Chios is an island full of surprises. It is fragrant, multicultural, and proud of its beautiful people.
Real Chios can be found across the island at the villages. Away from the massive tourism paths, you will be able to meet the authentic spirit of Chios and hangout with inhabitants where they will invite you to their feasts, to their homes, to their company. This is the way to unveil real hospitality and the real heart of Chios. Each village has a social trademark; the so-called “kafenio” (=coffee shop). A Greek coffee or a “souma” (=a spirit distilled from figs) will open hearts and minds, stories will be told and secrets will revealed while happiness will fill the air.
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, the worldwide known as “xysto”. 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.
Thimiana is the bigger village few km away of Chios town to the south. Has a beautiful church made from the famous stone extracted from pelekanies(=stone minds), trademark of the village, while Vessa is a peaceful medieval village with a picturesque central square under the shades of an old plane tree.