Ios has a long-standing reputation for frivolity, parties and alcohol. But that isn’t the complete story and there is much more to this island than meets the eye. Find out more.
Our fast ferry to Ios was only 2.5 hours from Milos and had us arriving around midday. We were warmly greeted by the very cheerful Antzela Fakou, who is well-known around the island for her hospitality. We picked up on her Australian accent straight away (it had been a while since we heard one).
The Pavezzo Guest House
Antzela Fakouis the proud owner of The Pavezzo Guest House. This endearing and recently renovated abode genuinely deserves her pride, as it was absolutely adorable. Snuggled high on a hill at the south-west end of Chora, it offers panoramic sea views and immaculate gardens.
We were provided with a large suite complete with a mini kitchenette, 2 single beds and 1 double bed.
Josh’s highlight was the comfy hammock in the garden. Mia tried to commandeer it from time to time. He spent every night outside lying in that hammock, gazing at the starry sky and uploading photos to Instagram.
There was no breakfast provided, but a mini mart was within easy walking distance where we grabbed a loaf of bread and jam for morning toast. And more eateries were available in the main village, Chora.
The Best Transport? A Scooter!
A younger person might consider a walk to the beach, however with our two children we didn’t think this was a great idea, and instead opted to hire two scooters - €12 euros each for 24 hours. It was the perfect way to get around the relatively small island.
Our kids absolutely adored scooting around the island and since it was just the start of the summer season there was next to no traffic on any of the roads. Navigation was super easy – no need for GPS or even street signs.
An un-hurried walk from our guest house to the main village took about 10 minutes. Within Chora we followed the winding narrow roads, so similar to other small Greek villages, until we found The Nest. A popular restaurant for locals and tourists, especially Australians. In fact we met several while there.
After lunch we meandered back through the beautiful village where just on the out skirts two colourful playgrounds beckoned our kids so we stopped to let them expend their pent-up energy.
Our days were gradually becoming more “Greek” as we headed back to our room for an afternoon nap and didn’t wake until after 7pm.
Since it was so late we walked up the road, through Chora, to Escape. This was a colourful beach-themed restaurant where a lovely Irish lady looked after us with warm hospitality and tasty food.
Tour With Chris
The next morning Chris, a friend of Antzela, provided us with a guided tour of the island via car. It didn’t take too long as the island is fairly small.
We drove through the party hub Mylopotas Beach and then up to Odysseas Elytis, which was a modern amphitheatre almost touching the clouds, and the most phenomenal backdrop.
Josh and the kids stood on stage and I was flabbergasted as the pitch-perfect acoustics that surrounded me in the back of the theatre, almost like they were singing into a microphone.
Next we visited old windmills, before an overview of the ancient ruins of Skarkos from 5500BC.
Another photo opportunity at Aghia Theodoti, which is very popular beach in the summer along with Manganari Beach, which is a more secluded option.
Lastly we stopped at Psathi Beach where Mia and I found a pebble road being constructed on the beach and decided to add to it. The protected bay results in calm clear waters - an idyllic location for swimming.
Our Lazy Ios Afternoon
We stopped at the Port for lunch at The Meze, sampling delicious Greek cuisine, before walking back to our hotel.
Along the walk we decided to hire the scooters mentioned earlier and zipped down to Mylopotas Beach.
The beach is one of the most popular spots on Ios in the summer and already we could see youths starting to fill it. A volleyball game was underway so we sat and watched for a little bit before heading to the Far Out Resort.
The Far Out Resort has a public pool that anyone can swim in. There’s also a bar and it is literally steps from the beach.
The kids went for a swim, while I read a book. I encouraged Josh to head across the road and hit the volleyball court with the other blokes, but their shirtless muscled bodies intimidated him ever so slightly. Or perhaps he was too compassionate and didn’t want to demoralise them with his volleyball prowess.
The Sunset To End All Sunsets
That evening we rode our scooters to Mills Square, at eastern end of Chora, for our dinner at the Mills Restaurant. As we arrived the fiery sunset was lightingup the sky with a kaleidoscope of red, orange and yellow hues. This memorable moment captivated our hearts and Josh’s lens.
I’m not sure about the exact science of it, but the sunset filled the entire sky – both west and east. Layers of swirling clouds picked up every ray of available light, bending and refracting it, creating textures and colours that could only be described as heavenly.
It took awhile for the sky to dim, as the sun slipped into the ocean. This would have to be one of the most amazing sunsets we’ve ever witnessed.
The next morning we packed our bags, collected our laundry from the local laundromat, let the kids have a play on the playground one last time before returning our scooters.
Our wonderful host dropped us off at the Port for our ferry to Paros.
So What Did Your Friends Lie About?
Ios is supposed to be party island. It’s well known amongst Australians and other nationalities for the drunken summer shenanigans. We can see how it would be a wonderful place to spend a summer drinking, beaching, scooting and eating. And do not begrudge the youth their fun.
But they lied.
It’s not only about partying.
Ios holds so much more than that. It holds paranormal sunsets and rocky hills. Fabulous food and captivating history. Families will find a sense of ease on its shores as it gears to the popular English-speaking crowds. And finding a beach to wile away the days is easy with the multitude to choose from.
If you are looking for an island, with a little more spice and a laid back vibe, then Ios is your winner. You can bring the family and then head out for a bit of fun once they are all asleep. No one will tell.