flight greece

Discover a rare blend of mythology, architecture and natural allure at enchanting Karystos, just a few kilometers from Athens.
In search of a quick escape from the city, I drive to Rafina and hop on the boat to Marmari. From the deck I gaze at Petali, a group of islands recently included in one of the world’s top 10 sailing cruises by National Geographic. An hour passed without me realizing and soon enough, a throng of locals and tourists disembark and flood into Marmari, a picturesque fishing village that seems to have come from a bygone era.

The Archaeological Museum of Karystos

The Archaeological Museum of Karystos

I am in no hurry to get to Karystos. In the wonderful Folklore House, the ladies of the Marmari Women’s Association greet me with homemade spoon sweets and liqueur. Since I have a 15-minute drive ahead before reaching my destination, I resist the temptation of stopping for an ouzo at Zygos, also known as Maria’s tavern by the locals, and insteadopt for an aromatic cup of Greek coffee at Kolobari, a traditional café. I stock up on traditional pastel, a bar made with honey and sesame seeds, and continue my journey to Karystos, the town that bears the same name as the son of the Chiron, the centaur.

After a 15-minute drive Karystos appears, sprawling down the sides of Mount Ochi, and I start making plans. Over the next two days I intend to visit the famous Dragon House, high on the mountain peak, one of the oldest and mysterious places of worship in Greece, the Dimosari Canyon that leads to Kaliani beach, and of course, the winery and vineyards of the Montofoli Estate. For the moment I enjoy a stroll around the town; designed by the Bavarian architect Birbach at the request of King Otto, Karystos boasts elegant neo-classical buildings built by prosperous merchants and sailors in the early 20th century, the Enetian fortress of Bourtzi and the Castello Rosso built by the Franks, which infuse the town with the lustre of a bygone era and transform a simple walk into a unique experience.

For dinner, I do as the locals, head to a traditional tavern and order the local specialty, kourkoubines, a type of handmade pasta served with rooster. I accompany my food with the tsipouro the locals offer me while they enthusiastically bring me up to date with their greatest news: Karystos is hosting the first International Music Festival in June. Feeling dizzy from the tsipouro, I find myself mentally planning my return even though I have only just arrived.


Megali ammos in Marmari

Megali ammos in Marmari

The Archaeological Museum of Karystos is housed in the west wing of the Giokaleion Cultural Foundation, a bequest of the benefactor Nikolaos Giokalas. It was built in 1959 at the Maximilianos Square in Karystos and includes the Archaeological Museum (since 1988), the theatre, and a library. The Ephorate of Antiquities organizes guided visits to the museum, while the theatre and library are under the auspices of the Municipality of Karystos. The west wing of the building was given to the Ministry of Culture in 1980, as stated in N. Giokalas’ will, in order to house the museum. The 11th Ephorate of Antiquities undertook the task of the preparation of the exhibition, which was opened to the public in 1989.

The collections include:
Sculpture from the area of Karystos (Classical, Hellenistic, and Roman)
Finds from the Dragon Houses (Oche, Styra)
Inscriptions from Karystia
Clay statuettes from various sites in Karystia
Official Unit: 11th Ephorate of Prehistoric and Classical Antiquities
Τ.Κ. 34001, Karystos (Prefecture of Evia)
Telephone: +30 22240 22472

Getting There and Away
There is a regular ferry service between Marmari (10 km west of Karystos) and  Rafina, and from Nea Styra (35 km north of Karystos) to Ag;ia Marina.
Tickets may be purchased from either the dock ticket kiosk at the port of Marmari

From the Karystos KTELbus station opposite Agios Nikolaos church, buses run to Halkida (three hours, Sunday to Friday), Athens (three hours, four daily) and Marmari(20 minutes, Monday to Saturday)

Categories: Featured, Touring

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