Ios is known as an Ibiza-like party island for college kids, but if you’re older or looking for quiet days in the sun instead, it’s also a destination for you. It has beautiful beaches, and is well connected to other islands by ferry (especially to Santorini, Naxos, Paros, and Mykonos). From the attractive port you may move on to the picturesque Chora (main town), or stay closer to the beaches. If you’re one of the party people you’ll want to head to Mylopotas (see below), and if you want to explore the different beaches, you’ll want to stay closer to Chora (although it's also filled with bars and restaurants that stay open late into the night).
The Best Beaches in Ios
Ios' most famous beach is 3km from Chora, and is the party beach, attracting young crowds both day and night. It’s the most crowded beach on the island, although there’s 1km of golden sand allowing you to lie in the sun in peace (on the sand or on the sunbeds available for rent). It's a good beach for swimming, as it has calm crystal-clear waters, and is faced by many restaurants and bars. There are also several hotels looking over the beach up on a cliff, although you may also choose to stay in Chora, as the beach has a frequent bus connection.
Named after a 16-century church up on a hill, this beach in the north of the island (14km from Chora) is one of its most beautiful. It’s a long sandy beach with tavernas and sunbeds and umbrellas, but also with enough space for you to spread your towel away from the crowds. If you prefer to lie in the shade there are trees for that, and if you like to do some nude sunbathing, there’s a spot for you in the section farthest from the tavernas.
If you like to swim or snorkel in calm, crystal-clear waters surrounded by natural beauty, this is the best beach in all of the Cyclades. It’s the farthest beach from Chora (around 23km south), but easily accessible by car, and there’s also a bus during the summer. It’s actually two beaches connected by small coves, and is the quieter alternative to Mylopotas. Walking north, you’ll reach other smaller, secluded beaches, like Tris Klisies (“Three Trees”).
Recommended Hotels in Ios
Here you’re almost literally waking up on the beach. A good choice for groups of friends or couples, it faces Mylopotas, the famous party beach. It has a large pool and is an excellent value, but you need to book well in advance.
This is 2-star accommodation with a 5-star location and views. It’s right in the center of the main town, and has rooms with balconies and a pool looking out to the island. Rooms feature a simple décor, and are good choices for couples, groups of friends or families.
With a privileged location looking over the island’s most popular beach, this hotel is an excellent option for those on a lower budget. It has a sizeable pool and simply-decorated rooms in traditional Cycladic-style buildings.
Island House Hotel
With its large pool and location by the beach (just a 3-minute walk), this hotel is one of the top choices in Mylopotas. Many of the rooms have a balcony and a kitchenette where you can prepare meals.
Levantes Ios Boutique Hotel
With a breathtaking view over the beach of Mylopotas and beyond (from its pool area and most of the rooms), this hotel is the choice for couples. The superior rooms have their own private pool, and the beach is just a 5-minute walk down the cliff.
Those looking for a more sophisticated resort experience, should check out this hotel offering breathtaking views, especially at sunset. Naturally, it attracts couples, with stylish rooms with balconies, and a spa.