Chios Island, Mediaeval villages, a diverse landscape, beaches with wild beauty, ‘miraculous’ masticha, Chios is much more than just an island on the edge of the Aegean
What to do on Chios
There are about 20 mediaeval mastic villages in southern Chios. Particularly noteworthy are Pyrgi and Mesta, followed by Vessa, Armolia, Nenita and Patrika. Walking around this cluster of towns is magical, especially in August, when you’ll see trees shedding ‘tears’ of mastic crystals in the surrounding farms.
The mastic tree – a low bush with outstretched branches and a bent trunk, related to the pistachio tree – is the symbol of the island. The harvesting of its resin, which consists of making incisions in the tree (what the locals call Kentima or embroidery) results in mastic ‘tears’ dripping from the trunk.
The gentle, fragrant and expensive product is found exclusively on Chios, and has been cultivated here since the 1st century AD. It is also believed to have therapeutic properties. Tradition says that the mastic trees began crying when Agios Isidoros was tortured on Chios by the Romans.
The treasures of the north
Discover the stunning natural beauty of northern Chios. Follow the route; Kardamila-Nagos-Amades-Viki-Kambia-Kipouries-Diefha. The landscape surrounding the highest mountain, Pelinaio, is exhilarating, the villages are picturesque and the dirt roads will lead you to secret, secluded beaches.
Nea Moni Monastery and its masterful mosaics
The most important monastery in Chios, and one of the most important in all of Greece, it was established in 1024 by the Byzantine emperor Constantine IX Monomachos. Large, rich and famous, it has been recognised as a Unesco World Heritage Site. At the altar of the Virgin Mary, you’ll see some of the most beautiful mosaics in the world glittering before you.
Gastronomy of Chios
Other than its famed masticha, Chios offers a large choice of local produce and authentic tastes. The gastronomic wealth of this blessed place includes butter and cheeses, such as mastelo; citrus fruit, like the Chios mandarins; ouzo and aromatic liqueurs; wines of excellent quality; local sweets; pasteli (a sesame and honey bar) and of course abundant fresh fish and seafood. Have we whetted your appetite? There’s only one way to satisfy it.