Chios, Greece: 20 Minutes and A World Away from Turkey


During our stint in Istanbul, we took a great weekend trip to the Aegean Coast, spending time in Cesme, Alicati, and Urla (where we visited the excellent Urla Winery). When in Cesme, we realized we were about 20 km away from Greece — specifically, the Greek Island of Chios (or Xios). Unable to resist the temptation for gaining another stamp in our passports, we woke up early and caught the fast boat for a day-and-night trip to Greece.

Just 20 minutes away, Cesme was wildly, wonderfully different from Turkey. The beer and feta were drastically better. The lamb meatballs were worse. The smells, sounds, and overall vibe were completely different from Cesme — despite being lively if mellow beach towns, and being so very close together.

Cesme also had the feel of a locals-only vacation spot; well, “local” to both Turkey and Greece. It had none of the blue-and-white vistas of Santorini, but it lacked its cruise ships, too. We found black rock beaches (above), near-abandoned coves, old stone towns with winding alleyways, and yeah, the best feta, ever.

Well worth the trip, and maybe even a return visit someday.


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