Home Destination Guides Accommodation 27th January 2020



(pronounced eeos)




Island Connections




     Nestled between the islands of Santorini and Naxos, Ios forms part of the Cycladic group of islands. It is a relatively unknown resort for many, but not for the party-goers who discovered its merits as far back as the 1960’s.  Since then, Ios’s bars and discos have kept generations of clubbers ‘strutting their stuff’ until dawn, in what is now a time-honoured fashion! 
     To the passing day tripper, Ios seems innocent enough.  This small island is condensed into one village - called unsurprisingly Ios Town (or Hora), and one port, Yialos, which is set below Ios Town at the end of a narrow inlet.  From the port there is an old mule pathway, a mixture of steps and track that wind their way for 1 kilometre up to Ios Town. Alternatively many people take the local bus up to the town, which takes about 5 minutes – so no contest really!
     During the day Hora seems much like any other Cycladic village with its pretty whitewashed houses, characteristic windmills and narrow streets dotted with small chapels.  But as night falls, the unassuming houses in the lower town fling open their doors to transform into a myriad of bars, discos and clubs, attracting an international set of young people determined to dance the night away.  Don’t rush to get started though as the place doesn’t really hot up until 11pm, but from then on Cycladic clubbers unite!  Aside from the bars Hora has a good choice of restaurants, tavernas, supermarkets, a bank, ATM machine, dentist, chemist, doctors and a variety of shops. 
     If you take the time to climb up Hora hill at the top of the village you will be rewarded with one of the most stunning views encompassing Ios and a magnificent vista across the Aegean Sea beyond.  Sunset is the best time to make the trek, as Hora faces west, and there is usually a steady trail of sunset watchers making their way up the hill to savour this amazing view.
    Down in the port area at Yialos there is a further choice of restaurants, tavernas, supermarkets, a bakery and, yes you’ve guessed it, more bars!  Yialos has its own beach with nearby Koumbara and Almiros beach to the north.  Around the headland to the south of Yialos and just 2 kilometres from Hora is the fabulous beach of Milopotamos.  Milopotamos Beach is an extensive swathe of golden sand, with a choice of water sports on offer, windsurfing being popular in high season as Ios tends to get its fair share of the meltemi winds.  The beach is backed by a selection of tavernas and restaurants and in the village there are mini markets, shops and an ATM machine.
     The local bus does a good job, running a frequent shuttle service between Yialos Port, Hora and Milopotamos Beach, but during peak times and in high season the buses become packed (and you should keep a hand on your wallet, as these are ideal circumstances for some people to subsidise their drinking habits…).  In fact, in high season, due to the close proximity of Yialos, Hora and Milopotamos all being within a 4 kilometre radius of each other, the whole place appears packed!
    If the pace gets too much, there are quieter sandy beaches on the southern coast at Manganari, which you can visit by beach boat from Yialos port. You might also wish to try Agios Theodotis on the east coast. 
     Ios is sadly lacking in tourist sights, although most of the people visiting will not have sightseeing on their priority list.  There is one claim to fame, however, because according to legend, Homer was buried on Ios, in the north of the island, but lack of public transport links means that the alleged tomb is difficult to get to and there is not much more to identify it than a scattering of stones. 
    Package holidays to Ios are offered by only a few Greek specialist holiday companies.  There is no airport on the island so the only way to visit is by boat.  Most packages include a charter flight to a nearby island, usually Santorini, with an onward ferry to Ios.  Ferries from Santorini to Ios will take approximately 1 hour and 15 minutes, whilst a crossing by hydrofoil will take approximately 45 minutes. 
    Due to its dependency on ferries Ios has excellent connections with the other Cycladic islands and the Greek mainland all year round, so Ios will present no problems for the independent traveller.  In high season Ios has a choice of daily crossings by ferry and/or hydrofoil to Santorini, Paros, Naxos and Mykonos and the Athens port of Pireaus (ferry only).  Other destinations included on a regular, although not necessarily daily, basis are Sikinos, Folegandros, Syros and the Greek mainland port of Rafina.
     With such frequent ferries there is always the option of flying to one of the other Cycladic islands, such as Mykonos, Naxos or Paros, in addition to Santorini, and travelling from there to Ios. 
    However it should be noted that ferry schedules are subject to the vagaries of Greek shipping companies, adverse weather conditions and various delays particularly on the more circuitous routes.  In particular the meltemi winds can blow for days causing chaos with ferry schedules, therefore all schedules and timings should be checked locally and care should be taken to return to your flight departure island in plenty of time for your return flight home. 




The foregoing information was last reviewed in May 2010. Things change, and whilst we are often travelling in Greece we do rely to some extent upon others to provide updates in order to keep the site as current and accurate as possible!  If you have updates or information that you think should be included here, please mail the webmaster@aguide2greece.com  - thank you.



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