AND GREEK ISLANDS
General Information Chios is a popular summer
resort among the Greeks, but it does not have
too many foreign tourists. As a consequence, you
get a taste of real Greece here, and if you
decide to explore the island on your own, you'll
find some amazing little villages and beaches
that seem totally untouched.
The people on Chios live off tourism to a
certain extent, but it is not their major source
of income. One of the island's most important
resources is mastic, from which you make chewing
gum for example, and others live off fishing,
farming or working on ships.
Chios is the traditional seafarer's island ,
especially captains, a famous song the of the
Greek composer George Zambetas "to naftaki" is
saying, "take to your ship an engineer from
Mytilene and a captain from Chios".! When the
Greek shipping had 100% Greek crews, a large
part of those were mainly islanders and many of
them were from the island of Chios. In the small
island of Oinousses near to Chios is one of the
most famous Captain schools of Greece.
There are several citations about Chios people,
like the one that says wherever you find Chios
men, they always go in pairs. This derives from
true events during the time of the Ottoman rule
when the Turks were forcing the Greeks to get
them on their shoulder when they met, but the
Chios men they used the trick to go always
together and when they saw a Turk the one of
them was taking the other in his shoulder so the
Turks could not force them to this humiliation.
History of Chios: According to some, this
is where Homer was born and lived sometime
around the 8th century BC. Of course, there are
many more islands that claim the same, and since
we don't even know if he was an actual person,
the speculating is a bit in vain.
The name of the island may come from the Greek
word for snow, (chioni), since the island's
patron god Poseidon was born under snowfall.
During ancient years the island was quite
wealthy because of its mastic and wine, and this
was also the first place in Greece where they
had slavery. Chios fought alongside Athens
against the Persians in the 5th century BC, and
was later to be ruled by Macedonians, Romans,
Venetians and Turks.
It was during the Turkish rule the island
suffered one of the worst massacres in Greece.
Because the island had been forced to revolt,
the Turks punished it by setting an example:
killing 30 000 and enslaving the rest. This
brutal destruction of the island touched many
European personalities of the literature and art
such as Victor Hugo, Eugene Delacroix, who
painted the famous painting of the massacre of
Chios that is now in the Louvre museum in Paris.
The island took part in the war of independence
that begun in 1821, and it was to become a part
of Greece in 1912.
What to See There is a stone on the island
called Homer's stone (Petra Omirou), where the
poet sat and worked according to those that
believe he was from here.
Agia Markella is a monastery open to visitors,
and is located outside the village Volissos. The
saint is celebrated on July 22nd.
Nea Moni is another monastery, and perhaps the
most visited of the two. It dates back to the
Note: if you want to visit the
monasteries, make sure you are dressed properly:
long skirt and covered shoulders for women, long
trousers for men.
The so called Mastikochoria are in the area
where the mastic tree grows. It has a special
kind of sap that is used in making chewing gum,
toothpaste and local sweets. Here there is also
a 15th century castle, some old churches and the
ruins of an ancient temple to Athena.
What to Do : On Chios you can enjoy
various water sports. To really appreciate the
island, you should try to explore the island a
bit, since it has some really nice places not to
Chios Beaches The most popular beach is probably
Karfas, but there are also well developed
beaches around Chios town. For more peace and
quiet, you can go to the beach Kato Fana, for
example, but it is also a good idea to try to
find your own place by renting a vehicle and
Nightlife: Most bars and discos are in
Chios town and Karfas. The nightlife is quite
well developed, and you can enjoy all sorts of
music and styles.
Food There are many nice places in Chios town as
well as in the villages. A special kind of blue
cheese is made on the island called "kopanisti"
and then there is of course various sweets made
out of mastic.
Shopping: You'll find various souvenirs
of the island, but it is recommended that you
take some mastic with you home. You can also buy
ceramics and local wine.
Getting Around There are buses and taxis on the
island, as well as several car rentals. It is a
very good idea to rent a vehicle here since the
island is very interesting and worth exploring.
Getting There: Most people choose to fly
to Athens and then to take a flight to Chios, or
take the ferries to Chios. The island also has
boat connections with islands like Lesbos, Kos
and Rhodes, as well as with Thessaloniki on the
Facts about Chios Phone numbers
Size: 850 km2 International code: 0030
Population: about 50000 Local code: 22710
Cash machine ATM: Yes Hospital: 44301-2
Airport: yes Police: 44423, 44428
Highest Mountain: Marathovouno
Internet cafes : yes Bus company: 22079,
Tour Operators: Telephone company (OTE):
Price rate: Average Tourist Police: