Kalispera Greece Chios.


Chios in Greece

Chios in Swedish.

Chios (Hios or Xios) lies close to Turkey, between Samos and Lesvos. It is Greece's fifth largest island to the surface after Crete, Evia, Lesvos and Rhodes. The island has 51,400 inhabitants and the surface is 843 km2. In the capital, Chios Town, lives around 26,850 people. The highest mountain - Pelineon - measuring 1,297 meters above sea level.

Chios is famous for the medieval villages of Pyrgi, Mesta and Olympi, and also for the monastery Nea Moni from 1042 which is included on the UNESCO's World Heritage List, as well as being the island on which Homer was born, and for the manufacture of products made from the resin of the mastic bush (read more about that below).


Trachili beach on Chios in Greece.

Trachili is one of many watch towers on Chios. This is most beautiful.


Chios is a very Greek island completely free from mass tourism. So if you want to get away from the main tourist tracks and want to meet the real Greece, then you should visit Chios. Unfortunately, not many people choose to spend there holiday on Chios. I do not know why. Maybe it's because so few have been there so there is nobody that can tell about the island; or the reason is that those who have visited Chios do not want to tell other about the island because they want the island to be preserved as it is.


Managros beach is one of many unexploited beaches on Chios.

Managros is one of many unexplored beaches in Chios.


On Chios you can find everything you could wish for: lots of beautiful beaches, picturesque villages, interesting sights, exciting landscapes, and the best of all: wherever you are, you are part of Greek everyday life. Another good thing about Chios is that you are almost always served really good Greek home cooking in the taverns.


In the cozy fishing village of Limnia in southwestern Chios, there is a beach and several good restaurants.

The cozy fishing village of Limnia on southwest Chios.


There is international airport on Chios so from some countries it is possible to fly directly. Otherwise it is easiest to go by air to Athens and continue the journey with domestic flights, or travel by air to Samos and go on with ferry to Chios.


From the port of Chios town there are ferries to Piraeus, Samos and Lesbos

The giant harbor basin in Chios town.


Ferry timetable for Chios »

Book ferry tickets online here »



Since Chios is a large island it is most convenient to rent a car. If you just want to stay close to where you stay, you can rent a moped. Car and moped rental services are available in all major villages. Local bus operates almost the whole island. In the town of Chios, you can go on a guided tour with a toy train.


Rent a car on Chios and drive to the beautiful Elinta beach.

With your own vehicle, you can get to lesser-known places, such as Elinta beach.



I am only writing about a few of Chios many beautiful villages. You will have to discover the rest on your own. If you rent a car and drive around the countryside, I promise you will be surprised by how many villages there are. The vast majority are completely unaffected by tourism.


The vast majority of the villages on Chios in Greece are completely unaffected by tourism, like the village of Kambi above.

The vast majority of villages are completely unaffected by tourism, like the village of Kambi above.

If you arrive by ferry, Chios Town is your first introduction to Chios. It is a bustling metropolis with approximately 26,850 inhabitants. Like a little Athens, you could say, although much calmer of course, and above all much nicer. Here, of course, you can find everything you can think of in a Greek city of this size.


One of the many shopping streets in Chios town that offers everything between heaven and earth.

One of the shopping streets in Chios town.


Not least, there are many restaurants and ouzerias here that serve really good Greek food. There are also many interesting museums, churches, mosques and cathedrals here. Of the museums, I can recommend the Maritime Museum and the Archaeological Museum. Before the earthquake of 1881, the town of Chios was surrounded by a wall, called Kastro. Unfortunately, large parts of the wall were destroyed during the earthquake, but parts of it still remain.


The old city wall in Chios town is similar to that of the old city of Rhodes.

The old city wall in Chios town is similar to that of Rhodes old town.


North of the Chios Town lies Vrontados (5,300 inhabitants) which is a kind of suburb of the city of Chios. The city, because you can count it as a city, is famous for two things: being the birthplace of the poet Homer, and for the annual firework war.

We start with Homer, who is believed to have lived sometime in the seventh century BC. He is called the father of Western literature, and is believed to have written the Odyssey and the Iliad. There are a number of islands, and villages on the mainland, that claim that the poet Homer was born on their island, or in their village. Chios is considered by many to be the island where he was actually born.


The Daskalopetra rock in Vrontados on Chios where Homer sat and thought. It is said that Homer was born on Chios.

The rock Daskalopetra in Vrontados where Homer sat and thought. In the picture I do it.


Above Vrontados there is a rock called Daskalopetra where Homer is said to have sat and thought. True or not, no one knows, of course, but the rock is there, and with a little imagination you can feel the wings of history. Homer is said to have died on Ios where there is a tomb where he is said to be buried.

Read about Homer's tomb on Ios here »


The annual firework war in Vrontados is commonly known as the Chios Rocket War and takes place between Easter Eve and Easter Sunday each year. In Vrontados there are two large churches: Saint Mark and Virgin Mary Erethianis. It is between these churches that the war is fought. On both sides it is loaded with thousands of firework pieces (some say 50,000 pieces) which at 20:00 are fired at each other.


The famous windmills between Chios town and Vrontados in Greece.

The famous windmills between Chios town and Vrontados.


I haven't seen this act live, but have seen videos on Youtube, and it looks absolutely insane. Although I am very fond of all things fireworks, I would not want to be in Vrontados during the "Chios Rocket War".


In the square of the car-free mastic village of Mesta on Chios, there are several good Greek restaurants and taverns.

The square in Mesta.


In my opinion, the most interesting villages are located in southern Chios, in an are called Mastihochoria, or Mastic Villages. The area is known for its production of mastic, or mastix. Three of the villages in Mastihochoria are Mesta, Olympi and Pyrgi.

Mastic is a bush that grows throughout the Mediterranean area, but it is only on Chios that the resin from the bush is used. It is said that the mastic bush on Chios has special properties, and can be used in different ways than bushes that grow in the rest of the Mediterranean. Also, only the bushes that grow on southern Chios are useful. If that's not strange, tell me.

The mastic is said to be healing and is used in a variety of products, including cosmetics, chewing gum, spices, spirits, wine, jams, juices, marmalade and sweets.


In Chios town there are several shops where you can buy products containing Mastix.

The store in Chios town where there are lots of products containing Mastic.


In the town of Chios there is a shop that only sells mastic-related products. A similar shop is located at the airport in Athens. Ever since ancient times, the bush has been the most important source of income for the residents of southern Chios. In August 2012, a pyromaniac started several fires on southern Chios. The fire spread quickly and took six days to put out. The pyromaniac was arrested, but what was the use, about 15,000 hectares of land was destroyed, and it meant a disaster for the residents.

The car-free village of Mesta resembles a fortress and is the most beautiful village on Chios.

One of many narrow alleys in the car-free village of Mesta.


Of the villages in Mastihochoria, I consider Mesta (350 inhabitants) to be the absolute finest. The village is built like a fort and is completely walled. The stone-paved alleys are so narrow in places that you can touch the houses on both sides as you pass by. In the village there is a cozy square with several good restautants. Incidentally, the village is completely free of cars. Olympi (375 inv) is similar to Mesta but is not as convivial.


The mastic village of Pyrgi on the island of Chios with its unique houses where the house facades are painted in a mosaic of black and white.

The village of Pyrgi with the unique houses.


The village of Pyrgi (about 1200 inhabitants) is, as far as I know, unique in all of Greece. Like Mesta and Olympi, Pyrgi dates back to the Middle Ages, and was also built as an impregnable fortress. What makes Pyrgi unique is that the house facades are painted in a mosaic of black and white. If you are in the area, you should see all three villages. If you only have time for one village, choose Mesta or Pyrgi.


Read more about the village Pyrgi here »


My favorite villages in northern Chios are Kardamyla, Marmaro and Nagos in southeastern Chios, as well as Volissos and Limnia in the southwestern part of the island. Marmaro is about 37 kilometers north of Chios town. Marmaro is also called Kardamila or Kardamyla and is Chios second largest village. We have lived a week in Marmaro and it was absolutely perfect because there was plenty to see and do in the immediate area.


Marmaro is one of the finest villages on northern Chios in Greece.

Marmaro is my favorite village in northern Chios.

Nagos beach on northeastern Chios in Greece is perfect for families with small children.

Nagos beach on northeastern Chios.


Read more about Nagos beach here »



If you're looking for nice beaches, you've come to the right place. There are lots of beaches on Chios. It might not be so strange because it is such a big island. But what is strange is that so few know that Chios has been gifted with nice beaches.


Giosonas beach is one of many fine unexploited beaches on the island of Chios in Greece.

Giosonas is one of many fine unexploited beaches on Chios.


It doesn't matter what kind of beach you prefer, all types are available on Chios: sandy beaches, pebble beaches, small pebble beaches and rock baths. What is even more amazing is that there is no difficulty in finding a deserted beach that you have all to yourself.


Karfas is the best beach on Chios in Greece.

Karfas is Chios most popular beach.


The most popular beach is Karfas which is south of Chios town. Karfas is not only the most popular beach in Chios, it is also considered the best beach on Chios. There are charter trips to Karfas from Norway and Holland, among others. There are plenty of hotels and pensions here, and there are plenty of taverns, restaurants, shops and a wide range of water sports.

Agia Fotini in southern Chios is a very nice little tourist resort with a nice beach.

Agia Fotini on southern Chios is a very nice little tourist resort.


Just south of Karfas is Agia Fotini (or Agia Fotia). Agia Fotini is a small, pleasant resort with a nice pebble beach and good beach side tavernas. If you think Karfas feels big and touristy, this is where you should go. Next time I travel to Chios I will probably stay in Agia Fotini. Quiet and peaceful, and a good base for excursions in southern Chios.


Komi beach south of Agia Fotini and south of Chios town.

Komi beach which is south of Agia Fotini.


South of Agia Fotini is the village of Komi, which in many ways resembles Agia Fotini. The beach is long and consists of sand mixed with pebbles. Above the beach are hotels, guesthouses, shops and several taverns and cafes.

Not far from Komi is Mavra beach, which is Chios most spectacular beach. Maybe that's why it has so many names? The beach is also called Mavra Volia beach, Volia beach and Mavro Gialos beach.


Mavra on Chios in Greece is a beach with black sand and is similar to the beaches of Santorini.

The right part of Mavra beach.


Mavra means "black" in Greek, and you understand that when you come here, because the beach consists of black stones, big and small. The stones get very hot, so bathing shoes are preferred. The beach is divided into two parts and is separated by a cliff. To be honest, and I will, Mavra beach is more eye-catching than good.

Those were some of the beaches on Chios. As you can see, there are a few hundred more. Not least up in the north where it is teeming with remote beaches of various kinds. My favorite beaches are Vroulidia beach which is south of Mavra, Nagos beach in the north-east of Chios, and Managros and Giosonas in the north-west. If you rent a car, you will surely find your own favorite beach.


Vroulidia beach on southern Chios in Greece.

Vroulidia beach on southern Chios.


Read more about Vroulidia beach here »



There is so much to see and do on Chios. Not least, there are a whole bunch of interesting churches, monasteries, fortresses and watchtowers. One of these watchtowers is located on a peninsula called Trachili (see image at the top of the page) south of Mesta.

Many of the villages on Chios can also be counted among the sights, I think first and foremost of the unique villages of Mesta, Olympi and Pyrgi. I can warmly recommend hiking between these mastic villages. The village of Volissos on northwestern Chios is also worth seeing.


The monastery of Nea Moni is not to be missed when you travel to Chios in Greece.

Nea Moni monastery.


In 1822, the Turks invaded Chios and in a short time massacred 23,000 Chios. Those who were not killed were captured and sold in the slave markets of Cairo and Smyrna (Izmir). It is believed that as many as 47,000 Chios were sold into slavery. Those who were not killed, or enslaved, fled the island.

When the Turks came to Nea Moni, there were 600 monks living in the monastery and approximately 3,500 civilians had sought refuge in the monastery. All murdered by the Turks. Skeletal parts and skulls of these wretches are buried in one of the chapels of the monastery.


Skeletal parts and skulls of the murdered inhabitants of Chios are buried in one of the chapels of the monastery of Nea Moni.

Skeletal parts and skulls of these wretches are buried in one of the chapels of the monastery.


Another interesting sight is the Cave of Olympi (or Sykias Cave) located 6 kilometers south of the village of Olymbi. It is believed that the stalactites in the cave were formed 150 million years ago. In 1985, the excavations of the cave began. Seven years later it was opened to the public.

The Cave of Olympi is said to be one of the most beautiful caves in all of Greece. Unfortunately, I cannot agree with that. I have visited many caves in Greece, and can count several that are more awesome than the Cave of Olympi. Drogarati cave on Kefalonia, Sendoni cave and Dikteon Cave on Crete, are some examples of that. However, the Cave of Olympi is well worth a visit. The cave is open every day except Mondays.


I am childishly fond of deserted villages, such as Mikro Chorio on Tilos, and Chorio on Chalki. Such a village can also be found here on Chios. It is called Anavatos and is located west of the monastery of Nea Moni. The village, which dates from the 14th century, is located on a high cliff with steep slopes. The location made the village easy to defend when invading pirates and Turks ravaged the Mediterranean.


The deserted village of Anavatos on Chios is similar to the abandoned villages of Mikro Chorio on Tilos and Chorio on Chalki.

The devastated village Anavatos is very interesting.


But even Anavatos did not escape when the Turks attacked Chios in 1822. When they approached Anavatos, the inhabitants prepared for a long siege. But someone (it is said) betrayed the villagers and opened the gates of the village and the Turks were admitted. Those who were not massacred took their lives by jumping off the cliff.

After the massacre, Anavatos was abandoned and today is a protected monument to a tragic time in the history of Chios. When you stand in the village and look down along the steep cliffs, and think of all those who jumped, it is not without a little sadness in your eyes.



As you can understand, the range of hotels and pensions is gigantic. So getting a room is no problem, the problem, if I may call it that, is deciding where on Chios to stay. Most foreign tourists choose to stay in Karfas, or in its vicinity, such as Megas Limnionas.'

Personally, I choose to stay in Mesta, or in one of the other unique villages in southern Chios. I have also lived in the coastal village of Marmaro in the north of Chios, and I want to promise that it was an experience of rank. We were the only tourists in the whole area. Regardless of where you choose to stay, you should book a room in advance.


Book hotels on Chios here »







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