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Mastiha Villages:

Armolia - Olympoi - Pyrgi - Mesta

Discover some of the villages of Mastiha in south Chios, through this exciting tour



The tour in  south  Chios begins from Armolia, a village with small stone houses and the Vrettou Monastery, dedicated to the Life-Giving Spring,(Zoodochos Pege), founded in the end of the 18th century. The people of Armolia are famous for their skills in ceramic art. The ceramic shops at the entry of the village have a lot of ceramic objects and utilities on display. At the northwest of the village, on top of Lykouri mountain, there is the byzantine Apolichnon Castle, base of the administration of the Mastiha villages, during the Genoese times. It was built in 1446 by Justinianus Justiniani. A rather easy walking route on the mountain (approx. 40 min) gives access to the castle. The view from up there is absolutely compensating.


Go on to Pyrgi, the unique in Greece painted village, as it is called, because of the elaborate decorative patterns on the facades of the buildings. Stroll around among the houses with the “xysta” decorations, this characteristic type of decorating the facades with geometric motifs in black and white and discover interesting corners. Find the temple of Agioi Apostoloi, an amazing chapel, hidden in a narrow alley near the village square.  This is an excellent preserved byzantine monument, built in the 14th century.


Go on to Olympoi, another impressive castle village, with a nostalgic tower in the middle and the narrow alleys covered by stone vaults, connecting the houses. On the village square, there is the small church of Agia Paraskevi, with a wooden iconostasis, typical of the 18th century wood carving art. Another significant building in Olympoi is the “Trapeza”, a well preserved two-storey medieval building with elongated spacious halls, that used to host the social events of the village. You must include the impressive cave of Olympoi in this  tour. With a depth reaching 52m and an exquisite decoration of stalactites and stalagmites it is considered one of the most beautiful caves in Greece.


Follow the road to Mesta, the best preserved medieval village of Chios, protected by the Greek Ministry of Culture as a monument. Feel as if you are visiting the past, strolling around the narrow alleys of the village, under the stone vaults  formed by the houses’ balconies.

Admire the elaborate architectural forms of the byzantine era, especially the way the whole village is built in the form of a defensive castle.
The small stone houses, built one next to the other form a strong external defensive wall. The church of the Old Taxiarches, a 15th century monument, is definitely worth a visit. Observe the wooden elaborate iconostasis of the church, very characteristic of the wood carving art of Chios and one of the oldest preserved on the island. In the village square you can admire the big new church of Taxiarches, also known as “Big” or “New” Taxiarches, which is the bigger and one of the most characteristic churches of the island, built in 1868.

If the weather is good, combine your tour with swimming at one of the beaches of this area, that can cover a great range of preferences: If you are looking for a more cosmopolitan and organised beach, you can go to Komi. The sea sports lovers will prefer Apothyka. For those preferring wild beauty, there is the famous volcanic beach of Mavra Volia (Black Beach), covered with black pebbles.  Those preferring clear blue waters will choose Agia Dynami or Vroulidia. If you need tranquillity, vote for Salagona, Kato Fana and Avlonia of Mesta. For those visiting by inflatable boat, or wishing to combine swimming with hiking, there is also Avlonia of Pyrgi. 

Finish your tour with food or coffee in a traditional restaurant - café  in one of the villages, or  taste a Chios “ouzo” (a local spirit appetizer) along with traditional greek “meze” at a seaside tavern.


Interactive route map

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