I first saw Ios on a TV programme and it struck me how pretty it was. On further research I discovered that this is considered a party island amongst the Greek 20 somethings. Don’t let this put you off though (if like me you’re no longer a 20 something!). Out of peak season, it’s a stunning unpopulated island with gorgeous secluded little coves just waiting to be discovered. Ios has no airport so with it only being a 30 minute ferry journey directly from Santorini, it meant it was rude not to hop foot it over for a few days to check it out.
The only was to Ios is by ferry from other neighbouring islands. We flew to Santorini via Easyjet and stayed there for a few days before setting off down to the port. The ferries can get booked up to reserving in advance is recommended. The whole process is extremely easy though. I was left quite bemused as everyone turned up with their suitcases, wheeling them up the ramp and onto the ferry-quite a slick and fast turnaround (to say this is Greece!)
We stayed in the main port in the 5 star Liostasi hotel https://www.liostasi.gr. The pool area/bar was fabulous with sweeping views over the bay. It was absolutely stunning to sit in the outdoor bar area and watch the sun setting over the ocean. If you fancied a hotel right near the beach I also really like the look of Hideout suites overlooking Mylopotas bay.
We were only there for 3 nights, so chose to eat in the Michelin starred Grandmas hotel in our hotel, down in the marina at the Octopus Tree (think freshly caught, hung and cooked octopus!) and in the main town at Agosto, food and service here was excellent so would recommend.
We spent our first afternoon/evening exploring the pretty little streets of Ios town. It was relatively quiet and in comparison to Santorini, much smaller than the main town Fira but plenty of photo opportunites in front of pretty churches colourful painted doors. Head to the top of the town to see the windmills.
The second day we hired a quad (I would definitely recommend doing this). It was relatively inexpensive ($35 for the day) and meant we could go off and explore the island under our own steam. There are very few roads on Ios and barely any traffic so its very easy to get around. We picked up our quad in the marina in Chora and drove south to Manganari beach which took about 45 minutes. The views are spectacular from the mountainous roads. Be prepared to stop multiple times on the road side for pictures of dome topped churches in the middle of nowhere and spectacular views of the coastline.
We got lunch at Manganari at an authentic little beach taverna then set off on foot to find the elusive Neverbay. I saw this spot on Instagram- a secluded picturesque cove and was determined to find it! The lost boys on Instagram kindly sent me a map and we painstakingly orientated our way over the hill to try and find it (a lot harder than it would first appear!). I’m thankful to say we did find it and well worth the trek! For the stunning views and pictures!
On our last day we jumped on the bus from the marina to Mylopotas beach which took about 15 minutes. This is a gorgeous beach which wasn’t too busy when we visited. We got beds outside ‘Salt’ and the staff waited on us from our beds, serving us refreshing inexpensive cocktails and beers all day. We also ate in the restaurant for lunch-food was delicious so would definitely recommend if you head down to this area.
Definitely get a quad (we’ve never got one before on holiday so don’t worry if you’re a novice! But it is definitely the best way to get around and really see the island).
Make sure you book your ferries in advance as they can get busy especially in peak times
If you decide to try and find Neverbay, make sure you take plenty of water in case you get lost or it takes longer than you anticipated (also wear sensible shoes!)
Head to Ios out of season to avoid the teens/college party goers!