An Epic Experience

Little has been made of one of Hios's greatest claims to fame -- as the birthplace and home of Homer -- but knowing he is associated with this island adds a special buzz to your visit. In fact, it is one of several islands or cities around the eastern Mediterranean that lay claim to this honor, but Hios's is probably the oldest and strongest. In any case, Hios has been adopted as the home by a group of modern scholars in Homeric studies, and each year this Academia Homerica holds a weeklong session on Hios, where students and scholars gather to lecture, study, and learn more about Homer. Because most visitors will not be able to spend a week with Homer, I have a suggestion: Bring a paperback copy of the Iliad or the Odyssey to read here -- on a beach or in a cafe. It's an experience you will treasure.

The west coast of the island has a number of stunning beaches. Elinda Cove shelters a long cobbled beach, a 600m (1,968-ft.) drive in from the main road, between Lithi and Volissos. Another excellent beach on this road is Tigani-Makria Ammos, about 4km (2 1/2 miles) north of Elinda; turn at a sign for the beach, and drive in 1.5km (1 mile) to this long white-pebble beach. There's also a small, cove-sheltered cobbled beach about 300m (984 ft.) before the main beach. There are three beaches below Volissos, the best of which is Lefkathia, just north of the harbor of Volissos (Limnia).


South of Elinda, the long, safe beach at Lithi Bay is popular with families. Of the several tavernas, I can recommend Ta Tria Adelphia (The Three Brothers; tel. 22710/73-208). It's the last taverna you come to as you're walking along the beach.

The beaches of the north coast are less remarkable. Nagos (4km/2 1/2 miles north of Kardamila) is a charming town in a small, spring-fed oasis, with a cobble beach and two tavernas on the water. This beach can get very crowded -- the secret is to hike to the two small beaches a little to the east. To find them, take the small road behind the white house near the windmill.

Note: This information was accurate when it was published, but can change without notice. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.