Ios is known as the Cyclades party island, but not in September to be honest. The island was quiet, peaceful, relaxed and I loved it! It was a shock for me, no Santorini crowds. I hired a motorbike and crossed the countryside and run into goats, honey boxes, deserted beaches and dramatic views during that day. I can’t tell how this idyllic island looks like during the high season from June to August, but I understood it is sun, sea and sex all around! And looking at the bars and clubs, I can image it can go wild in the Far Out area at Mylopotas beach.
The Paros Jet from the Seajets company brought me from Santorini to Ios under the hour for 32,80 EUR. The Caldera Vista boat from Seajets went from Ios to Mykonos under 2 hours for 49 EUR. I loved this boat, a huge catamaran style boat with indeed a lot of space and windows for a perfect vista!
Tip: Check and print your boat ticket 1-2 days in advance at one of the agencies in the towns where you depart, departure time could change due to weather conditions.
Furthermore the perfect transport on the Ios island is the motorbike again, make you get one with some power, you will need it on the hills of this rocky island. I rented mine at Anemos Moto Rentals, for 15 EUR per day including a pink helmet, they are located at the parking center next to the main Cathedral Church of Ios.
What to do on Ios
With my scooter I crossed over half of the island and explored several beaches and other spots, see below tips and inspirations. Enjoy the amazing scenery that you will pass during your trip. The capital of Ios, Chora/Hora, is a charming Cycladic village with a labyrinth of narrow lanes and cubic white houses, very nice to wander through the maze and get lost.
1. Psatshi Beach
I left Chora, the capital of Ios, fueled up my tank at the Shell stations around the corner, from there my 125cc did the job. Crossed the empty roads and hills of Ios on my way to Psatshi Beach. I can tell you how long it will take, but take the time. Stop, make pictures, drink some water, stop again and so on. Make it a day trip! You will reach some altitude and the views are beautiful at each corner.
Tip: The road signs to the beaches are good, but keep your map and mind ready.
I had to stop because goats where crossing the road; how great was that!! Passed some beehives too and finally ended at my first destination Psatshi Beach. A very small place with some houses, but no cars, no people nobody. I parked the bike and walked to the beach nobody. I found my crystal clear pristine private beach!! How was this possible after the busy Santorini, I was in shock and happy at the same time. Put on my bikini and cooled off in the inviting water.
2. Agia Theodoti Beach
On my way to Psatshi Beach I saw the bay of Agia Theodoti on my far left. After my stop Psatshi I headed back and headed to Agia Theodoti Beach. This is a big bay and signs direct you to the North or South part of the beach. The North part is a bit off road, so parked my motorbike at the South point and walked to the Northern part.
At the campervan you can buy refreshments and basic food; perfect timing for a Freddo Cappuccino and some swimming. The water is amazing here and when the wind picks up, swim just behind the rocks. You can rent beds and sun umbrellas for 6 EUR per day.
The friendly Greek in the campervan allowed me to use one for a while. The stones on Ios are so colorful, found a special one with glitter in it. I brought some stones for decoration at home; free souvenirs!
3. Port Area (Ormos)
Heading for lunch now and drove to the port after the Theodoti beach. Driving on the scooter gives me such a free feeling. You have to be careful and not drive too fast of course (for me max 35 km), the roads can be slippery with stones and holes in it. The Gialos beach close to the port was full with restaurants and some hotels. I parked the motorbike between that beach and the port. It is a nice area to walk and spot the yachts. You can find souvenir shops, supermarkets, banks and restaurants here; a lively neighborhood even in low season.
Tip: The travel agent in the harbor will print your ferry ticket for 0,50 EUR.
4. Sunset Church Walk
A perfect spot to see the sunset is to walk up the Chora hill. During the walk you will pass at least 6 churches!! Start in the center of Chora to admire the first and biggest Cathedral Church, then walk up to in the maze of streets.
There are no signs for directions unfortunately but as long as you walk up you are heading in the right direction. The second church can be found under the palm trees; Church of Virgin Mary of the Cliff, Church Agios Eleftherios is the third one.
Walk up the stone stairs and you will see three churches in a row. From the last and highest church, you have a panorama view over Ios and you can even see Milos, Paros and Santorini!! Bring a beer and witness the sun setting in this picture perfect scenery!
5. Mylopotas Beach
Mylopotas is a popular water sport beach. Besides the activities on the beach and in the water the parties can be found here too! The Far Out area, which includes a camping, hostel, luxury accommodation, a restaurant and a big pool, is where the parties take place. The Far Out is not by coincidence called the Far Out it is located at the far end of Mylopotas beach (due to the noise….?).
At the beginning of this long golden sandy beach I had dinner at Salt. A huge beach club with a relax bamboo atmosphere (see below more). Mylopotas beach is located close to Chora and easy to access with a lot of accommodations and restaurants, a good alternative if you like to stay close at the beach instead of the town.
Where to eat and stay
I’m soooo enthusiastic about the Chora Hotel where I stayed on Ios. What a gem of a hotel, that doesn’t feel like a hotel! The 14 rooms are set up as a small part of the old village but all brand new and comfortable on the new Chora hill; all designed by the owner and the architect Maria Krisilia. The place has a nice pool and a jacuzzi with a view over the village Chora. Next to perfect styled rooms, the breakfast is delicious too (7 EUR) which is served outside. I hope that you will have the opportunity to stay here!
Tip: Walk up behind the hotel to the Agioi Anargyroi church and you have a perfect view and spot Mylopotas beach and further in the back Santorini.
I was recommended to eat at Sainis Taverna, a traditional Greek restaurant in the center of Chora. The service was great, I even got the wine for free because I didn’t want a whole bottle for myself. The food was good and fresh, they work with local ingredients and specialties next to the menu. You get a free special welcome drink. I don’t know if this was normal or because it was low season, but all was very authentic (only pay in cash).
Allo is a cool place in the harbor of Ios, I already noticed this place upon my ferry arrival. The restaurant looks very inviting and the food is fresh and tasty. They play chill music and the harbor scenery is nice to look at with a Greek wine in your hands. I had a huge Greek salad for lunch, which is always the best value for money I have experienced. Please check this place out, in high season they have live music too!
Salt is a trendy place to chill and relax while enjoying the great food and service. The decoration is appealing; light, bamboo and wooden elements with an ocean view. They have big parking place at the back including back entrance. The flat bread with local cheese was really delicious; glad with my choice to eat here!
Mosenta is a nice souvenir shop in the center of the Ios port. I bought a couple of small honey jars for my relatives. I saw a lot of honey boxes during my scooter adventure over the island, that is way local honey was the perfect gift for myself and friends. And they make their own sweets too!!