After our Santorini wedding, we decided to spend our honeymoon in Ios. It’s a small island located between Santorini and Mykonos, famous for really wild all-night (and morning!) long parties. What are the best things to do in Ios?
THINGS TO DO IN IOS
Beaches, beaches everywhere…
Ios is a paradise for lovers of everything described as “sea, sun & fun”. Which beaches in Ios are the best? Mylopotas Beach is definitely worth visiting, many great beach clubs are located nearby. Here you will find one of the best party spots – Far Out Beach Club. It’s a really crazy place and if you love partying, you can even live in the nearby resort with budget bungalows, luxury villas and SPA hotel 🙂 Mylopotas and Gialos (Yialos) Beach are excellent choices if you can’t imagine your life without wind & water sports.
The eastern side of the island is much calmer, more family-oriented. Even in June, we managed to find secluded spots on Agia Theodoti and Psathi beaches. On the way to the first one, we found a “hidden gem” – Oasis, a restaurant with a pool, with an amazing view of the beach and the Aegean Sea.
Our favorite one is actually Manganari Beach, located in the southern part. The golden sand, shallow water, few people, total tranquility and chillout… and probably the cheapest wine in the restaurant in the whole island (about 5 euros for 0,7 l :D). Paradise found!
|Tip: Many amazing beaches in Ios are not accessible from land, only by the boat… The boat cruise is definitely one of the best things to do in Ios. Go around the island and discover your favorite beach!|
If you are looking for white&blue houses, a maze of narrow streets, but you can’t stand crowds in Mykonos and Santorini, you’ve come to the right place. Chora (in Greek: “village”, every smaller Greek island has a town with such name) is the main, extremely picturesque town in Ios. This party island wakes up at 9 p.m. (some clubs open at 3 am!), so you can easily explore all the corners of this magical place in the afternoon while avoiding the crowds.
At sunset, go up the hill in Chora. You will find some lovely chapels there, perfect for your golden hour shooting. More or less like these:
|Tip: What are the best things to do in Ios when the sun goes down? Party! Don’t even think about clubbing before midnight – all clubs are empty. I can’t recommend you a specific one because clubs’ popularity changes really within weeks. We just had a short look at all the clubs (in Chora they’re nearby) and checked where the crowd is. Some clubs are open until 10-11am!|
Exploring the interior
Discovering Ios beyond parties and beaches may be really exciting. These winding roads, where sheep unexpectedly decide to gather in the middle of the street… Ios is also the place of Homer’s death and his grave (presumably) is also here. The tomb itself doesn’t impress much, but the views of the Aegean Sea are so spectacular. Lovers of ancient history should visit Paleokastro (the ruins of the Byzantine castle) and Skarkos (an archeological site where the Bronze Age settlement was discovered).
|Tip: It is worth renting a scooter or quad with a larger engine – the roads are often very steep and these with smaller ones can’t drive up the hill! You can always rent a car or just use public KTEL buses, between beaches, Chora and Ormos.|
WHERE TO EAT IN IOS?
Getting familiar with Greek cuisine by eating your way through the island is definitely one of the best things to do in Ios:
- The Mills – amazing traditional Greek cuisine, the restaurant is located nearby the windmills in Chora and was founded in 1969
- Katogi – the BEST restaurant in Greece for me, pure genius when it comes to serving traditional Greek dishes in a modern and unique way (have you ever seen a mousaka…ball?!), cozy and comfy interiors, you feel like you’ve just dropped at someone’s house party – this place is very popular, so you would need to wait for the table
- Grandma’s Restaurant – not exactly in the Center of Chora, but it offers stunning views of the Aegean Se and Ormos, it’s more about fine dining than “traditional food”
- La Randa – if you can’t look at feta & souvlaki any longer, head to the port in Ormos to this amazing Italian restaurant and get yourself a pizza baked in the oven, which was delivered straight from Italy
- Ios Club Cocktail Bar – bar with the most beautiful sunset view you’ll see in your life, chill out vibes and great cocktails
- Lost Boys Ios – the legendary bar in Ios, famous for really, really wild parties
- Orange Bar – our favorite spot in Ios because of amazing selection of shots (Bounty, Snickers, Baklava, Strawberry Cheesecake… yum!), supposedly the only spot in Ios for rock-lovers
- Pathos Lounge Bar – cool spot with WOW factor, a bar with big infinity pool, where you can enjoy the all-night party
WHERE TO STAY IN IOS?
Ios is definitely cheaper than Santorini or Mykonos. You will find really great hotels or villas in much better prices than on these two more famous islands. Ormos is a small port town, quiet and perfect for a relaxing holiday, but you have to walk the stairs to Chora approx. 20 minutes. Chora is a very lively spot. There are many restaurants and clubs, but if you are more than 25 years old and looking for tranquility… it’s not right for you. Well, the town gets very busy at night, some events last until the morning. You may also stay at one of the beaches if you want to focus on sunbathing and doing nothing. Cons? Quite a long distance from Chora, you have to drive by car or go by bus. A few interesting places:
- Liostassi Hotel & Suites – amazing boutique hotel, next to Chora, but still in the very peaceful spot, stunning minimalist Cycladic interiors (something like these most beautiful hotels in Santorini).
- Far Out Luxury Villas – stunning villas on a hill near Mylopotas Beach, with swimming pools overlooking the Aegean Sea, which can even be admired under the water… the pools have a glass wall!
- If you are bringing some friends with you, check Home Away – fabulous villas for rent. If you find 12 people willing to spend holidays with you, check this nice villa 😀 If you’re 10 only, have a look at this modest home 😉
- Ios is focused on rather younger visitors, so there are plenty more budget-friendly options, it’s easy to find some great spot for approx. 30-40 EUR (or even less!), eg. Kritikakis Village Hotel
HOW TO GET TO IOS?
Unfortunately, there is no airport in Ios (only helipad), the only option is getting on the ferry from the other islands in the Cyclades or Athens. While visiting Ios, it’s worth exploring wonders of Santorini, ticking off Mykonos bucket list or visiting Paros. Check ferry schedules here, but buy tickets at the carrier’s website, they are much cheaper.
Can you recommend other things to do in Ios?
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