Chios is one of the most beautiful island in Greece without dispute. You’ve heard of Santorini, and you know Mykonos is the destination for partying. But if Greece has a magical island, Chios is definitely it. Chios is world famous for the production of Mastic and when holidaying here, you should definitely visit Mastichohoria and learn more about this unique product. Mastic is used for the production of liqueurs, loukoumia, cosmetics and for many other local products.
Chios Island Travel Guide
Chios is an island that takes time to explore. You will need about a week with a full schedule if you include sightseeing in your trips. However, it is an island connected to a few more of the Aegean, so you can hit two birds with one shot.
Where is Chios island
Chios Greece is located just 7 kilometers from Turkey and the fifth largest of the Greek islands, situated in the northern Aegean Sea. The island is separated from Turkey by the Chios Strait.
Chios is part of the North-Eastern Aegean Islands and lies between Lesvos and Samos, close to the Turkish coasts. The island is known for the world-famous mastic product which is found exclusively there.
How to get to Chios island
You can travel to Chios by flights or by ferries. There are daily flights from Athens and almost daily flights from Thessaloniki. Basically, you can reach Chios from anywhere in the world via Athens International Airport or Thessaloniki.
How to get to Chios by ferries
In order to reach Chios from Athens, you have to take the ferry from Piraeus port. Routes are carried out all year round, 3 times per week and the trip lasts 9 hours. There are ferries that connect Chios with some other Greek islands, too, including Lesvos, Mykonos, Syros, Ikaria and Samos. During summer, Chios is also connected by ferry with the port of Kavala. Last but not least, Chios is linked with the port of Cesme in Turkey all year round.
How to get to Chios by flights
Chios National Airport “Omiros” receives domestic flights from Athens, Thessaloniki, Lemnos, Mytilene, Rhodes and Samos all year round. It is located near Kampos village, 3 km away from Chios Town, so you might need to take a taxi for your transfer.
Transportations in Chios
Public transportation is the least expensive mean of transport and at the same time an amusing way to explore the region. Local buses transfer visitors to the most tourist places on Chios. The central bus station is located in Chios Town. You can find more information about routes and timetables on www.chioscitybus.gr.
Car and motorbike rentals
With a car or motorcycle, you can explore the island at your own pace and gain access to the most secluded spots! In case you don’t have your own vehicle, it is an excellent idea to rent a car for your sightseeing trips!
Best time to visit Chios
Chios weather: The island of Chios has a typical Mediterranean climate, with strong north and north-west winds and mild temperatures which do not exceed 29 degrees Celsius. It has a short winter with rains and a hot summer with a few rainfalls. The island is characterized by sunshine throughout the year.
Things to do in Chios
Things to do in Chios are not many. As the island is not open to mass tourism and keeps a lower profile, organized activities are few. Diving is gradually developing on the island but still on slow steps. The few diving centers that have opened in Chios island offer courses and organize trips to old shipwrecks around the coastline.
The island also offers many chances for hiking and it is crossed by many old footpaths. These hiking trails lead to secluded beaches, ghost Medieval villages and old monasteries. On your way at the southern side of the island, you will also see mastic trees, the traditional product of Chios.
Visit church of Agioi Apostoloi
Where to eat and drink in Chios
As this is a relaxing island with a family atmosphere, places to eat and drink in Chios mostly consist of traditional taverns and small cozy cafeterias. The taverns are spread all around the island but the most enjoyable ones are found by the sea or in the village squares. There you can taste local dishes, some even made with mastic, the traditional product of the island. Some cafeterias are found in tourist places of the island, such as Karfas and Agia Ermioni, but the majority of cafe bars and clubs are found in Chios Town.
Best restaurants in Chios
The island of Chios has a large number of taverns, where you can try the Greek cuisine and enjoy fresh seafood right from the fishermen basket. Choose between dinner in the main town, by the beaches or in the many villages of Chios. Particularly nice Chios restaurants are found in small fishing ports and seaside villages around the island.
Chios is blessed with fields of mastic, oranges, mandarins and botanic herbs, bringing incomparable taste and aromas to its local cuisine. In Chios restaurants, try juicy tomato meatballs, the local cheese kopanisti and do not miss a spoon sweet for dessert.
Nightlife in Chios
Chios has a varied nightlife mostly concentrated in the capital of the island and in the tourist resort of Karfas. Chios Town has many bars and few nightclubs proposing all kinds of music and atmosphere. At the beach resort of Karfas, there are also a lot of bars and clubs lining the waterfront and spread throughout the surrounding area. The rest of the island is pretty quiet and has only beautiful taverns to enjoy a local dinner.
Best bars in Chios
Like most Greek islands, Chios has a short summer season. Its discos and music clubs really flourish from mid-June until the end of August and there is no guarantee that all of last summer’s hot spots will reopen the following year under the same name and the same management – or even reopen at all.
Villages in Chios
Villages on Chios are famous for the unique architecture that makes them look like Medieval fortresses and the geometrical wall patterns in black and white. Pyrgi and Olympi are the most picturesque villages on Chios, while many other historical settlements can be visited from one coast to the other.
Beaches in Chios Greece have lovely surroundings and clean water. Emporios, Mavra Volia, and Karfas are the most famous Chios beaches, organized with tourist facilities. Driving around the island, visitors will come up with many secluded and unorganized Chios beaches, perfect for total relaxation and privacy. You will find below a list of the best beaches in Chios island.
- Best Beach of Chios: Mavra Volia (basically 3 beaches in one) – The volcano black pebbles is just a unique experience
- Best Beaches for Families: Karfas (shallow waters, lots of amenities for kids) and Lithi – oth long sandy beaches
- Most unique Beach of Chios: Mavra Volia (not organised, I mean no umbrellas and it can get really hot)
- Best ‘Food’ Beach of Chios: Lithi (You can eat some of the best fish and seafood on the island just after your swim)
- Most Romantic Beach of Chios: Vroulidia (small, cozy, not overcrowded)
- Best Party Beaches of Chios: Glaroi / Komi
- Best Hotel close to a beach: Aegean Dream Hotel (Karfas)
- Best Villa close to a beach: Mastiha Villas (Agia Fotia)
Best beaches on Chios
You might think Chios is not such a popular Greek island for its beaches. Okay, I have to admit that I’ve been in places more exotic and even visitors friendly. However, there is so much diversity in the Chios beaches you can visit that you will be amazed for the overall beauty. You can seriously find anything, feeling like you’re in a different island every day. In one case written below) you just follow a path from one beach to the other and you get that feeling. This is one of the good things when you visit such a big island like Chios.
Top 10 Beaches in Chios
Chios Town beach: In a walking distance from the city centre. The beach close to the city centre of Chios Town is pebbled and clean. Around the beach, there are some hotels.
Emporios Mavros Gialos beach: 28 km south west of Chios Town. Its name means “black beach” due to the black pebbles on the shore. It is considered the most beautiful beach on the island.
Karfas beach: 10 km south of Chios Town. Karfas is a long and organized beach in close distance to Chios Town and the airport. This is the busiest tourist resort of the island.
Vrondados beach: 4 km north of Chios Town. Vrondados is a small, organized beach with pebbles on the shore and clean water. Delicious fish taverns line the coast.
Agia Fotini beach: 15 km south of Chios Town. Agia Fotini is a pebbled beach with a lovely family atmosphere. Some delicious taverns line the coast, which is partly organized.
Trahili beach: 20 km west of Chios Town. Trahili is a lovely bay with crystal water. Secluded from popular beach resorts and unorganized, Trahili offers an amazing environment to relax.
Didima beach: 32 km south west of Chios Town. Didima are two small coves close to Mesta village. Totally unorganized and secluded, this is a nice place for relaxation.
Lithi beach: 20 km west of Chios Town. Lithi is a small cove with sandy shore and clean water. As it is not organized, this beach is usually isolate.
Megas Limnionas beach: 15 km south of Chios Town. Megas Limnionas is a popular beach close to the beach resorts of Agia Ermioni and Karfas. The water is crystal, but some parts of the shore can be rocky.
Agia Irini beach: 30 km south west of Chios Town. The secluded bay of Agia Irini is located close to the Medieval village of Mesta. It is totally unorganized and a nice place to enjoy some privacy.
Where to stay in Chios
You will find below our selection with the best hotels on Chios island! Want to see more? View all hotels in Chios.
Convenient hotels in Chios are located at the beaches around Chios Town, from Vrontados on the north till Karfas and Agia Ermioni on the south. These places have nice tourist facilities, easy access to the sea and to the town. We suggest that you rent a car or bike for a couple of days to explore other places around the island.
The Best Place To Stay in Chios
The east coast side includes the main Chios Town, as known as Chora and some of the best hotels or apartments you can book to enjoy your holiday. Stay in or close to Chios Town, aka Chora (Kampos is the traditional stay or Karfas for the most touristic area on the island) or travel north to get a wild natural beauty in the historical Kardamila and the villages around it.
The west coast side actually offers some amazing views of the sunset, gives you easy access to the most isolated beaches and picturesque villages. Stay at Volissos to get a bit of everything including some nightlife in the peak season or pick Mesta to feel like you live in the medieval times.
- Best Hotel in Chios Town: Venetis Luxury Apartments
- Best Villa close to Chios Town: Mastiha Villas
Town or Village stay?
If you want to be closer to Chios nightlife (mainly bars, not so many clubs), the shops and also the bus hub and taxis that can take you almost anywhere on the island, then stay in or close to Chios Town. The capital of the island is almost always alive in the summer months. There are some noisy bars and cafes but they are mainly located at the port, so in the options we give you there will be no problem of losing your sleep.
However, if you want to stay in a village then… pick a side of the island, west or east, and enjoy combining relaxation with exploration. As I’ve mentioned before Chios is big and probably you will not be able to get all around it in less than a week’s stay. Staying in a village does not mean you will be bored in the night time if you want to have a drink (or more). Villages like Kardamila, Volissos, Mesta have their own unique style of nightlife. However it is intense only in August if we’re talking about… am hours. Other that Chora, I could say Karfas can get busy for a longer period.
- Best Hotel in Kardamila: Ai Yannis Suites
- Best Hotel in Volissos: Volissos Holiday Homes
The Best Stay for a Family with kids
Two places come in mind when I think of family holidays, Karfas and Lithi.
- Best Hotel in Karfas: Erytha Hotel & Resort Chios
- Best Rooms in Karfas: Sideratos Apartments
- Best Hotel in Lithi: Almiriki Hotel
The Best Place for a Young Couple
The best place for a young couple (considering they have no kids) would be to stay around the Chios Town. That’s because you enjoy the nightlife and have many options for restaurants, taverns and sightseeing. Being young (or feeling young) also means that a couple will get to visit even the most distant beaches from Chora (about 40 minutes maximum drive) because they still have the energy to combine it all together after a late night out. View all hotels in Chios Town.
The Best Place in Chios for nightlife
There are lots of bars and restaurants to choose in Chios Town (aka Chora). Have a cocktail at Oz Cocktail Bar or at ‘44‘ on the port (I always combine the two) and you will not regret it. Get lost in the crowd at ‘Sueno‘ for loud music and dance.
The Best Place to stay in Chios for Beach Life
Chios has 65 beaches that can be accessed by car. I have already listed the best beaches in Chios to help you out. It is around those beaches the ideal place for you to stay if laying down at the beach first thing in the morning is what you look for in your vacation.
- Best Hotel in Karfas: Erytha Resort
- Best Rooms in Karfas: Sideratos Apartments