Ios - Basic information on the island
Ios is a music and entertainment island - with all its day and night unflagging pleasures, your days and nights spent there will be really long and filled with joy, dances and laughter till dawn. Ios Island ranks among the top party destinations and so it is tempting especially for young visitors and all those to who night sleep seems a bit boring or maybe useless.
That doesn’t mean the island wouldn’t have anything else to offer though. Its charming beaches, of which many are almost unspoiled, hidden from crowds of people, and some of them even nudist, will become the true oasis if this is your idea of a dream holiday. Besides that, the island is interspersed with many hiking trails leading through mountains and close to the archaeological sites. The fans of Greek island architecture and culture will be delighted by the snow-white little towns or the equally brightly white buildings of churches and other historical sites. Therefore the offer of the lively and varied Ios Island is more than broad and will satisfy literally everyone. Before you continue reading, take a look also at the section Ios - Map of the island to know approximately where the island lies and what it is like.
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What to do on Ios Island?
General information on Ios
Ios Island is known to be a really bustling destination. Some places (like e.g. Mylopotas, the port of Ormos or the capital town of Ios - Chora) are renowned to be the centres of the young and teenagers, expecting loads of fun and many different activities from their holiday - sports, swimming, bathing in the sea and sunbathing during the days, and visiting discos, bars and night clubs with dance and music during the night. Since Ios is the busiest islands of the Cyclades, it doesn’t really lack enough clubs and other facilities open al night long. Yet not all of them are aiming at the youth; some prefer more traditional enternainment in the Greek style, or Latin American rhythms.
You shouldn’t be mistaken though, if Ios is famous for its intense nightlife, those of a calm nature or families with children will also find there some more peaceful place. And there will certainly be plenty of such people, since despite its reputation of an island with lively atmosphere, it is still much more varied and can satisfy all sorts of visitors, whether they are typical holidaymakers or more active travellers interested in sports or culture.
Especially the lovers of culture should plan their visit of the island for the mid or the end of August ´when celebrations of local patrons saints are held and there is much to be seen. But even if you are not going in these days, don’t hang your head. From May till September, there are various events, theatre performances, and concerts.
Before you decide to go somewhere for a nice trip in the island surroundings, stop for a while and discover some of its beauties. One of the charming places are for example the typical Cycladic towns or villages with their whitehouses built on a slope, the rounded roofs of the churches peeping out here and there, and narrow streets tempting to go for a long romantic walk. Probably the most beautiful architecture and the typical island atmosphere can be admired in the capital Chora (sometimes also called Hora or Ios). To other places, you can go by bus, taxi, a rented car or motorbikye, or a boat.
In the north of the island, you can go to see the supposed tomb of Homer, the famous poet (in Plakoto) or the ruins of a Venetian castle from the 15th century. And if you gave in to the charm of Greek churhes, there are as many of them as days in a year on the island, so, you should hit the road and maybe try to count them all.
Ios is a good departure point if you want to see also its surroundings. With only a short boat trip, you can get to the island of Santorini with plenty of attractions, museums, several fortresses, many churches and rare archaeological sites; whereas on the island of Naxos, you will find a port of the same name with a mystical stone gateway from the ancient times, many interesting exhibitions, a castle, and a historic cathedral. And the island surroundings are even more varied. That is why there are regular sightseeing cruises and trips being organized to all the places of interest. You only need to take off and indulge in all the beauties of the Greek islands.
Who to travel to Ios with - tours and holidays
You can find an overview of the tours to Ios Island in the section Ios - Tours overview where you can buy them with some of our special bonuses (a dicsount, a travel guide, or a map). Hotels, suites and studios are listed in the section Accomodation on Ios Island. Besides that, we recommend you the check the offer directly on the site of the organizing travel agency (you sill find the links in the chart), as not all the special or last offers are always updated.
When to visit Ios?
This 18 km long mountainous island of the Cyclades Archipelago is tempting its visitors since the first days of spring till late autumn. Early in spring or on the contrary at the end of the peak season, it will fascinate especially the lovers of history and hiking. In the hot summer, it attracts mainly visitors from all over the world who come there to bathe in the crystal clear Aegean Sea, and last but not least, also for fun in some of the many local music clubs.
The island beaches are ranked among the best in Europe by the visitors themselves. Who could resist the fine gold and white sand on more than 70 km of coast of the turquoise Aegean Sea? Around the island, you will find bays with sandy beaches laid up like pearls, offering to the curious ones to discover them just for themselves. The water is usually crystal clear as it is washed by sea currents that also also wash and clean the beaches. That’s why the beaches are perfect for diving (e.g. in Plakoto or Petradi). But if you are searching more for waves and some adrenaline, you should better visit Psathi.
Where to go to Ios?
The most popular resort is Mylopotas, the centre of night merrymaking where people dance till the morning hours, and of never-ending parties. Besides that, those who are interested in a more active holiday, will find there a nice beach with complete tourist equipment. Other popular resorts are e.g. Gialos, Koumbara or Manganari.
The capital of Ios Island
The capital of Ios Island bears, likes many other Greek islands, some kind of universal name for a capital, Chora (or Hora). This name is used especially by the locals; the others tend to use more the name referring to the whole island, i. e. Ios. This town, or more precisely a bigger island village, lies on the western coast, and from the port, you can get to the city centre during a nice 15 minute walk.
Centre of Ios - Chora
Chora can boast especially its unique atmosphere, owed to the typical Greek architecture - the white lines of the four-sided houses, crooked streets, and cascade staircases. That is why it is not accessible for cars but perfect for pedestrians who can savour their nice walks better, without worrying about smog and undisciplined drivers. On your way through the town, you will see plenty of little cafés, restaurants, bars and discos. But the town will satisfy also those who like to go shopping - they will find shops with souvenirs, jewellery and fashion, as well as minimarkets with food and drinks. While some tourists come there only for a visit and for cultural events, other prefer to put up there for the night in some of the nice hotels, pensions or private rooms.
Ios - Chora and surroundings
The most beautiful view on the whole coastal area will open before you when you clinb up to the peak of Ios Island which is Panaghia Gremiotissa, and that at any time of the day. Yet from this place, the most impressive thing is to observee the nostalgic sunset that will conjure up an array of rainbow colours on the sky. On the outskirts of the island setllement, you can see a row of 12 adorable windmills, with a natural amphitheatre nearby where cultural events, theatre performances and concerts are held.
To Ios Island
The only way to get to the island is by sea, as the island doesn’t have its own airport. It is connected with the mainland through boat and ferry transport with regular boat lines departing from the Greek port of Piraeus. The journey takes between 4 to 9 hours depending on the type of connection. Nonetheless, if you plan to visit more interesting places of the Cyclades, you can get to Ios also from the islands of Crete, Mykonos, Naxos or Santorini. Another option that will also save your time, is to use air transport either to the Greek mainland or to some of the islands with connection to Ios, and then continue to Ios Island by boat or ferry.
On Ios Island
During the summer months, you can transport yourself comfortably by buses from the towns of Ormos, Chora a Mylopotas, given that the island is not very large, or use a taxi or some of the car and motorcycle rental services and move on your own. There is a boat connection between the island ports.
History of Ios
According to some of the scientific research on Ios, there was human settlement on the island as early as three thousand years ago. Some of its remnants can be seen till todays on the peak called Skaros where the remains of the buildings and the original sewage system built for the comfort of the then inhabitants can be found.
As far as mythology is concerned (which is an inherent part of Greece), the island is associated Homer, the illustrious Greek poet and the author of the famous epic poems of Iliad and Odyssey. Ios is reputedly the homeland of Homer’s mother and also the place of the eternal rest of the artist himself - on the north of the island, you can visit his tomb in the place called Plakotos.
Ios - geography, nature and people
As a part of the Cyclades Archipelago, Ios is located in the southern waters of the Aegean Sea within a stone’s throw from the neighbouring islands including Amorgos, Anafi, Naxos, Paros, Santorini and Sikinos. On its more than 100 square kilometres, Ios has a varied landscape with the dominating highest peak of the island, Pyrgos, situated in the very centre of the island and reaching a bit more than 700 m. Given the small island size, it is possible to drive, walk or overcome in any other manner the short distances between different places of interest. After all the whole territory of the island is only 17 km wide. The local landscape is typical with its hilly structure, with the slopes stretching al over its length up to the sea surface.
The island has only about 2 000 inhabitants of who most are employed in tourism which is their main source of livelihood. Obviously people also decicate themselves to animal farming and agriculture in general, and fishing, although it has to be said that the local sea is a bit poorer in seafood than other parts of Greece.