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Chios

Chios is one of those islands that will always hold a special place in my heart, one of those islands that were more than just a vacation destination or a step closer to achieving my goal of visiting all of the Greek Islands. It's one of the islands that means so much more to me. Do you want to know why?

When I was in high-school, there was this girl in my class, Marina, who was a bit. scary. She was the freak of our class, if you know what I mean. She'd wear black clothes and paint her fingernails black and put on too much makeup, making herself a target for all those who liked being bullies. My friend Hope of course was never one of those people. She'd talk to her, be friendly, maybe even hang out with her and tell people who teased her off (and since she was one of the 'cool' kids, they'd stop).

So, one day Marina confessed something to Hope: she thought she was a psychic. Now you cannot imagine how hard I laughed when she told me that. I mean, come on, a psychic? Anyway, Hope didn't believe her either, but she agreed she'd "read" her hand and I decided to go along, just to see what she'd say.

Now so many years later, not even one of those things that Marina predicted has happened to Hope. Not even one. But. when she finished reading her hand, I asked her one question: "if you're a psychic, tell me, which island should I visit this year? An island I've never visited". Now I don't know if she took a wild guess or if she talked about me with Hope, but she told me to visit Chios, an island I surprisingly hadn't visited before. She said that something very good would happen to me there. Well, I didn't really believe her, but I figured. why not?

Let me just tell you that it was in Chios I started dating my wife.

chios island - map

Chios Hotels

If you search for accommodation in Chios I recommend you to visit Chios Hotel Online Bookings. There, you can make your reservations directly to the hotels and find rooms in low prices and useful guest reviews.

Turismo Turquia

What does Chios look like?


When you step on this island, your first impression is anything but the best. I remember noticing it on the people's faces around me. I, of course, know better than to judge a whole island by my first impression, so I waited until I'd wandered around a bit before I formed an opinion. I'm suggesting you do the same. Chios is a rather beautiful island. It has a unique and varied architecture; most of its mastic villages are quite original; it has several decent beaches. Concrete buildings and trendy bars flank the town's waterfront. The island's atmospheric old quarter is full of Turkish houses. In general, an oriental atmosphere lingers over Chios.


chios island - chios port chios island - chios port

Are there any places I should not miss in Chios?

Chios has several museums that are worth a visit, even if it's a short one. First off, there's the Byzantine Museum. Sheltered in a mosque dating from the 19th century, it displays a collection of art, tombstones and other odds and ends too big to fit anywhere else. The courtyard specifically is cluttered with Byzantine, Genoese, Turkish and Jewish steles, while beautiful icons on wood adorn the interior.

Then there's the Archaeological Museum of Chios, which contains sculptures, pottery and coins dating from the Neolithic Period. But the one that I personally like the most is the Chios Fort Museum, near the Kastro. It displays artillery and the French cannons are of particular beauty. Near to it you'll find the Turkish cemetery, spiked with tapering steles.

Besides the museums though, there's one place that you would definitely regret missing: the village of Pyrgi. Pyrgi is one of the most extraordinary villages in Greece. It's fortified, with narrow and labyrinthine streets. The building faades are decorated with intricate grey and white designs, with several patterns, either geometric or based on flowers, leaves and animals. It's just. ravishing.

chios island - pyrgi village chios island - pyrgi village


Are there any historical or archaeological sites in Chios?

chios greece - kastro

Since I'm a person who adores castles, I'm going to start with Chios' castle. It's only fair, anyway. The Kastro is the most prominent medieval feature of the town. It was improved by the Genoese after they acquired Chios in 1346. Today though, it lacks the southeasterly sea rampart that fell prey to developers after the devastating earthquake of 1881. Its most impressive gate is the southwesterly Porta Maggiora. In front of the door the palataki (=little palace) has a lovely Genoese faade covered with numerous windows.

Then there's the Kambos. In the 14th century, the Genoese chose this area to built their homes. So, here and there you'll catch a glimpse of these simple residences among the luxuriant orange and lemon plantations. Most of these houses have finely carved balconies, terraces and elegant steps. You can also visit one of them, the Salvagos house. It was purchased by the town to be restored and opened to the public, so don't miss your chance.

chios greece - korais


There's also the Korais library. Housed in a lovely neo-Classical building that was built in 1884, it contains Korais' works. Old books, such as 'the History of Egypt', printed at the time of Napoleon, are displayed among the more recent work. The top floor has been transformed into a museum where you can view fine portraits of members of the Argentis family (the ones who restored this building after World War II).

Finally, don't miss the Ottoman palace. Dating from the 16th century, it has a faded blue faade and wooden loggias and it encompasses a whole block of houses. The rear, ochre-colored part of the building was the domain of the sultan's wives.





What about Chios' beaches?

As I said, Chios has several decent beaches. Well, let me just say that 'decent' was an understatement. Most of the beaches in Chios are actually excellent.

There's Karfas, 5km south of Chios town. It has fine sand, clean waters and tourist facilities such as sun beds, umbrellas and water sport equipment for rent. Then there's Agia Fotini, near the village of Kallimasia. Agia Fotini is one of the most beautiful and popular beaches of Chios, with pebbles and limpid waters.

Apothyka is an unspoiled beach, very clean, near the village of Mesta.

Elinda has deep, crystal-clear azure waters and smooth black pebbles, which were formed from the lava of a nearby volcano that exploded centuries ago (and turned this beach into a unique location).

Giali is an exquisite organized beach with crystal-clear waters. Limnos has sand and small or, at some points, big pebbles. As for Didima, it's ideal if you are looking for a place where you can swim.

chios greece - mavra volia beach chios greece - karfas beach

Where should I eat in Chios?

chios greece - greek food

There are several places where you can have a decent meal in Chios. First of all, there's Ouzeri, in the Kastro. The atmosphere is amazing; it's like you're getting in a time machine and travel to the medieval times! Also, the dishes are quite delicious, many Greek specialties at quite reasonable prices.

Then there's The Two Brothers in Chios Town. This restaurant is often full and open late. No wonder, since the dishes are quite tasty: smyrna meatballs, stuffed vine leaves.

Taverna Hotzas is quite good as well, at the southern end of town. It has a lovely garden with lemon trees and the dishes are delicious. Try the fava (yellow spit peas), the mastelo (grilled cheese) and the grilled fish.

Finally, there's To Meliotiko Ouzeri, on the waterfront. This wonderful place dishes out huge helpings of delicious Greek salads, seafood and vegetable appetizers.

What about Chios' nightlife?

chios greece - chios club

Most of the places you can have a good time at are gathered around the Chios Town's waterfront. Graffiti, for example, is a lively disco bar. En Plo on Prokymaia is an excellent rock club. Stasis Bar is popular bar, as well as Kavos, Remezzo and La Loca. B52, Xandres, they're quite good places as well. All you have to do is take a walk around and you will find lots of bars, clubs, even a bowling centre ("the Waterfront Alley") and a cinema ("Cine Kipos")!


How do I get to Chios?

You can go by air: there are four daily flights from Athens and 2 per week to Lesvos and Thessaloniki. As for by sea, there are daily ferry connections with Piraeus, Lesvos and Innouses, three times per week with Limnos and Psara, twice per week with Thessaloniki and Kavala and once a week with Ikaria, Kos, Rhodes, Mykonos and Syros.

Book online your ferry tickets to the greek islands and have them delivered at home easily.


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