Ios is an ideal Greek destination for all age groups. It is well known for its nightlife, but it also has another side, less documented by travel media. If you are interested in history, archaeology, culture, geography, architecture, sport, biodiversity or religion, Ios has much to offer you.
The Port, Agia Irini & Chora
Start exploring the port of Ios, with the picturesque church of Agia Irini, built in the 17th century. The village of the island “Chora”, with the traditional Cycladic houses and the small streets, has a distinct history to tell. It is built on a slope just two kilometers from Petra Holiday VIllage. Walk through the narrow cobblestone streets and reach the church “Panagia Gremiotissa” or the “Lady of the Cliffs” to enjoy the magnificent sunset view. On a clear day, you can see all nearby islands and even as far as the mountains of Crete. Get to know the archaeological museum and learn the long history of Ios island, from the third millennium B.C. till the Roman era. Don’t forget to visit the area of the traditional windmills!
Hiking in Ios
The old roaming donkey paths of Ios have been preserved and now provide plentiful trails for hiking enthusiasts through beaches, picturesque monasteries and ancient sites.
At Petra, we love hiking so don’t hesitate to ask us for advice! The following are the best paths to discover Ios island, the ideal Greek destination, by foot.
Gyalos-Koumpara-Faros (1,2 km)
From Petra Holiday Village, follow the road to Koumpara. The route is offered for an enjoyable evening walk.
Mylopotas-Sapounohoma beach-Klima beach (3,7 km.)
The trail starts from the dirt road of Mylopotas beach and leads to the beautiful beach of Sapounohoma or Klima, passing through a fascinating landscape.
Chora- Agios Spiridon- Agios Prokopis-Anemogenitries-Agii Anargiri-Agia Theodoti beach (7,4 km.)
This beautiful path starts from Ios Chora, offering amazing panoramic views all the way.
Chora-Skarkos-Ellinika-Agia Triada-Agios Prokopis
A route in a very good condition, with dry stone walls to your left and right.
Agia Theodoti-Ormos Avlaki Kastrou (1,5 km)
Follow this beautiful short route for an afternoon walk with views to the nearby islands.
Psathi-Ormos Ntomino (1,4 km)
For a breathtaking view to Psathi beach from above.
Theater- Agios Dimitrios- Ioannis Prodromos monastery- Pyrgos (6,2 km)
This route offers a view to Mylopotas beach, a visit to Agios Ioannis church, and it ends up at Pyrgos.
Port- Agia Eirini-Valmas beach (0,8 km)
The path starts from the port and the entrance of Agia Eirini church and it offers a view to the sea, leading to the beautiful beach of Valmas.
For more information, visit Ios Paths.
Honey, Olives & Cheese
The diet of Ios’ is based on olive oil, legumes, vegetables, fish and meat. Traditional recipes include ‘revithokeftedes’, ‘tomatokeftedes’ and ‘tsimetia’ (filled zucchini’s flowers). Ios honey (made with thyme), olives and cheese are just some of the local products worth tasting and bringing home from the island of Ios.
One of the known cheeses in Ios is “Kefalotiri” that is salty and spicy. Another soft and acid cheese is “skotiri” a mixture of mizithra and other aromatics and of course sweet mizithra. You can visit Diaseli, a family-owned, traditional cheesery for a tasting tour, where you will learn the history of cheese on the island.
Ios has a wide variety of traditional sweets such as “Xerotigana”, “Kalasounia” and the traditional “pasteli”, which comes from “Niotiko” thyme honey and sesame seeds. It is offered in weddings and christening ceremonies. Don’t hesitate to taste ‘amigdalota’ the traditional sweet of Cyclades islands.
Skarkos, Homer & Churches
Continue your tour with “Skarkos”, the prehistoric settlement of the island, one of the most important excavations of the middle of the third millennium B.C, located at Kampos area. Visit “Paleokastro”, the ruins of an old castle, located in Psathi area and the ancient tomb which claims the burial of the great poet Homer, located in Plakotos area and enjoy the unique view of the nearby islands. During your tour you will see many small semi – private churches, they are estimated to be three hundred and sixty five in all of Ios. Many of them, dated from the Byzantine years, have been characterized as historical monuments.
Beaches of Ios
Ios has 32 beaches of unique beauty, golden and sandy, with crystal waters. Some of these are regarded as the best in Europe. Among the most famous beaches of the island are Mylopotas, with its crystal blue waters and Manganari, with its five beautiful bays.Many other beaches of astonishing beauty wait for you to explore them, such as Gialos, Koumbara, Kolitsani, Agia Theodoti, Psathi, Kalamos, Plakes and many more. The many beaches on the island is why many believe Ios is the ideal Greek destination.
Odysseus Elytis & Festivals
Many of the island’s cultural events take place in the stone built theatre of Odysseus Elytis, with an amazing view in Mylopotas. Ios municipality organises various cultural events, such as theatrical performances and concerts. Ios also has many religious festivals. Once a year, the island honors all the saints that the churches and monasteries are dedicated to, with religious feasts and local celebrations. Some of the notable feasts which take place in Ios are:
24th June – Festival of Pyrgos
The most significant folklore festival is held at the highest peak on the island, on the site of the Byzantine church of Ayios Ioannis.
August 15th; The Feast of the Dormition of Our Most Holy Lady Theotokos and Ever-Virgin Mary
On that particular day, there is a procession of the icon of the Virgin Mary in Chora. Later on, a traditional gathering is held in front of the church.
August 29th; The Feast of Agios Ioannis (Saint John)
This festival is held in Kalamos and Psathi during which a meat soup and the traditional bean soup are served, accompanied with traditional music, wine, and dances till the late hours.
There are 2 festivals – one on the beach at Agia Theodoti and one at the little church of the Panayia Paliokastritissa at Paleokastro. Both are devoted to the Virgin Mary. The celebrations are authentic and the local people make the most of them!
Watersports & Marine Biodiversity
If you want to explore the island on your own, we suggest you rent a car or a scooter. For more information, visit the website of Ios Municipality.
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