The famous ‘party island’ of Ios is just a short ferry ride from Santorini, making it a great option for a day trip.
Of course you can always stay longer – a choice of accommodation and activities, from simply relaxing on some of Greece’s best beaches, to swimming, diving, windsurfing and water skiing, making in a perfect honeymoon and romantic getaways destination.
Hire a car and explore this hilly and rocky island, sprinkled with picturesque whitewashed buildings that often lie scattered across hilltops.
At Plakoto, visit the tomb of the ancient Greek poet Homer, author of epics such as the Odyssey and Iliad.
In Ios Town (also known as Chora), climb up to the white church of Panaghia Gremiotissa, the highest spot in the village, for panoramic views over the island and the small harbour of Ormos.
Admire traditional whitewashed windmills, visit the hilltop ruins of a 15th century Venetian fortress and browse the winding stone streets of Chora, crammed with fashion and jewellery boutiques, cafes, tavernas and bars (which only open at night).
By day, watch locals chatting in cafes and playing backgammon in Hora’s tiny central square; after dark, this typically becomes the setting for noisy al fresco parties that spill into a myriad of alleyways packed with late-night bars offering a medley of rock, blues, Latin or jazz.
Ios offers a great choice of beaches, including the following …
Pick your own spot to sunbathe on this kilometre-long crescent of white sand that fringes a calm, deep blue bay that is perfect for swimming.
Surrounded on three sides by bush-sprinkled hillsides, Mylopotas is lined with a choice of beach bars, cafes and tavernas. Mylopotas is also the busiest and most popular beach on Ios. Facilities include sun beds, umbrellas and a range of watersports.
Mylopotas is located on the southwest coast of Ios, just five minutes by scooter or 15 minutes by bus from Hora or slightly longer on foot from Chora.
Although located only a few minutes walk from the port of Ormos, this popular white-sand beach is less crowded than Mylopotas.
The beach is framed by hillsides dotted with small white-washed homes and stands of small green trees.
Enjoy a refreshing swim, sunbathe on the soft sand or get active with a range of beach and watersports facilities. Yialos is lined with restaurants, cafes and mini markets and has a friendly beach bar.
This 300m-long sandy beach is a quiet alternative to busy Mylopotas Beach. Relax on the soft golden sand, go swimming and snorkelling in the shallow waters of the beautiful bay and savour the sunset with a cold drink from the beach bar.
This uncrowded beach is just a 30-minute walk north of Ormos port and can also be reached by bus.
This beautiful white-sand beach is located on the south coast of Ios, around 23km from Ormos port. The beach is easily accessed by water taxi and car or on foot.
Given the distance from Chora, this wide beach is generally uncrowded and offers the option of exploring the coastline to discover neighbouring coves and equally pretty sand and pebble beaches.
The bay is calm and offers excellent swimming and snorkelling. Facilities include some watersports and a few beachfront tavernas.
Unwind on this crescent of fine golden sand that shelves into the blue waters of a wide bay framed with rocky headlands.
Unusual for such a pretty beach, Kalamos is usually empty as it is located on the east coast of Ios, near to the monastery of the same name, and far from the more popular Mylopotas Beach, which is much closer to the town.
Sunbathe in seclusion and refresh with a cooling swim in the warm clear waters of the bay.
Discover an idyllic hidden cove, best visited by boat. This gorgeous white-sand beach shelves into calm crystalline waters that are perfect for swimming and lies to the south of Kalamos.
Escape the crowds of Mylopotas for this secluded white-sand beach that shelves into the clear waters of a picturesque bay located just south of Kalamos.
Go swimming and snorkelling or wander along the rocky hillside that frames the bay. With no beachside facilities, it’s probably best to pack a picnic and sun umbrella when visiting Plakas.
Relax in seclusion on a choice of two unspoiled golden-sand beaches that lie beneath terraced fields and are framed by rocky hills and a turquoise bay perfect for swimming and snorkelling.
Savour a cold drink and tasty seafood snack at the local taverna or stay longer. During windy days the beach is popular among windsurfers. Psathi is located on the east coast near the town of the same name.
The best time to visit Ios for a beach holiday is from mid-June to mid-September, when the weather is warm and sunny.
However, anytime from mid-May to mid-October is good for a range of outdoor activities.
Ios enjoys a Mediterranean climate with hot, sunny summers and cool, wet winters. Despite the winter rainfall, Ios is considered a year-round destination. The island is quite windy; during summer, temperatures are cooled by a frequent wind – the Meltemi – that blows from the north.
For more climate info: Ios Weather Guide…
Ios is located halfway between Naxos and Santorini in the Cyclades, a group of islands that lies in the southern Aegean Sea, about 200km (120mi) southeast of mainland Greece.
The Cyclades also includes Mykonos, Paros, Naxos and Santorini, plus a number of smaller islands.
The most convenient route to Ios is by air to Santorini International Airport (JTR), followed by a fast 35-minute catamaran ride to Ios.
Alternatively, you can fly to Naxos Airport (JNX), and board a catamaran for the 40-minute trip to Ios; or take a Seajets catamaran from Pireaus, the port of Athens, to Ios, taking 4 hours, once daily.
More information on how to get to Ios…
Latest update: Ios Honeymoon : 23 July, 2022