Under the Aegean sunlight and spread across the blue sea, a genuine inviting Greek smile emerges amongst the islands of the Dodecanese.
Halki, small though it may be, is a glorious land, ready to reveal its genuine treasures to you. It is obvious from the moment you cast your eyes on the gorgeous harbor and the only hamlet of the island, Nimporio. The absence of vehicles, the serenity which has settled over the entire island and the romantic atmosphere enthralls the visitor.
Everything moves at a relaxed pace, set by the laid-back attitude of its locals. You will enjoy walks in the stone-paved alleys amongst stately homes and restored houses, colored with a painter’s full palette; dive into limpid waters; take time out with ouzo and backgammon and savor the traditional culinary fare. And as for the people themselves, they are characterized by their friendliness and innate kindness, respect their island and have resisted the march of modern tourism.
Things to do in Halki
Wander around the alleyways of Nimporio
The sun-drenched two and three-storey houses of the picturesque hamlet with the colorful walls and tiled roofs look like little boats anchored in the bay.
Wander around the alleyways and enjoy delicious smells from the ovens that every house is equipped with in order to bake bread and the famous ‘makarounia’ of Halki, handmade pasta, laid out in the sun to dry. Ask a local to give you some prickly pears, fruit of unique taste found everywhere on the island.
See the church of Agios Nikolaos, the patron saint of the island, with the majestic steeple and the carved wooden icon screen, and take a deep breath in its ornately paved courtyard with the traditional ‘hohlakia’, beach pebbles. Pause for a while at the Townhall, an old stately home with its splendid clock tower. A walk around Nimporio will leave your heart brimming with peaceful thoughts and ineffable joy.
The dreamlike beaches of Halki
Some of the island’s beaches are accessible on foot, others by caique from Nimporio. Pontamos is the most popular beach on the island with its sparkling white sand. Kania is a picturesque pebbly beach, as are Giali, Ftenagia and Areta, renowned for their azure waters. Trahia, a beach between two channels of water, can only be accessed by caique.
Monastery of Agios Ioannis Alargas
“Alarga” means “far” and this monastery in Stafia is indeed some distance from both Palio Horio and the sea. You can get there after an hour and a half’s hike crossing bare land with dry stone walls and huts, fragrant herbs clinging to the rocky ground and a scattering of fig and prickly pear trees. On August 29th the monastery is thronging with pilgrims who come to take part in the biggest celebration on the island and are generously accommodated in the monks’ cells. Under the high cypress tree, they eat, sing and dance ‘sousta’ until the morning.
Horio – The Castle of the Knights
Perched on a hill 2.5 km from the harbor is Horio, the old capital of the island. In the ruins of the abandoned houses is concealed the Glory of Halki.
From the church of Panagia Horiani with its exquisite curved masonry, you can follow the path that leads to the Castle of the Knights. Its interior is full of fascinating ruins and the Temple of Agios Nikolaos still stands with frescos from the 15th and 17th centuries. From the fortress you can admire the wonderful view to the Karpathian sea.
Hidden treasures of Halki
Either by private boat or by caique from Nimporio, a day trip to Alimia, an islet in the sea between Halki and Rhodes, is well worth it. At the large beach you will have your fill of swimming and diving in the blue waters, while further inland you can make out the ruins of the old hamlet and at a short distance from the shore you can see the salt water lake.
Monastery of Taxiarhis Mihael Palarniotis
In contrast to the stark mountainous landscape of the island, the Monastery is surrounded by trees and affords panoramic view. If you enjoy hiking, you can get to the Monastery on the footpath starting from Nimporio and crossing Horio.
From Palarniotis starts a trail towards Agios Georgios Riskiou passing through the ruins of medieval churches, dry stone walls and abandoned windmills.