Mastichari or Mastihari is a village on the north west coast of the island of Kos. It supports a small fleet of fishing boats whose catches supply the local tavernas and restaurants. The village itself caters primarily for people that enjoy its quite ambience and general laid back feel. It has been variously been described as “fashionably unfashionable” and “attractive for what it does not offer”.
What there is not – tattoo parlours, wet T-shirt contests, night clubs, man-powered water sports (no doughnuts or bananas being towed behind speed boats), “organised events”, loutish behaviour from inebriated groups of “revellers”, branches of fast-food chains.
Whilst there are no bank branches in the village, there are several bureau-de-change and a couple of cash machines – notably one in the parade of shops on the road to/from Antimachea.
What Mastihari offers – a laid back, friendly atmosphere that’s condusive to rest and recouperation. It’s a place for people who lean towards a philosophy of “live to eat” rather than “food is fuel”. Reading books, people watching, conversation and gentle exercise tend to be the favoured pastimes.
The beach never seems to be crowded and is given over to sun loungers for approximately only one third of its length. These peter out towards a beach based watersports business (all wind powered). The north west facing aspect means there’s invariably a cooling breeze from the land or sea. One gets the feeling of getting a healthy tan rather than being browned in a tightly packed rotisserie.
The village is largely pedestrianised and flat. For the most part the pavements have ramped access. The tavernas, restaurants, bars and shops tend to be run by long established local families and is of a scale whereby everyone knows everyone else by name. This makes for a safe environment that is attractive for familes with children, unaccompanied ladies and people who use wheelchairs and other physical mobility aids.
The nearest thing to bar-reps, PRs or other “sales people” one is likely experience is the occasional visit to restaurants by hearing and speech impaired islanders who offer an assortment of novelty items. They carry ID cards and have the permission of restaurant owners.
The village supports an assortment of shops. The range of goods and prices compare favourably with those in northern europe (eg. sun tan lotion, beach towels, mosquito repellant). It is also possible to find most day-to-day items in the local shops. However, supermarket shopping is catered for by a branch of the Konstantinos supermarket chain.
The harbour at Mastihari is the gateway to/from the neighbouring island of Kalymnos. It is also the central point for bus and taxi services which connect to the rest of Kos.