What to See in Chios
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 11th century.
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
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..
What to Do in Chios
On Chios you can enjoy various watersports. To really appreciate the island, you should try to explore the island a bit, since it has some really nice places not to be missed.
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 drive around.
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.
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.
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 There and Around
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 mainland. 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.
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.