Ios island or Nios, as the locals call it, is one of the most beautiful islands of the Cyclades group, known worldwide and preferred by young people for its nightlife. It is surrounded by Santorini, Paros and Naxos and boasts numerous bays and long sandy beaches. 32 km, out of the 81.5 km of coastline, are sandy beaches!
According to ancient tradition, Ios was the homeland of Homer’s mother, but also the burial place of the great epic poet. An Early Cycladic Period settlement was discovered in Skarkos as well as buildings regarded as dating to historical times. Palaiokastro was built during the Byzantine Period at the northeastern side of the island. Ios was under Venetian domination until 1537, when the Turks occupied the island. Its area is 108 sq. km and there are 1,830 residents.
1. Ios Town (Chora)
It has been built on a hillside in an amphi- theatrical formation. There are ruins of a mediaeval castle on the hilltop. Snow-white little houses, picturesque alleys lined with shops, the twelve windmills, churches with arched belfries and light blue domes create a unique residential area. Chora is a heritage town.
2. Ormos (Gialos)
Ormos is Ios’ harbour. Agia Eirini’s church lies at the harbour’s entrance, perched on the rocks. The remains of a Prehistoric settlement of the Early Cycladic Period have been located on Skarkos hill. It is worth visiting Koumpara beach where you will enjoy the lovely sunset view. Distance from Chora: 1.5 km E.
Mylopotas is a resort with a marvellous 1 km long sandy beach. Visit the small church of Panagia in the area, as well as the lake reservoir. Also, follow the scenic route from Mylopotas up to Manganari. Distance from Chora: 2 km SE.
4. Agia Theodoti
It is a village ideal for your holidays with a long beach and the ruins of a Roman aqueduct. There is a trail starting from the old settlement and leading to Gefyri location through an impressive landscape. Distance from Chora: 9kmNE.
Psathi is a good choice for your holidays. You can also visit the ruins of the 7th-8th century Palaiokastro (meaning an old castle) on a rocky hillock. Distance from Chora: 17.5 km E.
Manganari is an area with amazing sandy beaches and turquoise waters where part of the film “The Big Blue” was shot. Do visit the three scenic coves Treis Ekklisies, Kalamos and Plakes and their outstanding beaches, as well as the Monastery of Agios Ioannis tou Kalamou), 7.5 km NW. Distance from Chora: 19 km SE.
Quick must see – The ancient town of Ios, built on the hill next to where modern day Chora lies; there are remains of ancient building walls and a segment of road and sewage network.
Activities in Ios
4. Water sports.
5. Spear Fishing.
6. Diving (at Mylopotas).
7. Camping at Mylopotas and at Ormos (Gialos).
8. Swimming at the popular Mylopotas beach, at Manganari, Psathi and at the sandy beaches of Agia Theodoti, Kalamos, Diammoudia, Treis Ekklisies, Papa, Plakes, Tzamaria, Koumpara, Loretzaina and Plakoto.
Useful phone numbers in Ios
1. Ios Municipal Office: 22863-60.400
2. Police station: 22860-91.222
3. Rural Health Centre: 22863-60.000
4. Port authority: 22860-91.264
Country code: +30
What to visit in Ios island
1. The ruins of the mediaeval castle (1397) erected by Marco Crispi, the then sovereign.
2. Panagia Gremiotissa’s church (late 18th century) on the hilltop, in Chora.
3. The churches of Agios Nikolaos, Evangelismos (Annunciation) and Agia Aikaterini possibly built on the location of the ancient temple of Pythius Apollo.
4. Amoiradakeio Megaro, a neoclassical building of the early 20th century. The Town Hall and the Archaeological Museum are housed in this mansion.
5. Plateia Omirou (Homer’s square), at the harbour, on the road towards Chora.
6. The Odysseas Elytis theatre, built of stone and modelled after an ancient theatre.
7. The Museum of Modern Art (at Kolitsanoi location), where works of art from the collection of Jean Marie Dro are on display.