Kastanalongos

The last primordial chestnut forest of south Evia. Just east of the highest peak of Mt Ochi, at an elevation of 900– 1,100m is a very small, ancient wild chestnut forest that covers an area of approximately 60 hectares.

Kastanolongos is a natural museum, where every ancient tree constitutes a living piece of natural sculpture. It creates a green oasis under the untamed peaks of Mt Ochi, providing a panoramic view of the southernmost peninsula of Evia and from the Southern Evoikos Gulf to Attica and the north Cyclades. Because its aesthetic value is of national importance, Kastanolongos has been ranked as a Region of Particular Natural Beauty.

In autumn, walking on a soft carpet of fallen leaves, one can watch the foliage of the trees dancing in the blowing wind, its colours shifting between gold and shades of bronze. Because of the fact that hardly any chestnut forests with such ancient trees remain in Greece.

Kastanolongos is an extremely valuable ecosystem indeed, it is the last genuine chestnut forest of southern Evia. Each ancient chestnut is a hub of life with hiding places in its cavities, its hollow branches and stumps, where insects, reptiles, birds and small mammals find refuge. In the broader vicinity of the forest, 59 bird species, at least 16 of which nest in the forest, have been recorded.

There are small springs, ephemeral streams and small meadows that are valuable, not only to undomesticated nature, but also to livestock breeding. It is from the Kastanolongos vicinity that one sets off to reach the peaks of Mt Ochi. A trail connecting it with the Demosaris Gorge also exists. A forest road, through the village of Metochi, in addition to the good traditional trail from the village of Myloi, leads to the chestnut forest.

Just a breath away from the beautiful forest is the Mt Ochi climbing refuge. It offers shelter to anyone that wants to explore the forest and the mountain peaks.

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