Ios, Greece

Ios, Greece

© Lachesis

Ios is a Greek island, part of the Cyclades group, located in the central parts of the Aegean Sea. It's a rocky island halfway between Naxos and Santorini and has less than 2,000 people living on its 109 square kilometres surface. It's a popular tourist destination and some beaches nowadays are overcrowded like many of the other popular islands of Greece.



Sights and Activities

  • Chora is the main village of Ios and very scenic with its small alleys and white-washed houses, though it has become quite touristy, especially crowded at night. Ios Chora is located on the western side of the island, 20 minutes walk from the port. It is built amphitheatrically, and due to its traditional Cycladic architecture, it looks like a jewel on the cliff. Despite the great amount of tourists, Ios Chora has kept its character, and it has been proclaimed a preserved settlement. The narrow labyrinth-like pebbled streets can easily impress everyone, and the walk around them and the cute shops, cafes and restaurants is one of the best things to do in Ios.
  • The windmills - The finest samples of the Cycladic architecture in Ios Chora are the windmills at the entrance of the town. The windmills were used to produce energy and helped enormously the agricultural economy of the island. Today, they are used as houses surrounded by colourful gardens, and they stand as charming structures that offer the landscape beauty and harmony.
  • Homer's tomb - Only 4,5 kilometres from Chora. The area where the so-called grave of Homer is located offers a unique view. You can go there from a marked trail (10'). On the way you will find a sheltered gazebo for relaxation and contemplation. Around the area you will see some buildings made of stone, that were used by the breeders. Near the tomb of Homer lies the deserted village of Plakoto. The existence of the tomb of Homer on the island is due to the references of ancient historians and travelers.
  • The open air theater - Odysseas Elytis Theater is one of the most beautiful modern theaters in Greece. It was built by a German architect who was in love with the island. The location of it offers a stunning view over Mylopotas beach and the Aegean sea. This theater is dedicated to Odysseas Elytis a famous Greek poet who was born in the 30s who was awarded with a Nobel price. Plenty of concerts or theatrical plays are performed there. The best time to visit it is in the afternoon or early evening before the sunset.
  • Archaeological museum
  • The Old castle (Paleocastro) - It is a castle built in the eastern part of Ios. The castle was built by the Byzantines probably for the supervision of the Aegean sea routes. Today, ruins are hidden from the walls and ruins of its internal buildings. Inside you can discover the small temple of Panagia Paleokastritsa.
  • The Venetian Castle - The ruins of the Venetian Castle, which lie on the top of the hill above Chora, are an interesting place to visit. There, you will be informed about the history of the island and enjoy a cultural walk that is one of a kind.
  • The marina in the port
  • The Archaeological site of Skarkos - The site of Skarkos is an ancient settlement in Ios, built in the early Bronze Age (3,000 B.C.), and it is considered as one of the most significant prehistoric settlements in the Aegean Sea. This city was built on terraces, and you can admire there the streets between the houses as well as the walls of houses and public spaces. Excavations have unearthed small artifacts, such as marble figurines, obsidian ware, amphorae, seals, ceramics, stone vessels and tools.
  • The church of Panagia Gremniotissa - This wonderful little church is located on the highest hill in the Chora of Ios. It offers a spectacular 360° view of the Chora as well as the Aegean sea. This Byzantine church was built where a Venetian castle used to be and it is situated on the eastern part of the island. To find it you have to walk along the picturesque alleys inside the Chora and follow the signs that lead to the top of the hill. Wear comfortable shoes. The sunset, it is just amazing. Make sure you bring your camera since it is one of the best places in the whole Cyclades.
  • The beach of Maganari, which is one of the most secluded. Crystal clear water, tranquil surrounding, a stunning beach shape and totally unspoiled Manganari is ideal for families, kids and all of those who are looking for relaxation while they are on the island of Ios. The beach is partly organised and has a couple of taverns with traditional Greek cuisine right on the beach. This beach was one of the locations where the epic movie "The Big Blue" was filmed back in the 80s.
  • The beach of Mylopotas, which is the most famous on the island. This beautiful beach is very close to the Chora of the Island and it is also the meeting point for everyone visiting Ios. The beach of Mylopotas is wide with beautiful gold sand, and has various beach bars and taverns one next to the other along the beach. The bars of Mylopotas organise day parties and music events with Dj's during the summer and they usually have loud music and lots of fun.
  • The beach of Agia Theodoti - This quiet, gorgeous beach is located on the northeast side of the island and it is ideal for families, couples, and group of friends who are looking for a break away from the endless party vibe of Ios island. It is just 9 kilometres from the Chora of the island and you can get here either by car or by bus or taxi. It is a large, sandy beach that is great for water sports. It is very easy to get around with the local bus around the island, the ticket start from €1,5 depending on where you want to go. The buses are new and comfortable so your short journey will be fine. It is a nudism friendly beach and it is partly organised.
  • The beach of Gialos - Gialos is the second most popular beach in Ios after Mylopotas Ios. It is family-friendly, with golden sand, and in addition to waters sports and windsurfing, Gialos has also a diving club.
  • The beach of Psathi - Psathi is a calm resort on the eastern side of the island. It is secluded, but is has some tourism development, and thus, it is ideal for family moments.
  • The beach of Koumbara - Koumbara is a sandy beach that owes its popularity to its closeness to Ios Chora as well as its natural beauty. It is a developed tourist spot with taverns, sunbeds and accommodation options.
  • The beach of Kalamos - Kalamos is a wonderful beach on the southern side of the island. It is secluded and has no tourism facilities, so it is important to take supplies with you. Its relaxing atmosphere is a perfect alternative to the busy resorts of Ios.
  • The beach of Kolitsani - Kolitsani is a small beach south of the port, which is a popular anchorage for sailing yachts. Its landscape has rocky hills and trees, and it is nudism-friendly and not organised.
  • The nightlife - Ios is famous all over Greece for its nightlife. In Ios Chora, the bars and clubs are numerous, and you can have fun until the dawn. That is why the place is perfect for young travellers, who want to have unforgettable experiences, meet new people, dance, drink and laugh in their vacations.
  • The Cuisine - Ios, like all Greek islands, follows the typical Mediterranean diet with plenty of fish, vegetables and fruits thanks to the rich vegetation and the significant agricultural production. Seafood, like stuffed artichokes, stuffed squids, octopus and every kind of fish are cooked in a unique way in all taverns of the island. Ios is also widely known for the different kinds of cheese (xinotyri, white kefalotyri, skotiri, mizithra). Due to the important production of vegetables, Ios cuisine offers also many dishes ideal for vegans, like revithokeftedes (chickpea balls), tomatokeftedes (tomato patties), tsimetia (stuffed courgette blossoms) and sun-dried white-bait. The delicacies of Ios offer you a great variety: amygdalota, kaltsounia, melitinia, pastelli, avgokalamara (also called kserotigana), dried fig rolls bound with sesame seeds. Ios is also known for its honey. There is a fine variety of honey, which is called Mayotiko because it is honey made from May flowers and is noted for its aroma and amber colour.

If you are looking for a destination where you could go without a car. This might be it. Ios is not a big island but apart from this, the bus routes are plenty and you can literally get anywhere you want on the island with a bus so a car is not necessary at all. The only problem you may have is after midnight if you live very far from Chora as taxis are not enough to satisfy the big demand. Another way to explore Ios - if you want to feel a bit adventurous - is by renting an ATV.




Ios has a very nice Mediterranean climate with warm, dry and sunny summers and mild but wetter winters. During the summermonths (June - September) it's mostly between 26 and 30 degrees Celsius during the day and 20-22 degrees Celsius at night. Winters last from December to February when it's about 13-16 degrees Celsius during the day and 10-12 degrees at night. Most of the rain falls from November to February, summers are almost completely dry.

Blue island

Blue island

© cpcoelho



Getting There

By Plane

There used to be seaplanes between Ios and Lavrio with Air Sealines but serves were suspended in 2007 and haven't resumed yet. It's best to fly to Crete or Mykonos or a few of the other islands mentioned below (by boat) and take an onward ferry or fast boat/catamaran.

By Boat

There are at least four daily connections with Piraeus (seven hours), Paros (2½ hours) and Naxos (1¼ hours). There are daily boats to Santorini (1¼ hours), five-weekly boats to Sikinos (30 minutes), Folegandros (1½ hours) and Anafi (three hours) and four weekly boats to Syros (2¾ hours). There are three boats weekly to Milos (3½ hours) and Mykonos (seven hours), two boats weekly to Kimolos (2½ hours), Sifnos (five hours), Serifos (six hours) and Kythnos (8½ hours).
One boat goes to Amorgos on Saturday (2½ hours).

Check the Greek Travel Pages for an impression about companies, schedules and prices, as the choice is very wide. Or check the Greek Ferries website or another one about Ferries between islands in Greece.

Apart from the regular ferries, there are faster but more expensive boats and catamarans:
There are daily catamarans to Piraeus (5½ hours), Santorini (40 minutes), Naxos (one hour), Paros (1½ hours), Mykonos (two hours) and Heraklion and Rethymno on Crete (2½ hours).




Keep Connected


Internet access is widely available throughout the country. Almost all hotels provide internet access, either free or paid. Local coffee shops usually offer free Wi-Fi access, as many other public places do. Feel free to ask for the password, if the network is locked. Internet cafes however tend to be expensive, about €1.5-2 per hour.


See also: International Telephone Calls

The cheapest way to call someone abroad is to use a pre-paid calling card and call from a land line anywhere (also from your hotel room). Pre-paid calling cards are sold in many shops and kiosks. The calling card is not much more than a phone number and a pin code, which you dial prior to dialing the usual phone number. If you want to call internationally, ask for an international calling card. For one euro you can call for about 45 minutes, so buy a card in the cheapest value (which is about €3). Calling someone for half an hour is cheaper than sending one email from an internet café. Cards expire usually 90 days after first use. You can also use this pre-paid calling card at public phone boxes, which are widely available.

Mobile phones are prevalent in Greek's communication, and if you need to talk with your co-travelers it is advised that you buy a local prepaid plan instead of using roaming, as it is far cheaper. There are at least three mobile carriers, Cosmote, Wind and Vodafone all of which require by law presenting some form of identification in order to activate your prepaid plan. Choose whichever has better reception in your area, keeping in mind that GSM 900, GSM 1800 and UMTS 2100 bands are supported. Data usage is cheap, costing about €3 per 100 MB. Ask the mobile carrier for more information.


Hellenic Post is the Greek postal service. On their website you find more information about options to send letters, postcards and parcels and there is a search function regarding post offices and post boxes. It also has information on services like paying bills, transferring money, financial products etc. Greek post codes are five digits long and are usually written as follows; 123 45. The first three digits are used to identify the city, municipality or prefecture, for example the digits between 100 and 180 relate to the city of Athens. The last two digits identify a street or part of a street. Most post offices are open Monday to Friday from 07:30-14:00, although the largers ones usually have longer opening hours. For sending packages, you can also use international courier services like DHL, UPS or TNT.

Quick Facts


  • Latitude: 36.731461
  • Longitude: 25.289841

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This is version 15. Last edited at 16:36 on Apr 23, 18 by Utrecht. 5 articles link to this page.

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