Ios | Cyclades

36.7270° N, 25.2936° E

Ios

Over the years, Ios has gained a reputation as a non-stop party destination for hedonistic youths. A little crowded, a little loud, a little unpolished… it is not difficult to understand why the island has been misunderstood.

First impressions can occasionally be very wrong though, and this is definitely the case when it comes to this island.  Behind its somewhat touristy gloss, Ios has something that very few places can offer: a comforting simplicity reminiscent of life in the eighties and 75km of pristine sandy beaches.

The island's landscape is typically Cycladic, with charming clusters of stark-white houses comfortably sitting on the hilltops and along the coastline. Ios boasts spectacular beaches and the inland hiking paths afford stunning views of the coastline and neighbouring islands.

From the busy town with its endless variety of bars and restaurants to the quiet villages of the east and the isolated inland villages and hamlets, there is something in Ios for every taste and style.

Ios Highlights

Palaiokastro

Paliokastro is the ruins of an old Byzantine (and in later years Enetic) fortress that is perched on a rock about 300m above sea level. Take the path from Chora that leads to the fortress to enjoy the inspiring views. There, you will also find the church of Panagia Palaiokastritissa.

Panigiria

Panigiria are the traditional feasts that take place regularly during summertime and they include drinking, sampling the delicious local food, and dancing with the locals. Check for dates because this is something you wouldn't want to miss.

Skarkos

An early to late-bronze age settlement just outside Chora, where you can see the restored terraces and ruins of prehistoric Cycladic buildings. Make sure to check opening hours before you go because the archaeological area is not always open to public.

The nightlife

Partying might not be your game of choice, yet the upbeat ambience of Chora is contagious. There are countless bars and nightclubs here, so even if you are not into dancing until dawn, rest assured that you will find a bar that suits your taste.
What to do & see in Ios

Ios' Chora is a charming village of whitewashed houses and a paved labyrinth of alleys dotted with bars, cafes and tavernas. At the market, you will find anything from fashionable boutiques to stores selling souvenirs and local delicacies. Come night-time, and the central square of Ios turns into a vast open-air party.

If you feel like sightseeing, you can visit Skarkos, the archaeological museum of Chora and the tomb of Homer - Ios is one of the islands that claim to be the birthplace of the great ancient poet. Ios also boasts some 365 churches, “one for each day of the year” as the locals say. Among them, is the church of Panagia Gremiotissa. You can also visit the exquisite open-air theatre Odysseas Elitis, although it is unfortunately rarely used.

For outdoor activities, Ios offers plenty of options, including windsurfing, kitesurfing and a trail of hiking paths. There is even a beach with decent waves where you can surf…it is not exactly world-class, but fun nonetheless.

Best beaches in Ios
Agia Theodoti A wide sandy beach with brilliant blue waters, backed by rolling hills. The beach took its name from the little chapel that overlooks the bay.
Diamoudia A secluded cove backed by rolling hills, with fine sand, a few large pebbles and dazzling waters, situated about 7km from Chora.
Gialos A popular, family-friendly beach with fine golden sand and inviting clear waters. The beach is well organised with sunbeds, a beach bar and watersports.
Kalamos A stunning, isolated beach at the south-east part of the island, with fine golden sand and bright turquoise waters.
Koumbara A popular sandy beach with crystal clear waters, close to Chora. The beach is flanked with tavernas and hotels.
Manganari A dreamy nudist-friendly bay with fine sand, crystal clear waters and a relaxing ambience, situated at the south of the island.
Mylopotas The island's most famous beach, a long sandy stretch lined with bars and sunbeds. You will also find an array of watersports, including windsurfing.
Papas A charming, isolated cove right next to Kalamos, with fine golden sand and turquoise waters. The beach is nudist-friendly.
Plakes A beautiful, quiet beach at the secluded eastern part of Ios, with fine golden sand and azure waters. It is isolated, so remember to pack food and drinks.
Psathi A developed seaside area with a gorgeous fine-sand beach that is ideal for families with children, who want the facilities but not the noise.
Tris Klissies A sandy stretch with dazzling waters on the way to Manganari, that remains tranquil even during peak season.
Vathirema Perhaps the most secluded among the beaches of Ios, a beautiful nudist beach with fine sand and bright turquoise waters.
How to get to Ios

There is no airport in Ios, so you will either have to take a ferry (7 hours) or a speedboat (3.5 hours) from Piraeus, or a catamaran from Rafina (4 hours). Alternatively, you can fly to Santorini, Naxos or Paros and then take a connecting ferry from there.

Where to stay in Ios

Ios’ variety of holiday villas to rent will come as a surprise to those who have known the island as a destination only for the young and restless. Luxury private villas are scattered throughout the island either on its most isolated settings or near the vibrant Chora proving that Ios is one of the top-notch destinations for the jetsetters. We welcome you to browse through our exceptional luxury villas with a swimming pool and find your best match for a dreamy holiday villa.

The Ios Villas