This small little island between Santorini and Mykonos is often zipped right by on the ferry without much of a second thought. Which is maybe what makes it so special if you do end up stumbling upon its sandy beaches. Ios island is everything that Greece is supposed to be. Relaxed, friendly, gorgeous… and not completely overrun with commercialism and honeymooning tourists.
< < || GETTING THERE || > >
Of course, chartering a private yacht is the preferred method of traversing the Greek isles. But if you’re short on time (or $), the ferry system is easy and efficient. I recommend booking the fast ferry and upgrading your ticket for a nominal fee so you have access to the business class lounge, where you can enjoy your champagne and spanokopita in comfort… instead of fighting for seats together during high season. What I learned about riding the ferry in Greece: Everything and everyone is always late in Greece, so expect an average of 30 min delays. However, the ferries only idle for a split second while passengers push on and off, so be ready with all of your belongings to move quick!
< < || LODGING || > >
There’s no reason to stay anywhere other than Liostasi Hotel. Perched high on the island, you’re afforded the most exceptional view of the bay below, making it a romantic spot to catch the infamous sunset.. in your swimmies.. in the pool, sipping on local rosé. That’s what you came to Greece for, right?!
Spring for the upgraded rooms so you can have access to the suite pool, which is less crowded and has unobstructed views. The suites are split level mini apartments with expansive balconies, private jacuzzis, and vaulted ceiling bedrooms.
< < || THINGS TO DO || > >
I recommend renting a car through the Liotasi hotel so you can really explore all the island has to offer. If you’re coming from Santorini or Mykonos, like we did, you’ll be really craving a secluded white sand beach by now.
Spend the day at Magganari Beach. By far the best beach that we visited in all of Greece (and maybe our lives), with the clearest waters and an endless sandbar. There is a small restaurant and snack bar, but I recommend stopping in town to pack a picnic and some local wine before you head to the beach. The drive to this remote paradise is a long winding road with expansive views of the ocean around each new bend.
Hike to Kolitsani nude beach. There’s a small parking lot at the start of this short, but steep, 15-minute hike. Follow the faintly painted white arrows that will lead you to this sheltered cove, where you can strip it down and jump in the crystal clear water.
Explore the Ios Village. Just a short walk from the Liotasi will get you to the epicenter of restaurants, shopping and nightlife. Get lost in the narrow stairways leading you higher and higher until you reach the infamous church at the top.
Catch Sunset at said Church atop the cliff (Ekklisia Panagia Gremiotissa). This church is the premier place for tourists and locals alike to catch sunset. Pack some wine or beer and make new friends as the entire crowd is brought to tears by the sun majestically dipping into the ocean right in front of your eyes. Excessive clapping and cheering for mother nature’s show is encouraged.
< < || WHERE TO EAT || > >
Grandmas @ Liotasi, breakfast buffet. The spread that the Liotasi hotel puts out for breakfast is exceptional. Local honey and cheese, thick yogurts, creative egg dishes, sweet Greek pastries. All enjoyed at poolside tables.
Koubara, lunch or dinner. Romantic and relaxed beachside fish restaurant with exceptionally fresh food and an aesthetically pleasing ambiance.
Allo, lunch. while you wait for the Ferry, enjoy fresh grilled squid.
Frozen Click, froyo. Rich creamy frozen greek yogurt with a variety of toppings.
Hellenic Social, lunch or dinner. This Australian owned spot is arguably the only restaurant on Ios island that caters to vegans and vegetarians. With an array of smoothies, juices, specialty lattes (matcha with almond!!) and bowls – it was a welcomed break from the weeks of dairy overload.
Nutelleria Creperie. Right after you finish your green juice, just follow the scent of Nutella across the street to Nutelleria Creperie (you deserve it) for a ridiculous indulgence that is only justified by the length of the line waiting to order. Camaraderie in numbers.
*This blog is part of a Greek island series. To read about my recommendations in Santorini, click here.
<<||SHOP MY LOOK||>>
Blue Ruffle Swim & Red Earrings: H&M
Blue & White Stripe Dress : HoneyBum
Pink Dress: Mink Pink