General Information on Ios
The island of Ios belongs to the Cyclades cluster and is located between Naxos and Santorini. With an area of 105km², it is inhabited by approximately 1,820 people. Ios is one of the busiest and most touristy islands of Greece, with a vast range of bars and clubs, offering cheap drinks.
Still, Ios has a calm side too. For those who want to relax and enjoy the sun, Ios has many beautiful beaches (36), most of which are untouched, a pretty capital and an interesting rocky landscape. Also, according to Herodotus, the island is homeland to Homer’s mother and the place where the famous Greek poet was buried.
History of Ios
The island of Ios, according to archaeological finds, has been inhabited since the early Cycladic period. In 1050 B.C., the Ionians settled on the island. During the Classical period, Ios joined forces with the Athenian League to avoid being occupied by Persians and democracy was established. In 338 B.C., Ios came under the rule of Macedonia, and in 315 B.C., it regained its independence. In the 2nd century B.C., the Romans occupied Ios and the island became a place of exile. During the Byzantine period, the Christians built many churches on the island, usually on the foundations of the preexisting pagan temples.
Before Ios fell under Frankish rule, it suffered –as many other Greek islands–from pirate raids. In 1204 A.D., Ios was occupied by the Crusaders and was ruled by the noble family of Crispi until the 15th century, belonging to the Duchy of Naxos. From 1537 onwards, Ios was occupied by the Turks. In 1821, Ios participated in the revolution against the Turks, and was liberated in 1832 along with the other Cycladic islands.
Towns & Villages in Ios
Hora is one of the finest towns in Cyclades. Built on the top of a hill, with a medieval castle –built in 1400–, Hora is a labyrinth of winding alleys, cute white houses and small churches. Take a morning walk, when bars are closed and everybody is asleep; it's worth it. When the sun goes down, the capital of the island, transforms into the centre of nightlife.
Yalos is the port of the island of Ios. The bay is one of the biggest natural harbours of the Aegean and is the second most populated area of the island. In Yalos, you will find everything you need: supermarkets, boutiques, gift shops, restaurants, cafes, bars, rooms to let etc. To the right of the port, there is the long sandy beach of Yalos, with few taverns. During high season, there are always less people there, than on Mylopotas beach.
Beaches in Ios
Mylopotas is by far the busiest beach of the island. With over 1km of golden sand and clear shallow waters, it is considered one of the finest beaches in the Aegean. The bay is full of cafes, bars and restaurants, open day and night. Because of its proximity to Hora –20-minute walk– many people spend their day here before the sun sets.
Maganari is a long bay with four beaches close together. They all have white sand and deep blue waters and are by far the most beautiful beaches on the island. In Maganari, there are many taverns as well as good accommodation.
Koumbara is a bay northwest of Yalos 30 minutes away on foot. At the bay, there is a 300 meter long sandy beach with taverns and rooms to let.
Agia Theodoti is known for its large sheltered bay and the beautiful sandy beach with a sunrise view.
Kalamos is a long beach with pebbles. It is usually very quiet and has clear waters. South of Kalamos lays the hidden cave of Papa and if you continue, the road takes you to Plakes, a very remote, beautiful beach in which you will probably be alone.
Psathi has two beaches with golden sand. On windy days, large waves make the beach popular among windsurfers. This is also the breeding place of Mediterranean sea turtles.
Top Things to Do in Ios
1. Panagia Gremiotissa is the biggest church of the island and it is situated on top of the hill above Hora, overlooking the island. In front of the church, there is a huge palm tree. The view is amazing, especially during sunset.
2. On the slopes above Hora, the twelve windmills are reminiscent of the past. Nowadays, they are a tourist attraction.
3. The remains of the ancient town built in the same position as the modern capital, and the ruins of a medieval castle built in 1937, are worth visiting.
4. You can pay a visit at Homer’s tomb, located at Plakoto, on the northern part of the island.
How to Reach Ios
There are frequent ferry links to Piraeus and Rafina. The trip last 7.5 Hours. During summer, there are also high-speed ferries, which reach Ios in half the normal time. The island is also connected to Naxos, Paros, Mykonos and Santorini, while less frequent links connect it to Sikinos, Folegandros, Anafi, Syros, Sifnos, Milos, Tinos, Kythnos and Crete.
Getting Around in Ios
There is a frequent bus service between Yialos and Mylopotas via Hora. There is also a bus service between Yialos and Ag. Theodoti. Excursions by bus to Maganari beach or Agia Theodoti beach can be booked at all travel agents. Motorbikes and cars are available for hire. Taxis are also available.
Weather in Ios
The warmest months are July and August, with average temperatures of 28 degrees Celsius during daytime. However, a prevailing northern - northeastern wind is delightfully cooling. In winter, the temperature is between 10-18 degrees Celsius.
Top 10 Destinations in Ios
All Destinations in Ios
Map of Ios