An Aegean treasure waiting to be discovered.
Fragrant. Captivating. A lady and a Captain. Chios, the fifth largest Greek island has everything! Captains' mansions, castle-villages that date back to the Middle Ages, remarkable monuments, history and legends, endless beaches and lush vegetation all year round. And the scent of mastic dominates the island that, according to one theory, is the birthplace of Homer. There are many myths about how the island got its name. According to Homer, the island’s original name in prehellenic times was Kios or Keos, similar to the name Chios today.
Blessed with a rugged coastline, beaches with golden sand or colourful pebbles, pine forests, wild flora and tulip fields (lalades as the locals call them), Chios is the perfect place for nature lovers. The intense aroma of citrus which drifts out of the island’s orchards is so strong that Chios became known as "the fragrant island". Oranges, bitter oranges, limes, and Chios tangerines which are famous and sought after for making Greek “glyka tou koutalou” (preserved fruit which is served as a sweet) – something you just have to try!
However, the island’s trademark is mastic. According to historical sources, it has been grown and harvested on the island since the 1st century AD, always using the same methods of production. It is used in cosmetics and confectionery, in the drinks and pharmaceutical industries. Scientific studies have shown that it has many healing, and possibly aphrodisiac, properties. Mastic comes from the mastic trees which grow in various places, but it is only the mastic trees in Chios which 'cry tears' and produce the uniquely aromatic resin we call mastic. These trees only grow in the south of the island, in the “Mastichochoria” (the Mastic Villages) because of the region’s special climate and soil composition.
Crossroads of cultures.
In its long history, Chios has known many conquerors and different cultures, and has been destroyed by strong earthquakes. But it always re-invented itself, prospered and had an effect on the economic and political situation in the country as a whole. The Archaeological Museum of Chios, the Byzantine Museum of Chios, the Giustiniani Museum and of course the Chios Maritime Museum all bear witness to the island’s creative and uninterrupted civilisation. You can walk through the town, visit the villages, enjoy yourself at one of the many festivals, worship in the churches, and enjoy a glass of cold water with a tablespoon of sweet mastic in one of the many traditional cafes. And you will keep on discovering new treasures on this unique island. Chios is somewhere everyone enjoys life – even if you are only there for a short stay