How to Spend a Day in Halki

  • August 4, 2023
  • Halki

With an area of just 11 square miles, Halki is the smallest inhabited island in the Dodecanese and one of the smallest in Greece. This wee rocky scrap of land doesn’t have the sandy beaches and variety of sights and attractions that many Greek islands have. So what can you expect from a holiday in Halki?  

The lack of mass tourism is exactly what makes this island so delightful. People visit to experience its sleepy charm and traditional way of life. This is an authentic Greek island with a pace of life that varies between ‘dead slow’ and ‘stopped’. An island where people come to escape the hustle and bustle of daily life – and just be…

Whether you’re visiting for the day or coming to stay for longer, here’s an idea of what you can expect from a typical day in Halki.

First Impressions

Whether you’re visiting for the first time or returning for the 20th (and yes, many do – it’s that sort of place!), you can’t fail to be charmed by your first sight of the island. It’s enchanting.

As the ferry approaches, you see three windmills standing guard over Emborio. Layers of pastel-hued Venetian houses line the horseshoe-shaped bay, dotted with splashes of brightly coloured bougainvillaea. Colourful fishing boats bob gently in the harbour and, in the distance, the ruins of a crusader castle stand sentry on a rocky hilltop. It’s breathtaking in its beauty and simplicity.

If you’re one of the lucky ones staying on the island, you can begin your day with a different perspective on this view – swimming between the fishing boats on a morning dip in the harbour. 

A Morning of Exploring

Fuel up for your morning expeditions with a coffee and pastry, or grab some baked goodies to nibble during your walk – there’s a delicious and much-loved bakery on the harbour front. Then start your day with a little exploring.

There aren’t many sights here, but there are some gems to discover. Hop on the island minibus to the Monastery of St John, a sacred spot on the west of the island. After exploring the church and courtyard, you can walk back to Emborio, which takes around two hours.

Alternatively, head to the abandoned village of Horio, where you can wander amongst the tumbledown ruins of the island’s former capital, and continue up to the crumbling Castle of the Knights of St. John, known as Kastro.

If you’re visiting in summer it’s wise to set off early – it gets very hot and there isn’t much shade.

A Relaxing Afternoon

ftenagia beach halki

There’s only one thing for it after all that exploring – an afternoon at the beach! There are three beaches within each reach of Emborio. Ftenagia and Kania are rocky beaches, both accessible on foot. Alternatively, head to Pondamos, the island’s main beach and the only sandy spot, located a short walk from Emborio.

Each of these beaches has a taverna, so you can munch on fresh seafood, sink an ice-cold beer and take in the view. Then hop on a sunbed and chill out, popping up for the occasional cooling dip in the sea.

If you’re staying on the island, you may wish to venture further afield; a water boat is on hand to whisk people to some of the more remote beaches.

The Evening Entertainment

If you’re only here for a day in Halki, this is the time to whisper your goodbyes to this tranquil island and catch the ferry back to Rhodes (we imagine you’ll be plotting your return already…).

Otherwise, spend your evening in Emborio. As the heat of the day abates, stroll around the pretty lanes, peeking in courtyards and admiring pebble mosaics in the church courtyard. Sip a pre-dinner drink at the harbour, watching Greek men play a game of backgammon under a tree.

Savour dinner in one of the harbour-front tavernas – the catch of the day couldn’t be fresher; chances are it was hauled in on one of the fishing boats that make up part of your view. Then enjoy a post-dinner stroll back to your accommodation, perhaps stopping for a glass of ouzo on the way.

And that’s a typical day in Halki! A little exploring, a little relaxing and lots of delicious food and drink – and we wouldn’t have it any other way!

Staying Longer Than a Day in Halki?

Then check out our Halki accommodation and contact Nissia Holidays on 01455 289421 or email us: info@nissiaholidays.com to book your holiday in Halki. We look forward to welcoming you to our little slice of paradise.


Jo worked on Tilos in 2006, as the last Island Manager for Laskarina. She now runs a travel writing business and travel blog, The Wandering Wordsmith, and spends much of her year travelling. But Greece, especially Tilos, will always hold a special place in her heart.

  1. Rodney Swailes says:

    Lovely summary of our favourite Greek island. Thanks to Laskarina ,now Nissia ,we have visited many of the islands but Halki most of all. Hard to explain it’s charm but Halki has it plenty.
    Two years ago I was suddenly taken very poorly and almost checked out but after a lot of repair work we are now back and I’m typing this at 7am on the terrace of Elengo Penthouse,Janet still asleep and Halki slowly coming to life.
    It’s a very emotional return but after three days it’s given me enormous happiness to be back.

    Thank you
    Rod & Janet x

    1. Dear Rod,

      Thank you for sharing your wonderful memories. We’re so happy to have you back!

      Daffy and the Nissia team x

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