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When you step into the streets of Mesta Chios, it’s like being transported back in time. This traditional mastic village is located on the island of Chios, Greece, and is home to a well-preserved medieval castle. For centuries, the villagers have been harvesting mastic, a natural resin with various uses, which has helped keep this village alive and thriving.
As you wander through the streets of Mesta, you’ll be charmed by the whitewashed homes with brightly-colored shutters and doors. And if you’re lucky enough to be here during the harvest season (August to October), you’ll be treated to the sights and smells of mastic being gathered and processed. It’s truly a unique experience!
How to reach Mesta
The bus will take you to Mesta in an hour and twelve minutes from the Central bus stop in the town of Chios. Check the availability of the scheduled trips, as there may be more than three buses per day depending on the season. A taxi will take you there in 35 minutes and cost between 29 and 35 euros. Prices vary according to the season.
Another option is to rent a car, which is probably the best option if you plan to stay on the island for more than five days – a week. Again, a car will get you to Mesta in 35 minutes, and prices for different car rentals vary.
Finally, you can also consider riding a bike or a motorcycle. The route might give you more sightseeing options and much more travel freedom!
Accommodation and Practical Tips in Mesta, Chios
When visiting Mesta, several accommodation options are available to suit different preferences and budgets. Here are a few recommendations:
- Mesta Traditional Guesthouses: Experience the authentic charm of Mesta by staying in one of the traditional guesthouses within the village. These guesthouses often feature well-preserved architecture and offer a cozy and immersive experience.
- Hotels in nearby villages: If you prefer a wider range of amenities, you can find hotels in nearby villages such as Pyrgi or Olympoi. These villages are within a short distance from Mesta and offer comfortable accommodations.
- Vacation rentals: Another option is to look for vacation rentals or holiday homes in Mesta or the surrounding area. These rentals often provide more space and privacy, making them suitable for families or larger groups.
Best Time to Visit Mesta:
Mesta, Chios, can be enjoyed throughout the year, but the best time to visit depends on your preferences and interests. Here are a few considerations:
- Spring and Autumn: These seasons offer mild temperatures, making exploring Mesta and the island pleasant. Springtime brings blooming flowers, while autumn offers pleasant weather and fewer crowds.
- Summer: If you enjoy lively atmospheres, warm weather and want to take advantage of the beautiful nearby beaches, summer is the ideal time to visit. However, it can be more crowded during the peak tourist season.
Here are some transportation options to consider when planning your visit to Mesta:
1. Car rental: Renting a car is convenient for exploring Mesta and the surrounding areas. Car rental services are available at Chios Airport or in Chios Town, allowing you to have the freedom to travel at your own pace.
2. Public transportation: Chios has a reliable bus network that connects various villages, including Mesta. Buses operate regularly, and you can easily catch one from Chios Town or other major villages.
3. Taxi or private transfers: If you prefer a more personalized and convenient transportation option, you can arrange for a taxi or private transfer to take you directly to Mesta. This can be arranged in advance or through local transportation services.
When exploring Mesta, keep the following tips in mind:
- Comfortable footwear: Mesta is a pedestrian-only village with narrow streets and cobblestone paths. Comfortable walking shoes are highly recommended to navigate the village’s charming but uneven terrain.
- Exploring on foot: Strolling through its labyrinthine streets is the best way to experience Mesta. Take your time to wander and get lost amidst medieval architecture, discovering hidden corners and architectural details.
- Respect local customs: Mesta is a living village with residents who value their traditions and privacy. Respecting the locals and their way of life while exploring Mesta is essential. Avoid entering private properties without permission and adhere to any signage or guidelines provided.
History of Mesta Chios.
Mesta was founded in the 13th century by Byzantine refugees fleeing from the Turks. The Marquis de Névé gave them this land, and they built a strong fortification to protect themselves from future invasions. For centuries, life in Mesta carried on relatively unchanged. Then, in 1822, the Greeks revolted against the Turks, and many residents of Mesta lost their lives in battle.
The Turkish population of Mesta was also forced out during this time, and their homes were given to Greek families from other parts of the country. As a result, today, almost everyone in Mesta is related by blood or marriage! This close-knit community is one of the things that makes Mesta such a special place.
The villagers have always made their living off the land, and they are especially well-known for their production of mastic. In fact, this village produces more mastic than any other place in the world! If you’re unfamiliar with mastic, it’s a natural resin harvested from trees and used in various products, including cosmetics, food, medicine, and even chewing gum.
During the harvest season (August to October), you’ll see men scaling the mastic trees and making small cuts to release the resin. After it’s collected, it’s brought to a central location where it’s cleaned and sorted before being shipped off to be used in all sorts of products!
If you’re interested in learning more about this fascinating process, there are several mastic museums in Mesta that are worth checking out.
A significant event taking place.
The “Agas” trials, a satirical recreation of the trials that used to take place during the Turkish occupation, are presented during the Carnival festivities as the village’s most important annual event. This event is also held in other villages, including Olympoi and Lithi.
Explore More of Chios Island
We hope this guide has sparked your interest in visiting Mesta, Chios. However, there is much more to discover on this beautiful island. Whether you’re intrigued by its historical sites, stunning beaches, or mouthwatering cuisine, Chios has something for every traveler.
To continue your exploration of Chios Island, consider checking out our comprehensive Chios Travel Guide. It provides detailed information on other captivating villages, must-visit attractions, and exciting activities that will make your visit to Chios truly unforgettable.
If you find yourself on the island of Chios, be sure to add Mesta to your list of places to visit. You won’t be disappointed!
We can’t wait to inspire you with more enchanting destinations and insider tips for your Chios adventure!
Safe travels, and enjoy your time exploring the wonders of Chios Island!