Halki, a hidden gem in the Dodecanese island group of Greece, offers the perfect getaway for travellers seeking tranquillity and relaxation.
Located close to the bustling island of Rhodes, this picturesque destination remains relatively untouched by mass tourism, providing visitors with a quieter alternative. Boasting a few amazing beaches and a charming main village, Halki serves as a delightful retreat for those looking to escape the hustle and bustle of daily life.
This tiny Greek island, known for its peace and friendship, can be reached in approximately 1 hour and 15 minutes to 2 hours by ferry from Rhodes.
Halki’s idyllic setting is best enjoyed from mid-May to late September, during the summer season when the island’s various cultural events and festivals are in full swing. For those who want to experience warm waters, a visit between mid-July and late September is recommended.
When visiting Halki, be sure to explore its quaint village, Naxos, which offers respite from the summer heat and boasts several beautiful attractions. As many businesses and restaurants close from 2 pm to 5 pm daily, it is advisable to plan your visit accordingly.
With its unique charm and serene ambience, Halki promises a memorable and rejuvenating holiday for all who venture to its shores.
Getting to Halki
Halki is a small gem in the Dodecanese island group, located close to the far busier Rhodes island. There are a few ways to reach Halki, either by ferry or a combination of plane and ferry.
If you opt to go by ferry, you can go directly to Halki by taking a ferry from Athens’ main port, Piraeus. Make sure to book a cabin, as the trip lasts 20 hours! Alternatively, if you decide to take the ferry from Rhodes to Halki, you can plan your arrival at Rhodes with any of the three days when the ferries pass through the port and hop on the ferry to Halki. There are conventional ferries departing Rhodes Town for Halki that are slower, but they are the only ones that can take cars with them.
- Ferry from Athens (Piraeus): Direct trip, 20 hours
- Ferry from Rhodes: Connects three days a week, car transport available
Best Time to Visit
Naxos, including Halki, is prone to extreme summer heat, and while the mountain villages provide some respite, it can still get very hot. Due to this, most businesses and restaurants are closed from 2 pm to 5 pm daily. To explore the beauty of Halki and avoid this afternoon heat, either arrive early or later in the day. By avoiding the peak summer heat, you’ll be able to enjoy your time in Halki without feeling too overwhelmed by the temperatures.
- Avoid extreme summer heat
- Arrive early or later in the day
- Note businesses closed between 2 pm and 5 pm daily
When visiting the beautiful island of Halki, you have a variety of accommodation options to choose from. We will explore two popular types of stays: Hotels and Guest Houses, and Renting a Villa.
Hotels and Guest Houses
Halki offers a selection of charming hotels and guest houses, mainly located in Nimporio, the port and only village of the island. Staying in Nimporio comes with the advantage of easy access to local facilities, such as shops and taverns. Some of the best hotels to consider for your stay are as follows:
- Amazing House (1BR) – A highly recommended, traditional accommodation with a practical location and plenty of nearby restaurants. Please note that there are no beaches in this area.
- Villa Stathis – A harbourfront villa with lovely views, great privacy, and two amazing terraces.
Be sure to check the variety of dining options in the area, including Mavri Thalassa, Chalki Barbeque, and Kifi Grill. If you’re interested in nightlife, La Piazza Club is a popular destination.
Renting a Villa
For a more personalised stay, you may prefer renting a villa in Halki. This choice provides you with more privacy, space, and the freedom to enjoy your holiday at your own pace. Some options to consider include:
- Villa Moscovia Halki – Ideal for up to 4 guests, with 2 bedrooms and 1 bathroom, providing a comfortable stay.
Remember, when renting a villa, you will likely have access to a kitchen, giving you the flexibility to cook your own meals. This can be particularly useful for travellers on a budget or those with dietary restrictions.
The island of Halki offers various accommodation options to suit your preferences. So, whether you choose a hotel or guest house or opt for a villa, you can enjoy an unforgettable experience on this charming, lesser-known island.
Halki, a small gem in the Dodecanese island group, is known for its charming Italianate architecture and its status as a UNESCO-recognised Island of Peace and Friendship. When exploring Halki, make sure to visit the main village, which boasts a unique charm and picturesque monasteries and churches.
Embark on leisurely strolls around the village with its narrow alleys and marvel at the beautifully restored traditional houses. The village square is a great spot to enjoy a coffee or meal at a local taverna, but keep in mind that most businesses and restaurants close from 2 pm – 5 pm daily due to the summer heat.
Historical sites on the island include the Castle of the Knights of St. John and the Byzantine church of Agios Nikolaos, which offer insight into Halki’s past and provide fantastic views of the surrounding area.
Halki is home to several amazing beaches where you can relax and enjoy the clear aquamarine waters. Some of the most popular ones include:
- Pondamos: Halki’s main sandy beach, conveniently located near the main village, it is ideal for a quick swim and sunbathing session.
- Kania: A small pebbled beach with its unique rock formations, Kania offers a more secluded experience and is perfect for snorkelling.
- Ftenagia: Accessible by a short walk from the main village, Ftenagia features a mix of sand and pebbles, with crystal-clear waters along the shore.
Keep in mind that the best time to visit Halki is from mid-May to late September, with the warmest waters between mid-July and late September. By choosing Halki as your destination, you’re sure to experience a relaxing and peaceful escape on this enchanting Greek island.
Food and Drink
Halki, a small, idyllic Greek island, offers a delightful culinary experience for visitors. This section explores local cuisine and some favourite spots to enjoy delicious food and drinks while on the island.
Greek cuisine in Halki includes a variety of flavours that can satisfy different food preferences. Some popular local dishes include:
- Seafood: Freshly caught fish and other seafood delicacies such as octopus, calamari, and shrimp, often grilled or fried, are common in Halki.
- Meze: A selection of small plates consisting of various appetisers such as tzatziki, dolmades (stuffed vine leaves), and keftedes (meatballs).
- Salads: Greek salad, made with fresh tomatoes, cucumbers, onions, olives, and feta cheese, is a staple in local cuisine.
- Souvlaki and Gyro: Both are popular Greek dishes involving grilled meat, usually served in pita bread with a variety of toppings.
While dining in Halki, don’t forget to try the local wines and spirits like ouzo, raki, and mastika.
For a memorable meal on the island, here are some recommended restaurants and eateries:
- Kania: Known for its seafood, Mediterranean cuisine, and picturesque waterside location, Kania is a favourite among locals and travellers alike.
- Kifi Grill Restaurant: A place where you can enjoy delicious steaks and traditional Greek cuisine, Kifi Grill boasts friendly service and an inviting atmosphere.
- Remezzo: Offering Italian-inspired dishes and pizza, Remezzo is a great spot for those seeking a change from traditional Greek cuisine.
Please remember to explore the island and discover other hidden gems for food and drink. Enjoy your gastronomic adventures in Halki!
Halki, a beautiful small island in Greece, offers a range of outdoor activities for visitors to enjoy. The island’s natural beauty and serene atmosphere make it an ideal destination for those seeking a relaxing getaway.
Halki is home to several picturesque hiking trails, allowing visitors to explore the island’s varied landscape. One such trail leads to the island’s highest peak, the Profitis Ilias. This hike offers stunning views of the surrounding area and is a favourite among nature enthusiasts. Other trails take you through charming villages, ancient ruins, and lush valleys, offering a glimpse of the island’s rich history and culture.
Exploring Halki’s crystal-clear turquoise waters is best done via boat tours. These tours provide visitors with the opportunity to discover the island’s secluded beaches, stunning coastline, and neighbouring islets. Boat tours offer activities such as snorkelling and swimming, allowing you to enjoy the exquisite underwater world that surrounds Halki. There are choices of speed boats or traditional fishing boats, depending on your preference. Whether you choose a private or shared tour, this is a fantastic way to experience Halki’s beautiful surroundings.
Local Culture and Traditions
Festivals and Celebrations
Halki, a beautiful Greek island known for its peace and friendliness, offers a vibrant array of cultural events, particularly in September. While visiting Halki during this time, you will experience a range of local festivals that add a special touch to the island’s charm. You can admire traditional dances, sample various regional delicacies, and participate in local customs, allowing you to immerse yourself in the island’s rich heritage.
Arts and Crafts
The artistic culture of Halki is heavily influenced by its history and traditional craftsmanship. As you explore the village, you’ll notice the local skill and dedication that goes into the creation of various handicrafts. Some of the most prevalent arts and crafts in Halki include:
- Ceramics: Halki is renowned for its beautiful ceramic pottery, often with intricate designs and patterns inspired by the island’s natural surroundings. You can find these unique and colourful pieces at local workshops and markets.
- Weaving: The art of weaving has been passed down through generations on the island, resulting in a stunning array of handwoven textiles. Visit the local shops to discover traditional rugs, scarves, and other items carefully crafted with high-quality materials and techniques.
While visiting Halki, take the opportunity to explore the island’s local culture and traditions, from lively festivals to exquisite handicrafts. By engaging with these aspects of Halki life, you’ll gain a deeper understanding and appreciation of this enchanting Greek island.
Currency and Payment
While visiting Halki, the official currency is the Euro (€). Credit and debit cards are increasingly accepted in major establishments, but it is always a good idea to carry some cash for more remote areas, small shops, and local tavernas. Cash can be withdrawn from ATMs on the island, though their availability could be limited. It is advisable to exchange money or withdraw cash before arriving on the island. Tipping is customary in Greece, with a standard 10% being the norm for restaurants and bars.
Health and Safety Tips
Halki is a relatively safe destination. However, it is important for travellers to remain mindful of their surroundings and take necessary precautions:
- Stay hydrated, especially during the hot summer months. Carry bottled water with you and drink it regularly throughout the day.
- Use sunscreen and wear protective clothing to guard against the sun’s strong rays. Don’t forget sunglasses and a hat as well.
- Watch out for uneven and slippery surfaces when walking through the village or exploring the island’s terrain. Wear comfortable and supportive shoes.
- Be mindful of the “siesta” time, usually between 2 pm and 5 pm. Most businesses and restaurants close during this period, so plan your activities and meals accordingly.
- If you have any medical issues or require medication, bring them with you, as there may be limited medical facilities on the island.
- Lastly, always respect the local customs, traditions, and environment. Refrain from littering and ensure to dispose of your waste properly.
Frequently Asked Questions
What’s the best way to reach Halki?
Halki is a small, charming island in the Dodecanese group, located near Rhodes. To reach Halki, you can take a ferry from Rhodes. The journey usually takes around 1 hour and 15 minutes to 2 hours. Another option is to fly to Rhodes and then take a short boat trip to Halki.
When is the best time to visit Halki?
The best time to visit Halki is during the warm months of May to October. During this time, you can enjoy the beautiful beaches, crystal clear waters, and pleasant weather. If you prefer a quieter experience, consider visiting during the shoulder months of May, June, and September, when there are fewer tourists.
What are Halki’s top attractions?
Some of the top attractions in Halki include its picturesque main village, Halki Castle, and the Church of St. Nicholas. The island also boasts several beautiful beaches, including Trachea Beach and Ftenagia Beach. The village square offers a great place to relax and experience the local culture.
How long does the Rhodes to Halki ferry take?
There are regular ferry services between Rhodes and Halki. The journey typically takes 1 hour and 15 minutes to 2 hours, depending on the type of ferry and weather conditions. It’s a good idea to check the ferry schedules and book your tickets in advance, especially during the peak season.
Born and raised on the sun-drenched island of Crete, Sofia Mavromatis is a seasoned traveler and writer with a deep-rooted love for Greece’s vibrant culture, stunning landscapes, and rich history.