A Guide for Backpackers to the Greek Island of Ios
We Last Visited Ios in 2007
Ios in September
The majority of visitors to Ios pack the beaches, bar and clubs during July and August, making a short season. Many rooms, hotels, bars and tavernas are closed outside of these months but if you are not of the younger generation (read as less than 30), you will find Ios in September a very relaxed greek island, with plenty to do.
Yialos - Ios Town
Your arrival port on Ios is Yialos (there is no airport) and makes a good base with it's long gently shelving sand beach; backed by trees and lined with a couple of bars and mini-markets in addition to hotels just beyond the road. All the fast food joints situated here were closed in September. The harbour, one of the prettiest in the Cyclades, has a good selection of gift shops, a number of travel agents who post the forthcoming weeks time tables, some very friendly tavernas particularly on the small square to the left as you disembark and a large supermarket for self-caterers, who may well be accommodated at Ios camping a little further on.
A number of bars have big screen TV's should you need to see any major sporting event and a number of internet cafes for those needing to check their email. The harbour is also home to the "Leigh Browne" gallion sailing ship that not only frequents remote beaches during the day, but doubles up as an atmospheric rock bar in the evening. The prices are not outrageously expensive as it often the case.
The Golden Sun & Koumbara Beach on Ios
In addition to the hotels around the harbour, most accommodation is on the low hill behind the beach, with a number of places having the benefit of swimming pools. We can recommend the family run Golden Sun with the friendly Yiannis and Alex meeting the ferries.
Just to the west of Yialos is Koumbara which is a small but growing little community with a well situated taverna and sand beach, which has good snorkelling around the headland. The bus calls here every other hour.
Hora - Ios
For the energetic, there is a pleasant staircase from Yialos up to Hora, which sits on the saddle of two hills, but most people catch the half hourly bus up. This is where most of the frantic nightlife exists in the high season, but is very pleasant either side. A miriad of winding streets with cafes, bars, takeaways accompany tavernas on little plateas. Some quaint gift shops complete with jewellers for your money and you can even have a henna tattoo. For dining we can recommend "The Nest", which serves generous portions of excellent greek cuisine, accompanied with very friendly service. All you have to do is find it as it is situated in a tiny back alley.
Mylopotas (Mylopotamos) on Ios
The other big draw on Ios is Mylopotas. A long stretch of golden sand and turquoise sea and a major resort in its own right. At the near end of the beach you will find the ammenities - supermarket, 24 hour bakers, bike rental, plus a camp site. This is followed by a pleatherora of cocktail bars (again closed in September) until you reach the "Far Out" end. A number of rooms, hotels and campsites, owned by the same company who run the minibuses you may have seen at the Quay or their adverts on the sides of buses. Their facilities very still very popular in Sept.
Manganari Beach in Southern Ios
At the very end of Mylopotas beach the road becomes dirt track as it climbs the hillside. Eventually leading to the south of the island. Excursion buses use this route to visit Manganari, but it is easier, more pleasant and very reasonably priced to take the Delfini Express II glass bottomed boat from Yialos. Manganari actually consists of 4 beaches, all sand and even better quality than Mylopotas. One the coves is backed by a swanky hotel with a basketball court; while the others providing some rooms and a number of tavernas. The boat leaves Yialos at 11am and returns at 6pm.
The tourist season on Ios is un-necessarily short, relying too much on the younger college student trade. If you are outside this heterogeneous group, visit in June or September and discover the real pleasures of Ios unmollested by crowds.