Hiking and mastic tour, Chios
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- An easy 3 km hike to Armolia and the Castle of the Apolichon
- Meet with a traditional mastic farmer in the village of Kalamoti
- Learn all about traditional mastic production - the process of tree sap harvesting, otherwise known as the 'tears of Chios' which the region is famous for
- Explore the Genoese castle and the village of Pyrgi, where we will also visit the 'Chios Mastic Museum'
- Lots of rest stops along the way to enjoy Greek coffee!
All about the trip
The Mastiha Experience of Chios is a fun, all-day experience involving a gentle 3km hike to Armolia, exploring the Castles of Genoese and the Apolichon, meeting with a traditional mastic farmer in the village of Kalamoti followed by learning about how the ‘Tears of Chios’ (mastic) are made, exploring the village of Pyrgi, visiting The Chios Mastic Museum, and lots of rest stops along the way to enjoy Greek coffee! This is an action-packed day in which you can experience a lot of traditional Greek culture and hospitality.
So if you enjoy light hiking, exploring castles, learning about traditional crafts, listening to history and walking through rustic villages; then the Mastiha Experience is for you. Perfect for families, or groups of friends, staying on Chios Island who want to learn more about its fascinating local culture and heritage. We can accommodate up to 20 people on this day-trip.
After collection from your hotel or accommodation on Chios, our day begins with a tour of Armolia and then a visit to the ceramics workshop. Along with mastic production, the people of Armolia have maintained a tradition of pottery sculpting for thousands of years. Here you will see a brief overview of how the process works along with many beautifully coloured pots. Also, it’s a great way to start the day and get acquainted with your tour-guides.
After our tour of the ceramic workshop is complete we will embark on our hike through Armolia towards the Castle of the Apolichon and the Genoese Castle. The hike itself is easy-going and is suitable for most-people, as it is just under 3km in length. On the hike you will see plenty of olive groves, mastic tress and local wildlife. The air is often filled with the scents of local aromatic plants such as rosemary, Laconian thyme, Greek peony and apple-bearing sage.
After hiking comes our visit to the castle of the Apolihni, which towers over a hill just northwest of the village. A site of great historical importance, it was built in 1440 by Genoese Nicolas Justinian. It was a mansion of the Mastichochoria and an integral part of the island's defence system. Access to the castle requires a slight climb from a mountain path, which lies between pines, olives, holm-trees, chines and shrubs. The view during the ascent includes the village of Amorgia, the Monastery of Vrettou, the village of Kalamoti and the beach of Komi.
Once on the top you can walk among the ancient ruins and imagine the majesty of this castle in its former glory. It is hypothesized that the castle had more than sixty rooms inside it. The walls on the left side and the defensive tower have remained intact.
After we have finished our hike, explored the castle ruins and eaten a light lunch, it will be time to meet the mastic farmer and learn all about the fascinating process of mastic gum harvesting. Mastic gum production has been taking place on Chios since before the 14th century, and southern Chios, more specifically Mastichohoria, is the only place in the world where the sap is grown and the mastic gum is naturally produced.
In Greece, mastic gum is known as ‘Tears of Chios’. Originally a tree sap, mastic is sun-dried into pieces of brittle, translucent resin, and like other natural resins, is produced in ‘tear’ or droplet shapes. When chewed, the resin softens and becomes a bright white and opaque gum useful for all sorts of applications.
Most of the medieval settlements we will be visiting in
Mastichochoria were built for the purpose of mastic harvesting. Most villages were built in the 14th century by the Genoese conquerors to house the families of the mastic growers and their masters. The layout of the settlements was actually shaped into a fortress and was built high-up on the hills to remain unseen from the sea. Many of the Mastichochoria villages also featured narrow streets and alleyways with lots of dead-ends, designed to disorient any aspiring invaders.
After we have seen how mastic is harvested from the farmer, we will be making our way to the village of Pyrgi to explore some more before we finish the day off with a trip to the Chios Mastic Museum. The museum itself is amazing and very well-reviewed on the rest on the internet, for good reason of course.
After our tour of the museum is complete we will then arrange for your group to be transported back to your hotel or accommodation. All-in-all, this is an action-packed day where you will see, learn and experience many wonderfully-unique Greek traditions; the most-famous of course being our warm, welcoming hospitality towards guests.
Breakdown of how time is spent:
1hr 40mins - transfers
1hr 30mins - hiking
1hr 30mins - Chios Mastic Museum
1hr 30mins - Mastic farmer experience
1hr 15mins - rest and stops
1hr - Armolia village/region tour
30mins - Pyrgi village tour
What is included in the price
- Transfers to and from your hotel or accommodation, as well as around the various sites we will be visiting
- Entrance to the pottery workshop
- The Chios Mastic Museum entrance fee
- English-speaking tour-guides who will accompany you all day
- A small snack from the farmer
- Optional safety whistle and walking poles, should you require them
- Commemorative photos from the day
- All taxes and liability insurance
What is not included in the price
- Extra drinking water or snacks - you may wish to bring extra with you
Please bring your ID and booking reservation.
Chios Mastic Museum Address: Πυργί, Θέση Ράχη, Χίος 821 02
Do you have a question or need more information about the activity?
You can reach our European office between 9am and 5pm CET on weekdays and between 11am and 5pm on weekends and holidays.
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