Ios is of the Cyclades, located very close to Santorini (about ½ h on the high-speed ferry) and Folegrandos. The port of Piraeus (Athens) is much further away (about 5 hours on the high-speed ferry). Very well known as a party island during the summer, Ios has a super interesting vibe right before the start of the season. And that’s exactly when we were there.
Ios is a tiny island and, most of it can be easily tackled on foot. However, there are things of interest further away from the Port or Chora which do require a…motorized vehicle.
If you don’t mind the hustle and bustle of the packed Chora, you can look up accommodation there, but we chose the port area and stayed at Galini Pension . On the road from Chora to Mylopotas Beach, there are a lot of hotels to choose from, many offering stunning views of the sea.
While I could stay on the island for months, I am pretty sure most travelers only have some days to spend here, thus the 5 days itinerary I’ve put together for you.
Once you get off the boat – and thank Mother Earth for being under your feet again – the host will likely come to pick you up from the port. If not, find your way to the accommodation following the instructions you’ve received.
It is almost dinner time here in #Romania and I am currently drooling over this photo I took almost a week ago on #Ios in #Greece. Yes, that is horiatiki and some tzatiki on the side. . . . . . #greekcuisine #foodaroundtheworld #travelfood #traveladdict #travelblog #looknwalk #travelblogger #yummy #healthyeating #delicious #delish #yummy
Time to check in and settle in your room. Maybe relax a bit. Chances are you’d be hungry so ask your host whether they can prepare something or where you could eat a meal. Food on Ios and there’s something for every taste bud. I do strongly recommend the local fare.
Get to know the area where you stay, walk to the Port and just soak up the atmosphere. Maybe head over to the Octopus Tree for a bite as the sun sets.
For us, day 2 was a Tuesday and we had the chance to go on the Ios island tour . It starts from the bus station in Chora and visits the bronze settlement of Skarkos, the Venetian fortress of Paleokastro, with the last stop being the taverna on Psathi beach. This will fill more than half your day so all you want after this is to head to the accommodation to shower and relax a bit.
If you don’t feel like taking the tour – although we absolutely loved it – you can take the path from Chora down to Skarko and visit the ruins. Then go back to Chora and catch a bus to Psathi. Unfortunately, buses start in early June so if you plan to visit in May (like we did) you’d need to rent a motorized vehicle. This can easily fill most of your day so head to the accommodation and relax for a bit.
In the evening, it’s time to check out another place to eat. There are a lot of them in the port but maybe you fancy some Thai food at Thai Me Up today?
It’s time to explore Chora today so take the Donkey Path to the bus stop. And while you are here, why not start the day with visiting the Archeological Museum? It doesn’t take very long and it offers some interesting info about Skarkos, as well as the relationship between Ios and Santorini.
Once done, go towards Chora and explore the little alleys. Don’t be afraid to go all the way up to the Church with a palm tree for some stunning views of the harbor. By the way: this is where you can come for a fantastic sunset.
Time to walk to Mylopotas beach – or hop on the bus if you wish. The 5km walk should take about 30 minutes but do make sure to wear proper shoes and bring a bottle of water.
Out of the beaches on Ios , Mylopotas is the most developed one. You can find cafes, tavernas, and even stores. It’s also where you can rent a board to try SUP or book a speed boat trip.
For lunch, head over to Drakos Taverna for some of the best seafood on the island. Ask for the catch of the day and have your fish grilled, accompanied by boiled potatoes and capers salad and a simple Horiatiki.
Catch the bus back to Chora (or the Port) and relax until evening.
Put on your walking shoes and head to Chora. From there walk past the windmills and all the way to the Gaitis Museum. This is where you’ll be for an amazing sunset. Plant yourself on the stairs and wait for the magic to happen.
After sunset, go by the Amphitheatre. Catch that amazing glimpse of Mylopotas beach and then head to Chora for a meal at Lord Byron’s. I recommend the beet hummus. We also tried spicy feta dip and each of us, a salad. Stuffed and with the leftovers to go, waddle back to the accommodation. You’d want to take the Donkey Path just to exercise that meal off.
It’s time to check out the beaches near the Port. Yialos is right near the port and further down are Tzamaria and Koumpara. Bring a water bottle, pack some snacks, put on those walking shoes and enjoy the walk.
Stop by each beach to try out the water and play a little bit. After all, it’s your vacation on a Greek island!
Out of the three beaches, Tzamaria is the most beautiful and well protected by the wind. It is also excellent for snorkeling (if you engage in such activities). Koumpara is the beach we liked least as it is in the process of being heavily commercialized.
You can opt to stay longer and get some tan, or make your way back to the accommodation, have lunch and relax until evening.
In the evening, head out to the Port and walk up to Agia Sofia Church for sunset. The views are incredible and you can see all the way to Chora as well.
For dinner, choose one of the places in the Port.
We were supposed to take a day trip to Sikinos island but the weather – meaning the wind – didn’t let us. So we had another option: a hike from Mylopotas to Klima.
We met our guide at 10 am at the end of Mylopotas beach and it took us about 2 hours to hike to Klima. It is an amazing hike. Not very hard but not very easy, either. And we really liked that we had a guide or I don’t think we would have figured out the path. The highlight of the hike was a picnic right on the beach. After the hike back, we stopped at the Far Out Club until the bus for Chora / Port arrived.
After this half day, you’d just want to relax a bit. And of course, enjoy your last evening on the island as you’d be taking the ferry out the next day.