Located in the Cyclades group, Ios is situated halfway between Naxos and Santorini. Sometimes fondly called Australia 2.0 due to the high amount of expat Aussies who own or work at most of the bars in town, Ios is one of the most well known islands for partying. There are over 30 bars in town, most only tiny holes in the wall which fill up fast, meaning plenty of dancing on tables!
But Ios isn’t all just about the nightlife. There is plenty of good food, beautiful beaches and history to enjoy (albeit nursing a hangover).
How to get to Ios
There is no airport in Ios island. The nearest airport to fly into would be wither Santorini or Paros Island. Santorini Airport is busier than Paros and therefore would probably be cheaper, with flights arriving directly from Athens and Thessaloniki.
However, the most common way of reaching Ios is via ferry. Check out Direct Ferries to compare latest schedules and times.
How to get around
The main town in Ios is called Chora. Buses run throughout the island connecting the main town (called Chora), the Port and the main beach (Mylopotas Beach – this is where Far Out Beach Club is located). Schedules change every season, but to give you an idea, check out the timetable here.
Also, buses stop around midnight and start again at 6am so if you’re heading out for the night you will have to either catch a taxi, wait until morning or walk home.
As with most Greek Islands, if you want the freedom of exploring the whole island on your own time, hire a quad or scooter. During the high season, these cost between €20 – €35 per day.
Where to eat
All the Yiros and Baklava are starting to get to you? Give your tastebuds a treat and stop by Thai Smiles for some delicious Thai meals. Their massaman curry and coconut rice is a must!
If you are looking for good seafood, head down the harbour, or stop in at Koubara Seafood Restaurant – you’ll also be treated with some great sunsets here.
So you’re nursing a pretty mean hangover and fanging for a hearty breakfast? You cannot go past Hellenic Social – it has all the comforts of a great Aussie cafe (smashed avo? Smoothies?? Flat white??? ) and the laid back, chilled vibe makes you want to curl up and nap after your stomach is full.
Where to stay
Far Out Beach Club is a backpacker’s paradise, located right on Mylopotas beach. The hostel is huge, and caters for almost every backpacker’s needs – there’s private suites and bungalows, two bed cabins, tents and campsites, plus a pool, bar and restaurant – perfect to chill out by day and party at night.
Example budget for one day in Ios
€80 per day
– Hostel: €25 per night
– Brunch at Hellenic Social: €15
– Dinner at Far Out Beach Club: €10
– Bus ticket into town: €2
– Drinks at Bar: €23
– Food at 6am: €5
How long to spend in Ios
4 days will give you plenty of time to explore the island and soak up the sun, while still stumbling home at 8am.
What to see and do in Ios
Ios is famous for its nightlife – it’s the main reason most people come to the island during the summer time. Bars not to miss include
The Lost Boys (one of the most renowned bars in Ios, with real Peter Pan vibes going on inside),
Slammer Bar (shots come with the choice of a slap in the face or a hammer to the head with a hardhat from a friendly bartender),
Bank (for some of the best deep house and electronic tunes)
Shush (a sweet silent disco)
Traffic Bar (Sports themed bar with ace basketball singlets)
Alt (aka Alternative Mixology, specialising in unconventional cocktails and shots. You must try the Flower Shot for an crazy experience!).
Most bars sell singlets which are great souvenirs to take with you – some even offer some kind of shot deal (ie €20 for 5 shots and a shirt). The bars get busy around midnight and stay busy until 6 or 7 in the morning.
This beautiful church is one of the first things you will see arriving in Ios by ship and one of the most picturesque places to visit on the island.
This is one of Ios’s most popular beaches, right in front of Far Out Beach Club and while it can get pretty packed, if you arrive early you can stake your claim to some of the best spots. The beach stays busy until after sunset. Soaking in the sun and going for a swim in the clear water is a must to kill that hangover from the night before, and to recoup ready for the next night.
Tomb of Homer
Homer was one of the greatest poets in ancient Greek history, writing epics literature like Odyssey and Iliad. It is believed that he died on the island somewhere between 1100 and 900 BC and his tomb is located at the northernmost part of the island on a hill. You will need a quad to get here!
As with most of the Greek Islands, there are plenty of water sports to keep you busy throughout the day. My recommendation is to head down to the hut on Mylopotas Beach out the front of Far Out Beach Club and sign up for their kayak adventure – it’s a half day kayaking trip around beautiful bays and cliffs on the island, it even includes a BBQ lunch and some snorkelling and scuba diving too!