Chios

The Greek island of Chios or Hios is a large island in the North East Aegean close to the Turkish coast, south of Lesvos and north of Samos, and famous for its mastic trees.

Cute cat sitting in a pipe on the Greek island of ChiosChios Cat

Chios is the 5th largest island in Greece, with a population of just over 50,000 people. Because of its location, needing a long ferry ride or a connecting flight from Athens, it receives fewer visitors and is much less touristy than most big islands. Its size also means that those people who do visit are spread out more rather than being based in one or two places. Fewer visitors also means that local people have more time for you and can be overwhelmingly hospitable.

Getting to Chios

By Air: Chios has an airport and there are regular flights from Athens and Thessaloniki on Olympic and Aegean. You can fly from other islands such as Crete and Rhodes but will need to change planes in Athens. The airport is about 2.5 miles (4km) from Chios Town and you'll need to take a taxi to get there.

By Ferry: There are ferries to Chios from Piraeus, Thessaloniki and Kavala on the mainland, and you can also get to Chios from some of the other Aegean islands including Rhodes, Samos, Lemnos and Lesbos. There are also ferries between Chios and Cesme in Turkey. Most ferries come into the main port in Chios Town.

Blue Star Ferries also call in at Chios on their Thessaloniki-Piraeus route, enabling you to island-hop to some of the North-East Aegean and Cyclades islands on the same route.

The Mastic Island

Chios is known as The Mastic Island because of the mastic trees that grow in the south and south-west of the island. These trees used to be more widespread but today Chios is the only place in the world where they are still harvested commercially. The resin from the trees produces mastic gum, a chewing gum that is popular in Greece. Mastic can also be used for other purposes including perfumes and soap, and also in cooking. You should try the liqueur that's made from mastic, too.

The mastic growing area comprises seven main villages known as the Mastichochoria, although there are several other smaller villages where mastic is grown. In one of the villages, Rachi, there's a Mastic Museum you can visit. They're all attractive old villages of great character, and if you have a car you can spend an enjoyable few hours visiting them and wandering round.

Church by the water on the Greek island of Chios

Things to Do on Chios

Chios Town. The capital of Chios is also known as Chora (or Hora), and this is where the main ferries come in. The waterfront bustles with cafes and bars, but head away from the water and you can see the quieter quarters, filled with old buildings. There's the remains of a Genoese castle and several museums to visit too.

Visit the Mastichoria (see above).

Boat on the Greek island of ChiosBoat on Chios

Visit the offshore islands. Chios has two small satellite islands, Psara and Inousses, and they both make for a good trip if you really like to get off the beaten track in the Greek islands. You can do Psara as a day trip. For Inousses there's a ferry from Chios Town, and water taxis also leave from Lagada, which is about 10 miles (17km) due north of Chios Town along the coast. Depending on the timings, you'll probably have to allow for an overnight stay on Inousses.

Tiny Inousses, with a permanent population of less than 1,000, has its numbers swollen in summer by descendants of the many shipping barons who came from this island. A remarkable number of wealthy Greek shipping magnates came from here, and you can see the grand houses that today's generation keep on as summer homes.

The village of Volissos on the Greek island of ChiosThe Village of Volissos on Chios

Day Trip to Turkey. The Turkish coast is only about 4 miles (7kms) away so it's a fairly quick crossing and you'll find options for taking regular ferries or day trips to Cesme or to some of the Turkish beach resorts nearby.

Hiking. There are numerous hiking opportunities on this big island, which has a mountain ridge running down its backbone and a high point at Mount Pelineon (4,255ft/1,297m).

Nea Moni Monastery. In the centre of the island is the Nea Moni Monastery, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. It dates to the 11th century and at one time was the wealthiest monastery in Greece. It was said that three shepherds saw a vision of an icon of the Virgin Mary, and as a results many artists came here to help create the remarkable mosaics in the main church and around the monastery. Nea Moni is about a 25-minute drive into the hills due west of Chios Town.

Donkey in the narrow streets of a Chios VillageDonkey in a Chios Village

Where to Stay on Chios


Other North-East Aegean Islands pages

  •  Thassos is in the North East Aegean and on this page from the Greece Travel Secrets website you can also see information about flights and ferries to Thassos.

    Thassos in the North East Aegean Islands of Greece

    Thassos is in the North East Aegean and on this page from the Greece Travel Secrets website you can also see information about flights and ferries to Thassos.

  • The A-Z Thassos travel guide, including Kavala and Philippi, is newly updated for 2022 and is the most comprehensive guide to Thassos available.

    Thassos Travel Guide

    The A-Z Thassos travel guide, including Kavala and Philippi, is newly updated for 2022 and is the most comprehensive guide to Thassos available.

  • Samothraki (Greek) or Samothrace (English) is a small island in the north-east Aegean Sea with the closest Greek islands being Thassos and Lemnos.

    Samothraki

    Samothraki (Greek) or Samothrace (English) is a small island in the north-east Aegean Sea with the closest Greek islands being Thassos and Lemnos.

  • Samos is in the NE Aegean islands of Greece with attractions including Heraion and Pythagoreio, and this page tells you what to see and how to get there.

    Samos in the NE Aegean Islands of Greece

    Samos is in the NE Aegean islands of Greece with attractions including Heraion and Pythagoreio, and this page tells you what to see and how to get there.

  • The North East Aegean Islands include Lesvos, Thassos, Chios, Samos, Fourni, Ikaria, Limnos, Samothraki and here are tips on ferries, flights and what to do.

    North East Aegean Islands

    The North East Aegean Islands include Lesvos, Thassos, Chios, Samos, Fourni, Ikaria, Limnos, Samothraki and here are tips on ferries, flights and what to do.

  • A visit to the Museum of Samos Wine to learn about the muscat grapes that produce the best dessert wines in the world and also the Greek spirit, Metaxa.

    Museum of Samos Wine

    A visit to the Museum of Samos Wine to learn about the muscat grapes that produce the best dessert wines in the world and also the Greek spirit, Metaxa.

  • The island of Lesbos or Lesvos is in the North East Aegean Islands in Greece, and on this page you can see information including flights and ferries.

    Lesbos or Lesvos in the North East Aegean Islands of Greece

    The island of Lesbos or Lesvos is in the North East Aegean Islands in Greece, and on this page you can see information including flights and ferries.

  • The island of Lemnos (or Limnos) is in in the North East Aegean Islands and on this page you can see information about flights and ferries,

    Lemnos or Limnos in the North East Aegean Islands of Greece

    The island of Lemnos (or Limnos) is in in the North East Aegean Islands and on this page you can see information about flights and ferries,

  • Ikaria (or Icaria) is an island in the North East Aegean Islands of Greece between Samos and Mykonos and is truly one of Greece's travel secrets.

    Ikaria

    Ikaria (or Icaria) is an island in the North East Aegean Islands of Greece between Samos and Mykonos and is truly one of Greece's travel secrets.

  • The best things to do on Thassos in the North East Aegean islands of Greece include its beaches, mountain hikes, and visiting its ancient archaeological sites.

    Best Things to Do on Thassos

    The best things to do on Thassos in the North East Aegean islands of Greece include its beaches, mountain hikes, and visiting its ancient archaeological sites.

Enjoy this page? Please pay it forward. Here's how...

Would you prefer to share this page with others by linking to it?

  1. Click on the HTML link code below.
  2. Copy and paste it, adding a note of your own, into your blog, a Web page, forums, a blog comment, your Facebook account, or anywhere that someone would find this page valuable.

Latest Posts

  1. Epirus One of the ‘Most Welcoming Regions on Earth’ for 2023

    Epirus in northwestern Greece has been recognized as one of the Most Welcoming Regions on Earth for 2023, according to Booking.com’s recently announced Traveller Review Awards list.

    Read More

  2. Thessaloniki Gets Ready for 17th International ‘Alexander the Great’ Marathon

    Thessaloniki in northern Greece is preparing to host the 17th International ‘Alexander the Great’ Marathon-bwin that is scheduled to run on April 30.

    Read More

  3. Greek Destinations in the Running for Best in Europe Title

    Athens, Rhodes and Milos are the three Greek destinations competing with popular cities in Europe for the title of “European Best Destination 2023”. The competition is being held for the 14th consecut…

    Read More

  4. Study: UK Prices for Package Holidays to Greece Soar

    Package holidays to Greece, which include accommodation for a week, will cost UK travelers 30 percent more this year compared to 2022, according to UK consumer association Which?.

    Read More

  5. Virtual Industrial Museum to Open in Thessaloniki

    The restoration of Thessaloniki’s old municipal slaughterhouse building complex will be completed with the creation and opening of a virtual industrial museum, according to an announcement by the city…

    Read More

  6. Ferry Travel: Greek Seamen Announce 48-hour Strike for February 8-9

    Ferries will stay docked at ports across Greece during February 8-9 after the Pan-Hellenic Seamen’s Federation (PNO) announced a 48-hour strike in all ship categories.

    Read More

  7. Things to See in Trikala

    paleokarya-bridge-pyli-near-trikala.jpg
    Trikala is a city in Thessaly, noted for its traditional architecture with lots of things to see and a good base for visiting the monasteries of Meteora.

    Read More

  8. Thessaloniki: First Look at New Museum with Treasures from Metro Excavations

    The Greek Culture Ministry recently released photorealistic images of a new museum in Thessaloniki that will host artefacts discovered during the city’s metro excavations. Following the ministry’s ann…

    Read More

  9. Trikala, Thessaly, Among Europe’s Best City Break Destinations for 2023

    The Greek city of Trikala in Thessaly has been chosen as one of Europe’s 18 Best City Break Destinations for 2023 by digital magazine Time Out. Launched in 1968 as a London-only publication, Time Out…

    Read More

  10. Chios Archaeological Museum Set to Expand, Get Upgrade

    The archaeological museum of Chios, whose award-winning design stands as a characteristic example of 1960s architecture, will soon see renovation works that will include a state-of-the-art expansion.

    Read More