Ios Travel Guide
Located in the Cycladic Islands and near Santorini, Ios has the wildest nightlife out of all the Greek islands. It is the summer party island where days are spent hungover on the beach while nights are spent eating cheap food and drinking. The peak season for Ios is July and August. There’s a lot to do on the islands if you don’t want to party, the but the truth is, 95% of people come here to party and the average age is 22. If you don’t want to do that but still want to see Ios, it’s best to go to the eastern part of the island where it’s quieter. Don’t let Ios’ party reputation deter you from visiting, it’s a beautiful island and only busy June-August!
- Hostel prices – Hostels start at about $13 USD per night for a dorm room and $20-30 USD for a private room. Camping starts at $7 USD a night. During July and August, prices double. For long term stays, you can usually find a private guesthouse for around $19 USD per night.
- Budget hotel prices – Budget hotels start at about $47 USD a night, or $30 USD in the off-season.
- Average cost of food – Ios is filled with cheap food. You can eat cheaply with gyros or other street food for only around $4 USD. Most meals will cost around $9-12 USD, including a drink. For a good restaurant meal, expect to pay around $20 USD. The nicest places on Ios cost around $30 USD including a glass of wine.
- Transportation Costs: The local bus costs $3 USD. You can rent ATVs for about $25 USD per day.
Money Saving Tips
- Rent an ATV – A fun and popular way to travel this is the cheapest way to get around the island. Don’t try renting a car; they are very expensive.
- Eat lots of gyros – A good way to save money is to eat the cheap Gyros and sandwiches from places like Porky’s and Club Sandwich.
- Buy your own alcohol – Ios is a place where people drink. You can end up spending a lot of money if you aren’t careful. Drink your own alcohol before heading out and then stick to the $1 USD shot bars. Otherwise you could find yourself spending close to $50 USD per night!
Top Things to See and Do on Ios
- Mylopotas Beach – As one of Ios’s most popular beaches, its white sand stretches for miles. It’s a great place to hang out and kill that hangover you got at the bars the night before. It doesn’t get busy until about 1 p.m. so if you arrive early, you can stake your claim to some of the best spots. The beach stays busy until after sunset.
- The Archeological Museum – It’s always good to get the history of a place and this museum let’s you do that. The museum is pretty small but it’s informative. It’s closed often so you might have to ask around as to when it will open.
- Homer’s Tomb – Homer’s claim to fame is writing the Odyssey and the Iliad. It’s said Homer is buried here because his mother was buried here as well. The tomb is far away from the town and you’ll need to rent an ATV to get there. The trip takes about 30 minutes. The “tomb” is just a headstone but as a bonus you get amazing views off the surrounding cliffs.
- Shop in Chora – The main town is a great place to do some shopping. You can find a good selection of clothes and gifts that are a lot cheaper than on Santorini and Mykonos.
- Do some water sports – You can scuba dive, rent a banana boat, or take a boating trip around the island. Most of the activities are booked from Mylopotas Beach.
- Eat on the harbor – If you are looking for good seafood, Ios has it. Seafood here is cheaper than most other islands in the area. Eating down by the harbor also affords you good sunsets. I try to eat here once or twice while on the island.
- Chora Village – This tiny village has a population of a mere 1,600 people. During the day, there isn’t much going on, but at night, in the central square, many people gather for drinks, music, and fun.
- Dance the night away – Ios is famous for its nightlife. It’s the main reason most people come to the island during the summer time. The bars get busy around midnight and stay busy until seven or eight in the morning. This is a serious party island and if you are going to stay near the town, be prepared to either drink or deal with lots of drunk young travelers.
- Skarkos – This is pretty much the only archaeological site on the island. It is exceptionally well preserved and features some really amazing architecture dating back to the Cycladic period. There is a great collection of old utensils made from stone, metal and bone to see, as well as some old pottery and tools.
- Find privacy at Maganari Beach – If you want a break from the young party crowd, you can head to Maganari Beach for some seclusion. Few people know about it, but you can find it on the south side of Ios.
- Explore Paleokastro – The ruins of this Byzantine castle are accessible by walking 15-20 minutes up a hill. The castle was originally constructed in 1397, and contains a small church inside the boundary of the walls. There’s not a lot to look at, but you can experience the nice views from the top of the hill.