Ruins of the medieval castle of the Knights of St. John above the village of Chorio, Halki Island, Greece
© Massimo Ripani/eStock Phot
High above the Aegean Sea. Castle ruins on the island of Halki, Greece
Halki, a tiny Greek island in the Aegean Sea, is the type of place you go to when you need a getaway from your getaway. Off the beaten path, Halki is quiet and sleepy when other Greek islands are flush with visitors. The only way to arrive is by ferry from the much larger island of Rhodes. Halki has a total area of just 28, sun-kissed square kilometres, the smallest inhabited island in the Dodecanese island group.
One of the most popular attractions on Halki is the ruins of this medieval castle built by the Knights of St. John in the 14th century in the now abandoned village of Chorio on the island’s south-facing shore. It’s a short, uphill walk from the only town on the island, the port village of Emporio, where most of the island’s few hundred permanent residents live. A significant portion of the population left in the mid-20th century, many of them settling in the Gulf Coast town of Tarpon Springs, Florida, which lays claim to having the highest percentage of Greek Americans of any U.S. city. People from Halki and other Greek islands were lured to Tarpon Springs to work as sponge divers, a skill they honed for generations in Greece. These days, not much goes on in Halki beyond eating, relaxing, and swimming. Like all Greek islands, Halki has beautiful beaches. Here, you’re more likely to have them all to yourself.