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Ios at a glance

OK, so Ios is a party island. Thousands of young people flock there from all over the world knowing they can drink and dance all night, sleep all morning, sunbathe and swim on a gorgeous beach in the afternoon, then start the frantic cycle all over again after dinner. Repeat x 7 days or more.

Yet Ios is a lovely island with several other faces. Visitors don’t need to travel far to find a more authentic Greece where the “faces” are serene, relaxed and very beautiful.

Destination Profile

First, Ios is iconically Cycladic. Dazzling white houses, blue-domed churches, endless summer sunshine, unbelievably clear blue sea, wonderful beaches, steep hills and sheer cliffs.

All around the island are lovely sandy beaches and tiny little coves. There are busy beaches with sunbeds, sunshades, water sports and tavernas. There are others with no facilities at all - and some that fall comfortably between two extremes. The further away from the main town, the fewer visitors there are.

This historic island also has the remains of a Bronze Age village where 300 people lived thousands of years ago, the ruins of a medieval Venetian castle and a tomb where the Ancient Greek poet Homer may have been buried.

As the ferry enters the long bay leading to the port of Gialos visitors see the Cycladic beauty of Ios. The quaint cube-shaped houses of the main town, known as Ios Town, Chora or “the village”, sprawl over a hillside topped with picturesque windmills and a church.

There are lots of churches and a cathedral and in true Greek style the village elders sit outside the cafes and sip their Greek coffees or ouzo. But as the sun starts to set the mood begins to change.

Those cute houses become bars, clubs or cafes. The locals go home as the party-people, there for the nightlife, take over. By midnight the main square is packed-tight with singing and dancing young men and women with drinks in their hands.

Many of them stay in the nearby resort of Mylopotas which has a long beach, supported by lots of water sports and backed by tavernas and bars. One bar, with king-sized hanging sunbeds, is said to look like a Love Island set. However, the lovely golden sand and shallow, clean water makes Mylopotas popular with families.

So Ios has many different faces. But for a variety of reasons they are all smiling!

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Where to stay in Ios

Ios And Mylopotas

Ios Marina

Ios Marina, nestled on the captivating Greek island of Ios, offers a diverse range of activities and experiences, from sun soaked beaches to vibrant village life and Aegean adventures.

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Young couples and groups are attracted by the superb Mylopotas' sandy beach and great nightlife.

Frequently Asked Questions

As Ios doesn’t have an airport, how do you get there?

Olympic customers from the UK fly to Santorini where they are transferred to the harbour to catch the ferry to Ios. Sailing away from Santorini provides a fantastic opportunity to gaze in wonder at the island’s iconic image - tiny white houses clinging to stark cliffs created by a huge volcanic explosion thousands of years ago. The ferry takes just under an hour to reach Ios.

Does Ios have ATM cash machines?

There are five ATM cash machines at the time of writing. One is at the port, another at Mylopotas and three in Ios Town.  Most bars and restaurants accept cards but some, especially in more remote areas, prefer cash.

What is Homer’s connection with Ios?

The tomb of Homer, said by some to be the greatest Ancient Greek storyteller, is a popular tourist attraction on the northern tip of Ios. Graves from around the period of his death were found there, one with an inscription about him. His mother was said to live on Ios. Stories about his death include him going home to die when he was ill, being killed when he failed to solve a riddle and falling over and hitting his head after being scared by children. The stories date back to writings made long after his death. 

Best Time to Visit Ios

The sun beams down for 13 or 14 hours a day in the summer but the temperature in Ios rarely soars to scorching heatwave levels. The Mediterranean meltemi wind keeps the average maximum temperature to a more comfortable 25 degrees Centigrade between June and September. Rainy days almost never happen - and the Aegean Sea is always pleasantly warm.

Every night is, of course, party night in the clubs of Ios Town - but there are other reasons for partying too. There are more than 300 churches on the island and each one celebrates its saint’s day each year. The feast of drinking, dancing and eating that accompanies these religious festivals often goes on late into the night.

On June 24 a festival is held on the island’s highest mountain, 2,300 feet up on the summit of Mount Pyrgos. On August 15 there is a procession of the icon of the Virgin Mary in Ios Town (Chora). Two festivals are held to celebrate St John the Baptist on August 29, one at a monastery and the other on Psathi beach near the church. And on September 8 a festival for the Virgin Mary is held at a church inside the ruins of a Venetian castle at Paleokastro.

Events are regularly held at Odysseas Elytis, a stone and marble amphitheatre behind the Ios Town windmills. It can hold up to 1,000 people and has spectacular views.

Ios Travel Advice

The island is only 11 miles long and asphalt roads link Ios Town (Chora) with Homer’s tomb and Plakato beach in the north with Maganari beach in the south. There is an unpaved road to a viewing point near the top of Mt Pyrgos, the highest mountain.

Boat: Ios has an extensive network of ferry connections; there are direct ferries to Paros (2 hours) with connections through Paros to Mykonos (4 hours), Samos (10 hours) & Athens (8 hours).

Bus: KTEL buses provide a very frequent service between the most popular beach at Mylopotas, Ios Town (also known as Chora) and Gialos, the port. In July and August this service runs every 15 minutes from 8am until midnight every day. Daily return services operate to at least three outlying beaches. The bus terminal is near the ferry quay.

Car: There are rental businesses at the port and in Ios Town.  Cycles and mountain bikes can also be rented and there are tracks and paths for those who want to go off road.