When the nearest city is a one-hour ferry ride away, you know you’ve escaped! The wonderful island of Halki, Greece, is the perfect sun-soaked getaway from all the hustle and bustle of modern life.
After a plane flight to Rhodes, and a one-hour ferry ride, the small island of Halki awaits. With a permanent population of just over 300 and only one occupied village on the island, Halki is a very special place and perhaps one of the best-kept secrets in the Greek islands. The population centers around the harbor’s perfectly clear waters, with tavernas and bars lining its quays, drawing you in with their delicious Greek foods.
If you do go to Halki I can’t recommend enough Dmitri’s Bakery and its mouth-watering apple pies. Every morning, they bake some of the nicest food I’ve ever tasted. (Apologies for the lack of food photos, but once you’ve tasted them, you’ll understand why I didn’t/couldn’t take the time to snap it first!)
There are three beaches to choose from, one sandy and two stony. All of them have their own dedicated tavernas selling food and ice cream, afford beautiful turquoise waters to swim in and plenty of opportunities to soak up the sun. And for all you sun-lovers, after May, not a single drop of rain is said to land on the island until Autumn comes. And clouds during the summer are practically unheard of!
If you ever get bored of all that relaxing on the beach and fancy an adventure, I can recommend, as we did, that you head up to the abandoned village of Chorio and its defending ruinous castle. At the end of the long winding road lies a mountainside covered with the remains of old houses and buildings, some dating back to medieval times.
One house I found was particularly eerie in its beauty; past the ajar but padlocked door was some long-abandoned furniture in all its usual places. The chair, sitting there unoccupied under the collapsed roof, looked infinitely sad. How long since it was last occupied? How many family scenes were viewed from that very spot by a loving mother or doting father? I wonder.
Even if such abandoned places aren’t your cup of tea, the trip is still worth it. Why? Because the climb up increasingly windy footpaths to the castle’s summit affords the most spectacular views of the island and its surroundings. On a clear day, you can see all the way to Rhodes and beyond.
But do you want to know the major difference between Halki and other island retreats like Rhodes? The difference that makes it the perfect analogue retreat? Whereas Rhodes has signs offering all the usual digital trappings of modern life such as “Free WiFi” at each of its beaches, each of Halki’s own sandy shores has a sign that says, “Beach and Taverna”. And that is exactly what you can find there! It offers a true escape from all the attention-grabbing digital concerns of living in a city. Let your e-mails and Lomography notifications pile high beyond your reach. All you can do is simply forget about them. Lay back in the sun, open a book and, if you cheat slightly (like I did!), flick on your iPod and block out the world. It’ll all be there when you get back!
And that, ladies and gents, is why Halki is the perfect escape from the digital grind. If you know of any other places offering such wondrous escapes, share them below.