CYCLADES ISLANDS GREECE
Pronunciation: 'E-ohs' / Tel. code: 2286 / Ios Port Authority: Tel. 91-264
How to get to Ios
IOS Daily approximately 11 Hours by Ferry from Piraeus. In summer there are about 6 a day. Hydrofoils depart from Rafina, a short bus ride from Athens, once a day, take 4-5 hr., cost more. There are many inter-island connections including: Naxos, Santorini, Paros, Mykonos, Syros, Tinos and Crete.
IOS: GENERAL CHARACTERISTICS
Ios has 108 sq. km of land mass and 81 km of coast line. Ios is 107 nautical miles from Piraeus and has a population of about 2,000. A mountainous island, Ios has very little cultivated land. Ios has 3 large bays and many smaller ones. Some of the nicest beaches (35) of the Cyclades exist on Ios. Foodstuffs are a bit more expensive on Ios as they have to be brought in by ship.
Ios has been taken over by youth, especially in the summer. Ios is the party island to end all party islands. If you are young, have a tattoo or are even thinking about a tattoo and want the companionship of hordes of your semi-attired drunken peers, (U.S., British, many Irish, Dutch and Germans) Ios is the island for you. Several drug and alcohol related deaths have occurred on Ios.
Spring is the best time to enjoy this truly wonderful islands 'normality'.
Homer is said to be buried here on Ios! Its doubtful that he rests in peace.
IOS PORT: ORMOS (GIALOS)
Ios Town or Hora is on the hill above Ormos and walkable depending on baggage. Taxis, buses and donkeys exist as well. The wide steps were originally designed for donkeys and are a nice touch when hordes of hungry tourists are all trying to ascend immediately after docking under the glazed and jaundiced eyes of emaciated earlier arrivals. Ormos is where the ferries land and is its own little resort complete with a beach, campground, rooms, cafes and tavernas. Its where you'll arrive and depart from and maybe stay if you didn't make reservations in advance high season.
Islanders call Ios 'Nio' a contraction from 'Sthn Ios' meaning: in Ios. The ancient Ionians who colonized it called it 'Nios' maybe for the same reason, maybe not. Back then it was covered with oak trees and must have been magnificent. The oaks were used to make boats and now the island has few trees. Most of these are concentrated in the center of the island at Perivola with its fresh water springs. The earthquake of 1951 devastated the port as it sucked all the water out of the bay only to immediately flood it back in. Under the Turkish occupation it was a haven for pirates and a violent, bawdy place. Ormos's beach is ok but there are much better, even 20 minutes away in Koumbara (mother-in-law) another coastal village reachable by bus and comprised of a few tavernas, bars and rooms to let.
IOS TOWN OR HORA
By common consensus Ios posseses one of the nicest cycladic towns in existence with pretty, white washed stone houses, stone flagged streets and palm trees offering shade. 12 windmills stand outside the town. Of the Castle of Marco Crispi built 1400, and Venetian ruler of the island, little remains. The ancient town has traces of its walls visible if you look hard enough. The town, however, is not a typical, traditional, Cycladic one steeped in Greece's past... it is full of fast food restaurants, bars, discos and geared to party. It has some great juke boxes with hard to find classics to recommend it as well.
MILOPOTAS BEACH ON IOS
THE Ios Beach is Milopotas and where the hipsters hang initially and where to see and be seen. In the old days it didn't have the road or all the hotels, umbrellas and water sports that it does today but its still the happening beach on the island. Long, wide and sandy. Nudity is common.