Edipsos is not a new phenomenon. Even though
few travelers from other countries have never heard of it the cosmopolitan
atmosphere combined with the healing spas have attracted reknown politicians,
artists, writers and other notable people like Winston Churchill, Aristotle
Onnasis, Maria Callas, Greta Garbo and Omar Sharif. But it is mentioned
in the works of Aristotle in his Meteorological, and by Ploutarch and Strabon.
The town even minted its own coins. In Roman times the area flourished
and its healing waters were visited by the emperors Hadrian, Septimus Severus
and Marcus Aurilius. The baths from the Roman period are the best preserved
and are known as Syllas Baths. During the Byzantine era it was destroyed
for being an area of paganism though it was visited by the Emperors Theodosious
and Constantine the Great.
As you drive down to Skala Edipsos it looks
like a typical old resort village on the coast until you notice that some
of the hotels are from the last century. Then as you swing down to the
coast there are people bathing close to the rocks where steaming hot water
is pouring through, leaving multicolored sediment in strange formations.
There is a huge renovated hotel and spa called the Thermae
Sylla Grand Hotel where workers are putting the finishing touches on
what they say will be the most complete and modern center of Therapeutic
health in all of Europe. The building itself is impressive and the services
and therapies they offer make me have little doubt that they will live
up to their claims. There are countless other hotels, some turn of the
century and some modern. Many of them have swimming pools filled with the
hot mineral water and those that don't have pools have mineral baths with
big tubs which you can fill with the hot mineral water because there are
hot springs literally everywhere. There are rivers that run down the street
of steaming hot water. There are empty lots with geysers of hot water.
And apparently the hotels can just tap into these springs.
On the Waterfront
center of town is the main street which is closed off to automobiles
at dusk. There is a line of tavernas and cafes along the shore where
people sit and watch the ferries which go back and forth to the mainland
just about every 15 minutes. The most popular places are the ones that
sell loukomades, which are fried dough with honey poured over them, and
also fresh sheep yogurt with honey. Despite Edipsos being renown as a haven
for geriatrics, there are people of all ages, shapes and sizes, with children
running around or playing in the small amusement park. There are outdoor
movie theaters which were all showing new English language films and lots
of shops that sold a variety of eastern type sweets and pastries like loukoumia,
baklava, and some Turkish sweets that I had never seen before. The town
was really one of the most interesting places I had ever been to. The sunsets
are quite extraordinary and there is plenty of nightlife for all ages.
met Poppy and Amarandi at their favorite restaurant, which was unfortunately
a cafeteria where we stood on line for traditional Greek dishes that were
pretty unimpressive. Knowing that once they decide upon a restaurant they
will eat there for the rest of their stay, or even their lives, we knew
that we would not be staying long in Edipsos. They had chosen this particular
restaurant they said, because the owner was from their island of Kea. But
when I talked to the owner after our meal he was not from Kea, nor had
the previous owner been. So it was kind of unfortunate that they had chosen
to eat at this restaurant which was not particularly good because they
wanted to support their fellow Kean and the guy was not even from Kea.
It made me wonder how much needless suffering goes on in the world from
similar circumstances. But when you are sitting watching fishing boats
and ferries cross the path of the setting sun, it does not matter if the
food is not that great, especially when you know that there are plenty
of other restaurants to choose from.
the harbor there are lots of fishing boats with big water tanks on the
front deck and traps, along with nets. Fish are caught with the traps,
transferred to the tanks and then scooped out and sold on the dock, alive
and flapping, to the crowds that gather when a boat comes in. I had never
seen this before in all my travels in Greece which was surprising. You
can't get fish any fresher then this unless you are a seal. Further on
is the town beach and its clear waters which is filled with families, couples
and of course the ever-present senior citizens.
Even if Edipsos did not have the restorative
healing waters the Aunts and all their friends renew themselves with, it
would still be a great place to come for a holiday.
The Healing Waters of Edipsos
has to be one of the most amazing resorts in the word when it comes to
healing mineral baths. There are more than eighty individual springs with
waters ranging from 28 to 86 degrees centigrade, which can be quite hot.
These springs are said to be effective in curing problems such as rheumatoid
and inflammatory arthritis, degenerative arthritis, spondylo-arthritis,
myalgia, neuralgia, lumbago, neuritis, backaches, tendonitis, vessel diseases,
diseases of the endocrine cycle and post traumatic inflammation.
A number of gynecological complaints can be remedied such as salpigitis,
endometrititis infertility, and ovarian deficiency. They also say it can
cure men's potency problems. There are also many privately owned spa facilities,
baths and pools, some of which belong to the hotels. Nature has also chipped
in for a rare combined experience where the warm water gushes from the
sea bed, a rare phenomenon that is difficult to find anywhere else in the
Greek national Tourism Organization has built brand new spa facilities
for state-of-the-art hydrotherapy, with 84 individual baths equipped for
hydromassage, an indoor pool for kinisiotherapy and special bathing and
shower installations for treatment of the limbs, slipped disk and cervical
spine syndrome. There is a physiotherapy center offering inhalation and
electrotherapy, massage with hand and electromassage as well as a fully
equipped gymnasium. An outdoor pool on the grounds can be used for bathing
in both mineral and sea water. There are steam rooms, saunas and a staff
of doctors, nurses, and physical therapists at this and other hotels.
went to visit Poppy and Amarandi at their hotel and they gave us a tour
of the facilities. It was a little rough on our daughter Amarandi who loves
swimming pools. Her eyes lit up as we walked through the lobby and she
spotted the giant blue swimming pool and as we were greeted by Spiros,
a muscular physical therapist, she leaned over to touch the water. "Don't
touch it!" yelled Spiros, snatching her hand from whatever was in the pool
that could be so healthful to old people and yet deadly to children. There
was probably no reason a child could not go into the water but as we discovered
in later journeys to spas and hot springs in Lesvos, its the general opinion
that children and hot mineral water do not mix, for whatever reason, based
on medical fact or old wives tale.
What To Do in and around Edipsos
are many athletic and cultural events held in Edipsos including the Edipsos
Festival featuring dance performances by Greek and International groups.
There are tennis and beach volleyball championships and plenty of beautiful
places to walk and explore. The beaches are among the most beautiful I
have seen, particularly up the road in Agiokambo (photo) where you catch
the ferry to Glifa and the road north to Volos and the there is also the
beautiful beach at Agios Nicolaos . There are plenty of water sports including
jet skis, windsurfing and sailing and excellent fishing. This is also an
area famous for its hunting and the Greek Hunting Association keeps it
stocked with pheasant, partridge and hare. Clearly this is not your typical
'lay out all day on the beach and get drunk all night' kind of destination.
there is stuff to do in and around Edipsos. There are many other scenic
mountain villages and beautiful beach towns nearby and the entire island
of Evia is a treasure of natural beauty, monasteries and archeology sites
like the monastery of Saint George built over the Temple to Apollo, 2 kilometers
from the village of Polylofos. There is also the well known Sacred Church
of Saint John the Russian in the town of Prokopi, plus daily cruises to
the popular Sporades islands of Skiathos, Skopelos and Allonisos.
But my favorite thing to do is eat and drink
and there are plenty of inexpensive restaurants with excellent food and
plenty of fresh fish.
One of the things that makes Edipsos so attractive
is the cost. It is a fraction of what you would pay in the USA or Europe
if you could even find a place which combined Natural Traditional Therapy,
the latest in Thermal Spring Therapy with the beaches and atmosphere of
a Greek island. If the wear and tear of life has dragged you down, a couple
weeks here will do you some good, with or without a doctors prescription.