Halki is a dry barren island with no natural fresh water, so the all important water supply has to be regularly brought in by tanker from the island of Rhodes. Halki has a very small population which inhabits the only settlement on the island, the harbour town of Nimborio.
Situated to the south of Tilos and west of Rhodes, Chalki has been inhabited since antiquity, when it must have been very prosperous, judging from the coins found by archaeologists. Its name most probably reflects the copper ore (halkos) once mined there. It is a small but mountainous island, just 28 square kilometers in area.
Nimborio situated about the horseshoe shaped harbour with it's neo-classical style houses. The church, Agios Nikolaos, boasts the tallest campanile or bell tower in the Dodecanese.
Agios Nikolaos is also known for its wonderful mosaic courtyard created with the use of black and white pebbles known as Choklakia Mosaics. This method has been used in the Dodecanese since Byzantine times.
The population of Halki was under the domination of Rhodes and was part of the Dorian League as were the other neighboring small islands such as Symi and Tilos. The history of the island for geographical reasons is largely tied to that of Rhodes which was very much at the cross roads between east and west, Europe and the Levant, Christianity and Islam.
The island capital cum port is called variously Chalki or Nimborio. Situated on the southeast coast, its two-storey houses with their tile roofs seem to climb up the sides of the hill overlooking the bay of the same name. Worth a visit is its church of Aghios Nikolaos, built in 1861, whose magnificent bell tower soars above the surrounding houses.
In earlier times, the capital was at Chorio, which was placed well inland in an effort to escape the frequent pirate raids that were once the scourge of the Aegean. At its peak, it boasted 4,000 inhabitants; nowadays it is virtually deserted. Its stone houses, built in tiers like an amphitheatre, are mute reminders of its past prosperity.
Above Chorio the ruined mediaeval castle occupies the site of the ancient acropolis. Within its walls is another church dedicated to St. Nicholas (Aghios Nikolaos) with frescoes.
Pontamo is the only beach in Chalki accessible on foot from Nimborio (10 min.), but caiques are on hand to take you to its other wonderful beaches: Trachia, Sarri, Chania and Dyo Yialli.