Although Ios has long been a favourite amongst party animals, the Cycladic Island has a lot going on besides. There are long lazy days on the beach, swigging coffee at one of the all day beach clubs. Try breakfast of Ios honey (the most delicious I’ve ever tasted!) dabble in some water skiing at one of the island’s many waterways, go in search of Homer’s Tomb or eat, drink and be merry! Here are some of my favourite things to do in Ios.
|Mills of Ios GREECE : Photo Credit Titanas
Chora – the picturesque town is the beating heart of Ios. Filled with white washed little homes, steps up and down and winding paths, it’s easy to see why the hippies of 70s fell in love with the island. Today, Chora is a relaxed small town by day, with souvenir and jewellery shops dotting each twisting turn and locals filling up cafes playing backgammon. While by night, it kicks up a gear as the doors open to the many bars, clubs and discos (more on that shortly!)
Beaches – You can take your pick of jaw-dropping sandy beaches in Ios. Mylopotas beach is perhaps the most well known; a never strip of sparkling golden sand and home to the legendary Far Out Club, so you can hit the town without even leaving the sand. Manganari meanwhile is a little bit further afield. Made of three little coves, it is quite well protected from the wind and offers some respite from the crowds. Gyalos is close to the Port, easy to get to and is popular with locals too. There you’ll find plenty of hotels, tavernas and well-organized facilities.
|Mylopotas Beach : Photo Credit - Abir Anwar
Homer’s Tomb – It is said that the tomb of the poet Homer is found on Ios. According to legend the writer of the famous Odyssey and the Iliad is buried on a hill on the island. To get there, simply head north to the ancient town of Plakotos where you might be able to spot the rocky entrance. Even if you don’t believe the legend, the route there is filled with olive trees and makes for a scenic trip.
Churches – there are more churches in Ios than you could shake a stick at. In fact, around 365 means there’s one to visit for every day of the year. There are 26 alone in the main town of Chora. Many date back to the Byzantine era and house precious artifacts. The church of Agios Theodosios is a must-see. There are layers of ancient buildings to be found inside.
Katogi – Is a bit like something out of a fairytale! The restaurant whose name which translates to basement, is a husband-and-wife run establishment in the heart of Chora. Blending traditional Greek food with a modern sensibility, the food here is something special, with simple flavours that go together perfectly. The surroundings are traditional with a touch of kitsch and it’s always busy – definitely a good sign and it is great value to boot. Try the Popeye Salad and Tigania and a couple of shots of raki.
|Octopus for Dinner : Photo Credit - Titanas
Nightlife – I could not mention Ios without talking about its epic nightlife. In fact the harder you like to party the better for a holiday in Ios, (although having said that, it is genuinely easy to steer clear of the crazier nights out.) Definitely start out in Orange Bar, one of the friendliest bars on the whole island, which specializes in shots. Astra Bar is a cool cocktail with funky hand painted wall décor and Sweet Irish Dream is where to go after everything else is closed!
Hop to Santorini or Naxos – the nearby islands are just a couple of miles away and it’s easy to dash on a boat for a quick visit. Santorini is famous for its romance and iconic beaches, while Naxos, (like most Greek Islands) has some beautiful beaches and is one of the most fertile islands in the Cyclades. Its food is to die for!
Kate Power is from
Ireland but is based in right now and is happily exploring her adopted country. As community manager and blogger for Purple Travel, she's had a lot of opportunity for writing about film inspired travel, where to eat and the great and good of Athens, Greece Greece and Ireland. Connect with her on Google +.