Chios

The island that can’t stop sharing its natural gifts
Strolling around medieval village of Mesta
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Medieval villages, a diverse landscape, beaches with wild beauty and ‘miraculous’ masticha

Chios has made quite a name for itself with its so-called mastic villages and proud sea captains. And yet, it’s one of the most unexplored islands of the North Aegean, full of secrets, surprises and hidden treasures. Blessed by nature and history, it is fragrant, authentic and irresistible. When you come here on holiday, be prepared to leave behind a little bit of your soul.

What to do on Chios

The fertile and stately Kambos

Discover a network of narrow roads that barely fit a car, tall walls made by skilled stonemasons and ornate doors with beautiful arches. Chios’ most aristocratic families once lived here, in the island’s most fertile valley, and it is where the Genovese built their mansions in the 14th century.

The legendary mastic villages

There are about 20 medieval mastic villages in southern Chios and the experience of walking within, and even between them, is magical. Particularly noteworthy are Pyrgi and Mesta, followed by Vessa, Armolia, Nenita and Patrika.

You will be surrounded by the famed mastic fields, full of the low bush with outstretched branches and a bent trunk that related to the pistachio tree – and the symbol of the island. The harvesting of its resin, which consists of making incisions in the tree (what the locals call Kentima or embroidery) results in mastic ‘tears’ dripping from the trunk and gathered in August.

The gentle, fragrant and pricey product is exclusive to Chios and has been cultivated here since the 1st century AD. It is also believed to have therapeutic properties. Tradition says that the mastic trees began crying when Agios Isidoros was tortured on Chios by the Romans.

The Byzantine village of Anavatos

An unforgettable sight, the once fortified Byzantine village of Anavatos lies in ruin, but it still clinging defiantly to the side of the cliff.

Medieval village hopping in Chios

Rumbling Vrontados

A suburb of the island’s main town, Vrontados is famous for its rocket wars (roketopolemos) which happen every Easter, when thousands of rockets are fired from opposing camps, creating an incredible spectacle across the night sky.

Hidden gems of Chios

The treasures of the north

The landscape surrounding the highest mountain, Pelinaio, is exhilarating, with picturesque villages and the dirt roads that lead you to secret, secluded beaches. If you’re looking for a suggested route, try Kardamila-Nagos-Amades-Viki-Kambia-Kipouries-Diefha.

Nea Moni Monastery and its masterful mosaics

The most important monastery in Chios, and one of the most notable in Greece, it was established in 1024 by the Byzantine emperor Constantine IX Monomachos. It has been recognised as a Unesco World Heritage Site and the mosaics by the altar dedicated to the Virgin Mary are amongst the most beautiful in the world.

The food of Chios

Other than its famed masticha, Chios offers a large choice of local produce and authentic tastes. The culinary wealth of this island includes butter and cheeses (such as mastelo), citrus fruit (mandarins), ouzo and aromatic liqueurs, wines of excellent quality, local sweets, pasteli (a sesame and honey bar) and of course abundant fresh fish and seafood. 

Windmills of Hora,one of the most charming spots of the island

Experience the best of Chios

In the Medieval villages of Chios, you'll find beauty in the details

Medieval village hopping in Chios

Once the prized possession of the Byzantines and Genoese, the medieval villages of Chios tell a unique story of architecture, tradition, fortification and – above...
The mastic fields come alive from mid-June to early July when the soil is levelled and the white powder (calcium carbonate) is placed around the trunks

Exploring the mastic traditions of Chios

Discover the extraordinary impact of the teardrop-shaped resin and the mastic villages that encapsulate the very essence of Chios.
  • The legendary mastic villages
  • The Byzantine village of Anavatos
  • Rumbling Vrontados
  • Nea Moni Monastery and its masterful mosaics
Highlights

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Mastic tree

Greek produce, nature’s generous bounty

Fresh fish and seafood, delicious cheeses, local produce and, of course, wonderful olive oil
Frozen cocktail

Sample the local spirits of Greece

Ouzo, raki, tsipouro, masticha… welcome to the ultimate Mediterranean aperitif