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Chios

Mild weather, rich culture

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A tube of mastica flavored toothpaste

Are you ready for mastica-flavored toothpaste? It's said to be highly beneficial to your mouth health.

Photo by deTraci Regula; licensed to About.com

Where is Chios?
Chios (also spelled Hios) is one of the islands of the Northeast Aegean group, not far off the coast of modern Turkey.

 

Why You Should go to Chios:
Relatively unknown to most tourists, this beautiful wooded island offers a traditional culture, an international conference center, sand beaches, hiking trails, and many unspoiled villages. It also boasts mild weather in the winter. It is also considered by some to be the best-smelling Greek island of all! Any trip should include exploring the Matichochoria, traditional villages where the precious resin is harvested and processed.

Where to stay on Chios:
The capital town of Chora, or "Chios Town",  offers plenty of hotels and rooms. For a more interesting experience, stay in one of the many small villages in the northern part of the island.

Hotels and rooms on Chios

What to eat and drink on Chios:
Chios is renowned for its intensely flavored tomatoes and tangerines and for souma, the Chian version of raki and smooth Chian ouzo. But the island economy has long depended on the production of gum mastic, which is used as a chewing substance, medicine (it has been proved effective for a number of ailments), and also as a flavoring.

The hard candies flavored with mastic are an excellent way to become familiar with the taste, which you'll end up craving after returning home from Greece. Bring some home to add a few grains to your New Year's vasillopita cake. There is also an excellent liqueur made from mastic. If you want a daring souvenir, you won't be able to miss the version that is bottled in an anatomically complete male Greek statue image - though it may not get back home in one piece.  You can also enjoy an unusual "wafer" confection made of mastica, which is a flat pancake shape that is wrapped in traditional paper and has a mouthfeel like a rapidly dissolving chewing gum. It really is unlike anything else.

When to Go to Chios:
For a vivid cultural experience, visit Chios during the Carnival season or later on for Easter, when the roukeropolemos makes for a lively Easter when competing barrages of fireworks light up the Easter Eve sky.

Check dates for Carnival and Easter in Greece.

How to Get to Chios:

For a beautiful and traditional island, Chios is very well connected by air.
You can get a flight directly from Athens to Chios via Olympic Airlines, or from Thessaloniki via Lesbos to Chios. There are also flights from Rhodes. Direct flights are available, at least part of the year, from Norway, Holland, Belgium, and Slovenia, among others, so Chios is a Greek island that can fit into other longer European trips very easily.

Ferries operate year-round; one operator is Hellenic Seaways. Hydrofoils operate in the spring-to-fall period. It can also be reached by ferry from the port of Cesme in Turkey.

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