Traveling to Greece? Follow the guide towards the island of mastic: we take you to visit Chios, the mysterious of the archipelago!
- 1. Chios Castle and Turkish Baths
- 2. Korais Library
- 3. Mastihohoria
- 4. Museum of mastic
- 5. Microbrewery of Chios
- 6. Vrontados and Daskalopetra
- 7. Nea Moni
- 8. Anavatos
- 9. Lithi Beach
- 10. A boat trip
Located in the Aegean Sea, Chios is incomparable. This island is distinguished by a singular architecture directly linked to its history. Indeed, Chios is close to Turkey. As a result, it suffered the full brunt of the War of Independence between 1821 and 1829. Today, the island has more than 50,000 inhabitants.
Moreover, over its 842 km², Chios presents contrasting landscapes. You will come across steep mountains to the north, fertile land to the south and sumptuous beaches. Finally, Chios is one of the cities claiming the origin of Homer. Thus, during your discovery of the island, you will certainly find several sites evoking this mysterious character.
So, are you wondering what to do in Chios? Find here the list of our 10 essential things to do on the island!
1. Chios Castle and Turkish Baths
To visit Chios is to encounter traces of a rich past. The castle of Chios and its Turkish baths are a wonderful example. The first traces of this castle date from the 14th century. The walls of this building form an enclosure with multiple bastions. Most of them are still standing. As for the Turkish baths, they date from the 18th century, a prosperous period for the island. The restored site of the baths is particularly impressive.
We advise you to visit the castle of Chios starting from the main entrance. Finish your walk further north with the Turkish baths.
2. Korais Library
If you are wondering what to do in Chios, we recommend the Korais library. This place dates from 1792, we owe it to Adamantios Korais . After the massacre of Chios, this Greek scholar restocked the library. This explains the origin of its current name.
In addition, this magnificent place contains the Filippos Argenti folk museum. This man also appears in the registers as a benefactor of the library. Located on the upper floor, this museum contains the little treasures of the Argenti family.
The Mastihohoria represents all the villages producing mastic. Visiting Chios requires an overview of these hamlets in the south of the island. First, go to Pyrgi. It is the largest of the Mastihohoria villages. Gray and white, geometric, animal or floral motifs adorn the facades. This technique uses a mixture of lime, cement and volcanic sand. Once applied to the walls, the craftsmen draw the patterns. During your walk, enter the church of Agios Apostolos. It is located in the main square.
After Pyrgi, if you don’t know what to do in Chios, go to Mesta. This village offers a completely different setting. Thus, you will enter a fortified village built in the 14th century. There is no traffic in Mesta. Take the opportunity to stroll through the alleys. Then you can take a hiking trail for 3 kilometers. This route will take you to the village of Olympia. This village is also a mastic producer and has a typical architecture. South of Olymbi, you can visit the cave of Sykia Olymbi.
Finish the tour of the Mastihohoria by Emborios. This village was the port from which all mastic production left. Taking the time to explore these villages allows you to visit Chios in its heart.
4. Museum of mastic
During your visit to Mastihohoria, discover the mastic museum. This elegant modern building opened its doors in 2016. You will understand the process of exploitation of the famous lentisk sap.
In addition, the exterior of the museum allows you to discover this plant in its natural environment. Mastic is very important for Chios since it was the base of the local economy. Also, since 2014 this know-how is registered in the intangible cultural heritage of Unesco.
5. Microbrewery of Chios
What to do in Chios when you love beer? Go to a microbrewery! You will find the Chios Beer factory and shop in the south of Chios. At this place, you can take a tour of the microbrewery and a tasting.
Note that among the different beers, several contain mastic. It is therefore a 100% local and successful beer that you will taste. An original souvenir idea.
6. Vrontados and Daskalopetra
Vrontados is a small coastal town with around 5,000 inhabitants. This village has a charming little port and a rather dynamic life. From Vrontados beach you access the Daskalopetra. Daskalopetra rock is a legendary site.
Indeed, the story would have the Daskalopetra be Homer’s stone chair. Its elevated position facing the sea seems ideal. Chios claims the origin of this famous character and this would provide additional proof.
7. Nea Moni
If you are looking for what to do in Chios, consider visiting Nea Moni. This 11th century monastery is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. It is one of the greatest sites of the Byzantine era. Thanks to its size and wealth, this place of worship was very attractive.
As a result, many talented artists went there. This is why, this monastery presents magnificent mosaics and wall paintings.
During your visit to Nea Moni you will notice skulls arranged behind a window. They are those of the monks killed during a fire. This tragic event was perpetrated by the Turks during the War of Independence.
Anavatos is at the end of a little traveled road. This site is an abandoned village located on top of a sheer cliff. It is made up of sandstone houses and stepped streets.
The tragic end of this village dates back to 1822. The villagers jumped into the void to avoid falling into the hands of the Turks. Visiting Chios is also touching a disastrous story.
9. Lithi Beach
On a beautiful day, visiting Chios and discovering its most beautiful beaches is a must. Then go to Lithi! In the village, stop quickly at the Saint Nicolas church. From there, you will have a magnificent view of the bay of Lithi.
Walk down to the beach, sit back and swim peacefully. Lithi is a charming beach located between hill and small fishing boats. It is an ideal place for a day combining relaxation and an idyllic setting. In addition, the surrounding taverns will welcome you with open arms.
10. A boat trip
Visiting Chios also means enjoying its coastline! Indeed, very nice excursions can be done by boat from Chios, they will allow you to discover the island differently, from its crystal clear waters.
It would therefore be a shame not to rent a boat in Chios , and thus miss discovering the magnificent setting to get there! With or without a license, with the help of a skipper or not, you will undoubtedly spend one of the most pleasant afternoons of your stay!
11. Agio Galas Cave
To the north of the island of Chios is the small village of Agio Galas. The first traces of human life date back to the middle of the Neolithic period. The first inhabitants of this site used the cave as a place of refuge.
Then, at the end of the 12th century, a Byzantine church was built at the level of an entrance to the cave. Today, you will find it still in good condition. Inside, admire the remarkable work of the wooden decorations.
Opposite the entrance to the church, a whitish liquid flows from a stalactite on a rock. According to legend, this water has healing properties.
Thereafter, visit the cave of Agio Galas. This cave is made up of three large spaces. A course of more than 200 meters long is set up in this cave.