Unplug & Relax!
Updated: Aug 10
Exactly a year ago I decided to join a friend of mine for a week-end of pampering and relaxation at the Thermae Sylla Spa and Wellness Hotel in Edipsos, northern Evia. It was a first for both of us so we really didn’t know what to expect. We had booked rooms with a sea view and 2 days filled with spa treatments that promised to relax us completely, detox and cleanse our bodies, and help us combat any aches and pains we might have in an environment of understated luxury. What else could we possibly want to unplug and unwind???
We left Athens by car on a sunny Friday morning and in less than an hour and a half we arrived in Arkitsa, at the 150th km of the National Road Athens-Lamia, to take the ferry to Edipsos.
As we had some time to spare, before the ferry’s departure, we decided to take a stroll around the small Arkitsa harbor.
Here, we stumbled upon a local woman cleaning boxes full of various types of fish and squid for commercial use, on her own small fishing boat. She told us she goes fishing every day of the year, weather permitting, to support and provide food for her family.
What a brave woman! Just think about it . . . being a fisherman is a tough job for any man, let alone a woman!
With this woman’s courage on our minds we boarded the ferry and turned our thoughts to the Thermae Sylla Spa and the 40 minute ferry ride to Edipsos.
Getting to the hotel from the port was really easy. Within an hour we had checked in, dumped our stuff in very comfortable rooms and, just in time, made it into the hotels' dining room for a late luncheon.
Our package included breakfast and one meal a day. I had imagined feasting on healthy and refreshing menus with lots of fruit, salads and dishes that would not only please our palates but also benefit our bodies!
Alas . . . both the breakfast and luncheon buffets were a big disappointment and . . . it saddens me to say that . . . none of the meals we had at the hotel’s restaurants came close to tantalizing our taste buds or awakening our senses!
Fortunately, after lunch and a long energizing walk, it was time for our first treatments which turned out to be truly outstanding!
My 60 minute relaxing, de-stressing Indonesian treatment called Pantai Luar, used heated handmade herb/fruit balls that were applied with essential oils to the body relieving it of all existing tension! An exquisite treatment and an unforgettable experience which I highly recommend!
The Spa's indoor and outdoor pools are filled with warm therapeutic water coming from Edipsos’ mineral springs that have been famous for their healing properties since the 4th century B.C.
They are delightful and we loved every minute we spent swimming, exercising and enjoying the various massage and whirlpools stations!
On Saturday, after our morning Spa sessions, we headed out to the seashore village of Ilia, a 9 km drive from our hotel, known for its warm hospitality and many taverns serving fish and other traditional specialties made with recipes that have been passed down from one generation to another, using fresh, locally produced products.
To my surprise, we didn’t find a single tavern open to the public! With the summer and tourist season over, all the taverns had been closed down for the winter. I told myself . . . I should have known better as this is common practice on many Greek islands . . . but I guess I had hoped to discover at least one place where the locals gather for a tasty meze and a shot of anise-flavored Ouzo!!!
Luckily, while taking in the scenery, a very hospitable resident/fisherman turned up and invited us to join him and his charming wife for coffee in their nearby home. Not only did we share a delicious cup of coffee but we also learnt a lot about the history of the village and its people. It goes without saying that we were invited to come back in the summer to experience his village at its best!
Strolling toward the car we bumped into the owners of the Ilia Mare Hotel who had just brought in cases full of olives from the family's olive trees.
Again, the unexpected happened! We were invited to join the group, to observe the sorting of the olives (mainly size) while some of the rules and secrets of harvesting, pruning and making extra virgin olive oil were explained to us.
The Ilia Mare hotel is open all year round and special programs can be arranged for visitors. For special offers . . . . in particular their Christmas Holiday offer, please check the hotel's website.
Definitely something to keep in mind for another possible trip to Evia!
By late afternoon, with our stomachs growling, we left the picturesque village of Ilia and headed to the nearby beach town of Rovies. Here, we entered the first local store we found . . . selling divine home-made sweets and jams, biscuits, olive tapenade and a variety of island wines. Not exactly what we had planned for lunch but everything looked so deliciously tempting that we decided to forget about detoxing and stocked up on all sorts of goodies . . . and got ready to indulge!
After all, we still had another day of excercise and treatments at the Thermae Sylla Spa ahead of us . . . . . . so why not give in to some lovely sweet & savory temptations!