Halki island travel guide
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Halki island, Greece: Ultimate travel guide

Halki is nestled in the Dodecanese archipelago and enveloped by the sparkling waters of the Aegean Sea. Home to some breathtaking beaches and a charming village, this is by far one of the most underrated islands in Greece. Despite its close proximity to Rhodes, Halki island remains untouched by mass tourism and preserves its authentic and idyllic atmosphere. It’s a place we loved visiting and would recommend to anyone searching for a genuine destination in the eastern coast of Greece.

I’ve prepared this comprehensive travel guide filled with curated recommendations about the best things to do and best beaches to visit in Halki island. It will not only inspire, but help your travel planning, whether you’re aiming for a day trip from Rhodes or a longer stay on the island. Use the index below to guide you through the post and let’s discover this enchanting Greek Island!

Halki island travel guide

Where is Halki island in Greece

Halki, also known as Chalki, is the smallest inhabited island in the Dodecanese archipelago. It’s located just 6km to the west of Rhodes and less than 2 hours away from the Turkish coast by ferry-boat. The island has only one town, called Emborio. Which, by the way, is extremely charming and hosts the island’s total 350 inhabitants. That should gives you an idea of how genuine this Greek island is!

Rhodes is the closes biggest island to Halki. However, the islands of Tilos, Symi and Karpathos are also in close proximity and connected to Halki by ferry-boat routes. They may very well be combined in an epic island-hopping itinerary across the Dodecanese.

How to get to Halki

There are no flights to Halki and the closest airport is in Rhodes. As one of the most popular destinations in Greece, Rhodes gets many domestic and international flights a day, especially during high season. So, that’s where most travelers chose to start their journey to Halki. However, that’s not the only option to get to Halki, so I’ve compiled the available options below:

How to get to Halki from Rhodes

  • From the town of Rhodes, you can embark on a ferry boat that you’ll take you straight to the port of Halki. The ride takes about 1 hour and costs 8€ each way. Dodekanisos Seaways, Anek Lines and Blue Star Ferries have frequent lines running between Rhodes and Halki during high season. The schedule may vary from year to year, so it’s best to check directly with them or with Ferry Hopper.

Ferry tickets can be purchased directly at the company’s websites or by using the the established ferry booking platform Ferry Hopper. Book in advance if you’re traveling during high season.

  • It’s very common to visit Halki as a day-trip from Rhodes. If that’s what you’re planning, you may join a group excursion or plan an independent itinerary. You can check prices and conditions of the group tours here and I recommend booking in advance during spring and summer. If you prefer to plan an independent day-trip to Halki island, refer to the info above to plan your ferry rides.

How to get to Halki from other destinations

  • Apart from Rhodes, Halki is connected to the islands of Kos, Karpathos, Crete and Tilosin the Dodecanese archipelago. You can check the ferry routes here if you’re planning an island-hopping itinerary across the region. From Halki, we headed directly to Karpathos island!
  • Alternatively, there’s a ferry-boat route connecting Athens to Halki in a journey that takes approximately 16 hours. For this trip, it’s possible to book a cabin to sleep comfortably while cruising the ocean. Prices start at 80€ per person, but increase in accordance to the comfort of the room.
Halki Greece travel guide
Halki Greece

How many days to stay in Halki

Although you can easily visit Halki as a day-trip from Rhodes, I’d advise against it. Halki boasts gorgeous beaches and a serene atmosphere that’s perfect for those dreaming of a genuine getaway in the Greek Islands. If that resonates with you, I recommend booking a proper 3-5 days stay in Halki to enjoy the island in a tranquil pace.

However, if you’re short in time and debating if it’s even worth visiting Halki in a day trip from Rhodes, I’d say go for it. It’s definitely better to “scratch the surface” of Halki than not to visit the island at all.

Planning to visit other Greek Islands? Check all travel guides about Dodecanese islands here

Best things to do in Halki

Now that you’ve discovered how to get to Halki, let’s talk about the best things to do and see in the island. I’ve highlighted my favorites below and put together the ultimate Halki Greece Map. It contains tags of best beaches, restaurants, points of interest and more.

Explore Halki town (Emporio)

Emporio is the only town in Halki island and it’s where you’ll arrive by ferry. Despite its small size, this town is a real charm with its colorful neoclassical houses surrounding the quaint port. There are a few restaurants and shops by the port and that’s where the action in Halki happens, especially after sunset. Don’t expect bustling streets or lively bars, as Halki is a very serene island mostly frequented by couples and families. On the other hand, expect to find plenty picturesque streets and the most delightful atmosphere. This town is a dream!

Best things to do Halki island
Best things to do Halki
Halki island travel guide

Exploring Emporio by foot is a bliss. The streets are narrow, charming and the views of the aquamarine sea are everywhere. Many of the houses in Halki actually have direct access to the water. They are so idyllic I couldn’t help but dream of one day getting one of those to spend lazy summers at this unique Greek Island. I know there are many equally amazing islands in this country, but can you judge me for daydreaming with a balcony like this?

Halki best things to do
Halki Greece travel guide

Although most of the coast in Emporio is occupied by private residences, there are a few bathing places open to all. We had a blast setting up our towels in a couple of these spots to relax with a good book in hand. Our absolute favorite spot was the one accessed by a staircase at the south end of village, on the way to te Aretanassa Hotel and before the police station.

How to get to Halki island Greece
How to reach Halki island Greece

Back to the village center, you should check the Clock Tower and City Hall built in 1933. The Agios Nikolaos church is also a highlight in town, as well as the Ecclesiastical Museum and the Museum of Folklore of Halki. Those landmarks are definitely worth a visit, after all they’re so close to each other. However, I’d say the magic of Emporio is experienced while leisurely exploring its streets and having a great meal by the port.

Have a drink at Aretanassa Hotel

The Aretanassa hotel is located at the south end of Emporio and has the most beautiful views of the village. This is the most sophisticated hotel in Halki island, but more on that later. What I want to tell you upfront is that even if you’re not planning on staying at the hotel, you can visit it for a meal or a drink. That’s what we did during sunset on our first night in Halki and can’t recommend the experience enough.

Halki island Greece travel guide
Sunset in Halki island Greece
Sunset in Halki island Greece

The views of Halki town are immaculate and the sunset lights from this view-point are out of this world. We’ve been to numerous island in Greece, but this moment and this place remains one of our all time favorites. How could it now? The restaurant offers typical Greek dishes and classic cocktails, but they’re more than happy to mix your favorite one if it’s not specified in the menu.

Visit Chorio and Kastro

The ruins of the abandoned town of Chorio lie in the north end of Emporio -opposite to Aretanassa hotel. This was Halki’s original village and dates back to few centuries BC. It’s a testament to history and naval prosperity featuring remnants of temples, churches and houses. The Church of the Virgin Mary built in the 15th century is still in good conditions. There you can observe ancient frescoes still imprinted in the walls.

If you go up the Chorio hill you’ll find Halki’s Kastro, which in Greek means castle. It was built in the 14th century by the Knights of St. John and has once been the most imposing building on the island. It’s mostly in ruins now, but it’s still a great place to visit especially for the views during sunset!

Although you can walk there, you may want to consider taking a taxi during the warmest hours of the day.

Other attractions in Halki

  • The monasteries of Monastery of Agios Ioannis Alargas and Taxiarhis Michael Panormitis are great visits if you have more time at the island
  • Visit the islet of Alimia which in ancient times provided safe harbor to Rhodian fleets and later became home to a medieval castle. Although deserted since the 60’s, this is a beautiful and historical place to visit. You may get there by boat with one of the taxi-boat companies offering tours in Halki.

Now that you’ve discovered the best things to do in Halki, let me show you the best beaches on the island.

Best beaches in Halki

Although small, Halki is filled with amazing beaches. And when I say amazing I mean absurdly blue, crystal-clear water and idyllic beaches. The stuff Greek dreams are made of. Some of these beaches can be accessed by foot from Halki town, whereas others can only be accessed by boat.

There’re a couple of taxi-boat companies in Halki, but I recommend Giannis Express. The owner, Gianni is an adorable character and made our stay in Halki even more memorable. You may contact him them Facebook or drop-by their booth at the port during the evenings.

Here are our favorite beaches in Halki island:

Ftenagia Beach

Ftenagia beach has one of the bluest and clearest waters we’ve ever seen. Not only in Greece, but in the whole world. It’s hard to find the words to describe how much we loved this tranquil and idyllic beach in the south of Halki. So much we spent two full days there bathing in the crystal-clear waters and enjoying the delicious food served at the local taverna.

Beaches in Halki island Greece
Beaches in Halki island Greece

It took us less than 15 minutes to get to Ftenagia beach from Emborio village. The way to the beach is beautiful and offers views of the town and surrounding coves. Once there, we rented two sunbeds and a sun umbrella for 10€ and headed straight to the water. It’s possible to set up chairs or a beach tent at the beach. But we honestly though the sunbeds were a great deal and couldn’t have enjoyed more spending time in this beach!

The Ftenagia taverna is an attraction of its own and place you shouldn’t miss while in Halki island. It’s family run and has been since 1998, when it was first established. It was great to learn the progress this place has achieved through the pictures and texts exhibited at the restaurant. I love visiting traditional and genuine places like these, but unfortunately they’ve become so rare in other popular Greek islands. Sitting at a place like this, becoming aware of the impact the taverna had on the family, while enjoying delicious Greek food and petting the family dog is the kind of experience that makes me fall in love with Greece. Over and over again!

Kania Beach

Kania is another gorgeous beach on Halki island with clear waters and a very nice structure. It’s a perfect spot to spend a relaxing day bathing in the calm blue waters and enjoying the delicious food served in the taverna. Eric liked the vongole spaghetti so much he ordered twice while we were there. And the views from the restaurant are truly to die for!

It’s possible to get to Kania Beach by boat-taxi leaving from the port of Halki town. There are a few rides during the day, but I’d recommend taking the first as this is a popular place and sunbeds are limited. Alternatively, you can hire a taxi to take you there, as this is a beach accessible by car. The price for a couple of sun beds + umbrella was 20€ and you can stay as long as you want.

Areta Beach

Areta is a remote beach only accessible by boat. We were unsure if it was worth heading there, as we hadn’t seen any pictures of the beach besides the one in the taxi-boat pamphlet. But let me tell you – what a place. Perhaps one of the most magical beaches we’ve seen in Greece.

Picture crystal-clear green waters surrounded by imposing cliffs and no-one else but you and your boat mates there. It was such a dreamy experience to have spent some hours at this secret beach. We flew the drone there and ended up having our first accident by crashing it in the cliffs. We were pretty bummed for having lost not only the drone but also the pictures from Symi. On the way back, we asked Giannis Express if he would know someone who’d be willing to climb the cliffs to rescue the drone for a reward. Believe it or not, we got our drones back the day after and Gianni quickly became a hero to us!

Potamos Beach

Potamos can be accessed by foot coming from Halki town. It’s sandy, structured and with calm waters, which means a perfect family beach. Due to its proximity to the village and convenience, Potamos Beach tends to get crowded. In fact, when we arrived there at around 9 am, there were chairs already occupied with towels and other belongings. I think people who stay close-by just go there first thing in the morning and “reserve” the seats by the water. A very annoying practice, in mu opinion, but apparently a common practice in Halki.

There’s parking nearby and a two options of restaurants/beach bars at the beach. Sunbeds are rented for 10€ per person and it’s the same price whether you plan to stay a few hours or the whole day. Honestly, this wasn’t my favorite beach in Halki island, but I get the appeal for families.

Additional beaches

There were other fantastic beaches we didn’t have the time to visit. They are:

  • Dio Giaoli Beach
  • Trachia islet and beach

This is Giannis booth with prices and schedule. Make sure to drop by in the evening and reserve your spot the night before, so they can plan accordingly.

Where to stay in Halki

Halki has great accommodation options. Although slightly pricier than other islands, it’s still a great deal when compared to the Cyclades or other islands in Europe. To facilitate tour travel planning, I’ve selected the best options of stays in Halki:

  • Aretanassa Hotel, is the best hotel on the island and has with direct access to the sea, as well as beautiful views of Halki town. It was unfortunately booked up when we planned our trip to Halki, so we chose:
  • Kiki&Nina guest house, with comfortable rooms and beautiful view of the sea. It’s very central and the staff is kind and service-oriented. Definitely recommend!
  • Villa Leleka has double rooms and direct access to the sea. What a dream!
  • Halkis Muses is right by the sea and offer really charming rooms
  • Aegean View Villas has modern rooms with beautiful sea views. A great option for couples.
  • Celestia Apartments is another great options for couples and has a more central location
Views from Kiki&Nina
Sunset views from our Kiki&Nina balcony

If you prefer to have more space, these are my favorite options:

If you’re traveling as a family or group, you may want to check villas instead. There are many great options in Halki, but there are my top villa picks:

  • Villa Leleka has a villa with 2 rooms and private access access to sea. A truly dreamy place on Halki!
  • Casa Porphyra has a villa with 3 rooms, sea views and good cost x benefit
  • Villa Blu Majestic can accommodate 6 people and has a beautiful sea view
  • Villa Luce accommodates 6 people and is in front of the bathing spot I mentioned

Where to eat in Halki

Halki is a great place to delight in local specialties and traditional Greek dishes. Halki pasta is a traditional dish, but it honestly didn’t impress us so much. The seafood dishes, however, were a big hit. The fishes, shrimps, octopus and squids are as fresh as it gets, most often caught during the same day.

We indulged in varied and tasty meals during our stay in Halki. The Greek cuisine is one of the main factors that keep us coming back to the country. We’ve been 3 times now and can’t wait to come back soon. The moussakas, souvalakis, saganakis and many other dishes are to die for. These were our favorite restaurants in Halki. Try it for yourselves and thank me later!

  • Valantis Restaunt serves delicious home-cooked meals and was my favorite in Halki!
  • Kania Restaurant with beautiful views and the most delicious vongole pasta. It was Eric’s favorite!
  • Magefseis and Kifi Grill Reataurants are right by each other. They offer nice natural shadow and great food, we tried both and loved them equally
  • Ftenagia Taverna right by the water and with delicious dishes. The stuffed peppers were amazing
  • Black Sea is right by the port and serves great sea food
  • Taverna Bampis is also close to the port and has a great atmosphere

Best time to visit Halki

The weather in Halki is relatively warm all year round, but Spring and Summer are typically the best time to visit the island. The end of spring (May to June) and late summer (September to early October) are particularly great periods to travel, as the crowds are fewer and the rates lower compared to the ones during peak summer.

We visited Halki in the second week of July and felt positively surprised about how tranquil the island was. Different from other Greek Islands, Halki can be an appropriate destination for the buzzling summer weeks of July and August. It’ll hardly get as packed as some other Eurosummer hotspots. Or as expensive as some other popular islands in Greece!

How to get around Halki

I usually recommend renting a car to explore the Greek Islands, except in Halki island. The beaches and points of interest in Halki can be accessed by foot or boat. And for the attractions or beaches far from the center, you’re better off using a boat-taxi or taxi. There’s really no need to rent a vehicle in Halki island, so prepare your feet to explore this walkable island!

How cute is this police car?
Aquamarine water in Halki

What to pack for Halki

As you will most probably be visiting Halki island during spring or summer in Greece, you should be prepared for very sunny and warm days. Hence, my suggestion is that you pack light and fresh clothes, beachwear, and casual shoes. Aim for beach attire and bring a light jacket just in case – chances are that you are not going to need it!

For women: pack summer and fresh dresses in various styles, from flouncy to long ones. Skirts, linen pants, fresh tops, and shorts are also great items to bring to Halki. Flat and comfortable shoes should be your way to go and you absolutely won’t need high heels or heavy makeup.

For men: pack linen shirts and fresh fabric shirts, as well as t-shirts, shorts, and fresh pants. Shoes should be casual and comfortable, with no need for fancy items.

You will also need:

I hope this guide inspired you to visit Halki island. It’s one of our favorite destinations in Greece, perfect for anyone looking for a serene and genuine experience. If you have comments or questions, please let me know below.

If you’re planning a trip to Greece, you may be interested in:

Symi Travel Guide, a perfect island to combine with Halki

Karpathos Travel Guide

Best things to do in Athens

Best Greek Islands to visit in 2024

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