Chalki or Halki Island is one of the Dodecanese Islands and lies 16 km from Rhodes and 302 nautical miles from Piraeus. One of Greece's smallest islands it has 28 sq. km of land mass and 34 km of coastline. It has a population of under 300. No cars are allowed on the island. The capital and port of Nimborio is built ampitheatrically on the SE side of the island and on the Bay of Nimborio. The island can be reached by ferry only.
The settlement of Chalki is Nimboreio. This is a village in the traditional style, standing in the shape of an amphitheatre on the natural shore-line of its attractive harbour. The bay of its natural harbour, the houses and the colours are well matched in a dream landscape.
The houses -mostly renovated- are tasteful, built of stone, with tiled roofs and mosaics of pebbles on the balconies and in their courtyards. An imposing sight is formed by the bell-tower of the Church of Agios Nikolaos, an exceptional piece of architecture, in which marble memebers from the ancient temple at Pefkia have been incorporated. The village streets are paved and free of motor vehicles. Thus it is possible to sit at one of the many little taverns, coffe-shops, patisseries or bars, which in summer bustle with life, and enjoy the peace and quiet.
Chorio lies on the mountain slope, below the Castle. It is reached by following the road which crosses Nimboreios, in about 50 minutes on foot. Chorio was abandoned in the mid twentieth century, when life was transposed to Imporeios, but it remains alive in people's memories. It stands on ancient foundations and is built with carved stone and pieces of column capitals which date from before the second century AD.
Kastro is reached by a ten-minute climb from Chorio. It dominates the mountain top, and was built by the Knights of St. John during the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries on the site of the ancient acropolis of Chorio.
Panormitis, the Chapel of the Archangel Michael, is ten-minutes' walk beyond Chorio and attracts all the residents of Chalki on its feast day, 8 November. It was built in the nineteenth century by sponge-fishers, next to a chapel of the tenth or eleventh century. From here it is possible to admire the view of almost the whole of eastern Chalki, Imboreios, the coast, Pontamos, a small archipelago of rocky islets (Krevati, Nisos, Praousa, Kolophonas, Attrakousa) and, in the far distance, Rhodes.
MONASTERIES AND CHURCHES
There are a few Monasteries and churches in the island of Halki,every visitor its nice to visit them. The Monastery of Taxiarhis Michail, 5 km to the NW hosts a rare icon of the saint.The Monastery of Ai Giannis Alarghas is 7.5 km. to the West. In the yard of the monastery there is a perennial cypress. There are some houses around belonging to the monastery. Hospitality is offered.The Monastery of Agia Triada and the little church of Stavros tou Xylou, near Ai Yiannis has a view over Tilos. The church of Aghios Nikolaos, protector of the town, has a grandiose bell-tower, a wooden-carved iconostasis of rare art and hagiographies. It was founded in 1861. The church of Aghios Elftherios is near Chorio and that of Stavros is higher up.
Chalki is ringed round with many attractive beaches, some accessible on foot and others which can be reached by boat. The easiest to reach is Pentamos (sandy, 10 minutes from the port), Ftenagia (small, rocky beach, behind the Chapel of Agia Katerini, 15 minutes on foot), Kania (25 minutes on foot, in the north of the island), Yali (pebble beach, on the south of the island), Trachia (double beach beyond Pontamos, can be reached only by boat) and Areta (on the northern side of the island, also reached by boat).
Chalki has fairs which are well-known for their merrymaking, to the sound of the lyre and with competitions in impromptu song composition. The best known is that of Agios Ioannis on 29 August, celebrated at the Monastery of Agios Ioannis Alargas.
Nearby island north-east of Chalki, with fine sandy beaches. There is a guesthouse at the Monastery of St. George and there are dayly trips here from Rhodes. It is also visited by farmers from Chalki who have houses and animals on the island.