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Getting to know the culture of Mastiha on Chios Island

If you would like to get to know the mastiha culture and experience everyday life at mastichochoria (the villages of mastiha, in southern Chios), a visit there is a must. You can also have the unique experience of mastiha cultivation by participting in an agritourism program organised by specialised local agencies, during which you can learn and participate in all the steps of the cultivation process, such as preparation, harvesting and cleaning. However, you should bear in mind that Chios natural mastiha cultivation and production is deeply integrated with Chios island’s identity and everyday life on the island. This means that a visitor could have a deeper insight of what we call  “mastiha culture”, through a variety of activities and experiences on Chios island.
Πολιτισμός της μαστίχας
Πολιτισμός της μαστίχας
Πολιτισμός της μαστίχας
Πολιτισμός της μαστίχας
Πολιτισμός της μαστίχας
 In the autumn, it is the time of cleaning the product. Groups of villagers, mostly women, gather together for this laborious process. This is a social process as well as a way of transferring the knowledge to younger generations. If you encounter a villager during the cleaning process, they will be more than happy to explain and even invite you to observe and participate. This is a chance to get to know the locals, and learn from the experts about the experience of Mastiha cultivation and harvest.

If you wish to delve further into the ancient history of mastiha and its modern uses and practices, here are some characteristic steps you should follow when on Chios island:
Spend some time as a Mastiha farmer

1. Spend some time as a Mastiha farmer

Grab your tools and follow the steps of preparation, harvest and cleansing the product. Reward yourself with a lovely picnic with organic local products, spirits and wine under the Mastiha trees.

by taking part in an agritourism program: Young local farmers who have combined Mastiha cultivation with authentic travel experiences offer a comprehensive tour of the Mastiha cultivation in the field (literally).
Visit Chios Mastic Museum

2. Visit Chios Mastic Museum

Another section of the exhibition is dedicated to the cooperative of the mastiha producers, the productive history of mastiha, its uses and exports all over the world. A variety of media are used in the exhibition, such as multimedia applications, films, models and machines from the first Mastiha factory. The last section of the exhibition is outdoors, where the visitor can walk around the mastiha grove around the Museum.
The exhibition introduces us to the traditional Mastiha (Chios mastic) cultivation techniques, the history and culture of mastiha through a multifaceted experience. The visitor can touch and smell the product and learn about the architecture, history and social organisation of the Mastichochoria (villages of Mastiha) area.
Be active around the mastiha villages

3. Be active around the mastiha villages

The sea is a vital part of everyday life on the island. Swim, sail, dive, canoe or sea kayak in secluded beaches like Apotika, Avlonia, Agia Dynami, Salagona and numerous others, guarded by medieval watchtowers.
Whether you choose to stay by the seaside or at one of the traditional rooms at the mastiha villages, there is a variety of activities you can do. Hike or cycle at the old paths that connect the villages and mountain bike around the Mastiha groves.
Enjoy the nature

4. Enjoy the nature

At spring, observe the wild flora and fauna of the area. Apart from the uniqueness of the Mastiha trees, Chios is known for a variety of wildflowers, especially unique species of wild orchid and wild tulips, best observed in the springtime. Dragonflies and wild birds are also found here in NATURA protected areas and especially at the Armolia village reservoir.
Have a taste of the good life

5. Have a taste of the good life

Shopkeepers will welcome you with a treat. If you have the chance, attend a local feast (panygiri) with traditional music and dance all night long.
Visit local “kafeneia” (coffee shops) and taverns in search of authentic tastes. Join cooking lessons in order to take some of these tastes with you. Enjoy a cocktail with mastiha at a local bar. Find Mastiha and a wide range of other local products in local shops.
Choose your favourite Signature Mastiha Cocktail

6. Choose your favourite Signature Mastiha Cocktail

Recent years’ cocktail hype has reached Chios and transformed its nightlife. The new bars are competing in creative concepts, innovative design and up-to-date music. More importantly, their inspired bartenders and mixologists are competing in creating unique signature cocktails using the one and only Mastiha Liqueur, local citrus fruits and herbs. With awards in international competitions but without rest, they can offer you mind-blowing, taste-bud-tickling cocktails that you might only try in a metropolis – and all this, in an island setting!

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