It is often a lot more fun to go out of your comfort zone and explore places you are not aware of or familiar with. For most visitors, Chios is one of these places. They might be vaguely aware of having heard the name at some stage but if they were provided with a map and told to point, they would struggle.
Places we are familiar with are nowadays also the places we read or hear or see the most about. They are those that are over-represented in travel brochures, discussions or travel itineraries. Well-known places can definitely surprise us once we arrive but unknown places go a step further. There is no background information to interfere with your expectations.
They can be built as soon as you arrive.
These black and white patterns are only found in one village in the south of Chios. Now that is definitely a reason why you need to visit Chios!
REASON #3 – Local Flavour
One of the most common complaints people will have when visiting a place and returning is that the city was great but it was full of tourists. Have you visited downtown London lately? Chances are a British accent is not what you heard. Travelled to France to have that “Parisian experience” and get lost in the sounds of the French language? If you did, it wasn’t under the tower of Eiffel. Planning to visit Greece to see how locals live, work, eat and talk? Chios might be a better option than downtown Athens or Santorini.
The population of Chios, while relatively small, quadruples during the summer when people that left after the earthquake disaster and subsequent war hardships that followed come back. What’s more, those are people with strong ties to the land, the culture and the island. Apart from retaining a unique local flavour, their support ensures that cultural and historical restorations are prioritized and that appropriate funding can be funneled into them.
Our world is made up of beautiful places, each with their own magnificent stories to tell, offering travellers experiences that are by default unique. Meaning that one person’s experience in one country can never be similar to another’s. What we aim to get out of a location, the things we enjoy and the things we seek to discover all differ to various degrees.
However, there are some places that are truly one of a kind.What they offer cannot be found elsewhere. Replicating those experiences is simply not possible. One of those places is Santorini. There is nowhere else you can be standing at the side of a rugged cliff adorned with hundreds of picturesque blue and white houses while gazing over at the remnants of a caldera.
Second, comes the island of Crete. It is not exactly a logical series of reasons but a feeling that makes Crete stand out. One of those magical places that you arrive only to realize that it is familiar. As though you have lived there all your life but didn’t know it.
Chios is another of those places. The south portion of the island is the only place in the world where the mastic tree is able to produce mastic resin. Mastiha, as the locals call it, has a range of medicinal properties but is also commonly used in cooking and beauty care. You can find a range of products in Chios that make use of the flavour of Mastiha, from ouzo to gum, to ice -cream.
You can eat it straight from the tree. Just make sure to brush off any dirt first!
REASON #5 – Beach Options
I am not sure how many beaches there are on this island. Somewhere around 50, I lost count. However, if you are thinking of challenging yourselves on visiting as many as possible, I will understand. It is a noble pursuit. Being one of the largest islands in the Aegean, Chios has the added benefit of catering to any beach-going requirements.
Sand? Check. Volcanic black pebbles? Sure. Completely isolated little cove in the middle of nowhere with no people? Also good! Even during peak season in the middle of summer, you can find beaches that have only a handful of people. What’s more, the people you will see will probably be locals!
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