Parts of the northern half of Évia are so rugged lush and green that you could be forgiven for thinking you were in Austria, although here the coast has long stretches of beaches lined with whitewashed houses and rose-filled gardens.
North of Chalkida and Psachná, the road to Pagóndas rises higher and higher into the mountains, permeated with the wonderfully fresh scent of deep green pine forests; beehives everywhere attest to the potency of the local herbs and wildflowers, and the honey offered in roadside stands comes close to nectar. Tavernas with outdoor terraces take advantage of the most breathtaking panoramic views.
Pagóndas is an example of a typical mountain settlement; further north, a striking castle piled on a nearly inaccessible precipice signals Prokópi, a hospitable village that was once seat of the local aga, near the end of the magnificent wooded ravines of the Kleisoúra Valley, where the road offers fine views over the Sporades. This is prime picnicking territory, and, if extra thrills are called for, you can wobble over the ravines on the rickety wooden suspension bridges.
Images by Alika Obrazovskaya, Creative Commons License, Archway Andres, Ava Babili, Dan Diffendale, Grk1011 (talk), Howard Coster , Jebulon, Marco Prins, Nikos Patsiouris, Ricardo André Frantz (User:Tetraktys), Trip & Travel Blog