An island in southern Greece, Ios boasts crystal-clear waters, pristine beaches, dramatic crags, a mythological history, and classic whitewashed buildings. We list some of the best things to see and do in this Greek paradise.
Chora is a classic Greek village. Built on hilly terrain, it offers a great number of scenic views as well as numerous side alleys to explore, not to mention the shops that line the streets of this whitewashed town. Chora is known for peaceful ambience by day, but also has a lively nightlife scene with numerous bars and clubs.
Blue and white roofs make Evangelisimos a great site for photographs, while the picturesque white bell tower of Panayia Gremiotissa is one of the most captured images on the island. With a history of religious tradition, both churches participate in various festivals throughout the year.
Odysseas Elytis Theatre
On top of the hill above Chora, visitors will discover the large, open air amphitheater of Odysseas Elytis. Named after a famous Greek poet, the recently constructed marble theatre is styled to resemble ancient Greek theatres, and is a fantastic place to participate in the many festivals and watch the performances that take place on the island.
For more intrepid types, hiking Ios’ back country is a must, especially when navigating the shepherd paths through the rocky terrain up to Pyrgos, the island’s highest point. This leads wanderers to the old monastery of Agios Ioannis. Remember to take a map, plenty of water, and a good amount of sun protection.
The most visited beach on the island is Mylopotas Beach, located right near the town of Chora. Like many of the beaches on Ios, this is a great place to enjoy the crystalline waters and white sand of the Aegean. Incidentally, this is also where visitors will find the well-known Far Out Beach Club, the number one spot to party on Ios.
Plakotos Beach and Homer’s Tomb
Travel to the north of the island either by taxi-boat or by the track road leading to this secluded beach. Less popular than other beaches on the island because of its more turbulent waters and lack of nearby facilities, Plakotos does offer a fantastic view of the Mediterranean. Above the beach, explore an ancient tomb that many say is the burial site of the poet Homer.
Visit Skarkos Hill, the island’s largest Bronze Age archaeological excavation site. Learn about the structure of the settlement or discover the ancient burial customs that were used. Skarkos is a fantastic way to get in touch with the history of Greece and get a taste of its ancient lifestyle.
Archaeological Museum in Chora
The Archaeological Museum is where the many pots, coins, and other objects found among the archaeological excavations on the island are housed. Set in a grand neo-classical building, this museum offers its visitors statuettes, marble fragments from burial tombs, and an outdoor yard that holds marble friezes, columns, and sarcophagi.
This Byzantine castle is located on the eastern side of the island. The remains of the castle, including some of its walls, stand right on the edge of a cliff, offering fantastic views out over the Aegean sea. Inside the castle, visitors will find a small church, which celebrates an annual festival in honor of the Virgin Mary.
Removed from the general pulse of tourism around Chora, Manganari Beach is clean and clear, accessible by boat and car, and offers plenty of facilities for travelers. In truth, Manganari is actually made up of many small, sandy coves, which helps add a sense of seclusion to the stretch.
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