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Sol E Mar
Commanding an impressive position in the centre of Albufeira´s old town, the hotel is set into the cliff with magnificent sweeping view of the bay, directly above Albufeira´s splendid sandy beach, which can be reached from the hotel’s lift or a gentle walk from the road down some steps. Faro International Airport is 35km from the hotel, with an approximate driving time of 30 minutes....
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Auramar Beach Resort
Auramar Beach Resort in Albufeira, Faro is close to the stunning beach of Areias De S. Joao, overlooking the deep blue Atlantic Ocean. It is located in one of the most fascinating and breathtaking spots in the Algarve, in the splendid scenery of Praia dos Aveiros....
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Gillieru Harbour Hotel, Bugibba
Gillieru Harbour Hotel in Bugibba is at the waters edge overlooking the old fishing harbour and flanked to one side by an ancient chapel. A minute walk away are a number of shops, restaurants, bars and other tourist activities all along the promenade. ...
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You are in:  Top  →  Europe  →  GREECE  →  N. E. Aegean Islands  →  HIOS

HIOS

"Craggy Hios", as Homer dubbed it, and he should have known as it was probably his home, remains unspoiled.

View and book hotels in HIOS. Click here.

The black pebble beaches on the southeast coast of the island are famous and not neglected. There are also white sandy beaches on the west coast.

Enjoy a coffee and some mastic served in cold water at the port. Taste hot 'loukoumades", a kind of local doughnuts, near the picturesque market and take a walk in the Public Garden.Stop for a while to see the statue of Kanaris, the hero and incendiary.

The fortress of Hios and the Archeological and Byzantine Museum will resuscitate historical memories while "Korcis"' library and "Argentis"' Folklore Museum will make you acquainted with the local culture and tradition.

Picturesque taverns wait for you to taste the specialities of the Hian cuisine. Enjoy the crystal-clear beaches nearby and shop in "Aplotaria", the commercial street and 'Prokyrnea", the harbour's waterfront, to buy mastic-gum, sweets, drinks and souvenirs. Walk up and down at the port (Prokyrnea), chat with the peaceful and cordial local people, have an ice-cream and when dark starts to fall choose between a cultural event and good music. While night goes on, enjoy the night life dancing and feeling very high and give yourselves up to the island's embrance. The island of the mastic-gum, of poets, philosophers, people of spirit as well as merchants, the cradle of the glorious Greek merchant marine, is the island of Hios. Fraught with historical memories, patiently listens to the summer breeze and the sweet winter north wind the whisper in her ears secrets as old as three million years.

In hospitable Hios, feel the romance of the Middle Ages, the Glory that is still wandering on the heroic island of Psara and allow the Mermaid to welcome you to the picturesque island of ship owners Egnoussa (Inousses). The idyllic scenery, the clear waters, the alternation of pictures, the renowned Chian architecture, the genuine insular life and the civilized atmosphere mixed with cosmopolitan hues, will capture your senses and your heart. There are unique medieval villages in the south, Piryi is truly fantastic, and the major crop, mastic (a tree resin used in chewing gum), is grown nowhere else in the world. The north of the island offers excellent hiking opportunities, and the clear waters are superb for swimming, diving, and fishing. Hios remains an ideal destination for those who want to escape the hordes and one of the most exotic places from which to cross over to Turkey.

Boats dock at Hios (often spelled Chios) town, the largest town on the island and a thriving Creek port. Most of the city was built after a destructive earthquake in 1881, and the square tern architecture is by no means pretty. The central square, Platia Vounakiou, is a couple of blocks in from the north end of the west side of the heart of the city. Behind the square is the central park. On the south there is the bazaar, a maze of market lanes, where you can find an astonishing range of merchandise. The former mosque, east from the central square, houses the island's Byzantine Museum. It's open 10am to 1pm daily except Mondays, with free admission. The display, a clutter, seems to be mostly marble gravestones.

The town's Kastro is north of the central square behind the Town Hall. It was built by the Genoese and the earthquake destroyed all but the inland walls. You can enter through the Porta Maggiora and investigate what remains of the old Juewish and Turkish quarters. The small tower to the right as you enter is the Justiniani Museum, which houses a collection of icons and mosaics.

If you are interested in museums, find the Argenti Museum near the cathedral, on the top floor of the Korai Library. It is open Mondays through Fridays from 8 am to 2 pm and Saturdays from 8 am to 12:30 pm, admission is free. The museum houses portraits of the local aristocracy. There's also a small Archaeology Museum south off the southwest corner of the harbour. It is said to be a typical island archaeology museum with miscellaneous finds, plus a letter from Alexander the Great to the local people.

South of town, Kambos (or Campo) is a fertile plain that was staked out by the Genoese aristocrats. Lining the coast road, which leads south towards the airport are mansions (some from the late 19th century and other dating from as early as the 14th century). These are in various states of repair and are distinctly Italian in design-golden ochre in color with strong horizontal lines. This is an interesting quarter to wander the narrow lanes in search of glimpses into the gardens and courtyards inside the high walls. The nearest beach to town is Bella Vista. The fine sandy beach of Karfas, further south, is also nice.

The best beaches are further south, near the southern end of the island, beginning at Komi, which has a white sandy beach.

A couple of kilometers further south, Emborio is considered the island's best beach. Emborio is a small fishing village built around a volcanically formed cove. The water appears black from the dark smooth stones on the ocean floor.

Mavra Volia. Walking on the smooth black rocks feels and sounds like marching through a room fille with marbles, and the sound reverberating against the rough volcanic cliff behind. The panorama of the beach, slightly curving coastline, and distant sea is an incredible experience.

Hios offers the adventurous visitor many more remote sandy coves on the west coast. In the intact medieval villages are appearing. The most interesting of these villages are Pirgi and Mesta. Both are in the Mastic region in the southern half of Hios, so named because of the gum trees that still grow in the countryside. The word mastic in the Phoenician language was chio, which may account for the island's name.

Pirgi, is known throughout Greece for the distinctive, gray-and-white geometric designs that decorate the facades, of most of its buildings. Mesta, and many of the hamlets surrounding it, including Olymbi and Vessa are architectural gems. These villages of two-story stone-and-mortar houses are linked narrow vaulted streets and quiet squares.

Pirgi is the only village in Greece decorated with distinctive white and gray graffiti. From the main square the view is like some strange Neo Geo or Op Art cityscape. On the main square in Piryi is the 12th century Byzantine chapel of Agii Apostoli; it was built in the style of the earlier Nea Moni. It's a tiny jewel, with 17th-century frescoes that are still in good condition.

Mesta is quite different from Piryi. This remarkable 14th-centry fortress village was built inside a system of walls. Corner towers and iron gates helped to fend off invaders. The meter-thick walls create a labyrinth of streets that will charm, delight, and disorient you. Though many of the town's young people have moved away, life is thriving in Mesta, thanks to the many renovation projects. The arch-roofed houses have withstood centuries of earthquakes. Life runs slow and quiet here. It's a perfect place for a quite retreat.

There are two beautiful churches at the village. The newer one, only 120 years old, is the fourth largest in Greece and one of the wealthiest. Its ornate frescoes, massive chandeliers, and lovely icons make it worth a stop on your trip through the main square. The older church, Paleos Taxiarchis, is deep within the village. Byzantine frescoes have been revealed beneath plaster that covered them during its use as a Turkish mosque. Both churches are dedicated to the patron saints of the village, Michael and Gabriel.

Five nuns live a quiet life at Nea Moni, a medieval church built in 1042 by craftsmen, who were sent from Constantinople by Emperor Constantine VIII to replace an earlier monastery, and it has been called "New Monastery" ever since. One of Greece's prettiest monasteries, it has an octagonal chapel. Its interior is highlighted by exquisite mosaics of marble white, azure blue and ruby red on a field of gold tiles. The dreamy expressions of the figures have an otherworldly quality. These are the most beautiful Byzantine mosaics in Greece. If you have visited the Kariye Carnii in Istanbul, the high quality and style of these mosaics should be familiar (though the work in Istanbul is more recent, this was restored after an 1881 earthquake). The ones at Nea Moni are the best of their kind, not technically a match with those at Ossios Loukas and Dafni but outshining them in the sweet subtlety of expression.

Wander to the back of the monastery for the view of the valley below and Hios town. Look into the cistern, a cavernous vaulted room with columns (bring a flashlight). It is to your right as you come through the main gate. The small chapel at the entrance to the monastery is dedicated to the martyrs of the 1822 massacre by the Turks, who also damaged the monastery itself. The skulls and bones are the victims themselves. It is open daily except from 1 to 4pm (the nuns' nap time) and after 8pm.

On the west coast of Hios, directly across from the main town, are a series of coves and beaches between Ormos Elindtas and Ormos Trachiloti. About 1 km on the northwest of the town of Lithi there is a shallow cove with mooring for colorful fishing boats. Agistri above the far end of the beach, is the most enticing. A bit further north you will find a long stretch of fine white pebbles and stones, where nude bathing is common.

The north of the island is craggier, and the fishing and diving off the rocks is superior. The road north from Hios is more picturesque, and there are various small resorts, such as Vrondidos and Langida, in the rocky coves, many with good taverns.

Although no one knows for sure where Homer was born, most historians believe that he was from Hios. The "Stone of Homer," where the blind poet was supposed to have sat when he composed his legendary works, is outside Vrondidos in a grove of olive trees, at the ancient site of the Temple of Cybele and Rhea.

The most attractive town on the island is Kardamila, on the northeast corner, an enclave of shipowners and affluent ship officers and crew. The elite families that control Greece's private shipping empires tend to congregate behind high stone fences on secluded islands-a point of pride for locals. The names Onassis, Livanos, Karas, Pateros, and Chandris are only part of Hios's modern day pantheon. Some local families came to the island from Smyrna (now Izimir) during the massive population exchange between Greece and Turkey. The declining merchant navy still employs the majority of the workforce.

Nagos, northwest across the headland, is another pleasant seaside village that offers some great black-sand beaches. Most people go to the beach right near the town.

Several private islets ring Hios. The most famous of these is Inousses, an 18-square-kilometer island. The social life on this private isle is rumored to be as wild as anything in Greece. Daily excursion boats ply the short distance between Hios and Inousses for beach, fish, and island tours. There are also excursions to the island of Psara from Limnia, near Vollisos on the west coast.



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