Where to stay on the island of Chios?

Moulins à Chios

Dreaming of discovering one of the Aegean islands? Here are some tips on where to stay on the island of Chios, one of the archipelago’s treasures.

In turn Greek, Macedonian, Egyptian, Roman, Byzantine or Ottoman, Chios is an island of many facets. All these civilizations have left their mark on the island, giving it its unique character. Chios has been part of Greece since 1912. Situated off the coast of Turkey, between Lesbos and Icarcia, it has given the world at least two great men: Hippocrates and Homer. The island offers a wide variety of landscapes and pretty, picturesque villages.

Little frequented by international tourists, it’s the ideal place to spend a relaxing vacation, enjoying beautiful beaches and lovely walks. In fact, the Greeks make no mistake: they’ve made it one of their favorite lazy spots!

Although tourist accommodation is rare on Chios, there is a good supply of authentic accommodation. They can be found all over the island, especially in the main town of Chios (sometimes spelled Chio). Let’s discover the best places to stay on the island.

Chios

Centre ville de Chios

Photo credit: Shutterstock / Nejdet Duzen

Would you like to enjoy a wide range of services without having to drive for miles? Then Chios is the place to be. A small town of around 25,000 inhabitants, it was almost entirely rebuilt in neo-classical style after an earthquake in 1881. The citadel, with its narrow streets and houses decorated with geraniums, has survived. The same is true of the Palazzo Giustiani, now a Byzantine museum.

The town also boasts an archaeological museum. From its port, you can visit the island of Lesbos or take an excursion to Cesme in Turkey.

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Vrontados

Vrontados, Chios

Photo credit: Shutterstock / chiosphotographer

If you’re looking for a quieter atmosphere, you can also find accommodation 6 kilometers north of the capital, in the small town of Vrontados. Most accommodations are located near the beach of Afani Nafti, where you can see four small stone mills, similar to those found in Rhodes. The town backs onto the large rock of Daskalopetra, also known as Homer’s Rock.

If you go at Easter, you’ll have the chance to witness the famous fireworks war, a sort of contest between two rival churches. A magnificent spectacle!

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Karfas

Plage de Karfas, Chios

Photo credit: Shutterstock / arda savasciogullari

Head south now to find a place to stay on the island of Chios. If you’re looking for a seaside atmosphere and a place where you can swim, you should look for accommodation near the beautiful sandy beach of Karfas. The shallow waters here are particularly suitable for families with young children.

You’ll find mainly vacation apartments and bed and breakfast accommodation, mostly in character houses.

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Avgonima

Village d'Avgonima, Chios

Photo credit: Shutterstock / Milan Gonda

If you have a car and are looking for a quiet place to sleep, you can drive away from the coast and discover a magnificent fortified village: Avgonima. From here, you can explore the surrounding sights: the Nea Moni monastery with its remarkable mosaics, the 14th-century village of Olympi with its caves, or Pyrgi with its black-and-white houses. As for the beaches, they’re not far away, and you can enjoy the often deserted coves of the west coast.

You won’t have to worry about finding local accommodation, as there’s plenty to choose from.

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Agia Ermioni

Pêcheurs dans le village d'Agia Ermioni, Chios

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Back on the coast, we stop off at the small fishing village of Agia Ermioni. To welcome its visitors, the village has built vacation accommodation in the local style. These blend in perfectly with the village’s architecture and offer the advantage of proximity to a family-friendly beach.

Unless, of course, you prefer a room or apartment in a local home, for the pleasure of being cocooned by hosts who care about your well-being.

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Kataraktis

Kataraktis sur l'île de Chios

Photo credit: Shutterstock / chiosphotographer

Continuing south, we reach the village of Kataraktis, nestled between sea and mountains. The location offers excellent walking opportunities, among olive and mastic trees. As mastic production has declined significantly here, the village has turned to tourism, and you’re sure to find the ideal apartment for a relaxing vacation.

Several taverns offer local seafood menus. The medieval heart was deserted after an earthquake, but you can still admire typical old houses and a Byzantine church. Not far away is the Panagia Rouxouniotissa monastery.

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Pyrgi

Village de Pyrgi, Chios

Photo credit: Shutterstock / Constantinos Iliopoulos

The island’s main resource, for which it is renowned, is mastic. The shrub that produces it, the pistachio lentisque, is native to the island and has been classified AOC for its incomparable virtues. Used as an essential oil or chewing gum, it is particularly effective in treating stomach upsets. The production area is in the south-west of the island, and Pyrgi is one of 24 Mastihohorias(mastic villages). This pretty little town has a very distinctive architecture, which has earned it a protected status. The houses are decorated with geometric or floral designs in black and white, using the Greek xysta technique. They are connected to form a compact whole.

Here, you’ll find mostly small, characterful accommodations, so you can blend right in.

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Mesta

Village de Mesta, Chios

Photo credit: Shutterstock / chiosphotographer

Another mastic-growing mecca, Mesta lies inland in the south-west of the island. It is the best-preserved medieval village on the island. Its houses are built side by side to form a defensive wall. The resulting fortification has become a pentagonal citadel, a rare example in Greece. Inside, the narrow streets, sometimes crowned by arches, form a labyrinth in which it’s pleasant to get lost.

Here, too, you can stay in typical medieval houses.

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Volissos

Village de Volissos, Chios

Photo credit: Shutterstock / Heracles Kritikos

A pretty, red-roofed village in the northwest of the island, Volissos is a charming place to stay on the island of Chios. Dominated by the tower and ruins of the ancient medieval castle, the houses cling to the hillside and all offer superb views of the surrounding landscape. If you’re a fan of ancient heritage, you’ll find it as you wander the streets: Agia Markella monastery, water mills and Byzantine churches are all within the village walls.

Whether you’re looking for an apartment in a character house or a cottage, you’re sure to find something to suit your needs.

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