Ios is undoubtedly my greatest travel discovery recently. In my opinion, it is one of the most beautiful islands of the Cyclades archipelago, which can easily compete with the neighboring Santorini island. This place is associated mainly with loud parties, but has much more to offer. Wonderful sandy beaches (one of the better ones in the Cyclades), breathtaking views and a charming capital are just some of the advantages of this island. All this combined with a casual atmosphere and delicious food will ensure you a perfect vacation. Below you will find 5 reasons why you should definitely choose Ios for your next vacation.

Bird's-eye view on Agia Theodoti beach - 5 reasons to visit Ios, Greece
Agia Theodoti beach, Ios, Greece

1. Picturesque beaches

One of the main reasons to visit Ios is, of course, the wonderful sandy beaches, of which there are over 35 on the entire island! The water here is crystal clear and has different shades of turquoise, and the sand is perfectly soft and clear. All this is conducive to relaxation and makes sunbathing and swimming here a pleasure.

The most developed and popular beaches are those on the west coast of the island. One of them is the flagship of the island in the form of a long and wide beach in Mylopotas. It is in this city that the best hotels with a sea view are located. You will also find a great selection of restaurants and a rich nightlife. Water sports enthusiasts will also not be disappointed. If you prefer a quiet vacation, come here out of season. I stayed here in September and it was a great choice as there werent many tourists.

Being in Ios, it is worth renting a car or a quad bike and visiting the eastern part of the island. This is where you will find the most secluded beaches where you will feel like Robinson Crusoe (of course, if you arrive early in the morning;)). The beautiful beach that stole my heart is Agia Theodoti. What distinguishes it from others is the picturesque hills surrounding it. Apart from a few sun loungers and a pier, you will not find many amenities here, but it does not prevent a carefree vacation.

Another beach worth visiting on Ios is Manganari in the south of the island. It is basically not one, but two beaches located next to each other in charming coves. The water here is perfectly clean and calm, which makes this place friendly for families with children. You can rent umbrellas and sun loungers on the beach, and there is also a popular tavern nearby.

2. Delicious local food

Another reason to go to Ios is delicious local food. This place is made for lovers of fish and seafood. For many years, the freshest fish and seafood has been served in the Drakos Tavern, located at the end of Mylopotas Beach. This place offers not only great food, but also great views, making it perfect for a romantic dinner for two. You must go here at sunset (advance booking recommended). I recommend trying the octopus in vinegar and honey, orzo with seafood and the fish of the day. It is also worth trying one of the homemade desserts.

Another place to eat in Mylopotas is the Almyra By The Sea restaurant, which serves more sophisticated Greek and Mediterranean cuisine. Be sure to go here for an evening drink. In the islands capital, be sure to go for a real feast at the traditional Sainis Tavern. The restaurant is located in the heart of the city and provides an authentic Greek atmosphere.

In addition to delicious cuisine, the island is also known for its excellent sheep and goat cheeses. Cheese lovers should definitely go to the Diaseli Cheese Factory, which has a long tradition. Here you can not only taste delicious cheeses, but also learn how they are made. I recommend trying Skotyri blue goat cheese, which is one of the oldest types of cheese on the island.

3. A great capital city

The third reason to visit Ios is the islands capital of Chora. The town is picturesquely situated between the hills, which makes it one of the most beautiful of all Cycladic towns. You will find narrow streets full of souvenir shops, as well as numerous hotels, cafes and restaurants. This place is distinguished by beautiful Cycladic architecture, dominated by whitewashed houses with blue accents.

The city also boasts many charming churches. The most famous of them is the Church of Panagia Gremiotissa, which towers over the city. You must climb here to admire the unforgettable views of the sea and the surrounding area. Its most beautiful here at sunset, but if you dont like crowds, head here early in the morning or during the day.

In addition, there are twelve historic windmills near Chora, which look beautiful against the background of the sea. Once used to grind barley and wheat, they are now an attraction for any visitor to Ios.

4. Stunning views

Undoubtedly, Ios can boast breathtaking views, which for many will be the main reason to come here. This island was created to admire the wonderful sunsets.

The most popular place to watch the sunset is the aforementioned Panagia Gremiotissa church in Chora. Together with the three churches towering above it, it is an ideal place for photographers. In high season, it can be crowded here, so its worth going there early enough.

Beautiful views of Chora can also be enjoyed from the Ios Club Sunset Dining Bar, the name of which speaks for itself. Delicious cocktails and a beautiful sunset are the perfect way to have an enjoyable evening.

Sunset lovers should also visit the Agia Irini Church, which is located just outside the port. The view of the white church against the backdrop of the sun reflecting in the sea is almost magical. This place is not as crowded as the hill in Chora and in my opinion it can easily compete with it.

Another great place to enjoy the views is the Odysseas Elytis open-air amphitheater. This place is located near Chora, and in summer interesting concerts are held here, which are definitely worth attending.

On the way to the east coast of the island, it is worth stopping at the viewpoint near the Agios Dimitrios chapel. This place offers a spectacular view of the nearby Agia Theodoti beach, making it the perfect Instagram spot.

5. Interesting monuments

If the above reasons have not convinced you to visit Ios yet, another one will probably do. Ios is famous not only for its beautiful beaches, but also for its rich history and culture. You will find many interesting sights on the island.

One of the most interesting is undoubtedly the prehistoric settlement of Skarkos. It is estimated that this place is about a thousand years older than Akrotiri in Santorini. The settlement is located near the port and is one of the most important excavations in the Cyclades. What distinguishes this place from others is its round shape. The settlement was built on a high hill, probably in order to admire the port and the sea from it. One thing is for sure - this place looks great from a birds eye view.

Another place worth seeing in the north are the remains of the Byzantine fortress Palaiokastro, which once played an important role in controlling sea routes. This place is located several hundred meters above sea level, which makes it extremely picturesque, and a walk here is pure pleasure. When the visibility is good, you can admire the neighboring islands of the Cyclades. There is also a charming church in the ruins.

The last but no less interesting place on the island is the tomb of Homer in Plakato. The tomb is located on a picturesque hill overlooking the sea and is a popular tourist attraction. According to a local legend, it was on Ios that the author of the Odyssey and Iliad was to spend the last days of his life. Apparently his mother was also born here. Unfortunately, it is not known how much truth there is to this, but it is worth going here, if only because of the nice views.

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All in all, Ios is a great place for a great vacation. Here you will find great sandy beaches, stunning views and many interesting sights. Hope all of this will make you choose this Cycladic island for your next vacation. And if youve been to Ios, be sure to let me know what you think below.

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