South Chios Villages
This is a significant medieval settlement, situated southwest, in a 19 km distance from Chios town. Vessa probably took its name from the homeric word “βήσσα”, which means “valley”. The village spreads on a green valley, built like a castle, with covered passages, in the characteristic architectural form of the mastic villages of Chios. Visit the nearby beautiful beaches of Lithi, Agia Eirini, Komi, Emporio (Mavra Volia), Trahili and Elinda and combine a visit to the nearby madieval villages Pyrgi, Mesta and Olympoi.
Walk through the narrow alleys of the village and admire the architecture of the houses, which remains intact over the years. Enjoy your food or drink at the coffee shops (kafeneia) on the village square. Visit the church of Agios Dimitrios, and admire the old byzantine wooden icon of the saint. The village celebrates on October 26, on Agios Dimitrios name day, as well as on August 6, on the Feast of the Saviour, with a great “panigyri”, with live music and good food. The same goes for August 15.
The village is built on a rocky hill, away from the sea shore, but with a great view to the Aegean Sea. The village preserves very well the Genovese architectural forms of the 14th century: it has the form of a castle, as the external walls of the houses, built one next to the other, form a continuous defensive wall. Visit the interior of the village, passing through the covered passages, which remind of tunnels in some places. Raise your eyes to admire the impressive stone houses above. Visit the central square of the village, which dates back to the medieval period and has been reconstructed in 1820-1830.
The village celebrates with a traditional greek “panigiri” on September 8. According to the local tradition they serve chickpeas with rice and organise a horse race, decorating the horses with traditional ornaments. The race starts from the Monastery and finishes at the village. On August 2, there is a very interesting “panigiri” on the small islet of Agios Stefanos. On the eve of the celebration, on August 1st, there is free transportation by boat, from the small port of Agia Eirini to Agios Stefanos islet and back, all night long, for all the visitors who want to attend the celebrations. Also in the afternoon of the same day, an open water swimming race takes place during the last years, from the port of Agia Eirini to the islet, with many athletes participating.
This is the best preserved medieval village, protected by the Ministry of Culture as a monument. Its elaborate architectural form comes from the Genovese times and the village is built in the form of a castle. The small stone houses, built one next to the other form a strong external defensive wall. The church of the Old Taxiarches, a 15th century monument, is definitely worth a visit. Observe the wooden elaborate iconostasis of the church, very characteristic of the wood carving art of Chios and one of the oldest preserved on the island.
Travel back in time as you walk through the narrow alleys of the village, under the vaults, formed by the balconies of the houses. You can enjoy your food or drink at the village square, or you can discover interesting places to enjoy traditional sweets and flavours around the village. Mesta village is also famous for the “Agas” traditional event that takes place every year on Ash Monday. One of the locals, disguised as Ottoman Judge (Agas) judges the visitors and the locals in a satirical and humorous way. The Port of Mesta is in a 4km distance. Not far from Mesta, there are a lot of really beautiful beaches. The village also celebrates on November 8th, the name day of Taxiarchis, and on August 15, with a traditional greek “panigiri”.
The village has the form of a castle, as the external walls of the houses of its perimeter are built in such a way, as to form a continuous high defensive wall. There is a central gate to the castle and a half-ruined defensive tower in the center of the village. The stone vaults that cover the narrow alleys, seem to connect the houses, built one next to the other. On the village square, there is the small church of Agia Paraskevi, with a wooden iconostasis, typical of the 18th century wood carving art. Another significant building in Olympoi is the “Trapeza”, a well preserved two-storey medieval building with elongated spacious halls, that used to host the social events of the village.
Discover the magic of the impressive cave of Olympoi that reaches the depth of 52m. Due to its exquisite decoration of stalactites and stalagmites it is considered one of the most beautiful caves in Greece. When leaving the cave towards the sea shore, you will end up at a medieval watchtower, intended for the surveillance of the sea. You will also meet the small chapel of Agia Dynami, built on the edge of the wonderful homonymous beach, famous for its turquoise waters. Some kilometers outside Olympoi village, there is the beach of Fana, named after the ancient temple of Fanaios Apollo. The relics of the ancient temple are still visible today, near the small byzantine chapel of Agioi Theodoroi. Archaeological findings of this site, dated from the 6th century B.C., have been transfered at the Archaeological Museum of Chios.
This village, unique all over Greece, is called the “painted village”, because of the elaborate geometrical decorations on the facades of the buildings. It is the biggest medieval mastiha village of Chios, in a distance of 25 km from Chios town. Despite the alterations brought about by time and human intervention, Pyrgi still remains a living medieval legend.
Visit the historic monuments still preserved in Pyrgi. The temple of Agioi Apostoloi is an excellent preserved byzantine monument, built in the 14th century. Also visit the church dedicated to the Dormition of Virgin Mary, built in 1694, the Temple of Taxiarchis, dated from 1680 and the Monastery of Agios Georgios from the 19th century, all preserved in a very good condition. Nevertheless, what will catch you by surprise when seeing Pyrgi is the “xysta” decoration on the houses’ facades. This is a very characteristic style of decoration, with geometric motifs in black and white. Walk through the village to admire it and enjoy a coffee at the village square. The nearby volcanic beach of Mavra Volia, with the black pebbles and the exotic beach of Vroulidia with its turquoise waters are definitely worth a visit. The village celebrates on August 15 and on August 23.
This is one of the biggest and richest mastiha villages in Chios. The initial core of the village was a classic medieval settlement. Today, despite the alterations that changed its defensive character, the village overall preserves the form of the medieval settlements: the square architectural form, with the fortifications on every side, the vaults that cover the alleys and the narrow passages. Very near Kalamoti, there is the byzantine chapel of Panagia Agrelopou, with a gold plated iconostasis of the 18th century and Panagia Sikelia, a byzantine monastery dated back in the 13th century.
Swimming at Komi beach, one of the most beautiful organised sandy shores of Chios. The visitor can enjoy swimming and water sports. The sea is most of the time calm and tranquil at this side of the island.
During the last years, this area has developed rapidly, evolving into one of the most cosmopolitan spots of the island. Along the promenade of Komi you will find cafés, restaurants and tavernas, where you can enjoy tasty appetizers, fresh fish and authentic greek cuisine. There is also a choice for comfortable accommodation during summer. At the north edge of Komi beach there is the small, iconic pebbled beach of Lilikas. The village celebrates on July 26, the name day of Agia Paraskevi, and on July 7, the name day of Agia Kyriaki.
The houses in Armolia are built with stone, one next to the other, like in all the Mastiha villages of Chios. The village has a long tradition in ceramics, mostly utilities like water wessels, vases, pots, but also decorative objects. On the top of Lykouri hill, to the northwest of the village there is the Byzantine Apolichnon castle, base of the administration of the Mastiha villages, during the Genoese times. It was built in 1446 by Justinianus Justiniani. To the east of the village there is the Vrettou Monastery, dedicated to the Life-Giving Spring (Zoodochos Pege), which was built at the end of the 18th century, at the place where there was an older church of Virgin Mary. There used to be a spring near the monastery, watering the well taken care gardens with beautiful flowers.
Take a walk in the narrow stone paved alleys of the village and visit the church of Virgin Mary (Panagia), united with the church of Agios Dimitrios, on the village square. There, you have the chance to see one of the most beautiful iconostasis, dated in 1744. And of course you can enjoy your coffee there, or have some tasty greek “meze”.
One of the oldest medieval castle-villages, built in an amphitheatre, amidst an evergreen hill. Having gates at all sides in older times, today it preserves most of its architectural features. According to the manuscripts that have been found, the first house in Patrika was built in 1050.
Visit this unique mountain area, perfect for a walk along the paved alleys and enjoy your coffee while observing the exquisite architecture of the village. Admire the restored medieval houses, the building of the Elementary School that reminds of other times and the numerous churches -10 in total!
Nenita is one of the biggest Mastiha villages, with a great view to the opposite Asia Minor coast. This is one of the 24 villages of Southern Chios (Mastiha villages), where the mastiha tree (Pistacia lentiscus var. Chia) is cultivated, giving its famous and unique in the world natural product, chios mastic gum.
Visit the Monastery dedicated to the Archangels, in a small distance from the village, built in 1305. You will find good fish tavernas on the seashore, either at Vokaria to the north, or at Gridia to the south. At Nenita, you can also visit the Aegean Botanical Garden, preserving lots of endemic flora species, not only from Chios, but also from all over the Aegean. In many cases, these are protected flora species that you will have the chance to get to know and admire, cultivated on a green slope with a great view to the east Aegean sea. The village celebrates on the Ascension day, with horse races starting from Gridia beach and finishing at the village. Also on August 15, the Dormition of Virgin Mary.
Vouno & Flatsia
Vouno preserves its original shape and is protected as a traditional settlement. The village took its name from the mountain on which it is built (“vouno” is the greek word for mountain). Because of the fact that it was built on rocky ground, it survived the big earthquake of 1881 which caused a lot of damage in other places of Chios. Having preserved its original architectural form, it has a fortified external wall, named “Gyros”, and characteristic narrow alleys that remind a labyrinth, covered by vaults. Near Flatsia village, there is the chapel of Agios Georgios Stoupion, in a place with a great view. Heading to the southeast, you can visit the abandoned monastery of Agios Nikolaos.
Combine a visit to Vouno to admire the architecture of an original castle village, with swimming at one of the extraordinary beaches of this area. Most of them are organised and ideal for a cool dive and good food. Rest at the municipal garden of the village that has a great view to the beaches of Lilikas and Komi. Enjoy your coffee at one of the two coffee shops of Flatsia village square, admiring the church. You can also find rooms and apartments to rent. A worth visiting antique shop is open during summer. The village celebrates on Easter Monday.
Koini is a small traditional medieval village that was totally destroyed by the big earthquake of 1881. The church of the village, dedicated to the Life -giving Spring (Zoodochos Pege), built in 1879 was one of the few buildings that survived the blow.
Visit the 16th century monastery near the village. Most of its cells are ruined, as there are no longer monks living there, but it still remains very iconic. The people of the village gather there every year to celebrate the Epitaph and the Dormition of Virgin Mary on August 15. There is also a local celebration on May 15.
Pagida is a small village, between Koini and Exo Didyma, famous for its musicians but also for its builders. Today the people work in mastiha tree and olive tree cultivations. This is the smallest traditional settlement of the Mastiha villages.
Exo Didyma is one of the smallest villages in south Chios, with very few habitants. Near the village, there is the old Monastery of Panaghia Sikelia, dated back to the 13th century. The village celebrates on August 6, the day dedicated to Christ the Saviour and on September 8 on the Birth of the Virgin Mary.
Walk around the perennial plane trees at the stone cobbled square of the village and keep walking towards the Monastery of Panagia Sikelia. Another interesting walking trail through a green area with a great view is that which starts from Panagia Evangelistria and leads to Panagia Mendonia.
Mesa Didyma is a small castle village, built next to its twin village, Exo Didyma. The old village was built in a valley and had four gates. The northern part of the village and the village square are a new addition, which was made after the danger of piracy no longer existed. The village celebrates on July 22, on the name day of the local saint, Agia Marcella and also on November 8, the day dedicated to the Archangels (Taxiarchae).
Walk around the village, towards “Vasilika”, a place with lots of medieval ruins. The monastery of Agia Matrona, very near the village, is also worth visiting.
This village is built at an altitude of 225 meters, on top of evergreen hills with olive trees and mastiha trees. The relics of a small medieval castle and of the Genoese irrigation facilities are preserved until today.
Visit this small village for its big well of exquisite architecture and for the small tunnel that leads to the fountain of Karaman Aga. The village celebrates on July 17, on the name day of Agia Marina. The big church of the village is also dedicated to Agia Marina. Enjoy the great view to the South shore of Chios from the village square.
Katarraktis is a seaside village in Northeastern Chios, with a very iconic little port and fish tavernas. The old village, built by Ioannis Della Rocca Giustiniani, was on top of the hill, near the road leading from Kallimasia to Nenita. After the big earthquake of 1881 the village was completely damaged and abandoned. Observe the half ruined medieval houses and the byzantine church of Agios Ioannis Argentis.
After visiting the old villages of this area, head for a walk near the sea and taste fresh seafood at one of the tavernas by the port.
Kallimasia is one of the biggest and most vivid Masiha villages. It is built in a green valley, surrounded by olive trees. Like all the other villages, Kallimasia was severely damaged by the big earthquake of 1881. Some medieval ruins are still visible. The village is very much alive today, with many cafés, greek coffee shops, tavernas and grocery shops. There are also well preserved churches, like the church dedicated to the Dormition of Virgin Mary and the Monastery of Panagia Plakidiotissa. Near the village there is the beach of Agia Fotia, one of the most favorite and well organised beaches of Chios. For more tranquility, you can visit the calm and secluded beach of Agios Aimilianos.
Dive in the crystal clear waters of Agia Fotia beach. Here you can find sunbeds, umbrellas and sea sports. Many hotels, apartments and rooms to let are also available in this area. Along the seafront, a lot of cafés, restaurants and tavernas offer fresh seafood and local cuisine.
Kallimasia also has a Folklore Museum, with very interesting exhibits that showcase everyday life and professions of the past in the villages of Chios.
The village celebrates on August 8, the name day of Agios Aimilianos. The panigiri takes place at the beach of Agios Aimilianos, near the homonymous chapel. Also on August 15, the Dormition of Virgin Mary, there is a panigiri at the village square.
Make a stop to admire the old windmills near the entrance of the village. Then walk around in the narrow alleys of Tholopotami, surrounded by high plane trees and spring waters. Take some rest at the village square to enjoy a coffee and the splendid view. Don’t miss a visit to the church, dedicated to the Apostles St. Peter and St. Paul, especially if you happen to visit the village on June 29, when there is a celebration (panigiri) at the church yard. The main church of the village, dedicated to Virgin Mary, celebrates on August 15.