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Ein Urlaub auf der griechischen Insel Chios verspricht Erholung in entspannter Atmosphäre, Bild: Stamatios Manousis / shutterstock

Chios – An island off the beaten track

Chios is the fifth largest Greek island and is located in the north of the Aegean Sea, just a few kilometers from the Turkish coast. It is not yet overcrowded with tourists, which may also be due to the fact that the journey by plane can usually only be made with a stopover in Athens . From April to mid-October it is pleasantly warm and dry. In the months of July and August, a steady wind from the north ensures that it does not get too hot.

The beautiful landscape in the northern part of the island is predominantly mountainous with small, picturesque villages and secluded beaches. In the middle of the island there are fertile plains, which turn into a plateau to the south. In the vicinity of Chios town there are many olive groves and vineyards. There are over fifty beaches with clear waters, some even close to Chios town.

Agios Ididoros, Chios
The church of Agios Ididoros on Chios, Image: Milan Gonda / shutterstock

At regular intervals there are round watchtowers on the coast. Originally, about 50 of them were built to warn the inhabitants in time of attacks by enemy ships. Each tower is within sight of its two neighbours, so that reports in the form of smoke signals or fires spread quickly.

There are many taverns and restaurants on the island, where a lot of fish is served in many variations. In taverns, you choose different dishes together, which are placed in the middle of the table and from which everyone can help themselves as they wish. In restaurants, on the other hand, it is customary for each guest to order a main course for himself. While the offer of the restaurants is aimed more at tourists, you will meet many locals in the taverns.

Chios Town and Surroundings

The ferry port of Chios town offers many connections to the Aegean Sea and the Greek mainland. From here there is also a ferry to the Turkish mainland, which can be used for day trips to nearby Cesme. The harbour promenade is lined up with numerous cafés that invite you to linger and are open until late at night on weekends. To the north, the view falls on four historic windmills, one of the landmarks of Chios.

North of the harbour is the city’s massive fortress with Byzantine and Genoese architectural elements. From here, a walkway leads to the 14th-century Giustiniani Palace . It also resembles a fortress and is located near the entrance gate of the city walls of Chios. The building houses temporary exhibitions of Genoese and Byzantine art.

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Chios
Image: Nejdet Düzen / shuterstock

In Chios town there are various clubs that are open until early in the morning. Numerous shops are lined up on the shopping mile. The prices are comparatively cheap, as many Greek tourists also shop here.

Three kilometers south of Chios town lies the valley of Kambos with its extensive lemon plantations. Here you will find numerous manor houses worth seeing. They are built of red stone and combine Italian and oriental elements in their construction.

The tourist center of the island is located about five kilometers south of Chios town around Karfas Beach. The fine, gently sloping sandy beach is ideal for a family holiday with children. In addition to taverns and shops, most of the island’s hotels and guesthouses are grouped around the beach.

The most famous of the island’s numerous monasteries is Nea Moni. It dates back to the 11th century and is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The octagonal cathedral is richly decorated with marble and there are important mosaics near the altar. From here, a path leads to the neighboring cave monastery, where three hermits once lived, to whom Nea Moni owes its origin.

Anavatos is an abandoned village about 15 kilometers west of Chios town, whose ruins from the Byzantine period stand close together in a difficult to access location above a gorge. It is one of the main attractions of the island and the views over the surrounding landscape are breathtaking.

Mastic and painted villages

In the south of the island, the natural resin mastic is traditionally extracted, which is used to make ouzo, sweets and, more recently, beer. The harvest is done by scratching the bark of the pistachio tree, so that mastic is also called the tears of Chios. The dried resin is collected by the farmers in autumn and further processed.

The so-called mastic villages of Mesta, Olymbi, Vessa, Pyrgi and Armolia are famous for their original house facades. The facades were first painted white and then gray and then the geometric black and white Xysta patterns were engraved by hand. These villages are usually located far from the sea and, with their houses built close together, form a veritable city wall on the outside, through which there is only one entrance. A labyrinth of narrow, stone-paved streets, many arcades and vaults served as a better defence. In Pyrgi, the watchtower in the center is still preserved, where the inhabitants could get to safety in the event of an attack.

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Climate diagram of Chios

Climate diagram Chios
Climate diagram of Chios

The most popular beaches of Chios

Agia Dinami

Beach of Agia Dinami on Chios
Beach of Agia Dinami, Image: Georgios Tsichlis / shutterstock

Agia Dinami, located on the stunning coast of Chios, is a beach that stands out for its tranquil beauty and natural surroundings. This hidden gem, named after a small chapel on the shore, is known for its emerald green and incredibly clear waters. The beach combines fine sand with gentle pebbles, providing a picturesque backdrop for a relaxing day by the sea. Agia Dinami is particularly suitable for those looking for a break from the hustle and bustle of everyday life, as it is often less visited and thus offers an oasis of peace. The natural shade on the beach creates perfect conditions for a long sunbath or a quiet picnic. This place is not only a paradise for nature lovers, but also an ideal destination for families who want to enjoy a peaceful day at the beach.

Avlonia

Avlonia beach, hidden in an idyllic bay on Chios, is a small paradise for those looking for peace and seclusion. Surrounded by the picturesque landscape of the Aegean Sea, Avlonia is characterized by its characteristic mix of fine sand and small pebbles. The water here is known for its crystal clear quality and offers a refreshing bathing experience despite its freshness. This beach is particularly popular with visitors who want to relax away from the tourist hustle and bustle. The unspoiled nature and the quiet atmosphere make Avlonia an ideal place for extended sunbathing and cozy picnics. Although secluded, the beach is easily accessible and offers a peaceful escape from everyday life, perfect for those who want to sink into the beauty of the Greek islands.

Apothika

Apothika beach, located on the picturesque coast of Chios, is a true insider tip for lovers of untouched nature and active recreation. With its inviting mix of fine sand and gravel, this beach offers a natural, tranquil environment that is ideal for relaxing beach days. Apothika is particularly attractive for water sports enthusiasts: Here you can not only swim and sunbathe, but also kayak, stand-up paddling and dive. The on-site beach bar provides refreshments to visitors and also offers equipment for various water activities. Surrounded by the unadulterated beauty of the Aegean Sea, Apothika offers an authentic beach experience off the beaten track, ideal for those who want to experience the real Greece .