You may have noticed we have a couple of new projects on Chios island in Greece! The beautification project and the kindergarten project are both community focused and help the local residents on the island. In this post, we’ll look at things to do on Chios island and what you can explore on your days off from volunteering!
Nestled in the heart of the Aegean Sea, Chios is a Greek island that calls travellers with its rich history, stunning landscapes, and vibrant culture. Whether you’re a history buff, a nature enthusiast, or simply want to relax on your days off, Chios offers a diverse range of activities and attractions to suit every traveller’s taste. Here are some of the best things to do in Chios island…
Explore Chios Town (Chora)
Chios Town, also known as Chora, serves as the island’s capital and a hub of history and culture. Start your journey here by wandering through its charming narrow streets, adorned with colourful bougainvillea, and discover hidden gems like the Koraïs Library and the Ottoman-era mosques. Don’t forget to visit the Chios Castle, which offers breathtaking panoramic views of the town and the shimmering Aegean Sea.
Discover the Mastic Villages
Chios is renowned for its mastic production, a resin derived from the Pistacia lentiscus tree that is used in various products, from chewing gum to cosmetics. A visit to the Mastic Villages is a must-do activity on the island. These picturesque villages, such as Pyrgi, Mesta, and Olympi, showcase unique architecture featuring decorative black-and-white geometric patterns on their buildings. Take a tour to learn about the mastic cultivation process and its significance to Chios’s identity.
Relax on Beautiful Beaches
Volunteering can be tiring, so enjoying spending some of your free time on the many beautiful beaches, each with its own unique charm. Whether you prefer lively beachfront scenes or secluded coves, you’ll find the perfect spot to soak up the Mediterranean sun. Some popular beaches:
Karfas Beach: A popular choice with soft golden sands, water sports, and beachside tavernas.
Agia Fotini: A tranquil beach with crystal-clear waters, ideal for snorkelling and relaxation.
Elinta Beach: A hidden gem known for its pebbled shoreline and stunning surroundings.
No matter your beach preference, Chios has a seaside haven for you to unwind and enjoy the coastal beauty.
Explore Ancient Ruins
History enthusiasts will find themselves in their element on Chios, where a rich historical heritage awaits exploration. Some key archaeological sites and ancient ruins to visit include:
Kampos Area: Explore the medieval Genoese Villas, a unique architectural legacy of the Genoese presence on the island.
Nea Moni Monastery: A UNESCO World Heritage site, this 11th-century monastery is renowned for its exquisite mosaics and historical significance.
Anavatos: Discover the impressive medieval village of Anavatos, perched on a hilltop with breathtaking views of the island. Wander through time as you explore these historic sites, each offering a glimpse into Chios’s storied past.
Taste the Local Cuisine
One of the most delightful aspects of visiting Chios is indulging in its delicious cuisine, which features fresh seafood, local cheeses, and traditional Greek dishes. Sample specialties such as bougatsa, a sweet pastry filled with custard or cheese, and mastello, a cheese dish that embodies the island’s culinary heritage. Seafood lovers will relish the opportunity to enjoy the catch of the day at local tavernas, while those with a sweet tooth should not miss trying Chios’s unique liqueur, Mastiha, made from the island’s famous mastic resin.
Visit the Mastiha Museum
For a deeper understanding of Chios’s most famous product, a visit to the Mastiha Museum in Pyrgi is a must. The museum offers an immersive experience where you can explore the history, culture, and various uses of mastic resin. Engage with interactive exhibits, learn about the harvesting process, and gain insight into the significance of mastic to Chios’s economy and heritage.
Go Hiking and Nature Exploring
Chios’s diverse landscape provides ample opportunities for outdoor enthusiasts to connect with nature. Consider embarking on one of these hiking adventures:
Emporios Forest: Explore the lush Emporios forest, a verdant paradise that beckons hikers with its shaded trails and natural beauty.
Cave of Olympi: Hike to the Cave of Olympi, a remarkable geological wonder nestled amidst the island’s volcanic terrain.
Aghiasmata Beach: Venture to Aghiasmata Beach and witness the dramatic contrast between the black volcanic rocks and the crystal-clear waters of the Aegean.
These hiking excursions not only provide exercise but also offer a chance to immerse yourself in Chios’s natural beauty.
Attend Festivals and Cultural Events
Chios’s vibrant cultural scene is showcased through a calendar of festivals and events that celebrate traditions, music, and art. Some noteworthy events include:
Easter Rocket War in Vrontados: Experience the thrilling Easter Rocket War in Vrontados, where two rival churches compete by firing homemade rockets at each other during Easter celebrations. This unique tradition is a spectacle unlike any other.
Chios Music Festival: If you appreciate classical music, plan your visit around the Chios Music Festival, featuring renowned musicians in a variety of performances.
Art Exhibitions: Keep an eye out for local art exhibitions and galleries that showcase the talents of Chios’s artistic community.
Participating in these cultural events will allow you to immerse yourself in the island’s traditions and artistic expressions.
Take a Day Trip to Oinousses
Consider taking a short ferry ride from Chios to Oinousses, a cluster of small islands known for their pristine beaches, traditional charm, and maritime heritage. Explore the main town, stroll along the waterfront, and enjoy fresh seafood in a tranquil island setting. Oinousses offers a quieter escape from the hustle and bustle of Chios, making it an ideal day trip destination.
To sum up..
Chios, Greece, is a hidden gem that offers a perfect blend of history, culture, nature, and relaxation. With its ancient ruins, vibrant festivals, delectable cuisine, and picturesque beaches, Chios has something special to offer every traveller. Whether you’re exploring historic villages, basking on beautiful beaches, or savouring local flavours, Chios will leave an indelible mark on your heart and soul. Dive into the magic of Chios, where history, culture, and natural beauty converge to create a traveller’s paradise.
Whilst the island has natural beauty, the refugee crisis has left a drop in tourism to the island, and the local residents struggling. Our volunteer projects here help to assist in understaffed kindergartens, schools, as well as helping to decorate the community and school buildings, making it a nicer environment for the children to learn.
If you want to get involved in our projects in Greece, check out all Greece projects here!