Last summer, I visited the beautiful island of Ios, a former party island, where you will still find some intense nightlife.
As a student, I visited it many years ago, and I remember its clubs and many bars!
But, after my last visit last year, I found an island that aims to re-introduce itself, providing more high-quality services and experiences.
In my opinion, the island is in the transition period, so it provides a mixed combination of different elements, which is very interesting!
In this post, I’ll provide more details about the best things to do in Ios as well as some lesser-known recommendations that you might not find easily online:
- Personally, I book all my hotels through Booking.com, as nowadays it includes many apartments, just like Airbnb, and it’s easier and more reliable, and I think it has a better cancellation policy.
- If you go to Ios by ferry, I always use Ferryscanner to book the ferry tickets! Also, if you are considering island hopping, this is the best platform I have seen!
- The best time to visit Ios Island is from May until early October. The high season, of course, is July and August, which makes September (my favourite month) and June the best months.
- Ios has many restaurants and great bars and nightlife!
Best things to do on Ios Island
#Enjoying Mylopotas Beach
This is one of the most famous beaches on the island and where we stayed for a few nights!
Stretching over a kilometre, on this beautiful, sandy beach, you will find sunbeds, umbrellas, and lively beach bars and restaurants.
Far Out Beach Club, situated on the coast, offers water sports equipment rentals and lessons with professional instructors. Also, Far Out Beach Club often organises DJ nights with a lot of dance and alcohol. A great place to be there for young people.
#Wandering at Chora
Chora of Ios is built higher than the island’s port (2 km.) on the slopes of a hill. It is an excellent and representative sample of Cycladic architecture, with its small churches, the whitewashed houses stuck next to each other, and the narrow streets with arcades and many steps. At the top rises Panagia Gremiotissa, from where the visitor enjoys a panoramic view!
Stop by the Archaeological Museum to explore Ios history and ancient artefacts.
For unique shopping, check out Ios’ Handcrafted Boutique, which sells locally made clothing, accessories, and jewellery.
#Visiting the Church of Panagia Gremiotissa
The 30-minute hike to the church begins in Chora. The church is known for its blue dome and intricate bell tower.
Apart from the miraculous icon of Saint Mary, the church is known for its blue dome, intricate bell tower, and unique view. In addition to Panagia Gremiotissa, three other churches are close to each other and offer a fantastic view. Thousands of visitors arriving on the island climb the hill to photograph the panoramic view and enjoy the Aegean from above.
Tip: Visit it during sunset for a breathtaking experience!
#Visiting Skarkos archaeological site
On the hill of Skarkos is the Proto-Cycladic settlement with a cemetery from the same period. It is considered one of the most important proto-Cycladic settlements and flourished in the middle of the 3rd millennium BC.
With the excavation research, which began in 1896 and continues to this day, a district was revealed to the east of the hill and parts of buildings to the west towards the side of the port. Finds show that the settlement flourished during the Early Bronze Age.
Information: At the beginning of the settlement, there is a parking space for your car. Of course, you can also follow the hiking trail from Chora.
You can take guided tours to learn about the archaeological site’s historical importance.
Full: €4, Reduced: €2
Winter: 08:30 – 15:30
Summer: 08:30 – 15:30
More information is here.
#Hiking at the Tomb of Homer
The hike to the tomb, which starts from the village of Plakoto, takes about 45 minutes. To be frank, it is not 100% sure that this is the tomb of Homer, as many different places claim this fact. But regardless of the site’s debated authenticity, the panoramic views of the Aegean Sea and surrounding landscapes make the journey worthwhile!
#Walking to the church Panagia Palaiokastritissa
Paleokastro, on the north side of Ios, is beautiful and peaceful. Built 300 meters above sea level, it is probably part of a Byzantine – and later Venetian – a fortress that dates back to the early 16th century! On top of this abandoned fortress is the church Panagia Palaiokastritissa.
Walking there, from the path to the cliff’s edge, is a unique experience, especially in the afternoon.
I loved the peacefulness of the place and the unique views.
And we were a little bit οon playful mode, as we used the sun to reflect our shades on the church’s wall!
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You can leave our car around here and then walk through the path to the church, which is here on the map.
#Do some Water sports
Companies like Ios Diving Center and Meltemi Watersports offer a variety of water activities with certified instructors, ensuring a safe and fun experience.
#Going out at Ios town / Nightlife
There are many different choices in Ios when it comes to nightlife.
Regarding entertainment, Disco69, located in the main square in the country, is the island’s trademark, with a nightlife tradition. Nothing to do with classic Disco!
“Sweet Irish” is the last to close in the early morning. To be frank, it is not to my taste, but admittedly it is extremely popular with tourists!
Far Out. On Mylopotas beach, the party never stops, and so does the music! Almost every day during the high season, there is a party at this club, which is the first choice of young people!
Enjoy the sun sunset from Pathos Club & Restaurant, an ideal place on the island to enjoy a sunset as it deserves. In addition to the incredible view of the vast Aegean, you can enjoy one of the most popular cocktails of Ios.
Other popular spots are Slammer Bar, Astra Cocktail Bar, The Nest and Allo Bar.
Found on the southeastern coast of Ios, Magganari is reachable by car or boat. The beach is split into several coves, providing privacy and seclusion. Enjoy authentic Greek cuisine at the nearby tavernas.
Take a boat trip
Several boat tours are available to explore the island’s hidden beaches, caves, and nearby islets. Some tours also offer opportunities for snorkelling and fishing.
Attend a local festival
If you’re visiting during the summer, watch for traditional Greek festivals, known as “panigiria,” that celebrate the island’s cultural heritage with food, music, and dancing.
Odysseas Elytis Theatre
Situated in Chora, this open-air amphitheater hosts various cultural events during the summer, such as concerts and theatrical performances. Check local event listings for upcoming shows.
A hidden treasure near the port of Ios, Valmas Beach is a small, peaceful beach with pebbles and clear waters. The beach is accessible via a short hike and is typically less crowded than other famous beaches on the island.
Agia Theodoti Beach
This serene beach features calm waters, ideal for families or those seeking relaxation. A small tavern nearby offers local dishes and refreshing drinks.
A lesser-known, picturesque beach with a relaxed ambience, perfect for enjoying the sunset. A beach bar and a few tavernas are nearby, providing refreshments and traditional Greek meals.
Participate in a Greek cooking class at Harmony Restaurant or Susanna’s Cooking Classes to learn about traditional recipes and ingredients. Enjoy a hands-on experience and taste the dishes you’ve created.
Keep in mind that some of these lesser-known recommendations might be seasonal or require advance booking. It’s a good idea to verify their availability before planning your trip.