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Chios, a dream island!

Chios is the fifth largest island of Greece and much bigger than what one usually expects. Tourism is not as developed as on the neighbor islands Samos and Lesvos and was never really encouraged. This is because the main economy is based on shipping and on the islandís unique product Mastic. Since 1988 there are several charter flights a week from different countries and also many Greeks from other parts of Greece come here for their Holidays. For them particularly Eastern is an interesting period to come to Chios since this is celebrated in a very special way. Itís not difficult to imagine the benefits of lack of mass tourism, especially for those who appreciate the contact with local people!
What else, besides beautiful beaches and a deep blue Aegean sea, has Chios got to offer you?
The following sights are some of the most interesting on the island.

   
   
 

Chios, the capital of the island

The island has a population of approximately 55.000. Half of them live in and around Chios town. Because of the university, which is housed in a beautiful building in the centre, a lot of the citizens are young of age. The Prokimea, a long boulevard along the harbor, is a popular hangout for people of all ages.  Many hip bars and traditional taverns make it a lively place, day and night. There is a frequent schedule of ferryboats coming from and going to Lesvos and Pireas and to the opposite side namely Cesme in Turkey.
Inside the old townís walls, the Kastro, one can still find some remains of the Genoese and Turkish occupations.
At the city square, the Platia, the old mosque with its tall minaret also reminds us of the Turkish occupation, which lasted almost 400 years. Nowadays it serves the Byzantine museum.

The Korais Library was built in 1884 and is one of Greeceís most important libraries. Besides an exceptional collection of historical books and paintings, there is a museum on the second floor with local costumes and old tools.
The Archeological Museum of Chios is well taken care of and is situated next to the cityís university.

 
   
 

South

The southern villages of Chios are also known as Matichochoria; mastic villages. Although mastic trees grow on several places in the Mediterranean region, only in the south of Chios the mastic can be cultivated, due to its texture there. This resin-like product has been used in medical treatments for ages and is still collected in the old traditional way. Today it is the main substance in many different products such as toothpaste and chewing gum, liquor and sweets as well as in body and hair products. Naturally, each of them can be bought on the island!
Some of the 23 villages that live from mastic since centuries are definitively worth sightseeing. Pyrgi, is the village, where houses and churches are being decorated with specific scratched patterns. In Mesta, a medieval castle-village, you can wander around the narrow streets like you are back in the middle Ages. Armolia is known for the beautiful ceramics and you can make nice strolls in the villages of Vessa and Olympi. Also in the area of Olympi, there are some remarkable caves over 100 million years old. A guide on the spot can give you a small tour.
On the southeast coast is the marvelous black lava beach called Mavra Volia, nearby the friendly harbor of Emborios.
If you drive towards the north along the west coast you will find yourself on what is probably one of the most stunning routes of the island. From the sandy beach of Lithi (with the best fish taverns!) until Sidirounda (which has a beautiful sunset) nature overwhelms you with idyllic little beaches and beautiful blue seawater. You can see how the environment changes and becomes higher and rockier.

 
 

Central Chios

The central part of the island has several places of great historical value. Nowadays Anavatos is a ghost town but it used to be a crowded village high on a rock safe from pirates. As a reaction to the Greek War of Independence of 1821, one year later the Turks landed their troops and slaughtered the island and its inhabitants. People fled to monasteries and churches and places like Anavatos, hoping to be safe. Unfortunately the attackers reached the village and many people were killed. It is said that women and children jumped down from the cliffs in fear. The big earthquake 60 years later finally resulted that the village became totally abandoned.

Also the 11th century village Avgonima was almost deserted and in very bad state. Since people started to buy old houses and to restore them the village became a charming place. It has a medieval square as well as a tavern with a wonderful view over the west coast where one can combine nice food with a romantic sunset.

Chios has an innumerous amount of churches and monasteries but the most impressive monastery is without a doubt Nea Moni. The complex was built by Constatine Monomachos about 1000 years ago and is an important national monument. Its church is one of a few in Greece with this specific Byzantine architecture and has some unique mosaics and icons. There used to live monks in the monastery, today it is housed by one nun and one priest.

 
 

North

This part is much rougher and less populated than the rest of the island but surely as attractive.
The surroundings along the road from Chios town leading to the northwest are comparable to the landscape of the moon. Volissos area is especially popular during the summer months July and August and has nice beaches and a big offer of accommodation, restaurants and bars.
Volissos is crowned by its castle, the Kastro, from where you have one of the best views on the island. Also in this village a lot of ruined houses have been restored back into their original state. Six kilometers further up north stands the monastery of Agia Markella, named after the patron saint of the island.
There is a big celebration on her name day the 22nd of July when many people make pilgrimage to the monasteryís church.

More to the east is Nagos a beautiful bay with a pebble beach and some taverns. It is close to Marmaro/Kardamila, which can be called a sailors town. In the medieval Pitious it is like time has stand still and people here fully live from agriculture. The picturesque Langada is the favorite place of many islanders. The lovely shore overlooking Chiosí ship-owners island Oinousses invites you to eat fresh fish and to drink a cold glass of ouzo.

 

Family Sideratos - Karfas 30 Chios 82100 - Tel: 0030 22710 32341 - Mob: 0030 6977437844
e-mail:
sideratos@chios.com

Created by Dimitris & Markos Psoras