11 must-do things to do in Chios

Rue de Pygri

Travelling to Greece? Follow the guide to Mastic Island: we’ll take you to Chios, the mysterious island of the archipelago!

Located in the Aegean Sea, Chios is incomparable. The island’s distinctive architecture is directly linked to its history. Chios is close to Turkey. As a result, it bore the brunt of the War of Independence between 1821 and 1829. Today, the island has a population of over 50,000.

In addition, Chios’s 842 km² of surface area offer contrasting landscapes. You’ll come across craggy mountains in the north, fertile land in the south and sumptuous beaches. Last but not least, Chios is one of the towns claiming Homer’s birthplace. So, as you explore the island, you’re sure to come across several sites evoking this mysterious character.

So, you’re wondering what to do in Chios? Here’s a list of our 11 must-see things to do on the island!

1. Chios Castle and Turkish baths

To visit Chios is to encounter the traces of a rich past. Chios Castle and its Turkish baths are a wonderful example. The first traces of this castle date back to the 14th century. The walls of this edifice form an enclosure with multiple bastions. Most of them are still standing. As for the Turkish baths, they date back to the 18th century, a prosperous period for the island. The restored site of the baths is particularly impressive.

We recommend you visit Chios Castle, starting at the main entrance. Finish your tour further north at the Turkish baths.

2. Korais Library

Bibliothèque Korais

Photo credit: Shutterstock / Nejdet Duzen

If you’re wondering what to do in Chios, we recommend the Korais Library. This place dates back to 1792, and we owe it to Adamantios Korais. After the massacre of Chios, this Greek scholar restocked the library. This explains the origin of its current name.

What’s more, this magnificent site is home to the Filippos Argenti Folklore Museum. This man is also listed as a benefactor of the library. Located on the upper floor, this museum houses the Argenti family’s small treasures.

3. Mastihohoria

Mastihohoria

Photo credit: Shutterstock / Heracles Kriticos

The Mastihohoria is a collection of mastic-producing villages. A visit to Chios requires a tour of these southern hamlets. First, Pyrgi. This is the largest of the Mastihohoria villages. Grey and white geometric, animal and floral motifs adorn the façades. This technique uses a mixture of lime, cement and volcanic sand. Once applied to the walls, the craftsmen draw the motifs. As you stroll along, take a look at the church of Agios Apostolos. It is located in the main square.

After Pyrgi, if you don’t know what to do in Chios, head for Mesta. This village offers a completely different setting. You’ll enter a fortified village built in the 14th century. There’s no traffic in Mesta. Take the opportunity to stroll through the narrow streets. Afterwards, you can take a 3-kilometer hiking trail. This route takes you to the village of Olymbi. This village also produces mastic and boasts typical architecture. South of Olymbi, you can visit the Sykia Olymbi cave.

Finish your tour of the Mastihohoria at Emborios. This village was the port from which all mastic production departed. Taking the time to explore these villages allows you to visit the heart of Chios.

4. Putty Museum

While in the Mastihohoria, discover the Mastic Museum. This elegant, modern building opened its doors in 2016. Here, you can learn about the process of extracting the famous mastic sap.

What’s more, the outside of the museum allows visitors to discover this plant in its natural environment. Mastic is very important to Chios, as it was the basis of the local economy. Since 2014, this craft has been listed as an intangible cultural heritage by Unesco.

5. Chios Microbrewery

Microbrasserie de Chios

Photo credit: Facebook / Chios Beer

What can you do in Chios if you love beer? Visit a microbrewery! You’ll find the Chios Beer factory and store in the south of Chios. Here you can take a tour of the microbrewery and enjoy a tasting session.

Note that several of the beers contain mastic. So it’s a 100% local beer you’ll be tasting. An original souvenir idea.

6. Vrontados and the Daskalopetra

Le rocher de la Daskalopetra

Photo credit: Shutterstock / Constantinos Iliopoulos

Vrontados is a small coastal town of around 5,000 inhabitants. It has a charming little port and a lively lifestyle. From Vrontados beach, you can reach the Daskalopetra. The Daskalopetra rock is a legendary site.

Indeed, the story goes that the Daskalopetra is Homer’s stone chair. Its elevated position facing the sea seems ideal. Chios claims to be the origin of this famous character, and this would provide further proof.

7. Nea Moni

Nea Moni

Photo credit: Shutterstock / tolgaildun

If you’re looking for something to do in Chios, consider a visit to Nea Moni. This 11th-century monastery is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. It is one of the largest sites of the Byzantine era. Thanks to its size and wealth, this place of worship was very attractive.

As a result, many talented artists came here. As a result, the monastery boasts some magnificent mosaics and murals.

As you pass through Nea Moni, you’ll notice some skulls arranged behind a glass case. These are the skulls of monks killed in a fire. This tragic event was perpetrated by the Turks during the War of Independence.

8. Anavatos

Anavatos

Photo credit: Shutterstock / Heracles Kritikos

Anavatos lies at the end of a little-traveled road. The site is an abandoned village at the top of a sheer cliff. It is made up of sandstone houses and staircase lanes.

The tragic end of this village dates back to 1822. The villagers jumped into the void to avoid falling into the hands of the Turks. To visit Chios is also to come face to face with a tragic history.

9. Lithi Beach

Baie de Lithi

Photo credit: Shutterstock / canbilgic

On a beautiful day, visiting Chios and discovering its most beautiful beaches is a must. Then set off for Lithi! In the village, make a quick stop at the Church of St. Nicholas. From here, you’ll have a magnificent view of Lithi Bay.

Walk down to the beach, sit back and enjoy a peaceful swim. Lithi is a charming beach set between hills and small fishing boats. It’s the ideal place for a day of relaxation in idyllic surroundings. What’s more, the nearby tavernas will welcome you with open arms.

10. A boat trip

Balade en bateau à Chios

Photo credit: Shutterstock – Papanikolakis Photography

Visiting Chios also means taking advantage of its coastline! In fact, there are a number of wonderful boat excursions from Chios, allowing you to discover the island in a different way, from its crystal-clear waters.

So it would be a shame not to rent a boat in Chios, and miss out on discovering the magnificent setting to get there! With or without a license, with the help of a skipper or not, you’re sure to have one of the most enjoyable afternoons of your stay!

Find a boat to rent in Chios

11. Caves of Agio Galas

To the north of the island of Chios lies the small village of Agio Galas. The first traces of human life date back to the middle of the Neolithic period. The first inhabitants of this site used the cave as a place of refuge.

Then, at the end of the 12th century, a Byzantine church was built at an entrance to the grotto. Today, you’ll find it still standing. Inside, admire the remarkable woodwork.

Opposite the church entrance, a whitish liquid flows from a stalactite on a rock. Legend has it that this water has healing properties.

Afterwards, visit the Agio Galas cave. This cave is made up of three large areas. The cave is over 200 meters long.

How to get to Chios

By plane

The island has its own airport. It is located 4 kilometers north of Chios. If you want to visit Chios from France, plan a stopover in Athens. Several daily flights connect the Greek capital with this Aegean island.

There are also direct flights from Chios to Lesbos, Thessaloniki, Mytilene and Samos. We advise you to check the frequency of these flights. These may vary according to the time of year. To compare fares and book your flights, we recommend you use Ulysses.

Cabs from the airport to the city center cost €8. Depending on your schedule, you can also rent a car directly from the airport. However, we advise you to book in advance.

By ferry

You can also visit Chios by ferry. There are connections between Chios and Icaria, Inoussès, Kavala, Piraeus, Lesbos, Lemnos, Psara and Samos. You can also reach Laurion from the small port of Mesta. And from Volissos, you can reach Psara. If you’re going out of season, check boat frequencies.

Once on Chios, you can travel around the island by bus. A network of green buses serves the main towns. Blue buses are municipal buses.

If you want to take cabs in Chios, the red ones are for the town. Grey cabs cover the rest of the island. Finally, if you want to visit Chios on your own, rent a car.

View ferries to Chios

Where to stay in Chios?

Once you know what to do in Chios, you’ll start looking for accommodation. There are a number of possibilities. In the north-western part of Chios, towards Agio Galas, wild camping is permitted. If you like contact with nature, this is a refreshing and economical solution.

Want to visit Chios and meet the locals at the same time? Consider checking out the room offers on Airbnb. Finally, you should know that the hotel offer on Chios is quite extensive. We recommend you use this hotel comparator to find the best deals.

Chios is a rather popular island, so we recommend you book your accommodation quickly! You’ll benefit from a wider choice and competitive rates.

Map of hotels and accommodation – Chios