It's time to tell you about the journey to Chios! We will not beat around the bush and just say – we were absolutely charmed by the island! From the moment we stepped off the ferry and until the departure it seemed that we came to visit our friends who took us to a non-stop sightseeing. Every day was highlighted with something new: kayaking in the cozy bays, organic bars at the shore, walking around the desolate mountain towns, fresh seafood, incredible sunsets, the private villa in the middle of an orange grove and much more! But let's take first things first.
So, Chios is the island that follows Lesbos. You can get there on the same ferry, so we can say that it’s kind of the next stop :) There is also the airport to reach the island from Athens. In fact, we think that the perfect option to explore this part of Greece is to take a ferry and go on a trip for North Aegean islands. The Island is quite big, and it’s hard to travel without a car. If you are thinking to rent one, the local company Chios Rent'a'Car is of great help, as there are great deals along with brand new cars, as well as the opportunity to take a scooter. The capital has the same name as the island and the local residents mostly live there. In general, the city seemed very hang out inspiring. The bars are all around, ads on the parties sparkle everywhere and the night life of the main street doesn’t fade for a second! Actually, it is not the mood of the capital but of the entire island – there is a working bar on every major beach and in the evenings beach parties occur here and there. At the same time, this mood is quite moderate there, so it will be easy to find a wild beach or a quiet place. For us, the whole trip to Chios was a perfect balance between fun and tranquility.
Where to stay
Most of the hotels are concentrated in the city and with the booking.com it’s easy to find anything to your taste. But we will introduce the one we lived in, as it is worthy of a separate story. The hotel is called Argentikon, it is located not far from the capital. In the XVI century those places were owned by a prosperous Italian family Argenti – they were selling oranges (oranges were very expensive at the time). So, they happened to build the estate that became a stunning historical and architectural monument of a few hundred years old, where you can spend the night. There are just 8 rooms and each of them is inside of one of the historical buildings on the villa’s territory. The interior of the rooms has its vivid history too – the hotel’s owner has collected the old furniture buying it from different families at the entire island to contribute to the hotel. The most part of the architecture remained authentic and the most part of the territory is taken by the orange groove, so when you walk around it, you can just rich out your hand and the sweet fruit will be there. Then it’s a fanciful pleasure to know that an orange juice you drink this morning was made of oranges from the tree that grows near your room :)
The must-see places
Despite the fact that the mastic trees grow all over the Mediterranean, only the mastic from Chios is appreciated all over the world. Very good for health, it also has a pleasant taste, so in Chios you can buy a lot of mastic products, even the ice cream! But in order to get acquainted with this wonderful resin thoroughly, go to the Mastic Museum. There you will learn about its history, methods of production and processing, and you will also see how it drips from the mastic tree in the yard!
Pyrgi is one of the largest and most beautiful mastic villages of Chios. It is still possible to see women who process the mastic just at their doorsteps. The special feature of Pyrgi is the design of the buildings. The facades are decorated with the unusual black and white geometric ornaments, representing the unique hand engraving technique. This method of decoration can’t be found in any other village not only on the island but also in the whole Greece.
One of the coziest villages in the southwestern part of Chios, it is among few villages that preserved medieval architecture and it wasn’t destroyed by the earthquake. The first thing you notice – the streets there are very narrow and all the houses are kind of interconnected. The point is that the island has quite a rich military history and the villages of Chios were attacked periodically, so the houses were built close to each other specifically to form a well-fortified fortress. Fortunately, it is not actual anymore, but thanks to the narrow streets of stone it is pleasantly cool there, even on the hottest day.
Here is the ideal scenario for a day on this beach: swim and sunbathe firstly, then go for a cool cocktail at the organic bar and, finally, at the same bar, take a kayak and explore the caves to the right of the beach.
There is an abandoned medieval settlement in the central part of Chios – Anavatos. The ancient city is located on the top of a huge granite rock that is accessible only by the narrow serpentine. It is an amazing place. Walking around empty streets, looking into abandoned houses, you get in touch with the lives of people from another era.
Of course, this is not a complete list! Be sure to find the most distant and secluded beach, to eat some fresh seafood in one of the local restaurants, to climb up into the mountains, to enjoy the sunset in any of the west coast bays (that part is very rocky and beautiful) and certainly (!) to take some coffee or paste with mastic, because you will be missing that taste very soon:) And not only that. In this cold autumn, it’s a great pleasure to remember that sunny island.
This post was brought to you as a result of the blog trip in partnership with Visit Greece. Near The Lighthouse want to thank Visit Greece for all help and support provided during the travel.