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The “Fair Flower”

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Discover Ios

Ios is one of the most beautiful islands in the Aegean and the southern Cyclades. Its name means “fair flower”, while during the period of Ottoman rule it was also known as “Little Malta”, thanks to its natural harbour, which afforded complete protection against the wind.

An island of light and the mythological burial place of Homer, the dazzling Ios has for decades been synonymous with uninhibited night-time entertainment, making it a favourite destination for young Northern Europeans.

Today, the eternal teenager of the Cyclades presents a complex personality, showing off her cultural treasures, including unique archaeological sites, wonderful churches, museums of contemporary art, and a creative culinary scene of international scope. From splendid historical monuments to fantastic beaches and magical sunsets, this cosmopolitan island never fails to impress, combining an inexhaustible youthful energy with a captivatingly cool sense of maturity.

It is well-worth visiting with a ferry ticket to Ios.

3 memorable experiences on Ios
  1. If you choose one of the itineraries to Ios, don’t miss the opportunity to take a walk around the port to see the elaborate pebble mosaics of local artist Yiannis Loukianos.
  2. The “Homeria”, a famous arts festival with major theatrical performances and concerts. It is held every May under the auspices of UNESCO.
  3. The legendary nightlife, an endless party at the countless bars and clubs on the streets and squares of Ios Town.
Beaches of Ios

Whether they are cosmopolitan, tourist-oriented or secluded, Ios’s many beaches have one thing in common: they are all gorgeous and captivate visitors with their pristine waters. Don’t miss:

  • The exotic Manganari with its fine golden sand and shallow blue-green sea. One part has tourist amenities and restaurants, while the rest has plenty of space for relaxing away from the crowds. Protected from the wind and the waves, it is great for families with small children.
  • Mylopotas, Ios’s best-known beach, a one-kilometre stretch of fine white sand and emerald sea offering every amenity and modern water sports facilities.
  • Kalamos, the favourite beach of anyone seeking peace and tranquillity. It has a large expanse of sand and the superb sea is perfect for underwater diving and exploration. There are no amenities, so make sure you have everything you need before you go.
  • Koumbara, an ideal choice for anyone seeking a quiet place for a swim near Ios Town. The sea is crystal clear, while there are a number of tavernas serving good food nearby.
  • Saint Theodoti, a small sandy cove on the east side of the island, with natural shade provided by tamarisk trees. The beach owes its name to the 16th-century church on the hill overlooking it.
Postcards from Ios: 10 things not to miss

Ios Town
Built on a hillside in the typical architectural style of the Cyclades, the traditional settlement enchants visitors with its picturesque scenery. Wander among the white cube-shaped houses and stigadia (covered alleyways). Must-see sights include the 14th-century Catholic church and Anixis Square with its 12 windmills, especially at sunset.

The Church of the Virgin Mary Gremiotissa 
This historic 18th-century church is built at the top of a rock and is the highest point in Ios Town. Its courtyard has magnificent views, especially at sunset, taking in Sikinos and Santorini.

The Yannis Gaitis & Gavriela Simosi Museum
This beautiful private museum above Ios Town houses[p1]  exceptional works by the eminent Greek artist and his sculptor wife, as well as their collection of Greek and foreign modernist paintings.

The Jean-Marie Drot Museum of Modern Art
The mansion of the French philhellene painter Jean-Marie Drot, who was drawn to Greece by its natural landscapes and the quality of its light, has been turned into an excellent private museum containing a rich collection of the artist’s paintings, sculptures, engravings, photographs, and furniture. It is located in Mylopotas.

This 16th-century Venetian-Byzantine fortress was part of an inter-island network of communication, and, in the case of enemy incursions, was able to send word to the capital of the Byzantine Empire in Constantinople. Come in the afternoon to admire the fascinating ruins and gaze at the Aegean from its walls, walking the path at the edge of the cliff.

The Archaeological Museum
Housed in a neoclassical building in Ios Town, this modern museum presents significant finds from excavations on Skarkos Hill and the prehistoric cemetery, as well as objects from the ancient city of Ios. The collection covers the period from the Early Cycladic to the Roman era.

Homer’s Tomb
The locals have for centuries claimed a Hellenistic tower near the ruined settlement of Plakotos as Homer’s burial place. It can be reached via a marked trail and offers unparalleled views of the Aegean.

The Odysseas Elytis Theatre
Designed by architect Peter Haupt and modelled on the ancient Greek theatres of Sicily, this open-air marble theatre with 1100 seats is dedicated to the poet Odysseas Elytis. Located in the delightful environs of Tsoukalaria, it has panoramic views of the horizon, the port, and Mylopotas, especially at sunset.

Hiking trails
Ios has one of the best-organised hiking networks in the Aegean, with routes leading to stunning beaches and important archaeological sites. The path from Ios Town to Pelakania, passing through the lush vegetation and orchards of the Perivolia region, is among the island’s loveliest.

Perhaps the most impressive archaeological discovery on Ios is situated in the ​​Kampos region, on Skarkos Hill. It is the largest known Early Cycladic settlement, dating back to the 3rd millennium BC.. The site’s exemplary restoration and presentation has earned it a Europa Nostra cultural heritage award.

 [p1]Not “αναμένεται“, I think

Tastes of Ios

The cuisine on Ios is typified by delicious traditional recipes made with fine local produce. The island is renowned for its cheeses, including spicy skotyri (soft goat’s cheese with herbs), dried figs with sesame seeds, the famous mosenta (a baked dessert made with watermelon juice, flour, sugar and sesame seeds).

Other favourite delicacies worth sampling on Ios include chickpeas cooked in a clay pot and chickpea fritters, tsimetia (courgette flowers stuffed with rice), chicken stuffed with rice and raisins, sun-dried whitebait, sougli (a small pancake with pork meat), and panada (bread dipped in red sauce).

The small vineyards of Ios produce wonderful wine. If you fancy something sweet, try a watermelon preserve or pumpkin pie.

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