Grace A. Clark
KAMENA VOURLA, GREECE
From Athens, rent a car or take a bus tour to Kamena Vourala. Youll arrive
in east central Greece on the Gulf of Evia - here lies Kamena Vourla were lush
green mountains meet the gulf. The region is called Fthiotis.
It is famous for its therapeutic hot-springs (radioactive) recommended for
chronic rheumatism, osteoarthritis, hormonal complaints and gout. Call the
Axe-Astir Spa-Hotel (Tel: 02350-2245, 02350 80501-6).
The best times to visit are June-Sept. It has a warm, dry climate. The major
religion: Greek Orthodox (there are many monasteries to visit) and the minority
religion is Muslim. Other ethnic influences are immigrant workers from
Albanian, Russia, Poland, and Bulgaria. The Euro and the dollar are about par.
On a mountain hike you may spy wolves, fox, and wild boar. Flowers include:
jasmine, violet, bougainvillea and begonia. If you snorkel, you will encounter
many starfish and shellfish varieties. You will view storks as well. The
mountains are oak, pine, plane, cypress and beech forests. Lamb and goat
raising, fishing and tourism are the mainstays of the economy.
Many beautiful pictures of the region can be found here:
Things to Do:
Mountain hiking, complete with trails and maps
Horseback riding facilities
Speed boat rentals
Hunting a special license is required
Water-sports of all kinds are plentiful on the islands (breathing apparatus is
prohibited in many places)
Fishing (good times: summer-autumn)
Take a ferry boat ride to one of the islands (see descriptions below)
Many festivals (religious/natural/sporting)
Greek Bouzouki (folk music using a mandolin-like instrument) is popular although
you can find any type of music in Kamena Vourla.
When shopping, look for these specialties of the region: lace, jewelry,
metalwork, pottery, knitwear, fur, rugs, leather. (Skelos Island specialty
pottery, Skiros Island specialty embroidery). Non-EU purchasers can have
taxes refunded at airports - look for the Member of the Tax Free Club signs in
stores ask for details of the program.
Privately owned Hotels, villas (some equipped with kitchens) best
value/quality for the money (avoid B&Bs Villas are abundant and offer better
Dining Accommodations: Taverns (popular for rotisserie cooking and fresh fish
dishes), Bars, Confectioneries, Cafeterias, fast-food shops.
Try these favorites:
Yogurt, fresh fish dishes, and olives are plentiful
Meze (appetizers); Keftedes (hot spicy meatballs); tzatziki (yogurt dip with
garlic, cucumber and dill)
Gigantes (large white bean dishes); Dolmades (stuffed vine leaves); Moussaka
(eggplant casserole with lamb); kebabs and Avgolemomo (chicken broth with rice,
eggs, lemon, salt)
Baklavas & Loukoumades (honey-drenched pastry puffs)
Popular drinks: Retsina wine (made with pine needle resin); Ouzo (aniseed-based
& clear to which water is added; local brandies; greek coffee is strong and
thick; beer is a light pilsner (pay for each drink as you go if you are seated
somewhat away from the bar area.
Other Popular Therapeutic Spas in nearby regions are:
* Loutra Ipatis: The chemical composition of this water is rare and contains a
great amount of carbonic acid. Baths at these springs are advised for vascular
diseases, hypertension, coronary insufficiency, heart ailments, endocarditis,
dermatological disorders, ailments of the peripheral nerves and muscles.
Information: tel.: (02310) 59.526.
* Platistomo: The waters of these springs are recommended for stomach and skin
ailments. Information: tel.: (02360) 22.513.
* Thermopiles: Sulfurous hot springs recommended for rheumatic ailments,
gynecological problems, and rheumatoid arthritis. Information: tel.: (02310)
From Kamena Vourla you can also visit:
Ancient sites, stadiums, Spartan architectures
Evia Island - (second largest in Greece Crete is the largest)
Aegean Sea; Evripos Straits; Gulf of Euboea
The north beaches are most beautiful
Scenic variety: valleys, woodland mountains; quiet villages;
populated towns; coves
Best place to take in local customs; country fairs
Byzantine Churches & frescoes; monasteries
Mt. Dirfi (1,745 m)
Kimi cliff (250 m above sea level) & Folklore Museum
Architecture: traditional; neo-classic
Lots of tourists prepare for crowds
Lichada Island (small island 1 mile from mainland by boat)
Beautiful Beaches. The Cantina here is owned by a man named Yananni who
serves fresh fish char-broiled to order as you dine under umbrella tables and
enjoy the tanning lounge chairs. There is an olive tree plantation on the
island and snorkeling (bring your own equipment).
Rent motorbikes and bicycles
Idyllic sea port
Smooth mirror-like lake, ideal for water-skiing
Throwing back of the head is a negative gesture.
Illegal to export anything of true antiquity.
Dress is mostly casual.
Smoking prohibited in public transportation and buildings.