After only a short ferry ride we arrived on the beautiful desert island of Ios. This island is known as a party island. In the middle of summer the old town is packed with party goers dashing between the dozens of clubs that are hidden in the alleys of old town. But we visited in September when most students are back in school and found a completely different vibe. The weather was still hot, the ocean was warm, and the beaches and bars were nearly completely empty. We were looking for a relaxing time filled with some adventure and we found it all here in Ios.
The ferry from Oia dropped us off in the Port which was super cute and a perfect first glimpse of Ios. We headed to our hotel to check in and then took off to explore the Chora, or Old Village. We immediately fell in love.
Explore the Chora (Old Town)
One of the best things about Ios is this beautiful old part of town. The white striped alleyways are like a maze, that wind you along past all of the bars, restaurants and shops. This is a pedestrian only area so you can really slow down and enjoy as you walk along.
Some of the furry faces we saw exploring the Chora.
The white alleyways that wind through the old town.
The entire Chora sits along this hill (look at the photo above) and you can walk to the top where the church is for one of the best views of the harbor.
Blue domes aren’t just in Santorini, throughout all the Greek Islands you can see blue domed churches.
Hit the Beaches
One of the things that separates Ios from the other Greek island is the pristine beaches and the clarity of the water. Being from Lake Tahoe which is home to one of the clearest bodies of water in the world we have high expectations for water clarity and we were blown away by the gin clear water of Ios. Check out the photo below!
The most beautifully clear water we’ve ever seen.
These smooth white stones could be found all along the coastline.
Two of our favorite beaches were Agia Theodoti and Magganari. Both of these beaches were off the beaten track and had stunning white sand beaches with barely another soul in site. It was an incredible feeling having some of these beaches all to ourselves.
Rent a Jeep
The best way to explore the island! We rented a car for two days and were able to see the entire island. We opted for a 4X4 vehicle because some of the beaches are only accessible via dirt roads. Our little jeep was a convertible and we had a blast cruising it around the island.
If you drive around the island for long enough you are bound to run into this herd of goats. They roam the island like they own the place, stopping traffic and headbutting each other whenever they like.
Beautiful churches around every turn.
Sunset over the Chora
We found the most incredible spot to watch the sunset over the Chora. There is a little hill across from the town that has a church and a couple windmills on it. We drove our jeep up this hill and were completely alone up there and had the most magnificent view of the city perched on the hill and the ocean behind it! We were able to fly the drone, drink some wine, and watch the sun as it dipped into the ocean and disappeared. One of the most memorable sunsets from our trip.
Where We Stayed
Liostasi Hotel & Suites
We could not have been happier with our choice to stay at Liostasi Hotel & Suites while in Ios. With a perfect location; Liostasi is only a short walk from town but feels secluded because of it’s position on the cliff side. This chic hotel is immaculately designed, every detail flows from the pool, to the bar, to the restaurant. We were treated like royalty upon arrival with a welcome drink in hand we were told of the various spa options and the incredible chefs offerings and tasting menus.
Dreamy walkways at Liostasi.
The perfect place to watch the sunset, at the Pool Bar and boho seating area overlooking the bay.
The Pool Bar
Even if you aren’t staying at Liostasi you should definitely come to their pool bar for a drink. We were stoked on the craft cocktail menu here. We especially loved the entire page dedicated to unique gin and tonics. We had some amazing cocktails from this bar and the setting and lounge area was super cute.
The perfect place to watch sunset, overlooking the bay.
The breakfast buffet at Liostasi was one of the best we’ve ever had. With a focus on traditional Greek dishes with local ingredients this buffet was really authentic and offered a variety of hot dishes as well as the cold buffet. We looked forward to it every morning.
Some of our favorites: thick Greek yogurt with dried fruit and local honey, homemade jams, daily pie, bruchetta with local cheese, eggs in cast iron, and traditional benedict.
Where We Ate
This tiny roadside taverna is not in the main area of town. We stumbled across it while we were riding around in our jeep. As we drove by this place and randomly smelled whatever they were cooking we knew we needed to eat there. It ended up being one of the best meals we had on the entire trip.
We had traditional mousakka, slow roasted lamb, and a 3 euro carafe of house wine. But the highlight was this block of creamy feta crusted in sesame/flax seeds, heated up and then drizzeled with honey and balsamic (photo above.) This dish was so delicious we came back the next day at lunch to order it again!
Nothing beats a full liter of house wine for 3 euros.
Another roadside find. This family run restaurant is perched onto of the hill overlooking Agia Theodoti Beach. Our lunch was super fresh and traditional with local ingredients.
We had the best time visiting this tiny island in the Aegean with some of the clearest waters we’ve ever seen. We would love to come back and visit Ios someday.