Ios was one of the first party islands in Greece, being a spot for hippies and backpackers in the 60s. These days this reputation as a party island still somewhat remains yet it is far less deserved. That is not to say that the island doesn’t have a good nightlife, it has just mellowed out and become a more rounded destination. In this article we’ll show you what else the island has to offer by taking you through a list of the best things to do on the island.
How to get there
Ios doesn’t have an airport, and this means you have to get a ferry. The nearest island which you can fly into is Santorini. The ferry takes around 30-60 mins depending on the speed of the ferry. You can fly directly into Santorini from London Heathrow, London City, Bristol, London Gatwick, Luton, Manchester, Birmingham, Edinburgh, Leeds Bradford, Stansted, Newcastle and East Midlands.
Visit the Islands Many Beaches
A staple of the Greek Islands, beaches are one thing UK holiday makers look for when they book a destination. Ios has some of the best beaches in Greece with Mylopotas being a particular highlight. This stunning beach sits in a bay just 10 mins drive from the Chora and has golden sands and beautiful blue water, it is however probably the most popular beach on the island and therefore may be quite busy. Others near the Chora, where most of the accommodation is located, are Gialos Beach, Koumpara and Kolitsani. If you go a bit further into the island you can find some great beaches that will be less busy such as Kampaki and Plakotos in the north of the island, which are secluded and both pebbled. Ios has a mixture of both pebble and sand beaches so take your own preference into account when choosing beaches. All of the smaller beaches can be reached by road or track but you may prefer to take a boat to them. Further to the south are the beaches of Theodoti, Plakes and Pikri Nero, all of which are sandy beaches. Theodoti has some accommodation and a café there, the other two are fairly secluded. Finally, if you’re staying in the south and want a bigger beach you must check out Magganari, in the village of the same name. The large beach stretches across two coves and its golden sands are met by beautiful blue waters.
Visit the Chora
The name of many of the main villages on Greek islands, the Chora on Ios is the largest village on the island and also acts as the port. Chora has most of the accommodation on the island, which is smaller boutique hotels and villas, but there are 5* properties there as well. The streets of Chora are lively and all the buildings curl beautifully up towards the church of Ekklisia Panagia Gremiotissa and the chapel of Agios Nikolaos. This also the best spot on the island to watch the sunset which, as it falls over the horizon gives you views across the bay as well across to Sikinos. Many different styles of cuisine can be found by walking round Chora’s narrow streets and they provide excellent spots to sit in the sun with food or a drink. Also in Chora is the windmills, a must see on any Cycladic island these windmills provide an excellent backdrop for a photo.
Discover the History of the Island
As with many Greek islands, Ios has abundance of history and this can be seen in the many sites across the island. Most of the sites are around Chora and the surrounding village of Mylopotas. A must see is the Archaeological site of Skarkos just outside the town. It dates back thousands of years and is one of the oldest examples of settlement in the Cyclades, which may have been key in the area. It shows a different side to Greek history which predates most of what we associate with Greece when it comes to its ancient history. If you want a further fix of archaeology, then check out the museum in Chora which houses finds from across the island. For a great view and a bit of history visit the Odysseas Elytis Theatre, this modern build theatre was built to emulate the amphitheatres of the time and looks out to sea. In it you can see performances of shows and concerts. Finally, take a car to the north of the island to see the tomb of Homer, the legendary poet who’s famous works the Iliad and the Odyssey are known the world over. Here is where he is said to have spent his final days and was buried. In the theatre they regularly perform his plays in honour of him.
There we have it, some of the best things to do in Ios. There are many more but we would be here for ages. We hope this has given you some insight into why Ios is much more than a party island and no longer deserves that reputation. To find out more about the rest of Greece, take a look around our website or call us on 01157843388. If you know where you’re looking to book, call us, email email@example.com or fill in our contact form with what you’re looking for. Don't forget to follow us on social media to find out the next Destination of the Week and for all your Greek Holiday needs. If you've been to Ios, where was your favourite place? What was the best thing you did, or do you think we missed anything? Let us know in the comments or on social media, just click the buttons below which take you to our social pages
Greece is a love affair for The Greek Specialist. Our first visit to the country came in 1997 and since then