Athena, Zeus, and Aphrodite. Names you recognize, eh? When you think of Greece, you think of Greek Gods and Goddesses. The mythology that has illustrated centuries of good stories, folktales, and lessons on sex, love, and life. Yet, there’s one name that you should also know when you think of Greece—Chios. Chios Island. Of the most popular Greek Islands you visit, Chios Island should be added to the top of your list. What do you say? Here’s why you should visit Chios Island (especially) with Alios Tours.
Review of Tour of Chios Island with Alios Tours
Culture, Culture, and more culture!! Overall, I loved my two-day experience in Chios Island. I’m not saying this because I was hosted by Alios Tours. Rather, I loved it because it gave me a sense of culture, love, and spirit that was missing when I visited Santorini (no shade, Santorini). I ended up loving the tour, although short, and enjoyed my time with Alios Tours and Danai, my host.
Find out what I loved, and loved even more during my travels to the magical Greek Island, Chios.
Should I book a tour to Chios Island?
Simply, yes! If you’ve never been to Greece, let alone Chios Island, then you should definitely book a tour NOW with Alios!
What are some reasons we travel? We:
- Immerse ourselves in the culture
- Visit the touristy areas and plaster them over social media
- Taste foods from all over the world (hey, foodies!)
- Connect with the local people & and meet like-minded travelers
- Escape normalcy and enjoy seeing something different
Well, whichever your reasons are, Alios Tours captures the above list quite nicely. There is no food or culture without the local people and language. And, Alios Tours brings all of that together and more.
And, honestly, Chios Island is such a unique place to visit while in Greece.
Why Alios Tours
Alios Tours caters to Chios Island. Unlike small travel companies that plan tours around the world, Alios Tours specializes in tourism and hospitality on the island. If you want to know anything related to Chios Island, Alios Tours is your source.
Are you “different”?
The tour company, Alios, which stands for “Difference”, inspires travelers “to travel differently than the ordinary, to do different things, to accept, respect and try to understand the difference.” So this isn’t your typical guided tour. Alios Tours is about connecting over difference, traveling differently, and paying attention to difference across cultures. (And, Danai embodies this mission effortlessly. More about her later.)
This is why I loved my experience with Alios Tours, including the following.
It’s big, yet small
Chios Island is the fifth largest Greek Island. You couldn’t tell compared to its more popular Greek sisters like Santorini, Crete or Naxos. It, however, has a uniqueness that sets it apart from the other islands. Chios is a big island with only about 50,000 tourists visiting each year (Santorini has two million a year). This seems unexciting until you walk down the street freely, and notice you’re not bumping elbows with another tourist. It becomes much more pleasant when you can enjoy the true essence of Chios Island.
Packed with Culture
Did I mention culture? Nah? Well, just because Chios is relatively unknown, it has lots of interesting and clever history. Walking around in the fortresses in Chios Town, Mesta, Vessa, and Pyrgi, you’d learned about how the local people work together to protect their village. Roaming the labyrinth, also considered streets, you’ll discover the beauty and horror that lived centuries ago.
Alios Tours is for the local people and businesses. On one of the stops during my tour, we stopped at a local shop where I witnessed the owner shoveling out sheets of homemade pasta. Local ingredients sourced from local gardens to produce organic local products. Isn’t that the best way?
Love of Nature
Hypnotized by the jasmine-filled aroma, I relaxed in Danai’s car on our way back to Chios Town. Pure bliss. Watch the clip below of our drive along the southern and curvy roads. This. Is. Chios.
Danai from Alios Tours
I also want to highlight Danai, the founder of Alios Tours. She welcomed me with open arms, kisses on both cheeks, and a Kalimera (‘hello’ in Greek)!
The difference between a good tour and a great one is the experience created by the tour guide. But, an impactful tour is one where the guide seeks to leave a lasting impression throughout and after the tour. Some of the tour’s elements, as explained by the tour guide, teach you to be a better version of yourself. That’s what sets Danai from Alios Tours apart from anyone else.
Connecting with Alios Tours
In various conversations, we connected through our love of travel, culture, and language. We even discussed the fate of humanity at the hands of our current governments and policies. While it’s taboo to discuss politics in certain cultures, I felt at ease with Danai, who openly informed me about Greece and its troubles.
Danai made the experience less of a “tour”, and more like a two-day adventure planned by friends.
What to do in Chios Island
Chios Island, the fifth largest Greek Island, has so much to offer—food, history, culture, fun, adventure, ecotourism, and more. Whether you’re seeking half-day, full-day or night time fun, Alios Tours has you covered.
Peek above at all of the tours offered by Alios. With a quick scroll of their tour page, you’ll discover the many exciting options. Choose a tour based on your budget, allotted time of travel, and things you like to do. For a two-day trip, I got a taste of these tours:
Chios Medieval Tour
For history lovers, this tour is for you. If you want to know what it’s like to step into a time machine, then take the Chios Medieval Tour.
Duration: 6 hours
Some Places Visited: Vessa, Pyrgi, Mesta, Chios Mastic Museuem
Tour Style: Private Group (up to 7 guests)
Price: ~$272 (based on group of 1-2)
Be A Bartender Cocktail Class
For the cocktail connoisseurs, lovers of tasty alcoholic beverages, and the social travelers, this is for you. After an explorative day in either Northern or Southern Chios, relax and socialize at a world-class local bar with the bartender for the Be A Bartender Cocktail Class.
Duration: 90 minutes
Places Visited: OZ Cocktail Bar
Tour Style: Private
Keep reading to learn more about my two-day tour experience with Alios Tours.
Where to Stay in Chios Island
The most desirable location to stay in Chios is around the port. Everything you need, such as shops, restaurants, and bars, is within walking distance from the hotels in this area. You can’t go wrong staying at a hotel with a view of the water, right?
Just take a look at this view.
Cute, right? City Point Chios became my temporary lodging during my trip to Chios Island. This clean, simple hotel was perfect for a two-day trip. Upon walking into the room, the most noticeable and satisfying feature was the painted text on the wall left of the full-size bed.
“Have Faith & Believe in Yourself”
Such a positive way to greet your morning.
Amenities & Features:
- Free WiFi
- Balcony with View
- Rooftop Lounge
- Minutes from cafes, market, shops, and port
Island Hopping? 2-day itinerary with Alios Tours
Arrival: How to get to Chios Island?
Fly to Chios Island either from Athens, Izmir (Turkey), or Thessaloniki for a flight time of less than an hour. If you’re island hopping, you can get to Chios Island very easily and reasonably. I booked my flight with Olympic Airlines, after originally booking it with another airline (see my costly mistake below).
Likewise, you can take a 9-hour ferry from Athens and bask in the beauty of the Greek Islands. If I had the time, I would’ve opted to spend the day “ferrying” through the Mediterranean.
Costly Airline Mistake – Don’t let this be you
Note: I made the mistake of booking my flight to Izmir, Turkey instead of Chios Town, which cost me an extra $200. Learn from my expensive mistake by paying attention to the airport code.
Boarding & Landing
Boarding my twenty-minute flight, I became weary of the small regional airplane and sat quietly until the propeller began spinning. This was new, I thought.
Regional planes became a nice alternate to the gigantic international planes that take up space and time.
Once landed, I hurried to the quaint airport to collect my luggage. There I met Danai as I rushed past the door, then meeting her warm smile.
The Tour Begins
Around 8 p.m, after checking in and unloading my stuff, we began walking the streets of Chios Town. I always say, “The best way to learn a place, is to walk by foot.”
Danai introduced to me the largest city on the island through its distinctive architecture and lively stories and history. As it was turning dark, we roamed through the streets as if to find hidden and mysterious secrets.
Even, you could see the lights from Izmir over the dark waters.
Strolling through the plaza, which reminded me of Lisbon and other European cities, Danai continued divulging Greek and Chios history.
To end the night and to settle our hungry tummies, we stopped at a restaurant to have a feast.
Stuffed and satisfied, I walked back to my hotel. Alone and safe as a solo woman. See how that works?
The second, and my last full day in Chios Island with Alios Tours, we took a trip down south, where Danai showed me around several villages.
In the morning, we headed south to visit our first stop: Vessa, a medieval village built around the 10-11th century. Upon arriving, I noticed something very odd, yet calming. No tourists (well except for me). The quiet air made the experience even more real and a capsule for traveling back in time.
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Doors can’t open if you’re not willing to walk through them. #truthmoment I’ve been pondering my next step: ☁️Taking on Travepreneur Full-time ☁️Moving up in the field of International Education at another institution ☁️Or, Continuing at my full-time for a couple more years Really unsure what I should do.🤔 I’ve overlooked, ignored, and declined opportunities because of this uncertainty. But mostly, FEAR. I didn’t want to step through the door because what would be on the other side. Yesterday, though, my boss forwards me an opportunity for a Director role at Morehouse College. Will I apply? Will I move through the door? Will I take this chance? Is this my next step? We’ll see. Have you been afraid of stepping through the door? Why or why not? Check out my new post about Chios Island. [LINK IN BIO] Where is this? @visitmesta #travelerperspective #mytravellife 🌎 🌍 🌏 🌎 🌍 🌏 #womentravelers #travelersjourney#ladiesgoneglobal #travelblogger#girlswannatravel #solotravel#instateavelingram #sheroamsolo#travelblog #wanderlust#passportready #blackgirlmagic#greecetravel #visitgreecegr#discovergreece #topgreecephoto#chiosgreece #lovegreece#medievalvillage #exploregreece#greekislands #visitchios#medievalvillage #medievaltown#grekaddict #chioslove #islandvibes#sheexplores
Danai led me through the narrow, windy streets that either led to someone’s home or to a dead end (which served a specific purpose). She continued sharing the stories of the local people and their village, mentioning the Earthquake of 1881. You could see the effects of the earthquake on the stone buildings as each had a metal brace to hold them together.
We then headed to the
mastical magical Chios Mastic Museum, spending time learning about the number one product on the island.
To understand the importance of mastic, you’d have to visit Chios. The photos don’t do it justice nor capture the impact the mastic resin and exportation of this product has on the economy. It’s been part of Chios for 4,000 years, and you can smell just how much it is.
Next, we arrived at the next village, Mesta, that has preserved its uniqueness and medieval appearance over time. A little more vibrant and tourist-friendly than Vessa, Mesta brought the feel of “Greekiness” to the tour.
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Ｃｈｉｏｓ Ｉｓｌａｎｄ [Pronounced with a silent “C” (Hios)] Chios Island is the Jan Brady (Brady Bunch) of the Greek Islands. It’s all about Santorini, Santorini, Santorini!! 🙄😫 So, let me take you on a stroll through one of the most underrated Islands in the Aegean Sea and share why you should make Chios Island your go-to summer destination. Raise your ✋🏼 if you’re into: * Delicious Greek Food * Peace and relaxation * Non-touristy places with space to breath * Discovering the “Tears of Chios” If you are, stay tuned for the journey through Chios Island AND the New Blog Post Live Tomorrow. Have you been to Greece and/or Chios Island? What are you interested in learning? Pictured in @visitmesta #sponsored by: @aliostours #travelerperspective #mytravellife 🌎 🌍 🌏 🌎 🌍 🌏 #blackwomentravel #blackandabroad #blacktravel #femmetravel #littlestoriesofmylife #letsgoeverywhere #girlswhotravelsolo #womentravelers #travelersjourney #ladiesgoneglobal #girlsborntotravel #travelblogger #girlsthatwander #girlsvsglobe #girlswannatravel #solotravel #girlsborntotravel #blacktravelfeed #weworktotravel #sheroamsolo #theblacktravelclub #miamigirls #miamiblogger #Miami #blackgirlstraveltoo #blackgirlstravel #travepreneurinGreece #BlackGirlinGreece
It’s also where we stopped for lunch.
On the menu (for the foodies), was a chicken gyro with potatoes and feta cheese, tomato and cucumber salad, and cheese pie. Mmm, Mmm good.
Our last village, Pyrgi, was the most interesting. It tested my knowledge of history and called into question a controversial historical figure’s birthplace. Christopher Columbus may have been born in Chios Island, specifically in Pyrgi. Ooohh…
Easy distinguishable from the other southern villages, Pyrgi’s boldness can be seen through its black and white geometrical patterns displayed on most buildings.
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Ｐｙｒｇｉ Let’s play two truths and a lie: 1. The black and white geometrical motifs pictured above, also known as “Xysta,” were used to distract and confuse pirates who often came to attack small villages like Pyrgi. 2. This medieval village didn’t suffer any damage during the Earthquake of 1881 (7.3 magnitude) and its how it has maintained its medieval style. 3. Christopher Columbus, a descendant of a Genoese family, was from and lived in Pyrgi before setting off across the Atlantic. Which is the lie? Comment below! Check out my new post about Chios Island. [LINK IN BIO] Wealth of info by: @aliostours Pictured in @pyrgi_village #travelerperspective #mytravellife 🌎 🌍 🌏 🌎 🌍 🌏 #womentravelers #travelersjourney #ladiesgoneglobal #travelblogger #girlswannatravel #solotravel #instateavelingram #sheroamsolo #travelblog #wanderlust #passportready #blackgirlmagic #greecetravel #visitgreecegr #discovergreece #topgreecephoto #chiosgreece #lovegreece #medievalvillage #exploregreece #greekislands #visitchios #medievalvillage #medievaltown #grekaddict #chioslove #islandvibes #sheexplores
After a day in history, I was ready to explore a little night out in Chios Island with Alios Tours.
Oz Cocktail Bar
If you love trying new alcohol, then you’d love the Bartending Class at Oz Cocktail Bar. The journey throughout the day led me from the small pellets of mastic in the first picture to the drink on the bottom right. Isn’t it mastical?
For 90 minutes, Giannis (my bartender teacher) led me through the production, creation, branding, and development of a cocktail made with mastic liquor. I, at first, didn’t expect to get behind the bar OR make my own drink. But, for my first bartending experience, I did pretty good.
Giannis (pictured in the third photo in the upper right corner) was a very patient teacher. We practiced using water first because, of course, why waste alcohol while teaching a novice.
After getting the shake, the pour, and the splash down, I pulled off this sweet cocktail (like a boss, or rather a bartender).
Overall, the experience was MASTICally delicious!
If you’re ever in Greece, please hit up Alios Tours for an adventure around Chios Island. You won’t regret it!
Check out my last post about Chios Island, it reminds me of someone very famous yet always overlooked.
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