Are you looking for a perfect place to relax and unwind? Look no further than Chios, a beautiful Greek island located in the Aegean Sea. Known for its natural beauty, historic architecture, and delicious food, Chios is a must-visit destination for any traveler.
Interesting facts about Chios:
- Chios is known for its production of mastic, a resin obtained from the mastic tree. Mastic has been used for centuries in traditional Greek medicine and is also used in various cosmetic and culinary products.
- The island was an important center of culture and learning during the Byzantine era, and many famous scholars and artists, including the poet Homer, are said to have been born on Chios.
- Chios is home to several historic landmarks, including the medieval castle, the Monastery of Nea Moni, and the Koraes Library, which houses an impressive collection of rare books and manuscripts.
- The island is also famous for its delicious cuisine, including fresh seafood, meat dishes, and sweets made with mastic.
- Chios has a rich tradition of music and dance, and several festivals and celebrations are held throughout the year, including the Carnival celebrations in February and the Chios Mastiha Festival in August.
- The island is home to several beautiful beaches, including the stunning Mavra Volia beach, known for its black pebble beach and crystal-clear waters.
- Chios has a long and turbulent history, with periods of Byzantine, Genoese, Ottoman, and Greek rule. The island played a significant role in the Greek War of Independence in the 19th century.
- The island is also known for its production of figs, olives, and other agricultural products.
- Chios is home to several picturesque traditional villages, including Pyrgi, famous for its decorative facades, and the Mastichochoria villages, known for their production of mastic.
- Chios is easily accessible by ferry from Athens and other nearby islands, as well as by air from Athens and Thessaloniki.
In this article, we’ll explore the 20 best things to do in Chios, Greece, and help you plan the perfect trip.
Explore the Medieval Castle
The Medieval Castle in Chios is a must-visit destination for anyone interested in the island’s history and architecture. Built in the 11th century, the castle offers stunning views of the surrounding landscape and a glimpse into the island’s past. Visitors can explore the castle’s various structures, including the towers, walls, and gates, and learn about its strategic importance during the Byzantine and Ottoman eras. The castle is also home to several museums, including the Byzantine Museum and the Folklore Museum, which offer fascinating insights into Chios’ rich cultural heritage.
Visit the Monastery of Nea Moni
The Monastery of Nea Moni is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and one of the most important landmarks in Chios. Built in the 11th century, the monastery is famous for its stunning Byzantine mosaics and impressive architecture. Visitors can admire the intricate designs and colors of the mosaics, which depict scenes from the Bible and various saints. The monastery also houses a collection of rare manuscripts and icons, and its peaceful gardens offer a serene place to relax and reflect. Whether you’re interested in art, history, or religion, a visit to the Monastery of Nea Moni is an unforgettable experience.
Stroll Through the Mastichochoria Villages
The Mastichochoria Villages are a collection of traditional villages located in the southern part of Chios. These villages are famous for their production of mastic, a resin used in traditional Greek medicine, and offer a unique insight into the island’s history and culture. Visitors can explore the narrow streets and admire the traditional architecture of the houses, which are built from stone and wood and decorated with intricate carvings. They can also learn about the process of mastic production, which has been passed down from generation to generation for centuries. The villages are also home to several tavernas and cafes, where visitors can enjoy local cuisine and hospitality.
Take a Dip in the Crystal-Clear Waters of Mavra Volia Beach
Mavra Volia Beach is one of the most stunning beaches in Chios, with its black pebble beach and crystal-clear waters. The beach is located on the southwestern coast of the island and is the perfect place to swim, sunbathe, and relax. Visitors can enjoy the unique scenery and take in the breathtaking views of the Aegean Sea. There are also several beachside cafes and restaurants where visitors can enjoy traditional Greek cuisine and drinks.
Discover the Cave of Olympi
The Cave of Olympi is a natural wonder located on the eastern coast of Chios. The cave is filled with impressive stalactites and stalagmites, and it’s sure to leave a lasting impression on visitors. The cave is also home to a small lake and offers a cool respite from the hot summer sun. Visitors can explore the cave’s various chambers and learn about its geological history.
Admire the Scenery at Anavatos Village
Anavatos Village is a picturesque village located on a steep hill in the central part of Chios. The village offers stunning views of the surrounding landscape and is famous for its unique architecture. The houses are built from stone and are arranged in a defensive formation, reflecting the village’s strategic importance during the Ottoman era. Visitors can explore the narrow streets and admire the intricate designs on the buildings, which are decorated with colorful tiles and carvings.
Visit the Koraes Library
The Koraes Library is a must-visit destination for any book lover. Founded in the 18 Century, the library is home to an impressive collection of rare books, manuscripts, and documents. Visitors can explore the library’s various rooms and admire its beautiful architecture and decor. The library is named after Adamantios Korais, a prominent Greek scholar and philosopher, and it’s an important cultural institution in Chios. Whether you’re interested in literature, history, or architecture, a visit to the Koraes Library is a fascinating experience.
Learn About the Local History at the Chios Maritime Museum
The Chios Maritime Museum is a fascinating destination for anyone interested in the island’s maritime history. Located in the capital city, the museum offers a variety of exhibits on traditional boat building, shipping, and fishing, as well as artifacts from ancient shipwrecks. Visitors can learn about the island’s seafaring traditions and the role that the sea has played in Chios’ history and culture. The museum is also home to a collection of historic maps and nautical charts, offering a unique glimpse into the island’s past.
Take a Boat Tour to the Island of Oinousses
The island of Oinousses is a small, tranquil island located just a short boat ride from Chios. With its crystal-clear waters and pristine beaches, it’s the perfect place to escape the hustle and bustle of Chios and enjoy a peaceful day in nature. Visitors can take a boat tour to the island and explore its various beaches and coves, as well as its charming traditional settlements. Oinousses is also famous for its fresh seafood, and visitors can enjoy a delicious meal at one of the island’s tavernas.
Enjoy a Scenic Hike to the Castle of Volissos
The Castle of Volissos is a historic landmark located on the western coast of Chios. Visitors can enjoy a scenic hike to the castle and explore its ancient ruins and impressive views of the surrounding landscape. The castle dates back to the Byzantine era and was an important defensive structure during the Ottoman period. Visitors can admire the castle’s towers, walls, and gates, and learn about its strategic importance in the island’s history.
Try the Local Cuisine at the Traditional Tavernas
Chios is known for its delicious cuisine, and there’s no better way to experience it than by dining at one of the island’s traditional tavernas. These tavernas offer a range of local specialties, including fresh seafood, meat dishes, and vegetarian options. Visitors can enjoy dishes like stuffed eggplants, lamb with fennel, and traditional sweets like mastic-flavored loukoumades. The tavernas also offer a warm and welcoming atmosphere, with friendly service and traditional music.
Explore the Traditional Settlement of Pyrgi
Pyrgi is a traditional settlement located in the southern part of Chios. The settlement is famous for its unique architecture and decorative facades, which feature intricate designs made from black and white volcanic stones. Visitors can stroll through the narrow streets and admire the designs on the buildings, which depict scenes from mythology and everyday life. Pyrgi is also home to several traditional cafes and shops, offering visitors a glimpse into local life.
Take a Dip in the Thermal Springs of Kallimasia
The thermal springs of Kallimasia are a popular destination for visitors seeking relaxation and rejuvenation. The warm waters are rich in minerals and are said to have therapeutic properties, offering a natural spa experience. Visitors can take a dip in the pools and enjoy the peaceful surroundings, or take advantage of the various spa treatments on offer.
Visit the Venetian Fortress of Emporio
The Venetian Fortress of Emporio is a historic landmark located in the southern part of Chios. Built in the 14th century, this fortress is an impressive example of Venetian military architecture. Visitors can explore the various structures, including the towers, walls, and gates, and learn about the fortress’s strategic importance during the Venetian and Ottoman eras. The fortress offers stunning views of the surrounding landscape and is a must-visit destination for any history buff.
Discover the Villages of Amani
The villages of Amani are located in the northern part of Chios and are known for their natural beauty and traditional way of life. Visitors can explore the picturesque villages and enjoy hiking and biking through the surrounding forests and hills. The villages offer a glimpse into rural life on the island and are a great place to relax and enjoy the natural scenery.
Enjoy the Sunset at Lithi Beach
Lithi Beach is a popular destination for swimming and sunbathing, but it’s also a great place to watch the sunset. Visitors can enjoy the stunning views and relax with a cocktail or two at one of the beachside bars. The beach offers a peaceful and romantic atmosphere, and the sunset views are truly breathtaking.
Take a Day Trip to Cesme, Turkey
Located just a short ferry ride away, the Turkish town of Cesme is a popular day trip destination from Chios. Visitors can explore the town’s historic castle, enjoy the beaches, and indulge in delicious Turkish cuisine. Cesme offers a unique cultural experience and is a great way to experience a different side of the Aegean.
Visit the Church of Agios Markos
The Church of Agios Markos is a historic landmark located in the capital city of Chios. Built in the 14th century, this church is famous for its impressive frescoes and unique architecture. Visitors can admire the intricate designs and vibrant colors of the frescoes, which depict scenes from the Bible and various saints. The church is also an important religious site for locals and is a must-visit destination for anyone interested in art and religion.
Attend a Festival or Event in Chios
Chios is known for its vibrant cultural scene, and there are always festivals and events happening throughout the year. From the Carnival celebrations in February to the Chios Mastiha Festival in August, there’s always something to see and do on the island. Visitors can enjoy traditional music, dance, and food, and learn about the island’s rich cultural heritage.
Relax and Unwind on the Beaches of Chios
Chios is home to a variety of stunning beaches, offering visitors the chance to relax and unwind in the sun and sea. From the crystal-clear waters of Mavra Volia to the tranquil coves of Oinousses, there’s a beach for everyone on Chios. Visitors can swim, sunbathe, and enjoy water sports, or simply sit back and take in the stunning scenery.
Chios is a truly magical destination, with something for everyone. From its rich history and culture to its stunning natural beauty, the island offers a unique and unforgettable experience. Whether you’re interested in exploring ancient landmarks, relaxing on the beach, or indulging in delicious local cuisine, Chios has it all. So why not plan your trip today and discover all that this beautiful island has to offer?
What is Chios known for?
Chios is known for its natural beauty, historic architecture, and delicious cuisine. It is also famous for its production of mastic, a resin used in traditional Greek medicine.
What is the best time to visit Chios?
The best time to visit Chios is from May to October when the weather is warm and sunny. However, if you’re interested in attending festivals or events, plan your trip around the dates of these celebrations.
How do I get to Chios?
Chios is accessible by ferry from Athens and other nearby islands, as well as by air from Athens and Thessaloniki.
Is English spoken in Chios?
English is widely spoken in tourist areas of Chios, but it’s always a good idea to learn a few basic Greek phrases before you go.
What should I pack for a trip to Chios?
Be sure to pack comfortable shoes for walking, sunscreen, a hat, and a swimsuit. Depending on the time of year you’re visiting, you may also want to bring a light jacket or sweater for cooler evenings.