what is often described as “authentic Greece” still thrives and where friendly locals welcome visitors like long lost friends. Maybe the tiny Dodecanese island of Halki is that place. Arriving at the blissful little port of Emborios sets the scene. Pastel-coloured houses with red-tiled roofs cluster around the horseshoe-shaped bay. Taverna tables are sprinkled along the quayside where colourful boats bob. The smart captains’ houses clamber up an amphitheatre of rocky hills that are topped with three derelict windmills. A medieval castle built by the Crusaders peers down from a summit. It’s so laid-back you can almost hear the silence. It’s been like that for years. The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation told the world in 1983 that Halki was an island of peace and friendship. The locals have been proving Unesco right ever since by giving tourists the warmest of welcomes.
What to do/see
A number the island’s beaches (all with beautifully warm aquamarine sea) boast tavernas, sunshades and sunbeds with a couple of them just a short walk from town. There are various other more remote beaches to explore via boat or minibus. In terms of history, around 3,000 people once lived in Horio on the castle hill when Halki was a rich centre of sponge fishing. That bubble burst in the 19th century and people gradually left until Horio became a ghost town. There are various monasteries, churches and chapels, some in ruins, a spine of hills and mountains, goat pens, fig-trees, wild herbs and prickly pear trees.
How to get there to Halki
Fly to Rhodes (flight time around 4hrs) then the ferry to Halki takes about an hour.
Why Olympic Holidays
With over 50 years of island travel expertise, deposits from £89pp, flight options with all major carriers (BA, Tui, EasyJet & Ryanair) from 27 regional airports and being Atol protected, you can be sure to book with confidence. www.olympicholidays.com/villa-holidays/