48 hours in Mastihohoria

This time we are heading south to the most beautiful part of Chios island, where the fertile Mastic Villages are found. You will be amazed by the walled architecture and the food in the only place in the world where mastic trees are commercially productive. The history of Mastihohoria (Mastic Villages) begins in the Middle Ages, in the years of the conquest of Chios by the Genoese (1346-1566), when the villages of southern Chios, where the mastiha is produced, were organized as fortress settlements with the aim of defending the invaders. The 24 villages that make up the medieval complex of settlements that were built to house the families of the mastic growers are invisible from the sea. Of all the Mastihohoria, those that are still in better condition after the devastating earthquake of 1881 are Mesta, Olympoi and Pyrgi.

Day One


10am.
Check in to Lida Mary's eight rooms in Mesta, the best-preserved fortified village which has retained its unique medieval architecture intact to this day. Vaulted ceilings, high stone walls, wood lofts, thyrides (stone niches in the walls) and wood floors are some of the main features of the rooms (Mesta, tel.: +3022710 76217, www.lidamary.gr). The Mastihahouse is located at the centre of the medieval village of Pyrgi. You will find comfortable apartments and a friendly owner (Pyrgi, tel.: +3022710 72900, www.mastihahouse.gr).


Lida Mary

Medieval Castle
is a complex consisting of 20 suites scattered inside Mesta, a medieval village on the island of Chios. Every suite a t the Medieval Castle has been well-cared to the smallest detail. You may have breakfast either in a small specifically designed room inside the building of reception or at the picturesque small restaurants on the village square, open during the day and night (Mesta, tel.: +3022710 76345, www.mcsuites.gr). Traditional Houses are six stone-built houses of two rooms each. Two of them are situated in the medieval village "Kalamoti". They are built in stone with arches and bows and indoor yards and can accommodate 2-4 persons each. The rest of the houses are situated at the end of a four-acre estate on the road from Kalamoti to Komi (800 meters away from the sea) featuring an outdoor living room and dining room with barbeque for night feasts (Kalamotui, tel.: +3022710 71486, www.traditionalhouses.gr).


Medieval Castle Suites

11am.
In the southwest, at a distance of 4-6 kilometers from Mesta, you will find Merikounta beach with thick black sand and rich seabed, Avlonia beach with small pebbles and crystal clear waters, and the wide Apothika beache with black pebbles and crystal clear water.


Avlonia


Apothika

2pm
Lunch in Mesaionas tavern. Outside the courtyard of the church in Mesta, on the square, you will taste recipes passed down from mother to daughter. Make sure you try stuffed tomatoes, eggplant with rice and fried zucchini balls accompanied by ouzo flavored with mastic and souma made by distillation of fig (Mesta, tel .: 22710 76050, from €12 per person).



5pm.
Wander around Mesta, one of the most beautiful villages of the island and the most well-preserved of all medieval villages. Its elaborate architecture dates back to the Byzantine period. The small, stone houses are built next to each other, thereby creating a protective wall surrounding the village. Walking through the small, labyrinthine alleys of the village below the arches that form the balconies looks like a journey back to the 14th century as little has changed since then. The residents could enter and leave the village only through a single gate that is currently in the Kato Porta location. In the center of Mesta stands the defensive tower, a type of Acropolis that the inhabitants used as a shelter in the event of an attack. The oldest monument (apart from the village itself) is the church of Palaios Taxiarchis.



7pm
Stop by Kanellos for the famous loukoumades (donuts). Crispy outsides and fluffy on the inside, they are ideal to accompany an afternoon coffee. They come sweet with praline and white chocolate or honey and mastic and savoury cherry tomatoes and feta cheese (Mesta, tel .: +3022710 76186).



9pm
Dinner in Iris, a stylish restaurant next to Mesta's "iron gate" and a stone's throw from the village square. Ms. Helen prepares her famous stews and casserole dishes such as rabbit in lemon sauce, oven-baked goat in the pot, rooster in wine and tomato sauce or pork with plums (Mesta, tel .: +3022710 76600, from € 12 per person).




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Tags:Chios Mastihohoria Greece 48 hours 

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