Here’s a list of the 15 best things to do in Ios (Greece), along with famous landmarks, museums, and other points of interest.
Ios is a Greek island that belongs to the Cyclades islands in the Aegean Sea. The island is particularly famous for its vibrant nightlife, but also for its prehistoric sites as well as the tomb of Homer himself, the greatest epic poet of Greeks.
In this article, I’m sharing some of the best places to visit in Ios as well as attractions and beaches that shouldn’t be missed while visiting.
Manganari Beach is located on the southern end of Ios and is widely considered as one of the island’s best beaches. This wide stretch of sand features a humble choice of accommodation options as well as a few typical Greek beach bars and restaurants, serving Greek food.
Even during summertime, the beach rarely gets too packed and there is always enough space for everyone. Great for families with children as the beach offers plenty of areas to play.
Unique about Manganari Beach is that it’s split into two halves as there is a relatively flat rock formation right in the middle. The southern and northern ends are usually the least crowded.
Panagia Gremiotissa Church
If you are looking for a scenic viewing point the Panagia Gremiotissa Church is a great spot for you. It is located in the hills above the island capital Chora and offers a fantastic panorama.
The church can be seen from all over the town as it features a tall bell tower with a blue dome that really stands out from the greenery surrounding it. Apart from the blue dome, the church is all white, making it a typical example of the local architecture.
Odysseas Elytis Theatre
Another great place to come to if you are looking for an impressive view is the Odysseas Elytis Theater in the hills above Chora. The theater was constructed in an ancient Greek style using marble as the main construction material.
Most of the big cultural events of Ios are held here as it offers seating for around 1100 people. If you get the chance to attend a concert or a play at the Odysseas Elytis Theater you shouldn’t miss your chance.
Mylopotas Beach is one of the most popular beaches in Ios and attracts thousands of tourists every year. Especially during the summer the beach and the adjacent village become very lively and busy.
Most tourists are sun-seeking visitors from central and northern Europe who appreciate the wideness of this sandy beach. Despite its popularity, there are also less crowded areas that are not filled with sunbeds and umbrellas. There are plenty of water sport options available too.
Homer was one of Greece’s greatest poets and wrote masterpieces like Odyssey and Iliad. In honor of this great man, a beautifully decorated tomb has been erected at Plakoto.
It is situated on a hill and offers a great panorama. According to Greek legends, Homer spent the last days of his life on Ios as his mother was from here.
Coming here is worthwhile not just for the interesting tomb and the beautiful natural surroundings but also because it is an easy way to learn about Homer and his works that influenced humanity deeply.
If you are interested in history and culture Skarkos is a great attraction for you and shouldn’t be missed. You can find an authentic Bronze Age settlement here that is widely considered the most important archaeological site of the Cyclades.
The ruins of this once thriving village spark the imagination and help understand how people lived here centuries ago. It is easy to reach the archaeological site as it is only a few kilometers away from Ios’ main port.
The Byzantine castle Paleokastro is one of Ios’ many interesting historical attractions. It is located between Agia Theodoti and Psathi and sits in a towering position over the island’s north-eastern coast.
The last meters to the castle lead along a beautiful footpath. There is also a lovely church found here which is protected by the walls protecting the island against pirates.
Due to the location directly on top of a cliff, the remains of the Paleokastro are a great spot for photographers in search of a dramatic shot.
Ios offers great hiking trails that are known for their ruggedness as much of Ios is very rocky and barren. Even though most trails require decent fitness there are also trails suitable for more casual walks.
Thanks to the island’s numerous hills, many of the trails are very scenic as they lead along with great viewing spots. But there are also trails of cultural interest like the one from Chora to the monastery of Agios Ioannis.
The Mediterranean climate makes the island suitable for hiking throughout the year but because of the heat and the increased prices during the summer an ideal time for hiking trips to Ios is the spring or the fall as these seasons offer warm weather without being too busy.
Ios Bar Crawl
The Ios Bar Crawl is a famous nightlife tour that offers a package including the entrance to six nightclubs and a set amount of drinks at a very affordable price.
The bar crawl takes place in the island’s capital Chora and is a great way to meet like-minded people and enjoy the night to the fullest. Most of the participants are young people in search of fun and an easy-going atmosphere is guaranteed.
Chora is the biggest town on Ios and is widely considered one of the most attractive island capitals in the Cyclades. Chora not only offers a historic city center that is inviting for relaxed walks but also a beach and a vibrant nightlife scene.
This diversity also reflects in the types of visitors coming here, there are families that come for the beach, young people in search of great parties, and older visitors that come for the culture and the beautiful panorama.
If you are interested in culture make sure not to miss the Archeological Museum of Ios and the interesting Skarkos Hill.
See the windmills of Ios
Ios is a very barren island and often quite windy which is why there is a long history of windmills to be found here. Some of the most historic examples have been conserved and today attract visitors from all over the world.
The windmills can be found on the hill overlooking Chora and the easiest way to get here is to simply walk east from the city center. Due to their elevated location, the windmills also offer great views over the sea and the beautiful white houses of Chora.
Kolitsani Beach is a small beach south of Chora that is known for its fantastic crystal clear waters and the many sailing yachts that come here to enjoy the idyllic bay protected by rocky hills on all sides.
The beach is completely natural and there are no tourist facilities here yet. Especially during the low season the beach is very quiet and offers plenty of privacy which makes it great for nature lovers.
Kolitsani beach can only be reached by boat though as the road leading there is on private property.
Agia Irini Church
The Agia Irini Church is situated on the south-western end of Ios and is one of the most iconic churches as it was built to greet visitors arriving at the island via the sea.
It is built on cliffs overlooking the sea and offers great scenic beauty for anyone eager enough to walk a few steps uphill from the city center. The church is all white and a great example of traditional Greek architecture.
Ag. Theodoti Beach
The beach of Ag. Theodoti is one of the most beautiful on Ios and offers plenty of peace and tranquility due to its remote location on the north-eastern coast of the island.
Coming here by car takes a while as you will have to cross the hilly interior when coming from Chora. Once you are here, you are rewarded with a vast beach surrounded by almost completely untouched nature.
Only a few accommodations and restaurants are located in the area, which also ensures the beach never gets too busy even during the summer. The hills right behind the beach are known for being good spots to watch the sunrise.
Sunset sailing on the Pirate ship
Ios offers plenty of interesting boat tours and almost all of them are worth experiencing. If you are looking for something a little more different and exciting, there are also tours on pirate ships available including a romantic sunset sail in the Aegean Sea.
This interesting adventure starts and ends in Chora and is a very romantic way to spend an evening with your loved ones. Of course, it is also one of the best things to do in Ios with kids. They will love the classical-wooden pirate ship that looks like it comes straight out of a movie.
Want more recommendations on things to do in Ios, Greece? Leave a comment below!