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Edipsos, Evia, Greece, healing spas

Edipsos History

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.

Entering Edipsos

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

edipsos healing spas, greeceThe 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.

ferry to edipsos greeceWe 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.

edipsos waterfrontIn 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

edipsos hot springsEdipsos 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 world.

edipsos, thermal spaThe 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.  

hot spring pool, edipsosWe 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

agiocampo, evia, greeceThere 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.

health spas in Greece, natural healing in Greece, natural healing spas, healing spas,

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