In today’s Hidden Islands series, we are shining the spotlight on Ios. This special place is known as the “flower of the Aegean Sea,” a rare gem of the Cycladic islands — situated halfway between Naxos and Santorini.
Spotlight on Ios
Ios is an incredibly interesting destination. For one, it is renowned as the resting place of the epic Greek poet Homer who is known for his timeless works: The Iliad and The Odyssey. Homer’s tomb was found in the area of Plakoto, which can be accessed by a route that starts from Koulida, a place that opens up to remarkable panoramic views.
Also, once upon a time, the island suffered from constant pirate attacks. The Turks would refer to Ios as the “small Malta” because of the safety offered by its natural harbor.
There’s more to discover. Let’s take a closer look at what Ios has to offer!
Chora of Ios
The heart of Ios…
The Chora is the main town of Ios. It sparkles as one of the finest examples of Cycladic architecture built in an amphitheater-like manner. It has traditional whitewashed houses with blue windows, charming stone windmills and light blue domes. The best way to discover Chora is to get lost in the cobblestone alleys which lead to the top of a hill.
There you’ll find ancient ruins of what was once a medieval castle. Marvel at the majestic sunset from Panagia Gremiotissa, a church set right on the edge of the Venetian castle. The church was first built in another area but it collapsed several times until the day it was built on the highest point of Chora, where it stands sturdy today.
Inspiration on Ios
A glimpse of your holiday getaway…
Whether you want to swim in the crystal clear blue waters of the Aegean Sea, take in the beauty of the sunsets on warm summer nights or simply be inspired by the contrast of white and blue, Ios is the place for you.
Another distinctive feature of Ios are the hundreds of churches you can explore. In fact, there are 365 chapels that dot the island’s grey mountain palette amidst olive trees and vineyards.
For those who are looking to escape to a remote sandy beach, there are several to choose from. Boasting incredible turquoise waters, the sandy beach of Magganari was filmed for some of the scenes of the movie Deep Blue. The beach of Pikri Nero, a picturesque golden bay with turquoise waters, consists of three beaches only accessible by a small boat which leaves from the harbor of Gialos. A breathtaking destination, Pikri Gialos is an ideal romantic island getaway spot for couples to enjoy secluded beaches or enjoy an energetic hike on one of the numerous hiking trails. The most impressive route is the one that leads from the beach of Mylopotas, passing through the area of Klima and Pikri Nero and ends at the beach of Magganari.
On the eastern side of Ios visitors can explore the Paleokastro which translates as the old castle. It was built in the 14th century to protect the island from the pirates. From there you can witness the views of endless blue as far as the eye can see and catch a glimpse of the nearby islands of Ikaria and Naxos. Inside the walls of the castle, under the shade of an olive tree, stands the small church of Panagia Paliokastritissa which holds its own religious festival every September in honor of the Virgin Mary.
History lovers adore discovering Ios. Despite its small size, Ios is an island renowned for its cultural heritage. The archaeological site of Skaros, a pre-historic settlement, was awarded with the Cultural Heritage Prize in 2008 for its excellent conservation.
Culinary Delights on Ios
Savor the local island delicacies …
Another pleasure of traveling to Ios is the chance to savor its culinary delights such as the skotiri cheese, a soft goat cheese made with herbs. Make sure to try the famous Ios honey — the bees of Ios have found their fancy in thyme thus they only collect this herb which results in the production of an exquisite thyme honey.
Indulge in pastelia which are the famous honey sesame bars, and don’t leave without trying the mosenta, a traditional watermelon pie. Ios is also famous for its delicious specialty known as tsimetia, a dish prepared from zucchini flowers stuffed with rice and herbs.
Nightlife on Ios
To party or not to party? The other side of Ios…
There are two sides to a coin. So, you may have already heard that Ios has the reputation of being a party island. Despite its popularity for its lively nightlife, which mostly takes place in Chora and only in the late hours, Ios is an island which is still very much undiscovered. You will unlock a destination of pure serenity, tradition and unspoiled natural beauty. The new experiences which you will encounter in Ios will fill the pages of your own, personal odyssey.
These are just a few of the reasons why your next trip should be to beautiful Ios. This Greek island has a lot to offer the visitor, from culture to cuisine to exciting activities to stunning landscape and so much more.
At Fly Me to The Moon we are dedicated to designing Greek holidays which are tailor-made to our guests’ interests, creating the opportunity to explore destinations which are beautiful yet undiscovered – just like Ios.
Have you been to Ios island? Perhaps you have a few secrets to share?