Ios in Greece

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Ios is located in the central Cyclades north of Santorini, and south of Naxos. Ios has more than 2,000 permanent inhabitants, almost everyone lives in Chora (1,750 inhabitants). The surface area is 109 km2, which means that Ios is the eighth largest island in the Cyclades. The two closest neighbours are Sikinos and Folegandros. The highest mountain measuring 713 meters above sea level. The main - not to say the only - source of income for the islanders is tourism.

Ios is too many synonymous with a 24-hour party. But it is not like that anymore. But Ios was, together with Mykonos, the Cyclades' main entertainment metropolis for several decades. Young crowds from all over the world were attracted by cheap alcohol and late nights. How could it be like that?

But why did little Ios become famous throughout the western world to be the best party island? It began when the island was discovered by hippies in the mid-seventies. After a few years, a rumour went among Europe's interrailers about a liberated island with kilometres long sandy beaches and a moderate view of alcohol. More and more "ordinary" tourists came to the island. Ouzeris and kafenións were transformed into bars and discos. The hippies moved on and the rest is history.

I myself experienced Ios transformation from a rural idyll to a party island. I spent more than 1½ years on Ios during the 1980s, it is the funniest decade of my life.

Mylopotas - one of Greece's most mythical beaches.

Mylopotas - one of Greece's most mythical beaches.


Chora is considered by many as one of Greece's most beautiful villages.

Chora is considered by many as one of Greece's most beautiful villages.


Ios is still a kind of party island, but not at all as before. It's only during high season as the island (almost) lives up to its old reputation. During the low and shoulder season it is a fairly quiet island.

Today it is not more wild on Ios than it is, for example, on Naxos. Hotels that appeal to a completely different target group than young people have been built in recent years. There are even spa hotels, and hotels where each room has its own swimming pool. The islanders have understood that it is not possible to make their living on selling cheap alcohol, something else is needed. Many people leer jealously at the families' favourite island of Naxos, and in a longer perspective, some believe that Ios will attract tourists from Naxos. The thought is not stupid, Ios has almost as child-friendly beaches as Naxos.

I hope more families with children - and adults without children - will discover Ios. Because it's a fantastic island that has a lot to offer. Here are some of the best sandy beaches in the Cyclades. Not to mention Chora, which I think is one of the island world's most picturesque villages. Interesting sights are also found, as well as a beautiful and rural countryside with good hiking opportunities.

If you are looking for party, you have also come to the right island, but do not expect an island of thousands of partying young people. As said, that time has past. However - and this is important - Ios is something of Dr. Jekyll and Mr Hyde, depending on when you are there, and where you are. When I last visited Ios, I did not see a single drunk person for a whole week.

Ios port and the beautiful port beach of Gialos.

Ios port and the beautiful port beach of Gialos.


You can read more about Ios via the links at the top of this page. A very short summary of that information comes here:

You can go on a package holiday from some countries. If you travel independently to Ios, it is easiest to go by air to Santorini and travel on by ferry, the voyage only takes one hour. You can also fly to Athens and continue by ferry from Athens' port at Piraeus. The bus runs between the port, Chora and Mylopotas several times an hour. A few times a day the bus also runs to Manganari. Car and scooter can be rented in the port, Chora and Mylopotas.
Read more about how to travel to Ios here »

Ios largest village, Chora, is by many - me included - considered as one of the Greek island's most picturesque villages. Additionally there are two tourist resorts, Mylopotas and Ormos, as well as a tiny settlement called Psathi on the eastern side of the island.
Read more about the villages here »

As said, Ios has amazing sandy beaches. Some of them, like Manganari (see picture at the bottom of the page) and Mylopotas (see picture at the top of the page), belong to the best in the archipelago. Other fine beaches are Gialos, Kolitsani, Agios Theodoti, Valma and Koumbara. There is also several bathing-places with rocks, and if you like to sunbathe without clothes, there is room for you too.
Read more about the beaches here »

In my opinion Chora is Ios' main attraction. Do not miss to walk up to "The Top" of Chora and watch the sunset. Other attractions include Homer's Tomb, Paleokastro, Yannis Gaitis' Gallery and the archaeological site of Skarkos. There are also many beautiful churches and chapels.
Read more about the sights here »

The range of hotels and pensions is huge, and the standard is generally high. The big question is where to stay. Personally, I prefer to stay in Chora. If you want to stay near a beach, then choose the port or Mylopotas beach.
Suggestions for hotels can be found here »


Manganari beach on southern Ios

Manganari beach on southern Ios.

This amazing beach is a must when you are at Ios. You go here with your own vehicle, by bus or by boat.

Read more about Ios via the links at the top of the page




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