Likeable Chios is one of Greece’s bigger islands and, with its small neighbour Inousses, is significant in national history as the ancestral home of shipping barons. Its varied terrain ranges from lonesome mountain crags in the north, to the citrus-grove estates of Kampos, near the island’s port capital in the centre, to the fertile Mastihohoria in the south – the only place in the world where mastic trees are commercially productive.
Chians are a hospitable lot who take great pride in their history, traditions and livelihood. For the visitor, this translates into opportunities for interaction with Chian culture, ranging from art and cuisine to hiking and eco-activities.
Chios enjoys regular boat connections throughout the northeastern Aegean Islands, and has an airport. Between them, the ports of Chios Town in the east and Volissos in the northwest offer regular ferries to the intriguing, little-visited satellite islands of Psara and Inousses, which share Chios’ legacy of maritime greatness, and to the lively Turkish coastal resorts just across the water.
Where to Stay
In the interior of this popular island is this superbly-restored old mansion set in four acres of land now given over to organic fruit, olives and vegetables. Attention to detail is the key here, with the gorgeous rooms mixing traditional styles with a nod to the Genoan history of the estate.
• £585, +30 22710 32217
Where to Eat
In an old olive press in the market town of Volissos, this taverna specialises in grilled meat (done properly over charcoal). For the carnivore this is heaven (in particular try kokoretsi if it’s on the day’s menu – just don’t ask what it is first) but don’t worry if that’s not your thing as there are plenty of other dishes.
• +30 22740 22045
Chios made its fortune from the harvesting of mastic, a tree resin once chewed in the harems of Ottoman Istanbul. The product is just a curiosity now, but the villages that were based around the industry still make worthwhile visit. The houses of striking Pyrgi are decorated with whitewash patterns on top of the black, volcanic rock underneath.
Where is the Chios Island?
Chios is the fifth largest of the Greek islands, situated in the Aegean Sea, 7 kilometres (4.3 mi) off the Anatolian coast. The island is separated from Turkey by the Çeşme Strait. Chios is notable for its exports of mastic gum and its nickname is The mastic island. Tourist attractions include its medieval villages and the 11th-century monastery of Nea Moni, a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Administratively, the island forms a separate municipality within the Chios regional unit, which is part of the North Aegean region. The principal town of the island and seat of the municipality is Chios town. Locals refer to Chios town as “Chora” literally means land or country, but usually refers to the capital or a settlement at the highest point of a Greek island).