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...

  • Things to Do on Mykonos

    There are plenty of things to do on Mykonos, one of the most popular Greek islands, such as nightlife, beaches, churches and visiting the ancient site of Delos.

  • 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.

  • How to Get from Mykonos to Santorini

    You can get from Mykonos to Santorini, and of course from Santorini to Mykonos, by ferry, by plane (sort-of) or even by helicopter.

  • Best Time to Visit Mykonos

    The best time to visit Mykonos depends on if you want crowds or quiet, heat or cooler temperatures, all of which affect when is the best time to visit Mykonos.

  • 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.

  • 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

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • Folegandros

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

  • 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.

  • Cyclades

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

Enjoy this page? Please pay it forward. Here's how...

Would you prefer to share this page with others by linking to it?

  1. Click on the HTML link code below.
  2. Copy and paste it, adding a note of your own, into your blog, a Web page, forums, a blog comment, your Facebook account, or anywhere that someone would find this page valuable.

Latest Posts

  1. Kos on its Way to Become a Greek Biking Destination

    The comparative advantages of Kos as an emerging biking destination were presented by Deputy Transport Minister Michalis Papadopoulos during an event held recently on the island by local authorities…

    Read More

  2. Covid-19: Greece Still in CDC’s ‘Very High’ Travel Risk Category

    The US Centers for Disease Control (CDC) is warning Americans to avoid travel to some 75 countries, including Greece, after adding on Monday, Germany and Denmark to its “Level Four: Very High” Covid-1…

    Read More

  3. Greek Mountain Destinations Aching for Bookings

    The second winter season in the pandemic finds hotels in Greece’s striking mountain villages in a fragile state.

    Read More

  4. What to Eat at Syntagma – Petraki Street

    Petraki Street, near Syntagma Square, has everything a foodie wants, whether you’re looking for a good wine bar, cocktail bar, bakery, pastry shop, or restaurant worth visiting again and again.

    Read More

  5. Bringing Ancient Olympia Back to Life

    A new digital revival project, "Ancient Olympia: Common Grounds," harnesses artificial intelligence to bring the ancient sanctuary back to life like never before.

    Read More

  6. Athens Tops Europe’s Meeting Destinations Ranking, Says AmEx Report

    Athens, Greece’s capital city, ranks first in the top 5 meeting destinations in Europe in the 2022 Global Meetings and Events Forecast, the 11th annual report produced by American Express Meetings & E…

    Read More

  7. Covid-19: Greece Bans the Unvaccinated from More Indoor Places

    Adults in Greece not vaccinated against the coronavirus (Covid-19) will be banned from entering more indoor spaces, including cinemas, theaters, museums and gyms as of Monday, November 22, according t…

    Read More

  8. South Aegean Islands Introduced to Luxury Wedding Planners

    The South Aegean islands were introduced to some of the world’s leading wedding planners during the 7th Destination Wedding Planners (DWP) Congress 2021, that took place on Rhodes earlier in November…

    Read More

  9. Greece Promotes Western Macedonia as Top Wine Tourism Destination

    Western Macedonia, its wineries and wines are spearheading a far-reaching tourism ministry campaign to establish Greece as a leading wine tourism destination, said Deputy Tourism Minister Sofia Zachar…

    Read More

  10. A foodie guide to Thessaloniki

    Welcome to our foodie guide to Thessaloniki, where you’ll get to know all about what and where to eat in one of the best culinary getaways in Greece.

    Read More