Ios was our favourite of the four Greek islands we visited (see Myknonos & Santorini here). It was the most chilled out island, with a huge party scene. You didn’t feel the need to party every day and we felt there was a balance between relaxation & things to do. It could just be because we were older than a lot of the crowd here but it worked for us!
Everything was very easily accessible from the beach town we stayed in; everyone was very friendly, and there was enough to do. It felt like a big giant community and by the end of our time here (8 days) people knew us, we knew others and it was hard to leave! Australians have definitely taken over this island, and even own many of the bars in town.
We stayed at Purple Pig Stars Camping on Mylopotas Beach. Highly recommended if you are ever planning a visit here. It is very good value and basic but you don’t need to spend much time in your room. We had 4 of us so it was perfect. A 4-bed dorm with ensuite bathrooms, balcony, fridge and A/C. The beach was a stone throw away along with the bus to take you into town (1.80Euro).
There was a clean pool, pool bar and restaurant with very decently priced food and drinks. However, the owners really made this place. George, (pictured above) born and raised in Ios did everything to help whenever he could, he always knew us by our names and was available whenever you needed anything! Free pick up and drop off at the port also.
The only downside here was the Wi-Fi but not a deal breaker as there was a reliable cafe nearby.
There were numerous restaurants to eat along the beach from one end to the other but these were our “locals” for the week.
Salt – Greek / Mediterranean restaurant right by our hotel. Very decent sized plates with reasonable prices and nice cocktails.
Harmony – A Mexican restaurant up on the hill from the beach. This is where a lot of the locals – (and by locals I mean all of the Australians that own all of the bars in town) hang out. They have happy hour from 4-7, hammocks to lounge about in and restaurant seating. The food here ranges in price from average to quite expensive (24Euro for a burrito?!) but the drinks are reasonable. It has a great view of the beach from below. For larger groups, reservations are recommended.
La Catina Del Mar – Our go to breakfast spot! Delicious fresh juices, amazing smoothies, gigantic sandwiches (one is enough for 2 people) and very good breakfast omelettes! The staff knew us by the end of our trip and it was hard to leave here.
Almyra by the Sea – A change from our usual breakfast, this restaurant offers a 10 euro buffet breakfast with a wide variety of choices, all freshly made and iced coffee etc included.
What to do in Ios
Mylopotas Watersports – As we were staying at Purple Pig Stars Camping we were offered a 20% discount to any of the water sports so we took them up on the offer and went tubing. He tried really hard to get us off but he was unable to ;). It feels like you can be a big kid again! They have kayaks, windsurfing, water skiing and wakeboarding available also.
Rent a boat – As we had been renting ATV’s on most islands, this time we decided to rent a small boat. It was similar pricing to an ATV and something a little different. Luckily we had Emily’s brother and sister in law with us who were able to drive the boat for us. You don’t need a license to rent a small boat, just a practice run with the owners and you’re good to go. We packed up a cooler with drinks and some snacks and off we went. We drove around to the various beaches that are not accessible via car so it was really awesome. Stopping whenever we wanted to jump off the boat in the sea through water is always a massive win. You can do this from Mylopotas Watersports.
Chora (Ios Town) – The main village of Ios is very scenic with its small alleys and white-washed houses. During the day the town is a peaceful, quiet place while during the night it is the main party zone on Ios. The town is quite small and most of the bars are not open during the day. There are boutique shops to explore and a few restaurants to eat at, very similar to the other Greek islands. During the evening it had a similar vibe to the bars taking up the streets in Lagos Portugal but a little more variety here.
Manganari Beach – Take the local bus to another beach town in ios. We were very happy at Mylopotas Beach so we actually never made it here but a lot of people make the trip to this beach. If you have a scooter or an ATV then it is easily accessible and if not then a bus will make return trips to and from the town and Mylopotas beach.
Partying in Ios
Far Out Beach Club – An afternoon of sun, drinks, dancing! The average age of people here is around 23 although this wasn’t an issue to us, it was definitely noted. The beach club is at the other end of Mylopotas Beach and a short 10-minute walk from our hotel. We usually went around 5/6 pm and the party calmed down around 10/11pm. The drinks were cheap, the atmosphere was fun and it was a cool place to spend a couple of our afternoons.
There are so many bars in town and they generally open between 12-2am. Some are busier than others, to begin with. They all have a “deal” that when you buy 7 shots you receive a singlet/tank top from that bar. EVERYONE around Ios is wearing these. It always seems like a good deal/idea at the time but when you want 2 shirts? I guess its 14 shots! They are mostly sugar water and not at full strength but either way, they get you in and make a decent profit.
The bars are all relatively similar in town except for Circus Bar, they open a little earlier than the others and have live music as opposed to the top 40. We bumped into a friend from back home that owns this bar so it was good to see a familiar face!
Although relatively similar our favourite of the bars were:
- Disco 69
- Circus Bar
- Lost Boys
Sweet Irish Dream – One of the largest nightclubs in Ios. It doesn’t come to life until after 3 am and does not close until 7-8 in the morning! You can find Sweet Irish Dream on the main road. Follow the road down from the square and you will come out right to its entrance.
It was hard to leave Ios, as we mentioned it had become a really comfortable place to live and chill out but we were looking forward to seeing a very good friend in Paros!
Marriage days survived: 126