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The island of eternal youth

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Ios: The island of eternal youth

Youthful atmosphere, unique Cycladic beauty, enchanting sunsets, dreamy beaches…

Located between Paros, Naxos and Santorini, Ios is an island with special charm that offers countless entertainment options to its visitors.

With its vibrant nightlife, multiple cultural events taking place every summer and dozens of impromptu parties held in every corner of the island, Ios is for decades now a pole of attraction for youngsters coming from all over Europe.

According to ancient tradition, Ios was the homeland of Homer's mother, as well as the burial place of the great epic poet. Nios, as the locals call it, owes its name to the ancient Greek "Ion" that means flower, since the island was full of flowers in ancient times.

Routes & Attractions

The Chora of Ios, the picturesque capital and epicenter of the island’s nightlife, amphitheatrically built on the slope of a hill, will steal your heart at first glance! Wander through its covered alleys called “stigadia” and admire the traditional Cycladic architecture. Sit on the stone benches to enjoy the view of the sea. At the top of the hill at Chora you will find the ruins of a medieval castle built in 1397.

The Twelve Windmills in the Square of Anoixi, the chapels with the blue domes, and Panagia Gremiotissa, the most famous of the 365 churches of the island, standing at the highest point of the settlement since 1797, are some of the sights that you should not miss when going to Chora. The view to the sea from the edge of the cliff is breathtaking.

Walk around the famous Archaeological Museum of Ios and admire findings from the Early Cycladic settlement of Skarkos (2,800 BC), as well as others covering the island's route up to the Roman era. On a nearby hill, the archaeological site of Skarkos, with its impressive spiral architecture, has won the European title of Cultural Heritage Monument, EuropaNostra.

Hiking enthusiasts can explore the island through the many paths that connect its settlements. The most famous path is the one that leads from Chora to Pelakania, passing through a tree-lined area of exceptional vegetation, known as "Perivolia".

It is also worth taking a walk to the Byzantine castle of Palaiokastro, built in the 16th century and standing 300 meters high, on the top of a hill in the northeast of the island. The view from its walls is unique!

Beaches & Activities

Quite a few of the famous beaches of Ios have been awarded a Blue Flag. Among them, the famous Mylopotas, an organized sandy beach, with beach bars, restaurants and many options for water sports enthusiasts. The second most famous beach of the island is Manganari, which consists of four bays that form an exceptionally beautiful lagoon sheltered from the winds and waves. With its shallow, blue waters and fine sand, it is a very good choice for families with young children.

Koumbara is another sandy beach, ideal for a quiet swim. Close to the island’s harbour, it is perfect for relaxation and gastronomic indulgences in its traditional tavernas. It is also an ideal spot for one of the most enchanting sunsets of Ios.

Towards the east of the island, Kalamos is another quiet, unorganized beach hidden in the rocks, with fine sand and calm, crystal-clear waters, perfect for those who love diving and exploring the seabed. Also, the sandy beach of Agia Theodoti has deep, crystal clear waters and excellent views of neighbouring Sikinos. Its name comes from the small 16th century church standing on the hill behind it.

Tastes of the island

Ios’ wine is sweet and made in the small vineyards of the island. The local appetizers of Ios are mainly made of zucchini and include zucchini flowers stuffed with rice, known as "tsimetia", the zucchini omelette and the traditional sweet zucchini pie.

Try the stuffed vine leaves, and the classic Cycladic chickpea and tomato meatballs as well as the "mossenta", a unique watermelon pie that you will find only in Ios. The island is also famous for its local cheeses, such as spicy skotyri from soft goat cheese, sweet mizithra and white kefalotyri.

The island’s handmade pasta, such as the local noodles "matsi" and "mermitzeli" orzo, are very popular dishes. “Panada” is a local baked bread with red sauce, while “sougli with tsigarides”, a porridge mix of flour, water and pieces of pork meat, is part of the traditional breakfast of Ios.

Finally, in the traditional bakeries of the island you will find Cycladic pies, such as ladenia, made from pizza dough with tomato and onion, and kalasouna, with phyllo dough, onion and local cheeses.

Traditions & Events

If you find yourself on the island at Easter, don’t miss the opportunity to witness the revival of the custom of “Kounia” (swing), where, according to tradition, young men set up swings in the island’s streets, had the girls sit on them and flirted singing love songs to them.

Don’t miss...

Visit the museums of the island: The Giannis Gaitis and Gabriel Simosi Museum in Chora, with works of the famous painter and other representatives of modernism. Also, Jean-Marie Dreau Museum of Modern Art with paintings, engravings, sculptures and other works of the famous French philhellene painter.

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