Chios (North Aegean)


Chios  is a large island situated in the north of the Aegean Sea, very close to the Anatolian coast. The island is separated from Turkey by the Chios Strait. The island is notable for its exports of mastic gum which is something every visitor must try. Due to its large size, a car is necessary if you are on a mission to discover all of its hidden treasures. The capital of Chora is home to most of the island's restaurants and bars, but some of the most renowned villages like Pyrgi, Olympi, Volassos, Vrondados and Mesta can also accommodate visitors and are worth the trip. Chora is of historical importance as it was also the site of the Chios massacre, in which tens of thousands of Greeks on the island were massacred by Ottoman troops during the Greek War of Independence in 1822.

Chios is home to many sandy beaches like Komi, Agio Fotia, Karfas and Avlonia. Monasteries and chapels can be found along the island's numerous hiking trails. Other tourist attractions include Chios' medieval villages, the old Castle, the Turkish Baths and the 11th-century monastery of Nea Moni, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Culture is ever-present in Chios, as the island also hosts its own Archeological museum and a Maritime museum. Finally, like any Aegean island, traditional windmills can be found in many spots and give Chios that special Greek flavor.

The best time to visit is in late spring – the sea has warmed up to feasible swimming temperatures and locals outnumber tourists – and early autumn, when most of the tourists have departed and the sea is at its warmest. The view of the petrified forest in the autumn is a site to see.

Chios is quite far from the mainland so the sea transport system is not advisable if your starting point is Athens.  By ferry it would take about 8 hours to get there. Luckily, daily flights from Athens can get you to Chios in under 50 minutes.

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aegean north aegean Islands