Before coming to Ios Greece we had heard all the stories… The crazy party scene and alcohol-fueled nights that you’ll never forget (or maybe not remember!) Wild dance clubs and beaches that you could only dream about. Yet, what we found on the Greek island of Ios was a tiny and stunningly beautiful place that we never expected. Due to the time of year, we were able to experience a different side of Ios Island that most people don’t see. Here is a detailed breakdown of our trip and what to do in Ios when you’re not partying!
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Our Visit to Ios Greece
Now I should first let you know that we visited Ios Island in mid-May so it would be quite different if you went in the peak summer months. The busy season for all the Greek islands starts on June 15th and carries through until the end of August.
We’re used to traveling in off or shoulder season, and actually prefer it most of the time. It allows us to see some of the most popular places with fewer tourists and cheaper prices!
Arriving on the Greek Island of Ios
When first arriving on Ios island we had no idea what to make of it. The port area was small but had some nice beaches just to the left of where our ferry pulled in. We were excited to meet our host who drove us into Chora, which is the main part of the island town.
Once entering the Ios town we looked up to see bright whitewashed buildings, and churches with blue tops all around us. It looked even more beautiful than the pictures, yet seemed eerily quiet! How could such a quaint, peaceful-looking town have such a wild party reputation?
What to do in Ios Greece Town
Our hotel was just across from the main hillside which looked like it had the potential to get a little crazy at night. Although the jacuzzi was empty and there were only a couple people hanging out on the hotel deck, you could just tell it would soon become an Ios Greece party palace.
Now fully intrigued, we quickly headed into town after checking in. As you enter the gates it looks like an all but normal Greek Island town.
We immediately saw a bakery, a couple clothing boutiques, and a small restaurant with gyro meat spinning in the window. Still, as we continued uphill we started to see the makings of the Ios Greece party atmosphere we’d heard about.
The Ios Greece Party Scene
The bakeries and cafes quickly turned into bars, pubs, and colorful night clubs before our eyes. Yet the weird thing was… They were all closed! It was almost 8pm so we were wondering what the heck was going on.
After taking a look at a few signs we would come to figure out that most of these places don’t even OPEN until between 10pm and midnight. Europeans are known for being late partiers, but wow!
As we got further into the madness we saw more and more whacky nightclubs cleverly situated into the rock walls. Some were clearly dedicated to different styles of music, while others were simply a place to stop in and take liquor shots. This was the party scene we expected to see on Ios island!
A Taste of the Ios Greece
After an amazing dinner of traditional Greek food at The Nest restaurant, we came out and it looked like things were finally starting to get going.
The bars were opening up and people were out and about, and all we could of think of was what does this place look like in peak season? The Ios party nights must be crazy!
Honestly, part of us was glad we weren’t there to see the madness… But we’d be lying if we weren’t just a little curious. Going to bed that night we could hear the roars of different clubs throughout town coming from all different directions.
Had we been there for more time we probably would’ve ventured out, but we were happy with our experience at the Ios beaches and exploring town.
The Best Ios Restaurants
Here are a few of the best restaurants to try when visiting Ios Greece! For such a small island it has a good amount of places to eat. In addition to our recommendations be sure to venture out on your own and find the local spots.
The Nest: Great local Ios restaurant on the hillside of town serving traditional Greek food.
Happy Souvlaki: The most popular gyro spot on the Greek island of Ios! On the main street before you head into Chora, and especially packed with people late at night.
The Mills: Excellent Greek dishes with a beautiful view over Ios island. Has been opened since 1969 and retains that local charm.
Steps Bar: Funky bar located just below the Mills restaurant. Built on the steps with colorful pillows under the famous windmill.
Cantina Del Mar: On the corner of Mylopotas Beach when you walk down the stairs from town. Serving massive deli sandwiches and salads with chairs on one of the best Ios beaches.
Fun Pub: Good place to grab a beer before a night out. This Ios restaurant is on the main strip close to Happy Souvlaki.
Nutelleria Creperie: I think this name speaks for itself! Deliciously sweet french crepes made to order.
A Party Lovers Day on Ios Island
Although it was quieter in May, we did run into a few party animals that were able to explain their typical day to us. Here’s HOW TO party your face off on the Greek island of Ios.
- 3pm: Wake up with a raging headache
- 3:30pm: Drag yourself to the Ios beaches
- 4pm: Have a refreshing swim in the Aegean to chase your hangover away
- 6pm: Grab a gyro at Happy Slouvaki
- 7pm: Start drinking again
- 8pm: Watch sunset from the top of a church
- 9pm: Pregame at your hotel bar/lounge area and get ready for the night
- 11pm: Head into town to Steps Bar for a cocktail
- 12pm: Hit the clubs and dance until sunrise
- Next Day: Rest, Rinse, and REPEAT the Ios Greece Party!
What to Do in Ios Besides Partying
Although it’s known to many as a party island, Ios Greece has so much more to see! Just the natural beauty of it will take your breath away. Even if you only have a couple of days to explore it will be easy to see why it’s a must-visit island in the Cyclades.
Yes, this is where the party people chase their hangover away! There are a small group of hotels on Mylopotas Beach, but most people make the 20-25 minute hike from town on Ios Greece. The way there will be an easy walk downhill to the best of the Ios beaches. Part of it is on the road, and the last half is down a steep staircase.
Once you reach the stairs you’ll have a stunning view of the beach below (plus you’ll know you’re going the right way!) There’s a few cafes, mini-marts, and Ios restaurants to get a refreshment or a beach chair if you’d like. Also, if you need to save some energy for later no one will judge you for taking the bus back to town!
Rent an ATV and Beach Hop
Like many Greek islands renting a scooter or ATV is an amazing way to see everything. Many of the shops in town will be happy to rent you a vehicle, and the preferred choice for tourists is a four wheel ATV.
Take it over the hills on the Greek island of Ios and see the beautiful landscape that makes it such a gem of the Cyclades. If you’re adventurous enough, you may even find some secret Ios beaches on the other side of the island!
Ios Greece Boat Trip
There are many boat trips available in Ios Greece to explore around the island and beyond. Ranging from exclusive private boats to full-on party sunset cruises, setting sail from Ios is a great activity whether you’re partying or not. A lot of them will take to secret beach coves only accessible by boat, and even the surrounding islands for snorkeling!
Sunset Above Chora
Watching the sunset everyday from the top of town is a must! Honestly, the hike up is worth it in itself as you’ll pass other local churches and fields of colorful flowers. The most incredible church to see is Panagia Gremniotissa which you can’t miss with its size and shiny blue top.
Just above Panagia, you’ll pass three smaller chapels (Agios Nikolaos, Agios Ioannis, Agios Eleftherios) on your way to to the peak. It’s here that we were struck by the beauty of Ios Greece, and how we were able to truly separate it from the crazy party scene below!
Is Ios Greece Worth Visiting?
Yes, absolutely! However, know what you’re getting yourself into. If you’re heading there to party then you’ll want to visit during the peak summer months. If not, then hitting in May or early June as we did is definitely a good idea. Either way, we can’t recommend Ios enough!
Have any questions on Ios island or want to share your own Ios Greece party story? Let us know in the comments below!
Brigitte & Jake
Where in the world are we? Follow our daily adventures on Instagram @nothingfamiliar!
Where To Stay in Ios Greece
Ultra Luxury – Liostasi Hotel & Suites – Upscale, modern hotel that still holds a lot of Greek charm. The highlight will be the view from the pool and spa center that overlook the Aegean Sea! Traditional breakfast served daily.
Fun Vacation – Avanti – This family run hotel offers amazing views of the island, and is just steps from the main town and best Ios restaurants. Large swimming pool, chic rooms, and lovely balconies.
Budget Travel – La Luna – Our home on Ios island! Located just across from chora with a bar and jacuzzi opened in the summer. Good vibes near the Ios Greece party and the balconies also have a fantastic view of the hillside.
Hostel – Far Out Village – Hotel linked to the famous Far Out party bar on Mylopotas beach. Great place to meet people, and enjoy beach life just outside of town.
For more places to stay on the Greek island of Ios you can explore the latest prices here!
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