Crystal clear sea, long beaches, nice climate, the scent of jasmine, and many attractive tourist sites - all that is Chios, the perfect place for both active and more passive holiday or getting to know history and Greek landscape. With its area of more than 800 km2, it is the fifth largest Greek island, located in the north-east part of the Cyclades (the Cyclades include also other islands like Santorini, Mykonos, Syrosori Naxos), washed by the Aegean Sea (like another holiday resort, Turkey, only a few kilometres away - 10km far from Cesme). You can imagine the beauties of Chios better after seeing the photos from the island. The section Chios - photos includes a photo gallery of our users, with hundreds of photos from the island visitors.
The Mediterranean climate of the island is hospitable throughout the whole year, but the best weather can be enjoyed during the summer period from May to October when the temperatures rise to 30°C and the air is refreshed by a soft wind. The winters are usually very mild, and so, you can set off to the island even in the low season and dedicate yourself to the visit of historical sites or hiking.
The island surface is not equal everywhere, thus forming a varied landscape mosaic - including seashore lowlands, hill slopes, valleys and plateaus, but also the highest peak of the island, Pelinaios, at almost 1 300 metres above sea level. From the eastern coast, you can see up to Turkey, or you can even set off there by sea. You can also make a boat trip to the surrounding islands - the bigger island of Oinousses in the north, and the tiny island of Pontikonisi, Passas and Vatos; or the bigger island of Psara, the smaller Antispara and the miniature Katonissi in the north-east. if you pass by the place called Kampochora in spring, you can feel like somewhere in the Netherlands because of the abundance of tulips, mostly of deep scarlet colour.
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The capital of Chios situated on the eastern coast bears the same name as the whole island - the town of Chios, sometimes also called Chora or Hora. Chios is a lively town like all the other capitals, although compared to the inland capitals as we know them from Europe, it is more a small or middle-sized town. Despite that it is an administrative, cultural, entertainment, trade and educational centre (the town is a site of the university of economics). Evidence proving the existence of this imporant settlement has been preserved, dating back to many thousands of years BC. Therefore the history reflected in many different sites scattered on the island, is more than varied. According to a legend, Chios is the birthplace of two illustrious figures of world’s history - the poet Homer, and the navigator and discoverer of America, Christopher Columbus.
On Chios there are enough beaches to satisfy the needs of all the island visitors. The island is perfect especially for the lovers of sports that require waves, since strong winds from the north and north-west are blowing there, and so the island is ideal for surfing, windsurfing, and sailing. The beaches that suit the best for those activities are Afanis, Agia Fotia, Karfas and Mega Limnionas that can all be found, together with the Daskalopetra Beach, in the proximity of the capital. The beaches are mostly sandy or pebbly, yet not all provide so much comfort for the tourists, so it is always better to find out before your departure to the island which one of the beaches will suit you the best. For the list of beaches, you can see the section Chios beaches.
You can move on the island on foot, on bike, by bus, by car, or by the regular bus lines. The capital is also a port where boats from Piraeus and other islands arrive, so there is nothing easier than get to the Greek inland and then continue by sea with a boat ride up to Chios. Obviously the fastest solution is to use a plane as Chios has its own airport.
What to do on Chios?
Although Chios is one of the frequently visited islands of the Cyclades, many places seem to be almost untouched by tourism, and so they are perfect for your adventurous explorations and hiking tours. To travel on the island, you can see the section Chios Map.
On your way you will see many villages that take pride in their tradition of the collection of mastic, a resin from the mastic tree used for religious purposes (like frankincense, for example). One of the villages worth seeing is definitely Pyrgi (about 25 km from the capital) with rich houses ornamentation in black and white, quite unusual for the Greek islands. The village streets are adorable, like in a fairy tale. If you prefer nature, you can visit the village of Kambos with citrus plantations and flower gardens. Other well-preserved ‘mastic’ villages that have managed to resist the devastating earthquake in 1881, are Mesta, Olimpi, Vessa, Kalamoti and Elata. Every village has lived its own life, used a different dialect, and the folk costumes of the locals also have their particularities.
Greece is famous for its delicous cuisine, with Chios being no exception, and so the island is tempting all the gourmets to taste various dainties. Obviously the bistros, fast food restaurants and hotels, often serve typical continental dishes, so although you can enjoy them, too, you can’t really expect to find there the real specialities - to taste them you need to go the the traditional tavernas and restaurants. Chios dishes are mostly prepared of fruits, vegetables, olives, seafood, and different kinds of meat (fish, lamb, mutton, chicken, pork), all seasoned with olive oil and spices. The dish that can’t be missing is obviously gyros - its smell will make your mouth water! The dishes are usually accompanied by goat or sheep cheese, and as a dessert, you can get fruits from the local harvest, ice-cream or a sweet dish. To drink, you really must taste the local varieties of wine, or the traditional ouzo, or mixed colourful drinks.
Who to travel with to Chios?
Chios is an extremely popular destination. You can find most travel agencies and tours here in Chios - Tours centre; the tours can be purchased with one of our special bonuses (a discount, a travel guide or a map), but some travel agencies also offer a discount for an online reservation or have different offers that couldn’t be included in the price list. Therefore it is highly recommended to see also the offer of the travel agencies listed in the Recommendation of a Travel Agency chart. You can find a complete overview of the hotels, suites and studios offered in the destination in the section Hotels, suites and studios on Chios. The recommended travel agencies are also listed at the accomodation facilities these agencies offer.
Video from Chios Island