Things that are meant to happen always find a way to happen! That’s the case with the amazing Ios Island Tour we took during our stay in Ios. A dear friend who lives on the island has emailed me joyfully (when I was in Athens) about a tour she thought it would fit us a glove: the Ios Island Tour organized by Meltemi Tours.
As it happens, when I was researching Ios, I narrowed down some places I really wanted to visit but haven’t figured out how to actually get there. May is not yet high season so the public transportation is not yet available (and we don’t drive…anything). And, by chance alone, we visited three of those places during this tour!
We met our guide, Robbie, a day before as we were having dinner in the port. We clicked and knew we were in for an amazing tour the next day.
On Tuesday morning, after our Greek breakfast, we left from our accommodation (in the port) towards the Chora bus stop (where the tour met), taking the (in)famous donkey path. We made it on time and soon enough, the group gathered.
And we were off to the first stop: Skarkos, a Bronze age (3rd millenium BC) settlement, the biggest of its kind in the Cyclades. The bus stopped on the main road and we walked to the settlement. Of course, we already made friends and chatted up a storm on our way there. Robbie also showed us the path built that connects Skarkos to Chora.
We learned a lot about the historical site thanks to Robbie. Info boards do exist through the site but they are not enough to give you the whole picture.
On the way back to the bus, we saw a typical Cycladic scene: someone riding a donkey as they were doing their chores for the day! Oh yes, and we also found wild oregano and rosemary.
Tip: visit the Museum after you do the tour as you will have a lot of background knowledge, which is extremely helpful when you see the exhibition.
From here, we continued to the east part of the island and stopped to visit the ruins of Paliokastro. The walk is easy – thanks to the paved path- but it is in direct sunshine and right at the edge of the mountain. If you have a problem with the heights, you’d probably want to be careful with this part. But, the reward after the trek is worth it!
You get a view of Aniparos, Paros, Naxos, Amorgos, as well as several other smaller islands.
Robbie, again, shared a lot of information with us, including what Paliokastro was used for, by whom, and what sort of battles were taking place in the area.
After the walk back to the bus, we were off to the fishing village of Psathi for lunch at Alonistra, a taverna which offers amazing Greek food.
The organizers asked if we had any culinary preferences (there were two vegetarians, including me, in the group) so they made sure to order plenty of vegetarian food. In all honesty, it is incredibly easy to be vegetarian in Greece! We shared a meal, the Greek style!
Some of the food we ate was: tzatziki, horiatiki (classical Greek salad), fried calamari, saganaki, and stuffed zucchini flowers. The meal ended with…yogurt with candied pumpkin (we all thought that was some sort of a fruit, not pumpkin) and, of course, a shot of raki.
Of course, we took the opportunity to chat with our new friends.
Those of us who wanted to check out the beach did so. I love the clear water and the amazing beach we had for ourselves.
We even got a bonus: Robbie took us to visit a small church near the taverna and, luckily, the keeper was around so we saw the beautifully painted inside.
Our driver, Kostas, was super nice to take us all the way to the port for the drop off. Very happy we made our way back to the accommodation to enjoy our afternoon siesta.
All in all, it was an amazing day out, exploring enchanting places, making new friends, and creating memories for a lifetime.
Check out Meltemi’s video featuring the highlights of the tour:
And here’s our video from the tour:
Things to consider:
- wear appropriate summer clothing
- don’t forget the sun hat or a bandana
- while there is a bit to walk when getting to and around both Skarkos and Paleokastro, you can easily do it in summer footwear (but maybe not flip flops)
- do not hesitate to state your food preferences as they will be taken into account at the tavern when ordering food
- the walks are super easy, so anyone can take the tour
About Meltemi Tours
Meltemi Tours offer a wide range of activities, including historical tours on the island of Ios and of the village. If you are passionate about watersports, then find Meltemi Watersports on Mylopotas beach; or pay them a visit at their office near the Chora bus stop.
Follow Meltemi on Facebook for some superb photos of Ios and updated information about their tours.
Although my tour was partly sponsored, this fact didn’t influence my opinion about the experience.
All photos have been taken by Cristina & Alex from LooknWalk Greece and may not be used without permission.