Saturday, 27 August 2016

A Greek Island Mystery

Well it may well be that I only do Halki one more time this summer, since I only expected to be doing it for the high season of late July into August. Each week we have guests from countries like France (very popular with the French is Halki), Scandinavia, Germany, Slovenia and Poland for starters.

No need to worry though, because a maximum of maybe three or four hundred day-trippers are on the island on any one day and within minutes of having disembarked from the boats they've been assimilated (sounds like a threat from "The Borg" on Star Trek) into the environs and Halki's glorious sleepiness isn't ruffled. BTW, that white house in the photo above is the same one I talked about in the last-but-one post "A Huge Helping of Halki" and if you've read that you'll know that it's available for rent through Olympic Holidays (UK).

Once again I went for a swim off the rocks there and it was sublime. The sea was a calm and as flat as a sheet of glass and the fishes were zipping around as I peered out at them through my swimming goggles.

What mystifies me is that every week οn this excursion (we go on Thursdays) I only seem to have a handful, if any at all, of UK guests and, frankly, I don't get it. To me - and all modesty is thrust aside here folks - I've been around the tetragono (Greek for block. I know, you probably did get it anyway, but just in case) a few times - to me this island is one of the most superb essentially-Greek islands that is to be found anywhere in the Aegean, or indeed the Ionian Seas. The people are especially welcoming and friendly and the prices in the bars and tavernas usually have my guests smiling in surprise.

"You'd have thought that a select little island like this would be expensive" I so often hear someone say, "and yet we'd say you can eat out here for less than you'd pay on Rhodes." It's true folks, because a lot of our guests on the day excursion take advantage of the impossibly evocative harbour-side environment and enjoy a Greek lunch just a few feet from the bobbing boats and fishermen fixing their nets. 

My good friend Zois, who runs the Babis Taverna (photo below) asked me this week, he said, "Gianni, where are the British?"

I didn't have an answer. Whenever I talk with anyone who's on holiday on Rhodes I make it very clear that the'd be missing out on something very special not to visit Halki, and yet that still translates into very few Olympic guests actually booking the trip. I know that TUI and Thomas Cook do it on different days. I used to be the rep for TUI from the south of Rhodes, as you'll know if you've been reading my ramblings for a few years, yet if I remember correctly, my guests were still more numerous from Scandinavia, Germany and France than from the UK.

If you are in any doubts about whether this wonderful little hidden Greek gem is worth a visit, check this video out, now!

And if you're staying on Rhodes now or in the next few weeks, don't miss out on seeing the place you'll truly fall in love with if you're searching for what we so often call the "real Greece". Tell you what too, apart from Olympic Holidays, there's also an excellent little outfit called "Nissia" who offer Halki as a holiday destination.

If I didn't live here in Greece, I know where most of my Greek holidays would be spent. Of course my better half disagrees, she'd prefer Naxos. To me, though, it's not a good idea to make that comparison, they're very different (especially in size) and I love both Naxos and Paros for very different reasons. I love Symi too, but maybe for me it gets just a little too busy with day-trippers around the harbour area during the high season.

There you are. It's a mystery to me, but those UK holidaymakers who don't come, they're the ones missing out. TBH, I wouldn't want to live on Halki, which only has around three to four hundred winter residents. It would be a little too quiet for me during the winter months. But to visit and stay a while. Can't beat it.


  1. Well 4 Brits I know will be visiting Halki again in about three weeks, John, but we won't be booking the organised excursion. We'll do our usual thing of deciding on a day to go, drinking too much the night before, oversleeping, racing across Rhodes by car, parking just as the ferry sounds its horn(?) which we assume means its about to depart, and running down the quay to avoid being left behind! It has to be done, I adore Halki.

  2. Totally agree with you John as someone lucky enough to have had a holiday on Halki it is beautiful. We were lucky enough to have an apartment overlooking the harbour breakfast and lunch were taken on our balcony the view from which was breathtaking and almost every night at a small taverna which was very close to our apartment whose name escapes me (the word black in there somewhere?) Fabulous food - we have some wonderful memories of that totally relaxing week on Halki

    1. You're probably thinking of the Black Sea taverna. Quite a lot of Russian guides take their guests in there on their excursions. As you say, it's right on the jetty.