20 Things to Do on Ios Island
The Greek island of Ios is a beautiful and serene destination, perfect for a relaxing vacation. But if you’re looking for adventure and excitement, it’s also an excellent choice! From breathtaking beaches to historic sites and cultural activities, there’s something for everyone on Ios.
Here’s our ultimate guide to the top 20 things to do on Ios Island, Greece, so you can make the most of your time here!
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1) Explore the many beaches
Ios is blessed with some of the best beaches in the Aegean Sea, each with its unique character. Manganari Beach is perfect for those looking for a more relaxed atmosphere and the opportunity to go snorkeling.
Mylopotas beach is just two kilometers from Chora and is great for sunbathers, beach bars, and water sports.
Gialos beach is often called the ‘secret beach’ due to its hidden location and boasts crystal clear waters.
The stunning Loretzena Beach features an impressive natural rock formation as well as numerous pebble and sand beaches.
Finally, Kalamos Beach is a beautiful spot for swimming, diving, and watching the sunset. No matter which beach you choose to explore, you’ll have a memorable experience.
2) Visit Homer’s Tomb – 20 Things to Do on Ios Island
Take a short, 20-minute drive from Ios and visit the birthplace of the epic poet Homer. According to Greek mythology, this is where the great poet was born and wrote his famous epics, The Iliad and The Odyssey. Visit the site of Homer’s Tomb, located on the foothills of the mountain at Kerkis.
The ruins are believed to have been built over 2,800 years ago and are considered one of Greece’s most sacred places. There is a small church nearby dedicated to the memory of Homer, where you can see some ancient artifacts that have been unearthed around the area.
The mountains’ views are breathtaking; visitors often spend a lot of time exploring the ruins and enjoying the views. Be sure to bring your camera to capture the amazing views and experience of visiting Homer’s Tomb.
3) Check out the windmills
The windmills of Ios Island are a unique sight that you won’t want to miss. These beautiful old structures are a reminder of the island’s past when it was heavily reliant on wind energy. The best way to view the windmills is by driving or walking up the hill at Faros, near the village of Magganari. From here, you will be able to enjoy the stunning views of Ios and its windmills at the same time. It’s also a great spot for sunset viewing and taking pictures. If you’re lucky, you might even spot a few of the island’s wild goats as they roam around the area.
4) Visit the archaeological site of Skarkos – 20 Things to Do on Ios Island
One of the most impressive archaeological sites in Ios, Greece is Skarkos. Located on a hill overlooking the bay, Skarkos is believed to have been inhabited as early as 3200 BC and was an important settlement during the Bronze Age.
At Skarkos you’ll find many incredible ruins including houses, courtyards, terraces, and monuments. You’ll be able to explore several different areas of the archaeological site including the Acropolis, Lower Town, and Temple Hill. The most famous structure is the Cyclopean Wall, which was built using large stones without mortar.
When visiting the archaeological site of Skarkos, it’s best to wear comfortable walking shoes and bring plenty of water. You can easily spend a few hours exploring the ruins and admiring the incredible views from the top of the hill. There is also a small café where you can grab a snack or refreshment before heading back down to sea level.
5) Admire the view from Odysseas Elytis Theatre
If you’re looking for a stunning view of Ios Island, make sure to check out Odysseas Elytis Theatre. Located on a hill in Chora, this open-air theatre offers sweeping panoramic views of the Aegean Sea and the many islands around it.
The theatre itself is quite an impressive sight, constructed from large blocks of marble and surrounded by traditional Greek buildings. Whether you attend one of the plays or concerts held here throughout the summer, or simply sit and admire the view, the experience is sure to be unforgettable. The best time to come is at sunset when the colors of the sky and sea seem to merge in a captivating display.
6) Hike to Ios lighthouse – 20 Things to Do on Ios Island
If you’re looking for a great hike while on Ios, the hike to the Ios lighthouse is a must! Located at the very northern tip of Ios, the lighthouse offers breathtaking views of the surrounding islands. The hike to the lighthouse is relatively easy, with a well-marked path and some shade provided by the trees. The total distance to the lighthouse is around 2.5km and will take you approximately an hour and a half to complete.
Once you reach the top, be prepared for stunning views of the island and the Aegean Sea. The scenery is simply spectacular and makes it worth the effort. This is a great spot for some beautiful photos, or just taking in the moment and enjoying the view. On clear days, you can even see other Cyclades islands, such as Santorini and Mykonos!
Hiking to the Ios lighthouse is a great way to experience all that Ios has to offer and is an experience not to be missed!
7) Watch the sunset from Panagia Gremniotissa Church in Chora
If you’re looking for an unforgettable way to end the day on Ios, head to Panagia Gremniotissa Church in Chora. This small church is located in the center of the island’s capital and provides a spectacular view of the sunset. On a clear day, you can see the waves crashing against the rocks below while the sun paints the sky with shades of pink and orange. The perfect place to get away from it all and take in the beauty of Ios, this church is worth a visit.
While you’re there, don’t forget to explore the winding streets of Chora and discover the many churches on the island – you won’t regret it!
8) Head to Mylopotas beach for water sports and the beach bars – 20 Things to Do on Ios Island
Mylopotas Beach is a must-see beach on Ios Island. With its crystal-clear waters, white sand, and palm trees, it’s the perfect spot for swimming, sunbathing, and taking part in a variety of water sports.
If you’re feeling adventurous, rent a kayak or stand-up paddleboard and explore the bay. For some more adrenaline-filled fun, rent a jet ski or parasail from the beach bars. The beach bars also offer refreshments and snacks throughout the day, making them a great spot to relax and watch the sunset.
If you’re looking for a night out, Mylopotas beach is home to some of the island’s best bars and restaurants, including Space Bar and Club 139. Whether you want to grab a drink or dance the night away, this is the place to be.
From water sports to nightlife, there’s something for everyone at Mylopotas Beach. Whether you’re looking for an active day in the sun or a night of dancing, head to Mylopotas beach for a truly unforgettable experience.
9) Explore the beaches by boat
One of the best ways to experience the beaches of Ios Island, Greece is by boat. Take in the stunning coastline from the comfort of a boat and explore some of the most beautiful beaches on the island. You can hire boats from any of the beach resorts or even rent them for a day out. Once you’re on the ship, you can enjoy swimming in crystal-clear waters and take in the views of the Aegean Sea. You can also visit some of the hidden coves that can only be reached by boat, such as Ammos beach or Maganari beach. Whatever you choose to do, exploring Ios Island’s beaches by boat is an unforgettable experience.
10) Visit the Byzantine Castle of Paleokastro – 20 Things to Do on Ios Island
The Byzantine Castle of Paleokastro is located in the southeastern part of Ios Island, near the village of Psathi. It dates back to the 14th century and was constructed by the Venetian family of Sanoudos. This castle is a great place to explore if you want to immerse yourself in the rich history of Ios Island.
The castle is built atop a large hill and offers spectacular views of the Aegean Sea and the surrounding area. You can also explore some of the ruins of buildings and other structures that were once part of the castle complex. The nearby monastery of Agios Georgios also offers a great opportunity for exploration.
Visiting the Byzantine Castle of Paleokastro is a great way to gain insight into the history of Ios Island and the ancient Greeks who once inhabited it. Be sure to bring your camera, as this is one spot you will not want to miss out on capturing!
11) Go for a walk at Paralia Koumpara Beach
Paralia Koumpara Beach is the perfect spot for a leisurely stroll along the shoreline. This beach offers stunning views of the Sea and its colorful sunsets. The beach is sheltered from the strong winds that can occur on the island, and is also a great spot for swimming, as it is usually calmer than most of the other beaches on Ios Island. Take some time to explore the vast range of sea creatures living in the shallow waters here. The beach is equipped with loungers and umbrellas, making it easy to relax and take in the spectacular views. For those looking to get active, there are plenty of activities available on this beach such as volleyball, beach soccer, and frisbee.
Be sure to bring some snacks with you and find yourself a spot on the sand to enjoy them in the sun.
12) Visit the Archaeological Museum in Chora – 20 Things to Do on Ios Island
The Archaeological Museum of Ios is a great way to get an overview of the island’s history and cultural heritage. Located in Chora, the museum houses artifacts and items from the Early Cycladic period through to the Roman times. Some of the exhibits include ancient pottery, sculptures, coins, jewelry, and weapons.
The museum also offers educational programs and guided tours, which are perfect for those who are keen to learn more about the island’s culture and past. After exploring the museum, be sure to take a walk through the picturesque streets of Chora, taking in all of its traditional charms.
13) Get lost in the winding streets of Chora
The winding streets of Chora, the main village of Ios, are a great place to explore and get lost in. Strolling along the narrow alleys and steps you will find hidden gems. From traditional Cycladic architecture to incredible views from the highest parts of the village, it’s easy to get lost in time here. As you wander through the streets, take a moment to appreciate the beautiful white-washed walls and bright blue doors.
You can also enjoy some traditional Greek food while walking around. There are many small cafes and tavernas throughout the village that offer delicious Greek food such as gyros, souvlaki, and other traditional dishes. You can also explore the local shops where you can buy local handicrafts, souvenirs, and jewelry.
Chora is also home to many historical monuments including the Venetian castle, the Church of Panagia Gremniotissa, the Church of Agios Ioannis Theologos, and more. If you’re up for an adventure, there are also plenty of hiking trails that can take you to some of the most incredible views on the island.
Exploring the winding streets in Chora is an experience that should not be missed when visiting Ios. Enjoy the beautiful views and take your time as you wander around this stunning village.
14) Discover the 365 churches on the island – 20 Things to Do on Ios Island
Ios Island is known for its breathtaking landscapes and incredible architecture, with one of its most iconic features being the 365 churches spread across the island. With so many churches, it can be difficult to know where to start your exploration. To make the most of your time, here are some of the must-see churches on Ios:
The Monastery of Agios Ioannis of Kalamos: This impressive monastery is a significant landmark on Ios, and its gardens make for a perfect spot for a picnic. Inside the church, visitors can see a few Byzantine frescoes.
Karmiotissa Church: Located in Chora, this church offers stunning views over the Sea. It’s also home to some interesting works of art, including wooden sculptures and intricately painted icons.
Church of Agios Nikolaos: This charming church was built in 1780 and is known for its beautiful bell tower. Inside, you can admire some ancient frescoes that date back to the 16th century.
Whether looking for stunning views, unique architecture, or rich history, you won’t be disappointed by Ios Island’s 365 churches. Take some time to explore the churches and discover something new around every corner.
15) Visit the Monastery of Agios Ioannis of Kalamos
The Monastery of Agios Ioannis of Kalamos is one of the most important monasteries on Ios Island in Greece. Located high on a hillside and surrounded by lush vegetation, this monastery is the perfect place to escape the hustle and bustle of city life. The monastery dates back to 1667 and has been restored to its original beauty. Inside, you will find many artifacts and a breathtaking view of the surrounding landscape.
The monastery also hosts some festivals throughout the year, including traditional dance performances, music concerts, and even a festival dedicated to St. John of Kalamos himself. Make sure to check out the gift shop as it contains a selection of religious items and souvenirs from the monastery.
When you visit the Monastery of Agios Ioannis of Kalamos, take time to explore the grounds and admire the beauty of nature that surrounds it. The tranquility and peaceful atmosphere that you can experience here make this an ideal destination for a spiritual journey.
16) Enjoy the nightlife on Ios – 20 Things to Do on Ios Island
Ios is known for its vibrant nightlife, with plenty of bars and clubs to choose from. The main spot for late-night partying is Chora, where the winding streets of the town lead to some of the most popular bars and clubs in the area. Some of the must-visit bars and clubs in Chora include Pathos Lounge, Free Beach Bar, and Almyra Barmacy. There are also several pubs and beach bars located along the shoreline that are great places to enjoy the sunset while sipping on a cocktail. Ios is also known for its lively music scene, with DJs playing sets throughout the night at various venues around the island. Whether you’re looking to dance the night away or just relax with a drink and some friends, Ios has something for everyone when it comes to nightlife.
17) Party at Pathos Lounge in Koumbara
Are you looking for an unforgettable nightlife experience on Ios Island, Greece? Look no further than the Pathos Lounge in Koumbara! Located just a few meters from Koumbara beach, this lounge is the perfect spot to spend your evening.
At the Pathos Lounge, you can expect to find a variety of drinks and cocktails on offer. As well as offering delicious drinks, the lounge also boasts a vibrant atmosphere and music that will keep you dancing until the early hours of the morning. The best part is that the lounge is open until late, so you can party all night long.
You can also find some great snacks and light bites here, so you don’t have to worry about going hungry when you are out having a good time. Whether you want to dance or just sit back and enjoy a drink or two, Pathos Lounge is the perfect place for you. So, what are you waiting for? Head over to Pathos Lounge in Koumbara today and get ready to have the time of your life!
18) Make a day trip to nearby Sikinos Island – 20 Things to Do on Ios Island
For those looking to explore more of the Greek Islands, a day trip to Sikinos Island is a must. With its stunning views and secluded beaches, this small island just off the coast of Ios is a great place for a day trip.
Sikinos is known for its stunning beaches, especially Apokofto beach which can be reached by boat or car. It’s here where you can take in crystal-clear waters, white sand, and spectacular scenery. There are plenty of beach activities like snorkeling, swimming, sunbathing, and tavernas where you can sample the delicious local cuisine.
The island is also home to interesting historical sites such as an ancient acropolis and two small churches worth exploring. You can also take a stroll through the narrow streets of the charming village of Chora where you’ll find some delightful restaurants, cafes, and shops.
The small size of the island means you can easily explore the whole island in one day, making it a great destination for those with limited time but who want to experience the beauty of the Greek islands. A day trip to Sikinos Island is sure to be an unforgettable experience.
19) Do a kayak Safari
One of the most thrilling activities to do on Ios Island is to go on a kayak safari. Whether you are an experienced kayaker or a novice, you will be able to enjoy the beautiful scenery and explore the crystal clear waters. There are many companies offering kayak safaris that take you through hidden coves, beaches, and caves.
The islands of Ios and Sikinos are some of the best locations for kayaking in Greece and offer great opportunities for exploring. The tour will usually include a stop at a nearby beach where you can relax and enjoy a light snack. Depending on the company, the kayak safari can take anywhere from two hours to an entire day. You will get the chance to admire the beautiful cliffs, views of the blue waters, and unique rock formations while paddling.
No matter your skill level, a kayak safari is sure to be an unforgettable experience. So don’t forget to pack your camera, sun cream, and plenty of water for your adventure!
20) Go Scuba Diving – 20 Things to Do on Ios Island
If you’re looking for a unique adventure on Ios Island, why not try out scuba diving? Not only will you get to explore the vibrant marine life in the Greek Islands, but you’ll also get to enjoy some of the most stunning underwater scenery.
Scuba diving is available all year round, though the best time to dive is usually between May and October when the visibility is at its highest. Most diving centers on the island offer both beginner courses and dives for certified divers. The waters around Ios are home to a variety of different fish and coral species, so you can expect plenty of beautiful sights during your dives.
When scuba diving off the coast of Ios, it’s important to be aware of the currents and tides, as well as any boats that may be passing through the area. Divers should always follow the instructions of their instructor or guide to ensure a safe and enjoyable experience.
Whether you’re a beginner or an experienced diver, Ios Island is sure to offer a thrilling and unforgettable underwater experience!
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