Ios is more than the beaches and the nightlife. Take the time to discover some of the islands unique attractions.
The capital of the island, its dramatic landscape from the hill upon which it is perched, overlooks the bay and Yialos beach, just 2km from the port. Its narrow maze like laneways, so synonymous with the Greek island experience and traditional Cycladic architecture with whitewashed houses, picturesque churches and flowering bougainvilleas and underscore this unforgettable scenery. Chora still maintains a lively nightlife with its incredible array of fine restaurants, shopping, bars and nightclubs. Wander through the narrow streets of Chora, enjoy the view from the windmills, sip a refreshing cocktail as you watch the sunset!
Port of Ios is 5 minutes away from our place and is a beautiful part of the island to visit by day and night. Around its main square you may find boutique shops, bakery, delicious restaurants, greek taverns and a modern yacht marina. Regular buses or boats connections set off from the port, taking in the beaches on Ios, where you can enjoy peace and tranquillity away from summer crowds. The port’s postcard attraction is the picturesque church of St Irini, built in the 17th century and is one of the most iconic churches in Cyclades.
Paleokastro, literally meaning “old castle”, is old Byzantine ruins rising 300m above sea level, situated to the north-east side of Ios island. The area is easily accessible. Reaching the top after a short walk via cobblestone path, visitors may wander around the old walls and Panagia Paleokastritissa church. Unquestionably what makes the site unique is the limitless view of the Aegean sea and the surrounding islands (Naxos, Iraklia, Amorgos & Donoussa).
Wander through the prehistoric settlement of Skarkos which showcases the extremely rich historical heritage of Ios. it is considered one of the most important settlements of the Early Cycladic Civilization that flourished in the mid-third millennium B.C. Its buildings are in such a good condition that the visitor can get an idea of the very architecture of the times.
- Odysseas Elytis Theatre
The theatre is located in an area further up the traditional windmills in Chora. Named after the Nobel Prize winning Laureate for Literature, this outdoor theatre has been built in accordance with the functionality and aesthetics of an ancient theatre using only marble and local stone as construction materials. Its stands are amphitheatrically built, thus ensuring excellent view over Mylopotas bay all the way to the island of Santorini.
- Homer’s Tomb
At the north end of the island lie the ruins of the ancient town of Plakotos, dating from the Hellenistic period, where tradition and the greek historian Herodotus claim that poet Homer’s tomb is situated. A short walk along a paved path leads to the top of a cliff, overlooking the Aegean sea, where the tomb stands.
The island has 365 churches as many as the days of the year, most of which are Byzantine and more than half of which are easily accessible. Your bucket list should include the steep climb to the church of Panagia Gremniotissa with the picturesque courtyard located on the highest point of Chora to enjoy the panoramic view and a unique sunset.
- Gastronomy – Products
Ios has an array of traditional products that enclose the tastes of the Aegean. Try thyme honey produced on the island and the traditional sweets including the uniquely named “Mosenta”, a baked watermelon offering that you will find in bakeries on the island along with “Pastellia”, a traditional sesame seed offering. If savoury is more your thing , Ios’ traditional cheeses made from local goat’s milk provide a spicy alternative. Finally, buy some capers and take with you an authentic reminder of the tastes of Ios as you return to wherever it is you call home.