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Ios is an island whose reputation precedes it. You might have heard about its renown as a summer party island in the Cyclades, whether on the beach or in the bars that line the cobblestone streets of Hora. The music is turned up and revellers from across the world enjoy themselves long into the night. But what about the other face of Ios?
Well, when the day dawns you’ll find traditional Cycladic homes, cafes and children playing in the town squares, alongside stairways coated with whitewash, stylish boutiques and restaurants offering local and international cuisine. And all the while, the beautiful Church of Panagia Gremiotissa that sits above the main town of Ios watches calmly over everything.
Unlimited summer fun! The party guests are young and cool and come from all over the world – Australia, Italy, Austria, America, England, Ireland, Sweden... Holidays in Ios are all about feeling timeless and carefree in the Aegean.
The revelry on this iconic beach in Ios begins early. So it’s worth arriving early at Milopotas. A beach with emerald-coloured water, beach bars, fine sand, water sports, cafes...! Sound good to you?
Making your way up to Panagia Gremiotissa Church, next to the Venetian castle, you see the Hora of Ios from another perspective. Cube-shaped homes form an amphitheatre and churches emerge from the slopes of this town built upon the site of an ancient city.
Ios’ labyrinth of alleyways is full of Cycladic whitewashed houses and churches, flower-filled patios, aromas emanating from the bakery and women gossiping on their stoops while they knit. Now you’re experiencing authentic Ios.
Get up close and personal with the Hora of Ios
It’s unlikely that Homer’s Grave actually contains the remains of Greece’s most famous author, but that shouldn’t stop you from visiting. It can be found by the ancient ruins of a Hellenistic tower to the north of the island, on a cobblestone street that leads to the Palaiokastro (the Old Castle), near a 300m cliff.
Only a few minutes outside Hora, a very important settlement from the Proto-Cycladic period has been excavated. You’ll find it following the path along the stone walls spiralling around the hill form Skarko (locals call it Karavola, meaning snails). After wandering around the archaeological site, you must definitely visit the Archaeological Museum of Ios.
To the northeast of Ios, you will find the island’s oldest Orthodox church, built in the 16th century, above the ruins of the Temple of Apollo.
A striking theatre made up of 1,100 seats above Hora, built in the Ancient Greek style and named after the Nobel award-winning Greek poet Elytis.
Near Hora’s school, you will find the only Catholic church on Ios, which has been there since the 14th century.