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Medieval villages, wonderful beaches, scenic landscapes and the refreshing aroma of mastic; welcome to Chios Island! Search for cheap air tickets to Chios and explore this extraordinary island of the North Aegean that boasts a dramatic history and an excessive charm. In Chios, the background is rich and diverse, varying from rugged mountains, citrus orchards and pristine stretches of land, to picturesque little villages and elegant towns. The marvellous beaches of Chios stand just a stone’s throw away from the shores of Turkey, lush vegetation is everywhere you look and you can immediately tell that Chios is like no other Greek island; visitors are astounded and captivated by the ambience, colours and aromas of Chios. Plan your trip, book your accommodation in one of Chios’s cheap hotels and head out to explore and discover your inner peace. The trip to the island of Chios is more than idyllic – it is a precious experience!
Greece’s fifth largest island – and the tenth largest in the Mediterranean – Chios is situated in the North Aegean. Its short distance from the Turkish port of Çeşme has been a crucial factor to the development of trade and the establishment of economic and cultural relations, ever since antiquity.
Chios was founded in the 11th century BC; frequently attacked by Saracen pirates during the Byzantine era, it eventually grew to be a major agricultural and trading hub, under the Genoese rule, based mainly on citrus fruits and locally produced mastic.
What decisively stigmatised the history of Chios is the great massacre of 1822, where the Ottomans, in response to the participation of Chios to the Greek War of Independence, slaughtered and sold as slaves tens of thousands of Chians. The Massacre of Chios had a considerable impact on the international public opinion, inducing a tremendous philhellenic movement. The French artist Eugène Delacroix was inspired by the massacre, to create his well-known masterpiece “The Massacre at Chios”.
Chios was annexed to Greece in 1912. Today, the island is one of Greece’s most loved destinations, preserving its tradition, retaining its original charm and beauty and refusing to give in to a tourist development without boundaries.
The fascinating contrasts of the natural landscape, beautiful Mastichochoria that are the sole mastic production locations in the world, breathtaking Chora and the proud and friendly Chians are just some of the things you’ll love about Chios.
Visit Chios and see for yourselves!
The airport of Chios (Κρατικός Αερολιμένας Χίου "Όμηρος") is located 4 kilometres south of Chios’s capital and is accessible by bus.
Chios Island is served by an extensive bus network. Fares depend on the selected route and minim taxi fare costs 2.70€.
Begin your day in the Chora of Chios with a walk across the waterfront, lined with restored neoclassical buildings now housing cafes and restaurants. Passing the end of the port, you will reach the Castle of Chios; estimated to have been built in the 8th century, the Castle of Chios for centuries served as the administrative and religious centre of Chora. Inside the castle, don’t miss the Justiniani Museum and its excellent collections of post-Byzantine icons, Byzantine sculptures and mosaics.
Continue to some of Chora’s most notable sights and locations:
A few kilometres outside Chora, the Nea Moni Monastery is the most iconic landmark of the island and a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The monastery was founded in 1042 and is famous for its post-Byzantine religious art and mosaics. Having undergone great damage by the Ottoman attacks and by the earthquake of 1881, the monastery was eventually rebuilt, in 1900.
South of Chora, an idyllic bunch of little villages called Kampochoria stretches across extensive fields, orchards and flowered yards that encircle old Genoese mansions.
Continue your exploration taking the scenic route to the villages of Chios. Chios has 66 villages, scattered around the island, the most notable of which are Kardamyla, Lagada and Vrodados to the north, Agio Galas to the northwest and the 20 mastic villages of Chios, to the south, most notably Pyrgi and Mesta.
- Start at the village of Anavatos, situated in the central part of the island, built upon a granite rock. Commonly known to as the “Mystras of Chios”, referring to its resemblance to the historic fortified town in Peloponnese, Anavatos has a sole way of access from the North; a fact the locals took great advantage of to protect themselves. They further reinforced the natural fortification of the village and lived protected inside the walls. Anavatos was deserted by its inhabitants after the massacre of Chios and now represents a national monument. To get there, wear comfortable shoes, have enough water provisions and follow the path from Chora.
- Going north of Chora, the traditional town of Vrodados awaits you, a town with a rich maritime history, famous for two reasons; the Homer’s Rock or Daskalopetra (Teacher’s Rock), a beach named after the rock where allegedly Homer used to teach his epic poets, Odyssey and Iliad and the infamous rocketwar that takes place every Easter; an unorthodox way of celebrating the orthodox easter!
- Kardamyla is the third largest settlement of Chios, centred on the port of Marmaro.
The northwestern side of Chios features the most pristine and wild scenery, sees little or none tourism and is a region where people make ends meet mostly through agriculture.
The southern side of Chios is much different, boasting beautifully laid out villages, the so-called Medieval Villages, fortified and built in a way to provide protection from pirates. The most well-known of the Medieval Villages is Mesta, founded in the 8th century. The Genoese reinforced the fortifications of Mesta during the 15th century and used it as the main defence against the pirates, to protect the mastic cultivation.
You will find Mastichochoria, the series of villages that cultivate and produce the local mastic “Masticha of Chios” to the southwest of Chios. Pyrgi is the largest and most notable of Mastichochoria, founded in the 14th century and lined with traditional buildings. The most striking characteristic of Pyrgi is the façade of the buildings; the majority of them is decorated with the so-called “ksysta” (sgraffiti), a local decorative technique.
Chios boasts a large number of magnificent beaches. To name a few: Karfas, south of Chora, Daskalopetra north of Vrodados, Kardamyla to the north, Lithi to the west, Magemena to the northwest and Mavra Volia, just outside the village of Pyrgi.
The official language of Chios is Greek.