Ios island has established a reputation as a great destination for younger people who soak up the sun by day and party all night. It sounds wild, but it’s classy enough to be an excellent designation for all ages.
Ios offers enough variety to accommodate different vacation styles as well, but if partying combined with beach life is your goal, you can’t go wrong by making it your main vacation destination.
Ios is the classiest of “party” destinations. You might get cheaper prices in package destinations like Chersonissos, Faliraki, Lefkimi, or Laganas, but they don’t compare to the better options of Ios island.
Firstly, you will be hard pressed to find any homogenizing packaged tourism deals for Ios. You will be able to choose your accommodations and lifestyle based on your own needs and means.
There are plenty of inexpensive hotels in the center of Chora, as well as more upscale offerings in the for those who want more quiet at the outskirts of the town.
Ios is also a good island to include in an island-hopping itinerary. It’s located in the center of Cyclades grouping, a bit to the north of nearby Santorini.
You will enjoy its small size, its rugged landscape, and of course, its beautiful sandy beaches.
Things to Do and See
During the day you can easily walk to the many churches that are around Chora; many are located on top of hills for a breathtaking view of the island and are ideal spots for contemplating the meaning of life.
Ios island is ringed by several tiny swim coves, but the main beaches are Mylopotas and Magganari.
This beach has fine sand, is clothing-optional, has many options for food and drink, and has a variety of water sports and boating experiences.
It caters mainly to younger crowds, but it is a peaceful beach and not rowdy.
It is easy to find a spot on its long berm. You can choose a spot to plant your parasol depending on what you seek (meeting people, water sports, more quiet atmosphere).
There are plenty of bars, and little shops right on the edge of the beach, and ample parking.
To get to it, you may walk up and down from Chora (3 km), but you might opt to take the bus, which runs frequently every 15-20 minutes and costs 1.60 euro.
Magganari (22 km from Chora) is easily accessible by bus. You can buy tickets ahead of time from a bus station in Chora for an easy half-day trip.
Magganari beach is more of a lagoon, has warm waters and fine sand, and is less crowded than mMylopotas. However, you can find people of all ages there. There are a handful of options for eating and drinking.
Explore the Bars and Clubs of Ios Island
At night Chora is very lively with people streaming in and out of clubs and congregating in the walkways.
Clubs are great places for dancing, and feature a wide variety of music. Drinks at the clubs are usually high on price and low on alcohol content.
It is very easy to go bar/club hopping and that is usually what younger people do when they go out in Ios. It is typical to hit about 5 clubs or bars in a night.
Some clubs have entry fees of roughly 5 euro, some do not.
The bars are clean and not uncomfortably crowded. Some could use better air conditioning, but that small annoyance becomes part of the experience in the late hours.
Some unique clubs we liked include: Lost Boys bar, Coo bar, Disco 69, Circus Bar (which features live bands), and the Far Out Beach club on Mylopotas beach.
If bar-hopping is your vacation style, it is best to get a place right in the Chora of Ios as this is where all the clubs are within walking distance.
There are also many clubs and hotel options along Mylopotas beach.
If you are a bit older and crave some peace and quiet, there are plenty of nice hotels in the outskirts of Chora, or near Mylopotas beach.
The entirety of Chora is easily accessible by foot.
Though walking from the port to Chora is not a good idea. The road is too bare, without any shade, and the heat will affect you very quickly if you walk in the middle of the day.
What, Where to Eat
The Nest has authentic Greek cuisine (In Chora).
Ammos Restaurant and Cocktail bar also has authentic Greek cuisine and has many levels for sitting including a rooftop seating area.
By Mylopotas beach, Harmony Mexican restaurant is another eatery with a good view of the whole beach.
Many of the best restaurants are located in the same area as all the clubs/bars.
To save some money, you can opt to have some of your meals at the several souvlaki shops that stay open 24 hours for the youth crowd that party all night.
Island Hopping From/With Ios Island
Ios is also easy to combine with Naxos, Paros, Antiparos, and with a bit more ferry schedule juggling, with Anafi, Iraklia, and Ano Koufonisi.
If you look at the map below, you might get the impression that Milos or Amorgos are also within a short distance.
However, ferry schedules for these islands are on a different line, so it would take considerable effort to include them in your island hopping trip.
Click here to see it on the map and to get directions in a new window.