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The island of Chios

Chios is diverse and unpredictable, boasting wonderful and numerous beaches, old stone-built mansions, Byzantine churches, and medieval villages. With picturesque seaside hamlets and others perched on the cliffs of rugged mountains.

Chios is the birthplace of prominent scholars and politicians such as Adamantios Korais, Emmanouil Roidis, Alexandros Mavrokordatos, and mathematicians Hippocrates and Oinopides, Chios also claims the title of Homer’s birthplace. Due to its strategic location, it has played a significant role throughout the centuries

The island offers traditional taverns serving delicious local mezes and welcomes you with its hospitable residents. As you walk through village cobblestone streets, you almost expect pirates from the past to appear before you.


The port of Chios, the fifth largest island in Greece, is vibrant and charming. Within the walls of its Fortress lies an entire neighbourhood with cobblestone streets, beautiful old houses, restaurants, and cafés.

Just a few kilometres away, you will find Kambos, one of the Aegean’s best-kept secrets, with beauty comparable to the most enchanting landscapes of Provence or Tuscany. This area has been designated as a “historic site” and “traditional settlement” protected by the Ministry of Culture.

A key feature of Kambos’ buildings is the tall walls made of stone, which protect each property, including the impressive mansions and citrus orchards, from harsh weather conditions. Chios’ aristocratic families, both Genoese and local, began building their houses here in the 14th century, focusing on intricately decorated courtyards and flower-filled gardens.

Chios’ trademark and one of its sources of wealth is a shrub with spreading branches and a bent trunk, somewhat resembling that of a pine tree. This is the mastic tree, which Chians “wound” or “prick” to make it “weep,” generously offering its valuable resin. This unique product, mastic, is produced exclusively on Chios and has been cultivated on the island since the 1st century AD.

A collection of medieval villages that cultivate and process mastic has preserved its distinctive architecture and unique atmosphere over the centuries. Among these renowned Mastic Villages, Pyrgi stands out with its “xysta,” the famous decorations on the façades of houses, along with Mesta, Vessa, Armolia, Nenita, and Patrika.

Near Pyrgi, the Chios Mastic Museum of the Piraeus Bank Group Cultural Foundation has been constructed, a true ark of tradition and history. The impressive architecture, fully harmonized with the environment, spans an area of 3,270 square meters and is built on 12 acres of land, five of which are mastic groves.

The museum aims to highlight the production history of mastic cultivation and processing, integrating it into Chios’ cultural landscape. Through the lens of UNESCO’s 2014 inclusion of traditional mastic cultivation in the Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity, emphasis is placed on the timelessness and sustainability of this local product.

Close to the Mastic Villages is one of Chios’ most impressive sights, a ruined stone village that seems to hang next to a sheer cliff: Anavatos. This monument holds significant importance for the island’s history. The surrounding rock gives a sense of fortification, but the village suffered during the Chios Massacre in 1822, at the end of the Ottoman occupation. After the massacre, its inhabitants abandoned it.

There are about 400 houses, now standing open. Visitors can enter and see the wooden ceilings, tiny spaces, low doors, and small, rounded windows, imagining the life that once existed there.


Another “must-do” on the visitors’ list is Nea Moni of Chios with its masterful mosaics, the most significant monastery on Chios and one of the most important in all of Greece. It was founded in 1024 by Emperor Constantine IX Monomachos, and its construction was completed by Theodora. The katholikon of the Virgin Mary is adorned with some of the world’s finest Byzantine mosaics.

Unfortunately, many tourists fail to witness the stunning natural beauty of Northern Chios. We suggest following the route Kardamyla-Nagos-Amades-Viki-Kampia-Kipouries-Dievcha. The landscapes around the island’s highest mountain, Pelineon, are breathtaking, the villages are picturesque, and many dirt roads lead to hidden, secluded beaches.

Speaking of beaches, we must highlight that they are truly countless, with something for every preference. Highlights include the surreal Mavra Volia with its large, shiny pebbles, the beautiful Vroulidia, and Agia Dynami, reminiscent of the Cyclades. Apothika is genuinely stunning, as is Trachili with its deep waters (nearby are Giali and Elinda), and Giosonas in the north.

It would be remiss not to mention the beautiful Volissos with its stone houses and the castle dominating the summit, and the tranquil nautical village of Lagkada, from where one can take a day trip to the lovely Oinousses or enjoy wonderful seafood there.


chios-historyArchaeological excavations have shown that Chios has been continuously inhabited since 6000 BC. The ancient city was built by the Greeks before 1000 BC and was known for its prosperity and size, with walls to protect it from pirate raids.

From its beginnings until now, Chios has experienced long periods of prosperity and decline, consistently covering the same geographic area. According to mythology, the island was named after Chios, the son of Poseidon or Oceanus. In ancient times, it was also known as Ophiousa, Aethalia, Makris, and Pityousa.

Around 3000 BC, the Pelasgians appeared on Chios. Later, the Achaeans settled on the island, and in 1100 BC, the Ionians arrived. From then on, Chios began to steadily progress, reaching its peak in the 6th century BC. The Chians produced famous wine, cultivated epic poetry and sculpture, and earned their living from the slave trade.

It is widely accepted that Homer hailed from Chios and lived there in the 8th century BC. In 493 BC, Chios was subjugated by the Persians and forced to fight alongside them against the Greeks. It was soon liberated and, from 478 BC, joined the Delian League. Chios was conquered by the Turks in 1566.

Exploring Chios

The island that inspired Columbus to discover America is located in the northeastern Aegean. It is the fifth largest island in Greece and lies close to the Asia Minor coast.

Discover the culture and history of Chios through remarkable collections, relics, documents, and other ancient finds and monuments, which are housed in numerous museums across the region.

Stroll through Chios’ old buildings of distinct architecture, which, combined with the modern city and the lush greenery, create a magical setting of peace and relaxation that truly captivates visitors’ hearts.

Explore the medieval character of Chios with its villages scattered throughout the island. These villages resemble castles, built this way to protect inhabitants from pirates during the Middle Ages. These villages have retained their architecture over the centuries. The walls of all village houses are painted with black and white geometric shapes. Walking through their narrow streets, you’ll feel as though time has stopped.

Ancient and Byzantine monuments, including castles and towers scattered across the island, as well as numerous monasteries and churches, many of which are well-preserved, leave an indelible mark of a bygone era that enchants and captivates.


Wander through the fertile and noble Kambos of Chios, where aristocrats once lived. This area is why the island is referred to as “fragrant” and is characterized by a unique architectural style. Large independent estates and impressive Genoese mansions, pebble-paved courtyards with intricate cisterns, and blooming gardens. Each one has its own beauty and style, all together creating a captivating image.

Discover the stunning natural beauty of Chios with lush pine forests, wetlands, caves, beautiful beaches with pebbles and sand along the coast, and warm people renowned for their hospitality and warmth.

Chios is filled with everything that will make your holiday a wonderful experience. It will accompany your most beautiful experiences with a delightful fragrance, lingering with you in the air.