Ios

Cyclades Islands

The small island of Ios changes dramatically between summer and winter. The permanent population of about 2000 people is outnumbered many times over in the summer by young visitors attracted by its nightlife and good beaches. If you stay in Ios Town in August don’t expect to get a peaceful night’s sleep, as the bars and discos thump away into the early hours. 

It is an aspect of the island that belies first impressions, which are of an achingly beautiful little Cycladic town of immaculately whitewashed houses, blue-domed churches and, above the town, twelve windmills which are another archetypal Cycladic image. There used to be several more, and not all are in pristine condition, but they still look pretty. Here too at the top of the town is what remains of the Venetian fortress that was built in 1400.

Chora of Ios

Photo by Milan Gonda (see more of his photos on our page Photos of Greece).

Homer's Grave

The place where there is no rest for most people all night long is also allegedly the last resting place of Homer. It is said that either Homer’s mother was from Ios and he came back here to die, or that he simply died here in the port on board a ship on which he was travelling to Athens. His grave is at Plakotos, a small town in the hilly north of the island. Every year on May 15th – a far more sensible time to visit than midsummer – the Homer Festival takes place, which includes a procession in which the people of Ios carry a flame from the port where he died to the place where he is buried, a dedicated pilgrimage of 10km.

Chapel of Panagia Paliokastritissa

Beaches and Chapels

Around the island are said to be some 400 chapels, and also many fine sandy beaches, not all of them packed with young bodies sleeping off the effects of the night before. Busy beaches are at Mylopotamos and Gialos, while if you prefer to have a little space to yourself head to Manganari in the extreme south, or Psathis in the east.

Getting to Ios

Flights to Ios

The nearest major airport is on Santorini, which has direct seasonal charter flights from numerous European cities, as well as regular flights from Athens, Thessaloniki, Mykonos, Rhodes and other places in Greece. You can therefore also fly to Athens and then catch a ferry from Athens to Ios, and the ferry takes about nine hours.

Ferries to Ios

From Santorini, the ferry to Ios takes about one hour. There are also connections to Ios from most other islands in the Cyclades.

Ferries in Greece

Ferries in Greece has an excellent and very thorough website where, in addition to checking ferry schedules and times, you can also book tickets and get lots of useful information about travelling by ferry in Greece.

Where to Stay on Ios

You might like these other Cyclades pages...

  • Naxos in the Cyclades Islands of Greece

    The island of Naxos is the largest of the Cyclades and on this page you can see information about flights and ferries to Naxos.

  • Tinos in the Cyclades Islands of Greece

    The island of Tinos in the Cyclades has several daily ferry connections from Rafina on the Greek mainland and is most famous for the Feast of the Assumption.

  • Syros

    Syros is in the Cyclades islands, with Ermoupoli as its main town and some good beaches, described here on the Greece Travel Secrets website.

  • Sikinos

    Surrounded by bigger and better-known Cyclades islands such as Ios, Naxos and Santorini, Sikinos is a delightfully untouristy island.

  • Sifnos

    Sifnos is one of the smaller islands in the Cyclades group in the Aegean Sea.

  • Serifos

    Serifos is one of the Cyclades islands in the Aegean Sea, a rugged and mountainous island with a small population.

  • Paros in the Cyclades Islands in Greece

    The island of Paros in the Cyclades is famous for its marble, and on this page you can also see information about flights and ferries to Paros.

  • Milos in the Cyclades Islands of Greece

    The island of Milos in the Cyclades in Greece is noted for its museums and beaches, and read about flights and ferries to Milos.

  • Kythnos

    Kythnos is a small island in the Cyclades in the Aegean Sea, with easy access from Athens and popular with Athenians on summer weekends.

  • Kimolos

    Kimolos is in the Cyclades islands of Greece, close to Milos.

  • Folegandros

    Travel information from Greece Travel Secrets about Folegandros in the southern Cyclades, close to Sikinos, with flight and ferry information.

  • Anafi in the Cyclades islands of Greece

    Travel advice and information on Anafi in the Greek Cyclades islands with good beaches, walking, accommodation, tavernas.

  • Amorgos in the Cyclades Islands of Greece

    Travel advice and information on Amorgos in the Cyclades, a dramatic and growing holiday destination with ferries from Athens and other Greek islands

  • Kea

    Kea is in the Cyclades group of Greek islands and this page from Greece Travel Secrets shows how to get there by ferry and what to do when you've arrived.

  • Schinoussa and Iraklia Travel Guide

    This is the first travel guide to Schinoussa and Iraklia, two tiny islands in the Cyclades, published by Real Greek Experiences.

  • Mykonos

    Mykonos in the Cyclades islands in Greece has cheap and luxury hotel accommodation, car rental, ferries from Athens, Santorini, Crete and other Greek islands.

  • Antiparos

    Travel information about Antiparos near Paros in the Cyclades Islands of Greece from the Greece Travel Secrets website.

  • Andros in the Cyclades Islands of Greece

    The island of Andros in the Cyclades has fast ferries from Rafina. There are some good beaches and the main town has two interesting museums.

  • Cyclades

    Travel information about the Cyclades group of Greek islands including Mykonos, Santorini (Thira), Naxos, Paros, Delos, Tinos, Siros, Milos, Amorgos.

  • Delos in the Cyclades Islands of Greece

    The island of Delos in the Cyclades islands is a unique archaeological site, taking up the whole island, and a popular day trip from nearby Mykonos.

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