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The Weekly Getaway: the long sandy stretches and beautiful sunset hues of Ios
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The Weekly Getaway: the long sandy stretches and beautiful sunset hues of Ios

Dimitris Kossyfas | 1 September 2023
Ios, Greece
4.0
See:
Stay:
Swim:
Eat/Drink:
Location:
Ios
Best time to go:
Jun-Sep
Ideal trip duration:
2-3 nights

Once thriving as a party island for youngsters, Ios still remains pretty much international and full of long sandy stretches and beautiful sunset hues. Yes, it only comprises of the main settlement of chora and, yes, it’s not the most picturesque of them all across the Cyclades. But if you know where to navigate on the island and what to expect, you’ll get to see why it’s getting increasingly popular in the last few years.

Travel Food People - Ios, Greece
Travel Food People - Agora, Ios
Travel Food People - Agora, Ios

Chora

As I walk up Chora on a sunny morning, I’m trying to find a coffee spot that’s not screaming tourist trap from a hundred miles. So instead of going through the main route as I enter from the main parking lot, I turn right and start climbing uphill towards the windmills. In a beautiful square enclosed by two churches I find Agora Café, a relatively new establishment that launched in 2022 which seems like the perfect choice for a quiet and slow morning start of the day.

Anina Diener, a native of Munich, ditched her big career in events management and creative direction and moved to Ios creating Agora Café. Operated in two stints during the day, they serve the best specialty coffee of the island (a blend of their own) and a unique Greek-oriented breakfast. At night, I come back for their live music under the garland lights hanging from the trees and some delicious cheese platters.

Travel Food People - Ios, Greece

On a different day, I visit the best restaurant of the island which goes strong for the past 18 years. Katogi tavern is the brainchild of chef George Katseas and Thodora Tziamali who visited Ios for just 3 days on a budget of 500 euros and upon falling in love with this nestled spot, decided to move to Ios full time.

We go past the long queue at the entrance and thankfully get seated on time for our reservation. Thodora is pulling all sorts of stunts to the crowd and the staff, being the social bee she is whilst George is cooking delicious Greek-inspired tapas treats with his team at the back.

And we come back again and again on various nights.

Kolitsani bay and Mylopotas beach

On an early morning we leave the hillside accommodation near Chora and trek down to Kolitsani bay for a quick dip before everyone turns up. This is primarily a nudist beach but if you find yourself there before 9am, it’s completely peaceful making for the perfect wake-up dip!

Once we work an appetite (mind you the 5-8min trek up to the main road is quite challenging), we hop to Mylopotas bay and sit at Salt beach bar for a refresher and a quick brekkie. They also serve all-day treats (see below for an impeccable seabass ceviche) and have the most comfy sunbeds on the beach.

Travel Food People - Ios, Greece
Travel Food People - Ios, Greece
Travel Food People - Ios, Greece

We walk along Mylopotas bay which is a great way to get a feel of the old Ios and the club culture around Farout club but quickly opt for the picturesque fock of Drakos taverna. One of the best spots on the island where we devour seafood and fish delicacies straight from the sea! Amazing sea urchin pasta as well as grilled mackerel!

Travel Food People - Ios, Greece
Travel Food People - Ios, Greece
Travel Food People - Ios, Greece
Travel Food People - Ios, Greece
Travel Food People - Ios, Greece

Diaseli dairy farm, Magganari and Tris Klissies beach

On a different day we venture north towards Magganari beach but first make a stop at Tris Klissies. The trek down the beach is relatively steep, uneven and non-marked so it is a bit of a challenge under the scorching summer heat – reversely though, when we finally reach the beach we dive right in and are astounded by the crystal clear waters! There are a couple of cedar trees underneath which we find shade and nice comfort for the next hour or so, until we head back up and onto Magganari beach for a small tour.

The long sandy stretch is quite vast for everyone (it gets super busy after midday or so) but as we like our peacefulness, we take on to the neighbouring coves on the right of the beach where there are no umbrellas or anyone around (apart from some residents of the villa of the first cove).

It’s now a bit after 2pm and we’re getting relatively hungry so we opt for the way back and a stop for a cheese tour at Diaseli dairy farm. The tour around the premises is a relatively short one but the place is super cute, quiet and welcoming. We’re served a cheese board with a wide variety of gruyere cheese, complemented with figs, reiki honey and a glass of wine – amazing treats for a post-beach pit stop! And a nice way to appreciate the past of this land, where everything was made with the man’s hands when power and water supply on the island was non-existent.

Travel Food People - Ios, Greece
Travel Food People - Ios, Greece
Travel Food People - Ios, Greece

Trypiti beach

The following day we opt for a day at the sea, so we rent a rib from Mylopotas beach for some quick hops around the island and ultimately a stop at Trypiti beach.

Mihalopoulos, a business owner that supposedly owns about a third of Ios’ land, has started taking over pots of land on every single beach building makeshift terraces with sun loungers and Trypiti beach is no different. Despite the kitsch angle to it, it does offer some shade and some cool elevated views to the otherwise virgin cove. The sand is golden and the waters are crystal clear – thankfully, we make it here early before 10am so until midday or so we’re left all by ourselves.

On the way back, we drive to Koubara beach for some homecooked dishes at Polydoros. A casual joint that has operated for the past 50 years or so, offering daily specials yummy as hell!

Travel Food People - Ios, Greece
Travel Food People - Ios, Greece
Travel Food People - Ios, Greece
Travel Food People - Ios, Greece
Travel Food People - Ios, Greece

Sunset spots

Ios is also full of great places to catch the sunset from. Unlike Santorini, where everyone flocks to beautiful but super busy and packed Oia, Ios offers a handful of them. Although there are proper bars that have built exactly for this purpose (for example Ios Club with a Mykonos-like allure and Liostasi hotel’s terrace for more posh affairs), the island does offer some nice hilltops for that sunset hour.

First and foremost is Chora’s hilltop with Church of Gremniotissa and three other small chapels that offers great views to the port. The place does get a bit busy so another alternative is the chapel of Agioi Anargyroi that is also closer to Kollitsani bay and the sea. If you’re looking for something much quiet, you can walk up the hill to Gaitis museum (most of the times closed) where you can catch great views and colors during sunset!

Travel Food People - Ios, Greece
Travel Food People - Ios, Greece.JPG
Travel Food People - Ios, Greece
Travel Food People - Ios, Greece.JPG
Travel Food People - Polydoros, Ios
Travel Food People - Polydoros, Ios

See

Stay

  • Liostasi Hotel – high end hotel, part of the SLH brand, with great views to the sunset. Also featuring an open air cinema and bar.
  • Hide out Suites – eclectic suites on the hill behind Mylopotas bay.
  • Calilo – luxury hotel away from the crowds, owned by tycoon Mychalopoulos.
  • Ios Sea View – refined and comfortable apartments with great view to Kolitsani bay. Great access to Chora.

Swim

  • Mylopotas beach – the main beach of the island, a long sandy stretch, that features all sorts of beach bars including the popular FarOut club for youngsters.
  • Kolitsani beach – secluded cove that is perfect in the early morning hours. The right side of the beach is also only for nudists.
  • Trypiti beach – great sandy coves that you only access by boat. You can also find a couple of terraces on the right with some sun loungers that are up for use.
  • Tris Klissies beach – small sandy beach that you access by an unmarked downhill trek. There are two cedar trees for shade.
  • Maganari beach – long sandy organised beach that is adjacent to two small coves on the right.
  • Plakes beach – sandy stretch.

Eat/Drink

Travel Food People - Katogi, Ios
Travel Food People - Katogi, Ios
Travel Food People - Katogi, Ios
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