September 11, 2017
Ari’s Travel Guide to Ios Greece
My summer 2017 was full of travel to new destinations. After flying Air France Premium Economy to Paris and exploring Yerevan, the capital of Armenia, I headed over to Greece. To get to the Greek islands, you either take a ferry or fly a regional jet. First, I took a 40 minute Olympic Air flight from Athens to Mykonos (service on that flight was excellent), then I took a two-hour high-speed ferry from Mykonos to Ios. Every Greek island has a different feel to it and attracts different types of travelers. Ios is the third Greek island I’ve visited (I went to Santorini and Paros back in 2014).
As with all Aegean islands, Ios is full of beautiful views everywhere you turn. Sunsets were particularly amazing, whether viewing from the top of the island or from the beach. Ios features the classic white and blue Greek architecture you always see in postcards.
There’s one main town on the island, called Chora. It’s about a five-minute bus ride from the only port on the island. This is the hub of island life. Chora is full of restaurants, pools, hotels, shops, and bars within walking distance. If you want to explore the entire island, you can rent an ATV or car from one of the nearby rental car agencies. Speaking of which, there’s only two gas stations on the entire island, and they’re both located near Chora. So be sure to fill up before driving off.
My friend and I rented a car and drove around most of the island on one of our days there. If you know anything about Greek history, you’ll know who Homer is. Homer is the legendary Greek poet who wrote the Iliad and the Odyssey over 2,500 years ago. You can find his tomb nestled on one of Ios’s hills overlooking the sea. Not a bad place to be laid to rest.
You can explore the many beaches around Ios if you have a car (this is an island so there’s a lot). We found rock beaches and sand beaches and noticed that some were colder than others. I personally enjoyed Mylopotas beach the most as it has a very relaxing vibe and the sand was just perfect. Mylopotas appears to be popular with tourists, so it will be busy. It’s just a five minute bus ride from Chora. If you want a more secluded beach with more local Greeks, you should rent a car and head to one of the beaches either on the North or the South of the island.
We accidently found the prehistoric site of Skarkos, located about a 15-minute drive from Chora. It’s basically rows of ancient stone walls laid out around a hill. I wouldn’t recommend trying to find it since it wasn’t particularly interesting. But, I met the friendlies donkey I’ve ever seen at Skarkos. He was a stray from one of the nearby farmers who’d wandered over to graze. He followed me as I walked around the site, and when I sat by him to take photos he put his head in my lap and began licking my arm! When it was time to leave, he looked absolutely distraught.
Greece in general is full of churches. I’ve only seen more churches in Armenia. This was the largest church I found on the island, located at the base of Chora. You’ll find dozens of small churches scattered all throughout the island if you go exploring.
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I need to mention the party scene on Ios as well. Ios is aptly known as one of the Greek party islands. The bars and nightclubs in Chora come to life every night around 1:00 AM and the music doesn’t stop till sunrise. If you want to start partying before then, Far Out Beach Club is a great place to visit. It’s located in front of Mylopotas beach and is a quick bus stop away from Chora. Far Out is a combination hotel and outdoor air club. Parties there go from around 7:00-10:00 PM. Scroll over my Instagram post above and play the video to see what it’s like.
Finally, know that everything in Ios is very affordable. You can get beer for 4€ at bars, a gyros sandwich for 2.50€, and full meals for around 10€. The island is full of backpackers from around the world who are drawn by the cheap prices and the young crowds. It’s quite similar to Bangkok in that way.