WONDERFUL THINGS TO DO ON IOS, GREEK ISLANDS
THE BEST GREEK FOOD, DAYCLUBS, RELAXATION, STUNNING BEACHES AND AFFORDABLE. IOS GREECE HAS IT ALL…
The Aegean Sea is home to the Cyclades, made up of an abundance of Greek Islands. All of which, are breathtakingly beautiful. We had three weeks to settle somewhere after months of traveling and being constantly on the move. To plant some roots, even if only for a short while. To immerse ourselves in to what we have always wanted to know and learn of Greece. To just be.
WORDS: TRACEY HARRIS
PHOTOGRAPHY: KRISTEL CHAPLIN
We chose the Greek Island of Ios, located in the southern Aegean Sea in between the well-known islands of Naxos and Santorini, and it is where we made a home. Days were spent weaving through narrow alley ways, walking upon grey and white cobble stoned painted paths, lined with white washed buildings and houses throwing a dash of pastel colour as you pass the occasional painted doorway.
The Cycladic architecture of the main town of Chora is that of a dream. Seen always in pictures and books, but when seen in real life, the reality of it being so exact, crisp and perfect is astounding as to how they pride and cherish the historical configuration of their heritage.
Although known to be a party island and attracting copious amounts of young people in their 20’s throughout the Greek summer. The nightlife of Ios will by no means leave one at a loss of options, yet doesn’t overrule and tarnish the town itself should you not wish to take part in any of the festivities.
Day clubs are a many throughout the island, and all willing to wow anyone who arrives. Two of our favourites were Pathos & Erego, both located at Koumbara. Infinity pools overlooking views of pristine sandy shorelines of the Aegean sea and while drinking your seventeenth cocktail, have a view of the sunset like no other.
The gradient in the sky, each colour fading faultlessly into the next as the sun lowers closer to the horizon. Burnt orange, reds and yellow glow so bright, a luminous shade of gold is cast upon the entirety of the island. The sunsets in Greece give the meaning “Golden Hour”, a whole new definition and are nothing short of perfection and magical.
ENJOY THE BEST OF IOS BY ATV…
With the land of Ios outside of the town being rather barren, it is none the less mesmerizing. Best explored on a quad bike, the exploration to venture to secluded beaches is that of one with mere conviction to adventure and seek the beauty that lies within the Greek islands. Open roads curving left and right, steep ascents up continuous slopes, passing views of rolling hills dotted with hundreds of white churches and coast lines of the Aegean sea. All will lead you to some of the most impressive beaches you have ever seen.
Crystal clear waters, pebbled and sand beaches encompassing bright blue waters will have you in awe. Manganari Beach being one of them, having earned itself a blue flag status for its high environmental quality standard. Mylopotas beach is the main and most prominent beach, only a short ride from Chora and home to the ever so popular Far Out Beach Club. Although a nice beach and by far constituting the most social scene, the smaller untouched beaches are where the beauty lies and are what a day of exploration will not fail to enchant.
The greatest misconception is Ios being merely a party island and offering very little else. It is an island full of captivation and happiness. We woke up every day with such content and gratification to our surroundings and avidity for what our days would entail. Every day felt like a blessing.
A special place in our hearts will always be held for Ios. It provided us the ideal home away from home at a point in our travels when we needed to be complacent and still. And it was simply perfect.
WHEN TO VISIT IOS
Okay, this highly depends on what kind of experience you want to have.
Whether you’re in your early twenties and prefer the beach clubs, late nights and sleeping the day away. Or you just want to party modestly or not at all, but explore the island with a slightly more relaxed atmosphere…
….there are certain months you should be aware of.
Ios is as said… a party island and you will see young visitors ranging from 18 to 25 in the earlier summer months ( June - July ) This is typical summer break for European countries and typically the hottest time of the year.
For ages above 25 who still want to enjoy pumping beach clubs but avoid the young reckless crowds, aim for August to mid September. This was when we stayed, there was still a lot of people there, just a more mature setting. Of course the younger crowds were still apparent, just not ample and obnoxious. The weather is still very warm at this time and everything is up and running. Any later than September and this the island starts to shut down for winter.
WHAT TO DO IN IOS
There is a lot to see and do on this little island. A copious amount of beaches as well as beach/day clubs. You can hire an ATV and explore all the different beaches, restaurants, sights. Dinner and sunset at many of the sunset bars. Test out the array of clubs, go on a pub crawl… these get pretty big.
After spending over two weeks here, these are our suggestions.
BEACHES IN IOS
Mylopotas - This is the biggest and most visited beach in Ios - Home to the Far Out Beach Club where all the international DJ’s perform. Mylopotas offers a huge stretch of pristine beach filled with daybeds, bars and restaurants.
View → Mylopotas Beach
Gialos (Yialos) - Close to the picturesque port of Ios, you will find Gialos. Being so close to the port you don’t have to venture far and there is a nice view of the bay and the ships as they arrive. Consists of many restaurants on the beachfront, umbrellas, sunbeds and table service. Gialos is more chilled out than Mylopotas.
View → Gialos Beach
Manganari Beach - 25 km from Chora. You will need a car, ATV, Scooter or make sure you are on a Bus to get here. Buses leave from the Port, Chora and Mylopotas. It is a much quieter place that consists of a series of sandy coves that shape into several smaller beaches. Peaceful, unspoiled and offers all the facilities in a much more relaxing manner.
View → Manganari Beach
BEACH CLUBS / SUNSET IN IOS
These are our recommendations from the many we visited
Pathos Sunset Club - a MUST for sunset
Far Out Beach Club - You have to visit at least one day…or many
Erego Beach Club - Great as a relaxing setting in the day
Ios Club Sunset Lounge - a MUST for sunset
Walk through Chora to the Church at the top of the town. STUNNING sunset views from here - a must.
There are a number of trails you can embark on from Chora and the Port that head around the side of the island.
Explore the Port. Head past Agia Irini Church and keep walking around the edge of the island. These trails are beautiful at sunset.
WHERE TO STAY ON IOS
Chora - Stay here if you want to be in the middle of everything. Majority of the restaurants, accommodation and nightlife is situated here. There is also the Ios Gym, ( directions to Ios Gym ) larger supermarkets and petrol.
The Port - Quieter, but a steep 15 minute walk uphill to reach Chora, or the €2 fare to get there via the bus. There’s still an abundance of restaurants, shops and accomodation without having to head up to Chora each day.
Mylopotas - Perfect if you want the beach and the day clubs that come with it. However Chora is not walking distance from here and requires the bus or your own transport to get to the supermarket, pharmacy etc.
OUR ACCOMODATION IN IOS -
We stayed at the Poseidon Hotel, which was a beautiful home for 3 weeks. It was situated in the Port as we did not care about the walk to Chora. The room had a balcony with a view of the entire port and Chora perched high up on the hill. Perfect position for your dose of the daily Greek Sunset.
GETTING AROUND IOS
ATV’s & Scooters
- Approx €25 Per Day
Hire from many of the rental shops located at the Port and Chora. Bargain a lower price for a longer rental period.
You HAVE to do this at least once, the ATV’s are very easy to ride for the first time…just don’t run out of petrol!
- €2 Per Ride - €5 for longer distances
Really simple, they pull up every half hour at the Port, Chora, Mylopotas and the main beaches. It costs €2 or more for however far you are traveling. Carry cash with you and pay once you are on board.
WHERE TO EAT IN IOS
Yummy’s - Best Gyros in Greece in our opinion, We tried many trust me! You MUST try the best Gyros in Greece from here. You cant go wrong for €2.50
Pithari - Hands down the best Greek food in Ios, in our opinion. Situated in a little court in Chora usually with accompanying live music.
Ciao Bella - Best pizza in Ios hands down the most delicious we ate in months. I’ll be honest, we verge on being total pizza snobs and these wood oven pizzas were delicious.
HOW TO GET TO IOS
Ios is only accessible via Ferry. You can make the trip from any of the larger Islands nearby.
We came by ferry from Mykonos, however the easiest way is a direct flight to Santorini, or Mykonos, then the ferry from Santorini to Ios is roughly 2 hours.
Ios by ferry from Athens is 7 hours, so best to split up this trip with other popular islands e.g. Naxos, Mykonos or Milos.
FERRY TICKETS TO IOS
Approx €100 from Mykonos to Ios
- However these were booked very last minute, planning ahead will save you!
We used Go.Ferry.com we found this to be the easiest way to book our tickets.