Want to know about Chios? An island located at the North-East Aegean Sea and is the fifth largest island in Greece. Chios is famous for mastiha (recently added to the UNESCO’s Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity), the medieval villages of Pyrgi, Mesta and Olympi, and also for the monastery Nea Moni from 1042 which is included on the UNESCO’s World Heritage List.
It is a very Greek island completely free from mass tourism. So if you want to get away from the main tourist tracks and want to meet the real Greece, then you should visit Chios.
Unfortunately, not many people choose to spend their holiday on Chios. I do not know why. Maybe it’s because so few have been there so there is nobody that can tell about the island; or the reason is that those who have visited Chios do not want to tell other about the island because they want the island to be preserved as it is. Here is everything you could wish for: beautiful beaches, picturesque villages, interesting sights and tempting scenery.
Want to Know more about Chios?
There is international airport on Chios so from some countries it is possible to fly directly. Otherwise it is easiest to go by air to Athens and continue the journey with domestic flights, or travel by air to Mytilene or Samos and go on with ferry to Chios. An option can be a flight to Smirni (Izmir in Turkish) and by boat from Cesme (30′ from Smirni) to Chios.
Since Chios is a large island it is most convenient to rent a car. If you just want to stay close to where you stay, you can rent a scooter or a bike. Car, scooter and Bike rental services are available in all major villages. Local bus operates almost the whole island, but their timetable seems to facilitate the inhabitants mostly.
The most interesting villages are located on the south of the island. In particular the villages Mesta […], Olympi […] and Pyrgi […]. Of these, Mesta is the finest. The village is built like a fortress and is completely enclosed by defensive walls. The cobbled alleys are at times so narrow that you can touch the houses on both sides. The village has a nice square with several good tavernas. The village is also completely car-free. Olympi is similar to Mesta and hosts a unique cave recently discovered. The so called “Trapeza” should be visited.
The village Pyrgi is unique in Greece. Just as Mesta and Olympi, Pyrgi is dated from the Middle Ages, and is also built as an impregnable fortress. What makes Pyrgi special is that the facades are coloured in a mosaic of black and white. Is the biggest Mastihohori (a villages that produce Mastiha).
The capital city of the island is also called Chios and is located on the east coast, opposite the Turkish coast. It is a noisy city with about 25.000 inhabitants. As a small Athens, although much quieter, of course, and above all much more pleasant. Nice villages in northern Chios are Kardamilla, Nagos and Volissos. The latter is believed to be Homer’s birthplace.
There are plenty of beaches on Chios. If you go around the island, there are great opportunities to find your own beach. Agia Dinami, Elinda, Trahili and Fana is among them. Don’t hesitate to stroll around to find what fits you most. The most popular beaches is Karfas and Komi, both located south of Chios. If you go to Chios on a package holiday you will probably stay in Karfas. There are most of the island’s tourist hotels and there are plenty of tavernas, restaurants, tourist shops and a wide range of water sports. On the other hand Komi with plenty of beach bars can offer you a combination of fun and happiness.
My favourite beaches are Vroulidhia beach, Mavra Volia beach, Nagos beach and Managros beach. Vroulidhia and Mavra Volia are located in the south of Chios, the other two on the north of the island.
There are many things to see and do on Chios. To hike between the Mastic villages of Mesta, Olympi and Pyrgi is heartily recommend. Cave of Olymbi (near the village with the same name), is also worth a visit. The monastery Nea Moni should not be missed. Anavatos is a deserted stone-made medieval settlement built on the top of a rocky cliff with the same colour as the rock it was built on, therefore blending in and not being easily recognized as a village. Chios Bike Ride is a fresh proposal to discover Kampos.
Chios, an alternative destination
Chios is blessed with incredible landscapes, amazing beaches, history and culture. Medieval villages and Mastiha in the south, flora and fauna, paths and isolated spots well hidden across the island. Is an alternative destination for hikers, bikers, admirers of flora (some of wild orchids of Chios have been classified as unique species growing only here), pilgrimages and delicious food and wine travellers.
The big question is where on the island you should stay. Almost all foreign tourists stay in Karfas or in its vicinity (as in Megas Limnionas). Kambos hosts the only 5 star hotel on the island, the famous “ARGENTIKON LUXURY SUITES” an 32K sq.m. estate from 1550 Agia Fotia is a picturesque village right on the sea and Mesta, a unique medieval village. You would not find owners with signs and booklets at the port or the airport waiting for you to presents its “amazing landscape similar to paradise” as it happens often to other Greek islands, so its best to book accommodation ahead; or to take a taxi or bus to the village you want to stay in and search for room on spot.
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