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Why Should I Visit Oinousses?

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Oinousses at a glance

Home to illustrious sea captains of yesteryear, Oinousses is an enchanting cluster of nine tiny islands in the East Aegean between Chios and the coast of Asia Minor.

The heart of the archipelago is Oinoussa, also known as Aignoussa, a sedate island that transforms into a popular resort every summer as cosmopolitan holidaymakers return to their family homes. It is a place where the aristocratic atmosphere combines uniquely with the warm-heartedness and hospitality of the inhabitants to offer visitors a unique travel experience.

With tranquil and picturesque locations, magical seas full of mysterious beauty, and idyllic coves with emerald waters, this is a paradise for anyone seeking a less mainstream destination. It is an enigmatic corner of the Aegean that is both a sanctuary and a place that stirs the desire for adventure and exploration. You can visit it by choosing one of the ferry tickets to Oinousses.

7 reasons to visit Oinousses
  1. To wander around the splendid Oinoussa Town, the main settlement in Oinousses, built on a hill around the harbour. Stroll along the beautiful paved streets admiring impressive mansions belonging to the island’s shipowners, and stone houses with tiled roofs between rows of trees.
  2. To enter the magnificent Cathedral of Saint Nicholas, the patron saint of seafarers, and admire its rich decoration and ornate religious icons.
  3. To see the iconic Mermaid of Oinousses, a bronze statue on a rock at the harbour entrance wearing a crown and holding a sailing boat in her left hand. The work is by the sculptor Maria Papakonstantinou.
  4. To voyage through the great naval tradition of the island at the excellent Maritime Museum, with its collection of elaborate model ships, paintings, old photographs, nautical instruments, books, and rare documents. These and other extraordinary items have been donated by the shipowning families of Oinousses and they tell the story of the island’s emergence as a shipping power. The models include sailing vessels made by French prisoners of the English during the Napoleonic Wars, early-20th-century steam packets, and modern Liberty ships.
  5. To visit the women’s Monastery of the Annunciation, a jewel of Byzantine-style architecture built in 1962 in verdant surroundings in the west of the island, a stone’s throw from Chios. Admire the excellent frescoes by famous religious painters such as Fotis Kontoglou, as well as important relics.
  6. To take a selfie on the pier in front of the statue of the Mother of Oinousses bidding bon voyage to her children as they depart the island for distant seas.
  7. To drink coffee at Naftosini Square in front of the Monument to the Unknown Sailor, the first in Greece dedicated to mariners who have gone missing at sea. It is inscribed with the names of lost seafarers from Oinousses.
The top 5 beaches

Bilali: A beautiful sandy beach with scattered pebbles, situated north of Oinousses Town. A gazebo and some trees offer a certain amount of shade, while the calm shallow sea with its clear blue waters makes it an ideal spot for families with young children.

St John’s: A small attractive cove backed by a green hill overlooking a beach of sand and pebbles with a diving platform at one end. The emerald waters and the white church that gives the beach its name create an idyllic atmosphere.

Apiganos: One of the island’s most beautiful beaches, with a long stretch of sand and crystal-clear waters. It is located south-west of the port and has a small marina.

Fourkerou: A peaceful, enclosed bay east of Oinousses Town, with a long stretch of sand and well-protected crystal-clear waters. The beach has straw umbrellas.

Hatzalis: A quiet beach with sand and pebbles, a few trees, and tranquil turquoise waters. There is a concrete jetty at one end that is used by small excursion boats and sailing craft.

Don’t leave Oinousses without…
  • Taking a day trip to Chios Town. The two islands are only 19 nautical miles apart (about one hour by boat).
  • Exploring the deserted islands in the Oinousses archipelago by tourist boat or canoe.
  • Going snorkelling in the bays of Marmaro and Kambi.
  • Seeing the sunset from the beautiful Chapel of the Prophet Elijah at the western end of the island.
  • Crossing to Langada, the famous fishing village of Chios, with its renowned tavernas.
  • Buying unique handwoven textiles at the Monastery of the Annunciation.
Tasty experiences
  • Try the famous local octopus, which is renowned not only for its taste but also for its tenderness.
  • Enjoy delicious local dishes containing wild greens and mushrooms, including aromatic pies and filo parcels.
  • Sample hirisia (local handmade pasta) and trahanas (fermented wheat, known locally as hondro), tambourokeftedes (fritters made with pumpkin and wild greens), stuffed calamari, rice pilaf with limpets, mastelo (a soft white cow’s milk cheese) either grilled or fried as saganaki, and keremezi (cheese with yoghurt).
  • Oinousses produces excellent honey. If you choose one of the ferry tickets for Oinousses, why not try it with your breakfast?
  • Order a jug of the excellent local red wine to accompany your meal.

Oinousses is home to some of the biggest shipping families in Greece. The island’s great maritime tradition began in the mid-19th century and peaked in the post-war period of the 20th century. In the mid-1960s, the merchant fleet of Oinousses comprised 150 ships, making the island a leader in global shipping.​

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