Chios 2-Day Itinerary: How to See the Best of Chios Island

If you’re looking for a relatively undiscovered Greek island that offers a friendly atmosphere, medieval villages, and stunning beaches — all easily explored in a weekend! — then Chios is calling your name. 🙂 

Just a quick 30-minute ferry ride from Çeşme, Chios (also known as Sakız Ada, or Mastic Island in Turkish) is a refreshing alternative to the typical island-hopping itinerary.

Thanks to Chios’ compact size, it’s also perfectly doable on a weekend! We initially planned to name this blog post, ‘Chios One Day Itinerary’ but then we quickly realized that you definitely need more than one day to truly see the island. 

So instead, we recommend setting aside at least two days for Chios: the first to check out the island’s museums, medieval villages, and mastic groves, and the second to relax and soak in the ambiance in the center. Of course, you can also take our ideas and pick-and-choose the attractions you want to see — this Chios itinerary is just a starting point! 

We hope you enjoy your travels to Chios! 

About this itinerary

This is the exact itinerary we followed during our trip. To follow this route you’ll need to rent a car, but it’s absolutely worth it for the freedom and flexibility it offers.

The first day (driving around Chios) is a full day tour. We started around 9:30 in the morning and came back at 19:30 in the evening (10 full hours). However, feel free to customize it to your own pace and preferences— skip a stop or linger longer at your favorites. This itinerary is simply a starting point to inspire your own Chios exploration. 🙂 

The second day focuses on Chios city center and can be done in a few hours. If you prefer, you can keep your rented car for two whole days and use half of the second day to keep exploring Chios. 

What to Know Before Traveling to Chios

Before we jump into our itinerary, here are some helpful Chios travel tips to make your trip better:

Driving in Chios

One of the most popular questions is, do I need a car in Chios? — to which we reply, Yes! 

We were set on not renting a car on Chios when we first arrived, but after the first few hours, we quickly realized that a car is practically required if you want to see the most important sites on the island. That, or an expensive private tour. 😅

Click here to check availability and pricing on our favorite car rental site →

Here are some things you need to know about driving in Chios:

Roads — The main roads are absolutely fabulous and very comfortable to drive on — no potholes, no cracked asphalt, no problems. 🙂 

Driving — Driving in Chios was also enjoyable. We visited towards the end of spring, and there were almost no other cars on the road once we exited Chios center (except for local truck drivers and tractors). There are signposts for major attractions (i.e. “Mastic Museum – 1 km”) and speed limits.

Parking — Despite the island’s small size, we never had a problem with parking in Chios. Each of the villages we visited had their own dedicated parking lot, and best of all, it was free! Just follow signs for the municipality parking lot. This is really important if you’re visiting the Mastic Villages (like Pyrgi, Mesta, Olimpi, etc), as entrance to the city centers are restricted for cars (and rightfully so, as the streets are super narrow!) 

Another parking tip is to always take a photo of where you parked. We can attest to this from personal experience, as we parked our car in Mesta, went to explore the city, and then couldn’t find our car. We spent the better part of 30 minutes walking around in circles and tracing our steps. Funnily enough, Mesta’s urban design was created more than 500 years ago to deter pirates, and it’s still working to this day— but with tourists. 😉 

Helpful Travel Tips 

🛂 Bring your passport! If you’re reading this guide, we’re guessing that you’re coming from Türkiye (most likely Çeşme). Since Chios is located in Greece, you’ll need to take your passport with you to cross the border! 

🗺️ Check if you need a visa … And while we’re on the topic, make sure you can enter Greece! Since Greece is part of the Schengen zone, you’ll either fall under the visa-free scheme (if your passport is from USA, AUS, the UK, etc) or you’ll need a valid Schengen visa to enter. Check your visa eligibility here →

🎫 Buy ferry tickets ahead of time — Tickets can get sold out pretty quickly, especially if you’re traveling during the summer. 

🛳️ Plan your ferry trip in advance — If you plan to go back to Çeşme (or continue onto other Greek islands by ship), we recommend checking the timetables before your trip. This is because some routes don’t operate daily, or have reduced schedules during the off-season. Click here to check timetables and tickets →

📱 Your Turkish SIM card won’t work in Chios. We recommend buying a cheap eSIM package on Airalo (i.e. a 3GB or 5GB package), as you’ll need mobile internet to use Google Maps, translate menus, and so on. Click here to check prices and buy your eSIM →

Where is Chios? 

Chios is a Greek island located in the northeastern Aegean Sea and is part of the North Aegean Islands cluster. It’s close to the Turkish coast (only 17 km / 10.5 mi from Çeşme!) and is the 5th largest Greek island. Its capital is Chios — yes, the capital is named after the island. 🙂

You can check out the location of Chios in the map below: 

What is Chios famous for?

⚪️ Mastic — If you ask any Greek about Chios, they’ll likely mention mastic! This unique resin is a prized product of the island and has been used as an important ingredient for centuries. The cultivation and harvesting of mastic is a deeply rooted tradition in Chios, so much so that they even opened a Mastic Museum.

🍊 Citrus — Despite its small size, Chios was one of the largest exporters of citrus products more than a century ago — and remnants of its former glory can still be seen today! 

🏝️ The Fragrant Island — Chios has earned the nickname Myrovólos (“fragrant island”) due to its amazing smells. We can attest that the island’s landscape is a sensory delight, with the scent of citrus blossoms mingling with the sweet perfume of jasmine and mastic trees!

💨 Windmills — One final symbol of Chios are its windmills, which can be found around the island and offer a lovely backdrop for photos. 

How to get to Chios

By ferry 

From Türkiye — The easiest way to get to Chios from Turkey is by taking the ferry from Çeşme. The crossing takes only 30 minutes, and there are multiple sailings during the summer.

From Greece — Chios is well-connected to other Greek islands, including Mytilene (Lesvos island), Karlovasi and Vathy (Samos island), Ag. Kirykos (Ikaria island), Patmos (Patmos island), and Lemnos (Lemnos island). 

Of course, you can also get to Chios from Athens (Piraeus), Thessaloniki, and Kavala

Click here to check timetables and book your ticket → 

By plane

Chios has an international airport (Chios International Airport Omiros, or JKH) that’s located close to the city center. The airport serves Aegean Airlines, Olympic Air, and Sky Express, and has direct flights to Athens, Lemnos, Mytilene, Rhodes, Samos, and Thessaloniki. 

​​Click here to check timetables and book your ticket → 

Now that we’ve taken care of the basics, let’s move onto the itinerary! 

We’ve broken it down into two days so that it’s easier to read, and added what to do in Chios, where to eat, and any other helpful travel tips. Let’s check it out. 🙂 

Chios Itinerary DAY 1 — Museums, Mastic Villages, and More! 

Kalimera! (Good morning!) After picking up your rental car, it’s time to hit the road and check out the sights. We recommend eating breakfast and leaving Chios as soon as possible, because this first day is jam-packed with things to do. 

❗️ If you prefer, click here and it’ll open Google Maps on your phone (with the above itinerary)

If you didn’t have breakfast at the hotel, we recommend either eating in Chios, or stopping by My Cafe. It’s on the way to our first stop, the food is absolutely delicious, and the owners are lovely. 🙂 

From Chios center, it’s a 7 km (4.3 mi) drive to our first stop, the Perivoli Citrus Museum. Chios was historically famous for its lush citrus groves (especially in the Kampos region), and its citrus products were exported all around the world! 

While most of these orchards are gone, one family kept the tradition alive and even opened a museum that talks about Chios’ citrus trade. Housed in a beautifully restored 18th-century mansion, the museum has a few exhibits, including an overview of the various citrus breeds, the history of Chios’ citruses, packaging designs, and so on. Don’t miss the last room, where you can watch a short documentary film with interviews from locals who worked in the citrus trade. Entrance is 3 EUR. 

After exploring the museum, you can also enjoy a quick stop at the museum cafe. Just like the museum, this cafe has citrus-themed snacks and drinks — definitely try the Kampos mandarin juice! 

After checking out the museum, it’s time to drive 20 km (12.4 mi) to our second stop: the Chios Mastic Museum. Besides citrus, Chios is also famous for mastic, a type of resin that comes from trees and is used as an ingredient in food, perfumes, soap, medicine, beauty products, and much more. 

If you’re interested in learning more, the Mastic Museum is just the place. Besides the absolutely gorgeous architecture, this museum does a great job of showcasing the history and significance of mastic, from its origins to production, its place in Chios’ culture, and much more. They also have a neat gift shop with all the mastic products you could ever imagine. 🙂 Entrance is 4 EUR per person. 

The next part of our trip is going to be visiting the mastic villages, which are also known as Mastihochoria in Greek. Although there are more than 20 mastic villages in Chios (you can see the full list here), we’ll go to the three most well-known villages. 

Just 3 kilometers from the Mastic Museum is our first village, Pyrgi! This is one of the most popular tourist attractions in Chios, and for good reason — the village is renowned for its unique xysta design, which are black and white geometric patterns found on many buildings in the village. In short, it’s a feast for the eyes!

When arriving at Pyrgi, we recommend driving very slowly and following signs for the free parking lot (otherwise, you’ll have to do an uncomfortable U-turn near the town square!). As mentioned in the ‘Driving in Chios’ section, many of these old villages have very narrow cobblestone streets that don’t support cars… and are best explored on foot. 😉 

You can easily spend an hour walking through Pyrgi and admiring its beautiful architecture and design. If you’re hungry, stop by Maki’s Grill in the center and order the gyros — they’re delicious! 

Our next stop is Olimpi, which is just 7 km (4.3 mi) away. This is a cute little village that’s less popular than the other mastic villages, but no less charming! In fact, Olimpi is also known for its design — albeit, instead of the building facade, you’ll find art on the doors and windows. 

In 2017, the locals wanted to do something with all the dilapidated buildings, so they asked a local artist to paint scenes of everyday life onto the doors and windows. There are dozens of these charming paintings all around the town — see if you can find them all! 

OPTIONAL STOP: If you’re traveling between May to November, you can also do an optional stop at Olimpi Caves. The cave goes as deep as 55 meters and has an extraordinary amount of stalactites and stalagmites! It’s especially cool (literally) in the summer. 😉 

After Olimpi, drive 4 km (2.5) mi to the final mastic village, Mesta. From the moment you arrive, you’ll notice that this village looks very medieval — and that’s no accident! This village was specifically designed to have narrow streets, confusing alleys, high walls, and ‘bridges’ between buildings so that pirates would be deterred from conducting raids. 

Mesta has all of the aforementioned elements: the village is located inside five walls; there are four towers (that were previously used as watch towers); and there are only four entrances into the village. Like we mentioned in the ‘Driving in Chios’ section, be sure to take a photo of where you parked so you don’t end up like us. 🥲

After exploring the 3 villages, you have a choice (depending on how tired you are and how late it is :))
You can either head back to Chios (35 km / 22 mi) or continue to three more destinations… 

We’ll outline the three places below:

After Mesta, you can continue north and take the 21 km (13 mi) trip to Vessa (Bessa), another mastic village. Be sure to take the route that goes north (not back through Mesta/Olimpi/Pyrgi), as the seaside views are gorgeous. 

From Vessa, take the 22 km (13.7 mi) drive to Nea Moni. This monastery was built in the 11th century and is the only UNESCO World Heritage Site on Chios! It’s especially renowned for its beautiful mosaics and peaceful courtyard. 

After Nea Moni, you can either go to Chios city center and return your rental car, or visit our final destination, Chapel Saint Isidore of Sykiada. This beautiful chapel is famous for its gorgeous surroundings — the whitewashed chapel, set on a rocky outcrop, can only be reached by a winding path with water on both sides. It looks as if it’s something out of a film, and is a popular spot to see the sun set. 😍

Afterwards, come back to Chios center, a 15 km (9 mi) drive from the chapel. 

 Once you’ve dropped off your rental car, you’re probably very hungry from exploring all day. 🙂 
We recommend these places for dinner:

  • Streat — Great selection of burgers and European dishes. Location →
  • Shozo CafeThe place if you want to try Greece’s meze (appetizer) culture — and it’s open until 2 in the morning! Location →
  • Piperoriza — Healthy food and smoothies! 🙂 Location →  
  • Chicken Bar Chios — If you want something a little more budget-friendly, they make amazing burgers and chicken dishes. Location →

Chios Itinerary DAY 2 — Chios Center 

Welcome to Day 2 of our Chios itinerary! Today we’re going to take it easy and check out the sites in Chios city center. 🙂 

Depending on where you’re staying, you can either do this trip as we’ve outlined below, or vice versa (start at the end and go backwards). Here is our Chios center walking tour itinerary on the map:

❗️ If you prefer, click here and it’ll open Google Maps on your phone (with the above itinerary)

Chios Maritime Museum — Our first stop! Even if you’re not a fan of this theme, this well-designed museum will teach you something new about Greece’s maritime history. 🙂 

Chios Cathedral — On the way to Chios port, you’ll pass by this beautiful yellow cathedral. 

Walk around Chios port — To reach our next destination, let’s take a delightful stroll along Chios’ scenic seaside promenade. If you’re hungry, you can also enjoy a nice breakfast at one of the many cafes and restaurants located along the main thoroughfare. Our favorites are Kahvalti or 44 Bar (their pancake plate is *chef’s kiss*). 

Buy some unique Chios souvenirs — If you’re like us and love to gift souvenirs from your trip, then we have just the place. 🙂 Πρατηριο Κορακησ Μαρινοσ is located right near the port and has an amazing selection of unique-to-Chios souvenirs, like mastic products, icons, beauty products, jams, candy, food products, and much more. It’s run by an absolutely adorable local lady who will tell you about the product, its history, how to use it, and so on. 

Just a 2 minute walk and we’ll reach our next place…

Byzantine Museum of Chios — Located in a former mosque, this museum has a small yet very interesting collection of artifacts from the Byzantine era, including art, frescoes, marble items, and more. 

From the museum, turn left and follow signs for Aplotaria Street. This is the main pedestrian street of Chios and full of cute boutiques and small shops. We recommend walking to Kronos, getting an ice cream cone, and slowly walking back along Apoltaria Street. 🙂 

After coming back, you’ll be met with a long fortress wall and a bridge — cross it and go inside the entrance. This is Chios Castle. One of the main symbols of the city, the Castle of Chios isn’t a typical castle per-se. Instead, there’s a ‘city’ inside the castle and the original fortification walls that go around this settlement. You can even walk along the eastern walls and see the port.

While you’re exploring the castle, stop by the Ottoman Baths. This complex used to serve as the city’s hammam (public baths) before it was abandoned and fell into disrepair. In 2012, the city restored it to its former glory, and now visitors can enter for free and see what it looked like. 

If you’re up for it, you can go for a 20-minute walk (1.4 km / 0.9 mi) further north and see the Windmills of Chios. This is another symbol of Chios, as they were used more than a century ago to power the island’s tanneries. The windmills are especially photogenic, and make for amazing photos during sunset. 🙂 

Where to Stay – Hotels on Chios 

While this is a two-day itinerary, you’ll still need to find a place to relax and sleep after your adventures — which is why we’ve compiled some of the best hotels in Chios that are conveniently located near the city center! This prime location makes it easier for you to rent a car, explore the city center, and be close to the main attractions. 

Amalia City Rooms

In two words, Amalia Rooms is simply the best! 🙂 

We stayed here during our trip to Chios and absolutely loved this hotel. It’s run by a sweet local family who are super friendly and helped us with every question (the husband has a car rental agency and offers the best rates on the island!). 

The room itself was spacious, clean, and comfortable, and had everything we needed. As a nice bonus, our room had a gorgeous view of the sea and Chios port, and we watched the ships sail into the port every evening. 🥰

Agora Residence

Located in a quiet part of Chios center, Agora Residence offers beautifully-designed rooms while still retaining the charm of Chios’ stone houses. In fact, the building’s history goes back more than a century, and it was owned by a famous citrus-exporting family! 

If you’re planning a longer road trip around Chios, Agora has parking 300 meters from the property (with an excellent daily rate!) 

Chios City Inn

Looking to live like a local (but with a touch of luxury)? This is the place! Chios City Inn is a gorgeous stone house that feels more like a boutique hotel than a guesthouse. The rooms have a lovely modern design, breakfast is made with local and homemade products, and the hosts are very welcoming. 

Urban Apartments

If you prefer the comforts of an apartment, then Urban Apartments is calling your name. The modern apartments feature modern furniture, a full kitchen, washing machine, fridge, and so on. This is an excellent choice for families and larger groups, as their biggest apartment (3 rooms) can hold up to 6 people. As a bonus, there’s free public parking!

Archontiko Frideriki Luxury Apartments

Ah, one look at the photos and it feels as if you’re living in a castle or mansion! This extraordinary property is located within walking distance of Chios center and offers a comfortable and peaceful stay. The owner, Sophia, is very welcoming, and there’s free on-site parking. 

Did You Like This Blog Post?

First of all, thank you very much. We poured our hearts into creating this Chios itinerary and had a lot of fun testing it out and tweaking it to make sure it provides the best possible experience for travelers like you. 😊

Instead of turning this content into a paid product (i.e. an ebook or map location), we offer it for free because we want everyone to enjoy Chios and all the cool things it has!

If you found this itinerary helpful or interesting, you can support our work by tipping us through Buy Me A Coffee: 

Teşekkür Ederiz! (We thank you!)


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