Where to Stay in Chios

Greece › Best Places to Stay in Chios
Updated: October 11, 2023
By Santorini Dave

Our Favorite Chios Hotels

• Chios Town: Chandris
• Karfas: Erytha
• Emporios: Emporios Bay
• Mesta: Lida Mary
• Vrontados: Pearl Bay
• Avgonima: Avgonima All Seasons
• Lithi Bay: Almiriki
• Volissos: MY Volissos Apartments

People lounge on shaded sun beds around a swimming pool with a sea view on a sunny day

The pool at Chios Chandris Hotel in Chios Town, close to the airport and international ferry port, and ideal for visitors without a rental car.

Chios, Greece’s fifth-largest island (situated just 15km from Turkey), remains largely unknown to foreign tourists. But make the trip to this North Aegean island and you’ll be rewarded with atmospheric medieval villages, mountain hikes through mastic trees – Chios is the only place in the world where the tree is cultivated – as well as swimming coves without another soul in sight.

Grove of mastic trees sloping down toward low mountains

Chios is known for its cultivation of mastic, a piney resin that is used in cooking and religious ceremonies. This mastic grove is at the Mastic Museum near Pyrgi village.

The bulk of Chios’ visitors come from within Greece or are day-trippers from Turkey, so accommodation is a little less in-demand than it is on other Greek islands, such as Mykonos or Crete. Generally speaking, it’s reasonably-priced. Options vary, ranging from plush four-stars in the main town to family-friendly vacation rentals by the beach, but rentals far outnumber hotels.

Those traveling with children are well-catered for in the beach resorts on Chios’ southeast coast, with self-catered accommodations often including kid-friendly pools, private beaches and play areas. Couples, meanwhile, will love the romantic stone-built villages in the hills, where old mansions-turned-boutique hotels boast peaceful roof terraces perfect for a sundowner. Adventure and solo travelers, meanwhile, will find themselves fully integrated into local life if they opt for one of Chios’ many rustic family-run guesthouses.

Best Places To Stay On Chios

Crushed gravel path leading past Greek-style villas with a sea view

Mastiha Villas near Agias Foteinis Beach.

Best Places in Chios for…

  • Where to Stay on Chios for First-Timers: Pyrgi
    Almost every building in Pyrgi is painted in a dazzling monochrome geometric pattern, a medieval technique known locally as ‘xysta’. Pyrgi is easily the most iconic village in Chios, and its walkable, maze-like streets filled with coffee houses, Greek restaurants, and pretty souvenir shops are ideal for first-time travelers finding their feet on Chios at a relaxed pace. It’s right in the center of the Mastihochoria (mastic-growing) region and close to attractions like the Mastic Museum as well as the beaches of the southeastern coast, so it’s a great place to base yourself.

    Bright green doorways in rustic buildings covered with geometric designs

    Traditional xysta decoration in the “painted village” of Pyrgi.

  • Where to Stay on Chios for a Honeymoon: Mesta
    A ten-minute drive from Pyrgi, the walled Byzantine settlement of Mesta has a more idyllic vibe, with colorful bougainvillea bursting through tightly-packed stone walls and alleyways you may lose yourself in. The sleepy village square – set around Chios’ largest church, the gorgeous 19th-century Taxiarches – comes alive after 7pm, when fairy lights illuminate wooden tables and chairs. For somewhere to rest your head, there are a handful of beautifully-decorated boutique hotels. Try Lida Mary: four-poster beds fill medieval cubbyholes, while the romantic roof terrace is great for sipping a sundowner.
  • Where to Stay on Chios for Families: Lithi Bay
    Lithi Bay is a petite resort on Chios’ rugged west coast. Unlike most of the beaches on Chios, which are pebbly, the beach here is sandy and wide. The sea only slopes very gently, so little ones will find plenty of shallows to splash about in. It’s popular with Greek families in the height of summer and play areas can be found close to the sand. Parents with strollers will be glad of the flat seafront promenade, where six different eateries cater for even the fussiest eaters. There’s only one hotel here – Almiriki – but it’s well-equipped for families, with suites that can accommodate up to four adults and two children.

    Umbrella-shaded sun beds on a golden sandy beach

    Lithi Bay

  • Where to Stay on Chios for Swimming and Beaches: Karfas
    The most popular beach on Chios is Karfas, a Blue Flag beach 9km south of Chios town. The sheltered bay has calm, clear waters, while the sand is well-served by beach bars and restaurants with free sunbeds and views across to the Turkish mountains. By day, rent all kinds of watersports equipment and get out on the water. By night, Karfas is a chilled-out resort, with nightlife revolving around relaxed bars. There are plenty of hotels, ranging from four-stars with private beaches such as Erytha to budget vacation rentals.
  • Where to stay on Chios without a Car: Chios Town
    Those who don’t rent a car are best placed to stay in Chios’ main town. The airport is 3.5km away – almost within walking distance – while the town center is built around the international ferry port, where you’ll find services to Piraeus, Mykonos, Samos, Mytilene, Çesme, and more. Also on the harborfront is the bus station and a taxi stand, stocked with fixed-price cabs taking you anywhere on the island. However, if you’d prefer to stay in town, the quay is stocked with trendy bars, tasty gyros outlets, and top-notch seafood restaurants.
Stone building with red shutters

The Garden hotel in Chios Town

Blue hotel swimming pool overlooking the sea

Sea Breeze Apartments on Agios Ioannis Beach, near Agias Foteinis

Red classical building with white trim and an elegant curving staircase

Sourediko hotel in Kambos

10 Best Towns and Villages on Chios

1. Chios Town

Pedestrian walkway lined with shops and cafes

Although Chios Town doesn’t seem immediately striking at first glance, go deeper to discover a beautiful Byzantine town built upon by Genoese, Ottoman, and modern Greek residents. The historic center is embraced by the walls of a 14th-century fortress, within which cocktail bars, music venues, and al fresco restaurants spill onto the cobbled streets. Wander the top of the walls to get a birds-eye view of the old town, before discovering contemporary art in the Ottoman hamam-turned-exhibition-space.

An old, red-domed Ottoman hamman against a blue sky

Ottoman hammam in Chios Town

Outside the moat, you’ll find more modern activities, including small but fascinating maritime and archaeological museums, and shopping on a pleasant tree-lined boulevard. Accommodation here is plentiful and ranges from boutique townhouses to friendly budget inns, but can be a little pricier than in the resorts.

Pine-shaded courtyard surrounded by stone buildings

Grecian Castle Hotel in Chios Town

2. Mesta

Small curved road lined with rustic stone buildings overhung with bouganvila

One of the main towns in the Mastihochoria region, Mesta is a tiny 14th-century village with a twist: its medieval houses are built adjoining each other, forming an impenetrable wall designed to protect against pirates. These days, it’s a peaceful sort of place, with long siestas during the daytime and laid-back evenings spent in the town’s main square. Play a game of tavli (backgammon) or share a generous plate of honey-drizzled loukoumades (Greek donuts) from Kanello’s. The port of Mesta is also where the Blue Star ferry to Piraeus sails from, so it’s well-placed as a start or end point to the trip.

Arched entrance to a hotel in a small stone alleyway

Lida Mary hotel in Mesta

3. Pyrgi

Ottoman-style vuildings painted with black and white geometric designs

Nicknamed the ‘Painted Village’, Pyrgi is instantly recognizable as the houses, churches and municipal buildings are all decorated in ‘xysta’ patterns, a technique that has its origins in the Genoese occupation of Chios between the 14th and 16th centuries. Pyrgi is also the closest town to the highly interactive Mastic Museum; opened in 2016, the museum (set in a huge mastic grove) is an engaging way to learn about Chios’ relationship with mastic, from cultivation and harvest to turning it into edible products.

Narrow stone alley with wooden doorways

The entrance to Chrisyis Traditional Guest House in Pyrgi

4. Karfas

Sandy beach with rows of shaded sun beds and a wooden walkway leading to the water

As the main beach resort on Chios, Karfas is where you’ll find some of its best beach amenities. Feast on seafood at the tavernas, use the down time to try a new water sport within the safe-for-children bay, or just stretch out in the sun. The hills around town, meanwhile, are a good (if steep) place for hikers to stretch their legs and explore Chios’ citrus-filled countryside. Accommodation here is crowd-pleasing: most are reasonably-priced self-catering lets that come with pools and offer easy access to the beach.

Hotel swim terrace with a blue pool and colorful umbrellas, overlooking the sea

Golden Sand Hotel at Karfas Beach

5. Emporios

People relax and swim at a black pebbled beach backed by a large rock

A quieter alternative to Karfas, Emporios’ biggest selling point is its pretty harbor and the fact it’s adjacent to two of Chios’ most famous black pebble beaches. The first, Mavra Volia, is a ten-minute walk around a small headland, and this scenic spot is well-organized: sunbeds, parking, and hot dog stands are available, but not overly intrusive. Foki – a little further along a pretty coastal path – is more wild, with no facilities, but totally-transparent water.

Ancient history lovers should check out the Archaeological Site of Emporios: built in the 8th century BC, the stone settlement features ancient houses and a hilltop Temple of Athena. Be warned; it’s almost half an hour of uphill walking from town.

  • Best Luxury/Boutique Hotels in Emporios
    Emporios Bay Hotel • Hotel phone: +30 2271 070180
  • Best Cheap/Midrange Hotels
    Haus Fay • Hotel phone: +30 2271 071523

6. Kambos

Rustic stone building with salmon-colored shuttered windows

Just over the hill from Karfas (and only 4 kilometers from the airport) is Kambos, a village set among orange and olive groves that looks very different to other Chios towns: its red brick 19th-century mansions look more like southern France than the northern Aegean. Learn everything you need to know about both the town’s opulent architecture and its citrus-based economy in the quirky Citrus Museum – the orange-flavored loukoumi in the gift shop is a treat. There’s also a neat microbrewery nearby. Many of Kambos’ friendly hotels and B&Bs stay true to their original architecture, making for a romantic atmosphere when you stay there.

Dining courtyard outside a boxy stone hotel

Pyrgos Rodocanachi hotel in Kambos

7. Volissos

Top of a Byzantine church as seen from above on a stone terrace

Those looking to immerse themselves in Chios’ rugged way of life can head north to Volissos, a rocky citadel town watched over by an 11th-century castle. The castle ruins aren’t an organized attraction and are almost completely abandoned, but it’s still worth wandering around the base to get a closer look. The views of the island are also great from up top, best enjoyed with a mastiha-infused cocktail from the nearby Yperion terrace bar. Once a year, Volissos comes alive with the popular three-day Volissos Summer Festival, so if your visit coincides be sure to book accommodation early. In terms of hotels, MY Volissos is a bougie collection of Scandi-style studios in the town square, the highlight being a beautifully-designed plunge pool out back.

  • Best Luxury/Boutique Hotels in Volissos
    MY Volissos Apartments • Hotel phone: +30 697 798 3528
  • Best Cheap/Midrange Hotels
    Lithos Homes • Hotel phone: +30 2274 022200

8. Avgonima

Rustic stone building with a colorful blue balcony

Avgonima sits at the top of a pine-covered hill in Chios’ interior, on the main road between Chios Town and the island’s west coast. Its elevated position and west-facing views have earned it a local reputation as a good place to see the sunset, but the small, leafy village also provides easy access to Nea Moni, an 11th-century Byzantine monastery renowned for its immaculately-preserved frescoes. Hiking trails and dirt roads into the forests radiate out from the village, allowing you to explore even more remote churches and chapels. Accommodation in Avgonima generally comes in the form of rustic vacation rentals.

9. Vrontados/Daskalopetra

Colorful Greek fishing boats docked at a small harbor

Five kilometers north of Chios town are the beaches of Vrontados and Daskalopetra, each stocked with a few hotels. Vrontados is a more standard beach resort, with fancy beach bars, a few shops, and a seafront sidewalk ideal for walks and jogs, but Daskalopetra has stronger Greek island vibes with its small, peaceful fishing harbor. Daskalopetra also has more archaeological interest – Homer’s Rock is a cool geological formation where local legend claims Homer sat down to write his poems.

10. Agias Foteinis

Rows of shaded beach beds on a golden pebbly beach

The little resort of Agias Foteinis is centered around a pleasant pebble beach, roughly 20 minutes’ drive south of Chios town. It’s a very beach-oriented place to spend your vacation – there’s a higher concentration of sunbeds and beach bars here than in most other places on Chios. Away from the seafront is the traditional town of Kallimasia, where you can get a taste of everyday life in the local bakeries. Agias Foteinis is well-positioned, as it’s between the Mastihochoria and the capital, but you’ll need to rent a car as the hotels are a little spread out from the town center.

White boxy becah hotel with blue trim and sun umbrellas

Chios Xenia on Agias Foteinis Beach.

Chios Travel Tips

View over a Greek fishing harbor, as seen through sagey-green foliage

Overhead view of Daskalopetra, a picturesque small fishing harbor on Chios’ east coast.

How to Get to Chios

Chios has a small domestic airport, Omiros, served by daily scheduled flights to Athens, Thessaloniki, and a select few Aegean islands. Taxis to the airport from Chios Town center cost €10, but local buses are also available. Alternatively, fly into the large international airport at Izmir (Turkey), take an hour’s shuttle to Çesme port, then a 45-minute ferry to Chios. If you’d prefer to reach Chios by ferry, services arrive from Piraeus and the Aegean Islands multiple times a day and take between seven and 12 hours.

When is the Best Time to Visit Chios?

Generally, the best weather for swimming and sightseeing begins in mid-May and stays as long as mid-October. For hiking and more strenuous sightseeing, April-June and September-October have temperatures that hover between 70°F and 85°F. High season – July, August, and early September – can be very hot, and are best avoided if high accommodation prices are a concern.

However, there are benefits to going in high season, as it coincides with the annual mastic tree harvest; in July and August you can witness Chiots execute the labor-intensive and unique process of mastic resin extraction.

Late fall and winter are quiet times for the island, so many hotels, restaurants, and bars shut for the season.

Stone monastery with open wooden gate

The 11th-century Byzantine monastery of Nea Moni monastery is located near the village of Avgonima.

How do you get around Chios?

Driving is by far the easiest way to get around Chios, but the twisty mountain roads in the northern part of the island aren’t suitable for less-confident drivers or those who suffer from travel sickness. Locals and Greek tourists tend to travel by moped, which is more convenient as mopeds can navigate very narrow streets and park in the heart of Chios’ villages; cars are often relegated to open-air (but free) car parks outside the historic village centers.

Getting about Chios by bus is also an option. The service is split into the Chios City Bus – which serves the main town’s suburbs and satellite towns – and the long-distance KTEL bus, which extends to the Mastihochoria, the big beach resorts, and the mountain villages in the north. However, public transport requires more planning – pick up a timetable at the main bus station when you arrive, as they aren’t currently available online.

How Big is Chios?

Although the kidney-shaped island is only 50 kilometers from top to bottom, mountain roads and a lack of highways mean driving the length of the island takes 90 minutes. Driving from east to west – 20km as the crow flies – takes around 40 minutes at the narrowest part, thanks to a large mountain. But not every drive has to be a road trip: the journey from Chios Town to Karfas is just 15 minutes, and to the Mastihochoria it’s around half an hour.

About Santorini Dave

Santorini Dave Santorini Dave was started in 2011 by a guy who loves Greece and Europe, travel and great hotels. We're now a small team of writers and researchers dedicated to providing the best travel content on the internet. We focus on Santorini, Mykonos, Athens, and Greece, offering recommendations for top hotels, neighborhoods, and family-friendly hotels worldwide. Dave can be contacted at dave@santorinidave.com.