Villages of Amani (northern Chios)
Villages of Amani
Hiking is another activity you can do in Volissos. The hiking trail that crosses Volissos valley, a circular trail that starts from the village square, is not to be missed by nature lovers. Yuo can admire the local flora and fauna that are part of a NATURA area.
Walking around the village and climbing up Volissos castle with a miagical view to Aegean sea. At Volissos you can enjoy coffee at the local cafes and excellent food at the reastaurants and taverns of the area. You can also stay in the area which offers a variety of hotels and rooms & appartments. At a 6 km distance lies the Holy Monastery of St. Markella, patron saint of the island, and the most important pilgirmage of Chios. Don’t forget to go swimming at te nearby beaches with crystal clear waters: Lefkathia, Lampsa, Gonia and Managros, where there is also a variety of accommodation options. The picturesque port of Limnia is also a good idea for coffee, eating out or drinks. Volissos celebrates on August 6, the celebration of the Saviour, and August 15th, Virgin Mary’s Dormition. A big celebration with panygiri also takes place on July 22nd, nameday of the patron saint Agia Markella (St. Markella).
Visiting the Tower of Pirama, a venetian tower at the central square, which dates back in 1515. At the central square you can have coffee at the kafeneion. The village celebrates on August 29th on St John’s, when a panygiri is held.
Eating or having coffee at the local kafeneion.
Swimming at Zanakounta beach with the small pebbles (the beach is accessible by car). Attending a traditional panygiri. The village holds traditional celebrations on July 26th, August 15th and September 25th.
Climbing 240 steps from the central square to the upper zone of the old village.
Melanios - Agio Galas - Nenitouria
The next village we come aacross is Melanios, built on the northest cape of Chios island. The village is exposed to the north winds, that is a large cluster of wind turbines was built there.
Agio Galas literally translates as Holy Milk, and takes its name after the calcareous water dripping from the homonymous cave’s stalactites, that resembles milk. The unique cave of Agio Galas is a complex of three caves, the largest of which is 200 metres deep. The area was inhabited as early as the neolithic ages (6.000 - 5.000 B.C.). Archaeological research has shown that the cave was used as a sanctuary since the archaic age. A lot of the findings are exhibited at Chios Archaeological museum. The site was also a site of early christian worship dedicated to the virgin Mary. Inside the cave a chapel dedicated to St. Anne has also been built. The drive and the nature of the area are breathtaking.
Nenitouria is the next village which has three different neighbourhoods. As we drive norther, the vegetation is more dense, not only with olive trees but also with pines and oaks. The beach of the village is Agios Giorgis (St. George).
A visit to Polychoros Agio Galas, where you can combine a guided tour to the cave with relaxing under the plane trees, by the river and enjoy your coffee or lunch at the lovely canteen that operates there.
Walking on the hiking path connecting Agios Giannis (an abandoned village) to Agio Galas. Visiting the memorial monument dedicated to tthe victims of the 1822 Chios massacre at Melanios village.
Kourounia - Egrigoros
Kourounia village is known for the sweet wine that is produced from the vineyards around the village. The area towards Egrigoros village is filled with vineyards. The whole Amani area is known in Homer as “Ariousia chora”, the land of Ariousios, the famous wine of ancient times. The long winemaking tradition reaches the present with local wineries that operate in the area, open to the public and offering winetasting sessions to visitors who wish to learn more about local varieties.
The local panygiri at Egrigoros on August 6th, when after church there is an offering of local delicacies: grapes, souma and the traditional chickpea rice.
The panygiri at Kourounia village on September 26th where goat risotto is customarily served.
Keramos - Leptopoda - Agiasmata
Keramos village is known for the thermal baths of Agiasmata and the old antimony mines. The mines operation has shut down since the mid 1950s, however several parts of the infrastructure are still visible. Because of the mines, the village reached 550 inhabitants in the mid 50s, but after the mines closed down the gradual desertion of Keramos started.
At Agiasmata, by the seaside, you can visit the thermal baths, known for their many benefits.
Leptopoda is a small pictuersque village with narrow arched alleys, a typical and well preserved example of the architecture of the northern villages.
Walking the historic path that starts from Keramos and ends at Chalandra, passaing throught the ghost villages of Kamini and Lardato and several of the antimony mines.
In Keramos, at the middle of the Sarakosti fast, the fast before Easter, that lasts forty days, they celebrate the Mesosarakosto, with a church liturgy and offerings of traditional dishes. Visit Leptopoda in August, on the day that the Souma Fest takes place. Dedicated to the local traditional spirit made of figs distillation, at the Fest you can try souma and dance to traditional music all day.
Agiasmata Thermal baths offer an experience of relaxation and rejuvenation, at the rare wild landscape of Agiasmata beach.
Afrodisia - Chalandra
Afrodisia village is surrounded by the rich vegetation of Amani area. It is connected with the worship of Aphrodite, goddess of beauty and love, in the ancient times. At a two km distance lies the small village of Chalandra, where the relics of the old fortress are still visible.
A visit at the Church of Agios Mamas (St. Mamas), one of the oldest churches of the island. Admire the lovely view from the village square, where the panygiri at Agios Mamas celebration takes place, on September 2nd. Chalandra celevrate on December 18th, their patron saint, St. Modestos.
Pispilounta - Palaia Potamia - Nea Potamia
Pispilounta is a mountain village of Amani, with a view to Pelinnaio mountain. The village church is dedicated to Saints Constantine and Eleni and celebrates on May 21st with a traditional panygiri. Palaia Potamia is an old abandoned village, hidden in a gorge, that the sun barely reaches. Because of the lack of sunlight, the village was abandoned and the people built a new village, Nea Potamia in the 1960s.
Visit the medieval settlement Ta Markou, a 15th century fortress, that guarded the road connencting Pispilounta to Volissos. The settlement was very important for the defense of Volissos, therefore a high tower was built according to the typical design of Genovese towers of Chios. You can see the relics of the tower, the fortress and the surrounding houses.
Hike to Palaia Potamia, the ghost-village, built in a beautiful natural environment.
Katavasi - Diefha
Katavasi is a small farm village, on the Chios - Volissos road. It is surrounded by olive groves. It used to be a traditional stopover to rest when travelling to Volissos in the past. Now a restaurant with traditional cuisine operates there. Under the plane trees, which create a welcoming shade in the summer, there is a spring. Diefha is a small picturesque village connected to the nearby Moundon Monastery.
A visit to the byzantine Moundon Monastery, with its main church dedicated to St. John the Baptist. It celebrates on August 29th, with a liturgi and offering of traditional dishes. Moundon Monastery is known for its particular murals that include more than 400 scence and date back to 1730s. The monastery was vounded in the 16th century.