Day 1: The ferry from Pireaus needs eight hours to Chios. Fortunately, it sails in the evening so we booked a couple of cabins and got some decent sleep. The port is in the city of Chios and form there a 40 minutes drive to Kardamyla, our base camp for the next week. Kardamyla is a village at north east part of the island, opposite to the island of Oenousses, with with parts, the Ano (Upper) Kardamyla built on the cliff, very close to the ancient Kardamyli. Our lodge, Spilia – means cave – was located at the very top, meaning we had to park the car at the end of the road in the village and walk – climb is a better term – the last three meters with all of our bags. But the effort was worth it as it is the best lodge in the area. A small lodge, with 5-6 rooms carved in the rock, thus the name Spilia which offers excellent views to the sea and some excellent breakfast with home made ingredients.
Today we spend the morning walking around the village and cooling off under the dense canopy, at the village square cafe. The permanent population is small, 700 including the sea side village, mostly elders but during the summer it attracts tourists and people with local roots. It is a beautiful village with some interesting old houses, many of them abandoned.
In the afternoon we went for swimming and sun bathing to the nearby beach of Nagos.
Day 2: We drove south to visit the famous beach of Mavra Volia, near Emporios. There are three adjacent beaches with black pebbles, a result of the prehistoric explosion of the neighboring volcano. Because of the pebbles, the deep waters have a reach blue color.
After our swim, we visited Pirgi, the largest village on the island, part of the Mastichochoria. As the name implies, this is the region – the only in the world – where the mastic tree grows. The mastic resin has a unique taste that characterizes the ouzo liquor and the kaimaki ice cream. Many house facades in Pyrgi display linear design decorations, called “xysta” that characterize this village architecture. The village has a medieval configuration with narrow streets and small houses built inside the walls of the 13th century castle. Today, there are very fews remains of the castle that enclosed the village until 1821.
Day 3: After the morning coffee/newspaper ritual in the central Kardamyla square, we decided to visit the north west part. Volissos is built on the sea, under the remains of a byzantine time castle and has a nice but crowded beach, a beautiful port and some good fish taverns.
We spent the evening in the city of Chios, listening to a good band playing rembetika inside the city castle.
Day 4: Again to the south west to see the rest of the Mastichochoria. First stop at the Kato Fana beach, a beautiful cove with crystal clear waters blue waters and 5-6 trees that offer protection from the sun.
In the late afternoon, we went to Mesta, the best preserved village of Mastichochoria. It was built in the byzantine era, a maze of narrow streets and the outer houses double as the city walls, with no windows. Most of the streets are galleries, called “Thola”.
Just before sunset we followed the road to Avgonyma, to enjoy the sunset and have dinner in an excellent tavern at the central square.
Day 5: Today, we headed west to swim in the beautiful Elinda beach. It is wide with sand but can get pretty windy.
After a late lunch in a nearby tavern we went to Anavatos, a reminder of the dreadful massacre of the polulation in 1822 during the Greek revolution against the Ottomans.
We spent the evening in Kardamyla, wandering around the noisy beach where the annual festival was talking place.
Day 6: Today it was about relaxing. A visit to the Vlichada beach near Kardamyla and lunch at the local tavern. After one week in Chios it was time for the second leg of trip. Next: Izmir and Ionia