The balcony of the Aegean!
- Getting there - Accomodation
- Walk in Kymi - The Folklore Museum
- The port of Kymi and the area to the north
- Mountainous beauties west of Kymi
- Southwest of Kymi
- The coastal area south of Kymi
The small and beautiful town, seeing the Aegean Sea from the east coast of Euboea! “Balcony of the Aegean” has been named. A town with vitality, with history and maritime tradition, the birthplace of the great Greek physician and researcher Georgios Papanikolaou, creator of the lifesaving for women “Pap test”.
Port and center of an area which combines mountain and sea, with beautiful beaches and wild coastlines, traditional villages and trails crossing all green slopes with fig, cherry, chestnut and walnut trees! The mountain settlements of Kymi are classified as landscapes of outstanding natural beauty!
Kymi is located at 87 km northeast of Chalcis, in the middle of the east coast of Euboea, over the northern cove of the large homonymous bay, opened from the Cape Kymi northwest to Cape Ochthonia or Punda southeast.
The bay of Kymi has an opening at its entrance of 8.2 nm and the distance to the coast is 2.5 nm. The coastal zone of Kymi has a length of 53 km.
West of the town the northeastern slopes of Mount Dirfis rise, one of the most beautiful Greek mountains. The water elsewhere is lost in underground tunnels forming caves and elsewhere is creating small rivers flowing in lush ravines ending in small coves with beautiful beaches.
We can go to Kymi by road passing from Chalcis or reaching Eretria taking the ferry from Oropos on the eastern coast of Attica.
In Athens buses (KTEL) leave from Liossion Station.
To go to Oropos we exit the highway after the toll of Kapandriti (Oropos – Eretria 20 minutes); to Chalcis, after the toll of Schimatari.
Arriving in Chalcis we pass the High Bridge and follow the signs to South Euboea taking the coastal national road to the east. We pass Eretria and Aliveri and at the settlement of Lepoura we continue northward to Kymi (the road to the right leads to South Euboea). Once we pass the village Chania near the settlement of Avlonari, to the left a winding road begins leading through the villages of the region to Kymi. The national road continues to the sea reaching the settlement Paralia (Beach) of Kymi and the port, where we can catch a ferry to the island of Skyros. The port is 4.5 km from the town of Kymi.
We can also go to Kymi taking after Chalcis the road passing through the settlements of Steni and Metochi, a wonderful mountain trail (80 km) into the greenery and fir trees.
Accommodation and Shopping
In the town of Kymi and in the coastal settlement Paralia of Kymi there are all the options for a pleasant stay; hotels and rooms to let, restaurants, taverns and cafes; rooms and taverns also in the coastal settlements of Platana and Stomio.
We will also find taverns in the villages of Kymi – Enoria, Potamia, Oxylithos, Taxiarches,Pyrgos, Androniani, Vitala and Metochi. In Kymi there all the facilities a visitor will need.
Traditional products of Kymi and its region are the figs, the cherries, the olive oil and the black wine. Famous are the figs and sweets of Kymi (baklava, sugared buns, macaroons and more), as well as the “koukoularika kandra”, handwork from the cocoon of the silkworm, a tradition continued by the local Cooperative of Women.
Kymi, also called Koumi – Kymae (Cumae) in ancient times – took its name either after the nymph Kymo or by changing the ancient word “kome” (“small town”), because according to one aspect the area in antiquity was organized into “komes”; or, more likely, from the waves and the close relationship between the locals and the sea.
Findings in several places show that the area was inhabited since the Neolithic era. Thanks to the location, Cumae became an important naval and trading center, a crossroads along the sea routes of the Aegean Sea. It was one of the most important cities of Euboea, especially during the Geometric period and later the Classic period (4th century BC).
The contemporary town began to grow in the early 18th century and developed into an important commercial and shipping center. It contributed significantly in the struggle for independence in 1821 and by the mid 19th century until the early 20th century experienced a new period of prosperity through the development of sailing shipping and trading with commercial centers in the Black Sea and France, especially Marseille. One of the local products in great demand in France was the famous black wine of Kymi.
Indicative of the development of shipping is the fact that a Merchant Marine Academy was founded in 1854 (a century later, in 1951, the Senior Merchant Marine Academy was founded, which operates in a nice building on a hill) and during the1890s the construction of the port began, one of the largest artificial ports in the Aegean Sea. That time, as well as the influences from the contacts with European centers, can be seen today in mansions and buildings, in the cottage industry, but also in the traditional costume with renaissance influences, as can be seen by visitors to the Folklore museum.
In Kymi was born in 1883 the great Greek physician and researcher Georgios Papanikolaou, who invented the lifesaving for women method of diagnosing cancer of the uterus, known as “Pap test”. Kymi is also the birthplace, among other important persons, of the engraver Dimitris Galanis, a member of the French Academy, of Major John Velissariou, hero of the Balkan Wars and liberator of the city of Ioannina in Epirus, and of the writer Vassilis Loulis.
Kymi is built at an altitude of 190m to 260m, over the north cove of the Bay of Kymi, the most suitable point of approach from the sea on the east coast of Euboea.The city overlooks its port Paralia of Kymi, and across, up to the horizon, the Aegean Sea. This position has given to Kymi the nickname “Balcony of the Aegean”.
The center of the city is at square of St. Athanasius and the road Galani, the commercial street with banks, telecommunications, post office, restaurants, patisseries and cafés. Around, there are stone houses and paved alleys. Characteristic of the local architecture are the neoclassical houses of ship owners of earlier times, with artistic ironwork on the balconies, corbels on the underside of balconies and inscriptions.
The walk takes us to various attractions of the city and beyond. In the central square is the church of Saint Athanasius; just below, the house where Georgios Papanikolaou was born. Another beautiful church, the Holy Trinity, is built with local red stone. In the Prophet Elias is the statue of John Velissariou, the hero of the Balkan Wars. The view of the city, the sea and the mountain is breathtaking.
Kymi Hospital "G.Papanicolaou"
Of particular interest is the visit to the Folklore Museum, where we see Kymi of the older years. The museum was founded in 1981 by the Educational and Cultural Association of Kymi and is housed in a three-store storey neoclassical building of the late 19th century, with a total area of 450 sq m. The collections consist of 1600 objects from donations of the residents.
In the ground floor we visit the great room with the costumes, the uniforms of soldiers of the Balkan Wars, the vestments of St. Nektarius, sacred objects, wood carvings and jewelry. There are also the “urban corner”, a room with household utensils, the library and the files (photo, audio and video library).
The museum has a branch in the village of Pyrgos, in the “Mansion Chrysanthopoulos”, with the collection of folk artist of the 19th century Sotiris Chrysanthopoulos.
From Kymi the road to the coast leads at 4.5 km to the settlement of Paralia of Kymi and the harbor. The road itself is a sight to see; enough to say that it is integrated as “Ascent of Kymi” in the Greek National Automobile Championship. The road was engraved in the 19th century and has 52 turns.
Paralia (Beach) of Kymi was formerly called Liani Ammos (Thin Sand). From there we take the ferry to the beautiful island of Skyros, the southernmost island of the Northern Sporades. Around the harbor there are taverns, places with ouzo and meze, cafes and patisseries. There is a beach at the Exo Limanaki (Outer Harbor).To the north, at a short distance, in the village of Aghia Marina, there is the nice organized beach Soutsini in a small bay with calm waters even when the wind blows.
Northwest, at 2 km from Kymi, it is Choneftiko (Digestive), a green location with thermal sources of drinking water and digestive, like the name says.
Northeast, at 4 km from Kymi, it is Misokampos (and from there to 3km the beach Kalogeros) and at 5 km, the coastal Chili with an islet with the same name opposite. It is an area of wild natural beauty, a place for scuba diving and a great place for fishing squid. The old shipyard is still used by fishermen.
North at 5 km, it is the Monastery of the Transfiguration, founded in 1643 by monks of Mount Athos, as the tradition says. Nunnery since 1976, it is built at a height of 250m above the sea with wonderful views. Large complex, with the church in the center, looks like a fortress, surrounded by four buildings. In the library there are ecclesiastical writings of the 18th and 19th century and among the sacred relics a brocade epitaph of the year 1635.
At one km from the monastery, on top of a cliff above the north coast, lies the ruined Byzantine castle of Saint George or Apoklidi, built probably in the 11th century.
The road west of Kymi leads to a wonderful mountainous area, from where we can go to beautiful beaches on the north side of the coast.
At 8 km, at an altitude of 240m, is the settlement Vitala with traditional houses and orchards full of fig, cherry and olive trees. In the region, the famous "figs of Kymi" and reputed cherries are produced. On August 16, the “feast of the fig” is held. The church of St. Nicholas and Saints Constantine and Helen, in the village square, was built in the 18th century with the famous local red stone. In a room called “Memories of Lignite” we travel back to the past, at the time of extraction of lignite, which began in the region Kazarma and continued in other surrounding areas.
From Vitala the road continues northwest and – at 24 km from Kymi – reaches the settlement of Metochi, on the verdant foothills of the mountain Xerovouni, a part of Mount Dyrfis. It is a nice mountain village, with two-storey stone houses, built at the banks of Metochiatis River, which flows into a green ravine. Sources, plane trees, chestnut trees and reputed cherries; in early June the “feast of cherry” is held.
To the north, in a green area is the church of St. John, which belonged to a monastery dependency (metochi); so the village took its name. Nearby is the settlement of Holy Apostles, through oaks and chestnuts, and higher the settlement of Koutourla, with the houses between cherry trees.
Going up the river, at an altitude of 470m we reach the cave Kolethra with waterfalls created by an underground passage of water. The ravine ends north to the coast, in the small settlement of Paralia and a nice beach with plane trees up to the sea. Near is the famous beach of Chiliadou.
Southwest of Kymi the roads lead to traditional villages and beautiful locations with views. Hiking trails cross the area between the villages of Androniani, Dendra and Maletiani.Αt 3 km, on the south slope of a hill, is located the settlement Kalimeriani. It took its name from its beautiful location (Kali Meria – Good Place) in which is built facing the Aegean Sea. It was founded in the late Byzantine era and flourished during the Frankish rule. There was a fort named Castle of Valois. During the Ottoman rule the area was named Castella Valla, which eventually became Kastrovalas, a name for the whole area.
The neoclassical mansions, built in the 19th century, remind the latest period of prosperity thanks to the production of wine, olive oil and silk, as well as of lignite throughout the surrounding region; mostly, though, thanks to the development of sailing shipping. On August 15, in the feast of the Church of Panagia (Our Lady), a great festival is held and traditional stew is offered to all.
To the north is the settlement of Grammatikiani, to the west the settlement of Entzi, named after the German geologist and mineralogist Franz Hentze, whose name was connected with the exploitation of lignite in the region, and to the southwest the settlement of Maletiani on the slope of a green hill.
Nearby is also the settlement of Kazarma. The name, apparently from the Italian word “caserma” which means camp, is explained by the fact that in the area came the soldiers who opened in 1834 – 1835 the first gallery in Greece for mining lignite, named “Stoa (Gallery) of Otto”, after the name of the first king of Greece from Bavaria. Then, seven families of Bavarian specialists in research and mining settled down and four more galleries were opened.
Further south, at 12 km from Kymi, is the settlement of Androniani, where the tradition continues with the production of the famous “figs of Kymi” and cherries of excellent quality. In the stone-built houses they stand out the carved corbels at the bottom of the balconies and the arches under the stairs. Here it was the seat of the stone masons, mostly from Epirus, who worked over the past years in the area. The church of the Virgin Mary was built in 1875. On July 26, the festival of Aghia Paraskevi is held.
Close, in the green area of Triklinos, a ruined mill, the Mylos (mill) of Sanda, reminds also the tradition. Very close, two arched stone bridges are made by the artisans of Epirus. From here beautiful hiking routes begin (Mylos – Maletiani 1.1 km, Mylos – Bridge of Androniani 1.6 km, Mylos – Androniani 1 km, Mylos – Dendra – Prophet Elias – Mines 4.5 km).
The settlement of Dendra (Trees), with stone houses, took its name from the large oak trees around it. The church of St. John the Theologian with beautiful belfry was built in 1897.
Also southwest of Kymi, at 10 km, is the settlement of Pyrgos, one of the oldest villages. The “Mansion of Chryssanthakopoulos” is a branch of the Folklore Museum of Kymi, with the collection of the folk artist of the 19th century Sotiris Chrysanthopoulos and his library with old books. At 2 km southeast lies the one room church of St. Nicholas built in the 13th – 14th century. And at 2 km southwest is the settlement of Taxiarches where basketry was developed. The church of St. George was built in 1891.
South of Kymi, the road leads to hospitable settlements on the coast and the interior. In this area there are the two important archaeological sites of Kymi.
At 4 km, above the coast, is the settlement of Enoria, which flourished from marine commerce during the era of sailing shipping. We can see today the two-storey stone houses, of which the most characteristic is that they were built in the variant of neoclassicism, followed in the architecture of Kymi. On the way to Kymi, the beautiful location Fygouli (from the Greek verb meaning “leave”), gazing at the sea, reminds that during the era of naval acme the sailors' families gathered here to wish bon voyage to the sailing boats taking the maritime trade routes.
The settlement of Ano Potamia, at 12 km from Kymi, one of the oldest villages in the area, is built on a hillside, with narrow streets, stone houses and mansions of ship owners of the old times. In the celebration of the Church of the Assumption, August 15, a feast is held and the traditional stew is offered.
Adjacent to the church is the Archaeological Collection with findings from the volcanic hill of Saint Nicholas or Kastri (Castle) in the northwest of the settlement. According to all indications, on the hill there was the acropolis of ancient Kymi. The oldest traces of occupation are from the Neolithic era. Remains of the Classical and Hellenistic periods have been brought to light. The hill seems to have been inhabited until the beginning of the 1st century BC.
West, at 15 km from Kymi, built at an altitude of 210m on a hillside with olive trees, is the grand old settlement of Oxylithos. It took its name from the conical – “acute” – hilltop of an old volcano, on the north side, where the church of the Annunciation. In the settlement, is the church of the Assumption, built in the 13th century; a great feast is held on August 15 during which traditional stew is offered.
There are other beautiful churches. In Oxylithos, Aghios Athanasios, basilica built in 1884; in the settlement Chatiriani, Assumption built in 1304; in the settlement Psithiani, Agia Anna built before 1370. And northwest of the settlement Ritziani, Aghios Nikolaos, built in the 11th century in an area where later, in the 14th or 15th century, the monastery of Mantzari was founded.