Ios – The 12 best things to do
In this article you will find everything you should know about your stay at Ios. To give you a good overview, we have summarized the best 12 things to do on Ios. We hope we can help you with those 12 thinks in your preparation when you plan to visit the Island. Depending on your own prioritization, you create an optimized plan with some of those activities listed below.
Ios is a small island comaired to the other inhabited island of the cyclades. With an area of about 109,000 square kilometers and 2020 inhabitants. The small island does not have an airport, but it can be reached in about four hours by ferry from Piraeus or 2 hours from mykonos. The travel time depends on the type of ferry.
Like a typical Cycladic island, Ios is characterized by whitewashed houses with sea-blue roofs, tiny alleys, small sandy bays, a mountainous landscape and countless Greek Orthodox churches.
Residents claim that there are exactly 365 churches on the island, one for every day of the year. Beyond that, Ios is also known for its young and crazy partyscene.
Numerous bars, cafes and nightclubs attract mainly young people to party on the island during the summer months. However, this charming little Cycladic island offers more sightseeing than only summer, sun and party what the island is known for.
1. Ios Chora
The main town of Ios is the village of Chora, which is very worth seeing. The small village is located between two hills, on the top of each hill is a small chapel. From the top of church Panagia Gremniotissa, visitors have a breathtaking view over the winding streets, the beautiful houses and the crowded harbor.
The typical blue and white houses offer a picturesque sight, especially at sunset. In the evening, small bars and restaurants open their doors to guests. As soon as it gets dark, the nightlife starts, the revelers come out of their apartments and aiming towards the plenty bars.
The port Ormos offers its visitors maritime flair and the city beach Gialos attracts in the summer heat to swim and relax.
2. Gialos beach
The beach of Gialos is full of small beautiful hotels in the typical style of the cycladic island and offers its visitors a shallowly, long sandy beach. The sea is calm and there are almost no currents or waves. Thus, the beach of Gialos is especially popular for families with children.
The beach is near to the port and you can have a relaxing walk if you need a short break from sunbathing and splashing around. Very nice are also the small trees that surround the beach and provide natural protection from the hot Greek sun. Its our Number two of our twelve sights on Ios.
3. The historic windmills of Ios
In the hinterland of the main town are the most famous landmarks of the cycladic island, which are also printed on numerous postcards. The historic windmills of Ios.
According to history, there were twelve windmills on Ios, each for every month of the year. Today there are still ten in hinterland of the city left.
They have been lovingly restored, but are no longer in operation. They fit perfectly into the beautiful landscape of the island and were used for traditional farming of the island, long before the firts tourist came to the island.
4. Grave of Homer
According to Greek mythology, the mother of the famous poet Homer grew up on the island of Ios, and the grave of her talented son is still here. Homer created the first literature in European history with the Iliad and the Odyssey.
Unfortunately, no dates of the great poets life are fully documented, but researches assume that he lived in around the eighth century BC. At that time, the blind storyteller was known in whole Greece, and his veneration continues until today. The grave of Homer is one of the most famous sights on Ios and is located near Plakoto on the northern tip of the island.
The small fortified complex is an extremely popular destination and offer a magnificent view. You can learn here about the history of the island and why Homer stopped on Ios during a trip to Athens.
When Homer visited his mother some local fishermen posed a riddle to him which he was not able to solve. That triggert him so much that he decided to stay for a couple of days on the island. In fact he never left again. The poet died without solving the riddle and was buried in his mother’s homeland.
Even in ancient times, Homer was considered the most famous visitor to the island and even coins were minted with his image.
5. Archaeological site of Skarkos
In the 1980s and 90s, scientists uncovered a Bronze Age settlement at Skarkos. The site is located about one kilometer away from the port of Ormos and is definitely worth the visit.
The very well preserved settlement, dating from 2700 to 2300 BC, covers more than one square kilometer and features numerous interconnected building complexes. The settlement from the early Keros-Syros culture seems to have been abandoned after an earthquake.
The wide streets, squares, buildings up to four meters high with courtyards and numerous finds such as ceramics and bones paint a comprehensive picture of life in that era. The settlement was located in a very fertile part of the island and brought great prosperity to its inhabitants.
6. The castle of Paleokastro
Paleokastro simply means “old castle” in greek. This name is borne by numerous castles scattered throughout Greece. Paleokrasto Castle on Ios is located on the northern tip and offers a incredible nice view.
It was built in 1397 by the Duke of Naxos named Francesco Crispo on the ruins of a Byzantine castle complex. Today, only the walls of the castle remain but inside the ruins is the church Panagia Paleokastritsa still standing.
7. Agia Irini
If you are looking for a quiet hotel for your vacation on Ios, you will surely find it in the small village of Agia Irini. The small town is named after the church, that stands here between two small beaches on a picturesque coves.
The southern of the two beaches is called Palm Beach, because of the numerous palm trees that line along the sandy strip. The northern beach is very shallow and ideal for a beach vacation with small children. In summer, some taverns and restaurants offer relaxed entertainment away from the party life of the main town.
The church of Agia Irini is perched high above the Aegean Sea on a rock and greets every ship entering the harbor from its majestic sight.
8. Archaeological Museum of Ios
The archaeological museum is located in a classicist building in the center of Chora. Here you will find historical objects from excavations on the island, especially from Skarkos.
The exhibits range from prehistoric tools, plaster statuettes from the first Cycladic high culture of the Bronze Age, to objects from the Hellenistics, Classical and Roman periods likemarble statues.
The museum gives its visitors a comprehensive insight into the rich culture and extensive settlement history of Ios, which began in the early history of mankind.
9. The cathedral
The cathedral of the capital is the ninth of our twelve sights and presents itself in the splendor of the typical Cycladic architecture. It offers its visitors a magnificently decorated interior with remarkable icons. The church of Agia Aikaterini is located in Chora and was built on the walls of a Pythian temple of Apollo. This church was built in typical blue and white Cycladic colors and offers a very elegant interior.
10. Odysseas Elytis Theater
The theater arena was built in the ancient style into a mountain and offers a beautiful view over the Aegean Sea. It was named after the Greek Nobel laureate Odysseas Elytis.
The Homeria Festival is a tribute to the famous poet and attracts many visitors every year.
11. Aqueduct of Agia Theodoti
If you are looking for a quiet hotel away from the hustle of the party and restaurant scene, you will definitely feel at home in Agia Theodoti. The small coastal town on the south side of Ios offers not only a vacation feeling, but also one of the sights of the island: the historic aqueduct of Agia Theodoti. The remains of the ancient water supply line show a Hellenistic tower and ruins of the aqueduct. Next to it, two water tanks from the Frankish occupation period can be seen, bearing the names Tholo and Tholaki. These ruins show the developed engineering art of past times.
12. The Museum of Modern Art in Kolitsani
Kolitsani itself is already one of the sights of the island. The bay with turquoise blue water is surrounded by steeply rising land masses. This sandy beach invites you to relax and dream. In the hinterland of Kolitsani is the remarkable Museum of Modern Art, which exhibits mainly works of the French artist Jean Marie Dro. During the summer months, photo exhibitions are also held here time.
Conclusion – 12 Ios sights
Ios is a Cycladic beauty that does not need to fear comparison with its famous sisters Santorini, Mikonos and Paros. The small island offers a varied program of sights for every taste. If you are interested in history, you will find traces of numerous advanced civilizations, from the first Bronze Age advanced civilization of the Cyclades, the Greek and Roman antiquity or the Middle Ages influenced by Byzantium and the Franks.
Friends of architecture will find numerous, mainly sacral buildings in the picturesque blue and white Cycladic style, but also historical ruins such as the aqueduct of Agia Theodoti.
The capital Chora is known for its partys, but you can not only be part of the boisterous party scene, but also spend the afternoon relaxing under the hot Greek sun. Our Ios sights will help you to get a first overview.
If you are interested in Greek history and literature, Ios is the right vacation resort for you. The blind poet Homer has been revered throughout Greece since ancient times. No one knows when or if he even lived. But the inhabitants of Ios agree on one thing: he did exist and his grave is located on the northern tip of their home island.
A hotel on one of the gently sloping beaches offers the ideal starting point for excursions into the hilly hinterland or for swimming and relaxing in the small sandy bays. The beach of Gialos is the most famous, but many others, like the two beaches of Agia Irini attract visitors to Ios.
You can find your dream hotel on Ios and many other useful information for your trip to the small Cycladic beauty at https://greece-daily.com/.
Even if you can’t get to Ios directly by plane, the four hour ferry ride from Piraeus is worth it for a vacation on one of the most beautiful islands in all of Greece.