As long as it takes to eat a slice of watermelon

Ios has a well-earned reputation for fun & sun in the Aegean. But this gem of an island in the Cyclades is about more than nightlife and a party atmosphere. It’s also home to a charming main town (Hora), hiking trails, historical sites and … you guessed it… outstanding beaches. Whether it’s water sports or chilled and relaxed beach time you’re looking for (always with some adventure sprinkled in), Ios has beaches for every holiday style. Most are sandy and there are hidden gems and off-grid stunners, as well as cosmopolitan hangouts where you can lie back and soak it all up. We’ll guide you through 8 of the best beaches in Ios, so you know where to start.

Mylopotas beach

Mylopotas is the best-known beach in Ios, famous for its party vibe and easy access (only 2km) from Hora (the main town). And it’s hardly surprising, given the beach bars and choice of nearby tavernas and shops, not to mention the water sports options, including a diving centre. There’s everything here to max out your day in the sun. One of the lesser-known treats of Mylopotas beach is hiring a boat and skipper from here and exploring some of Ios’ more off-grid beaches, like Tripiti, Pikro Nero, Klima, Manousou, and Sapounochoma. Many are connected by footpaths and they all enjoy crystal-clear, blue waters that are great for snorkelling. 

An aerial view of Mylopotas beach in Ios
  • Amenities: Sunbeds & umbrellas, restaurants, beach bars, tavernas, water sports
  • Access: By road

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Manganari beach

W-shaped Manganari is one the most beautiful beaches in Ios, something that immediately becomes apparent as you approach it by car from the highest point of the island. It’s a long, double-fronted beach (the second-most popular in Ios), with just the right balance of wild and organised spots, boasting fine yellow sand, a steady stream of gentle waves and shallow, blue water that is ideal for kids.

Manganari beach shot to Insta-stardom on Ios when locals snapped a particularly photogenic spot opposite an islet called Varvaronisi and christened it Neverbay on Instagram, instantly making it one of the most sought-after spots on the island. Meanwhile, if you crave some adventure, secluded Tris Eklisies beach is a 20min hike from the chapel of Agia Triada. It’s secluded, with clear blue waters and fine yellow sand. 

  • Amenities: Sunbeds & umbrellas, water sports, beach bars, tavernas
  • Access: By road

Agia Theodoti beach

Like most beaches in Ios, Agia Theodoti boasts the best features of the Cyclades islands. You’ll find the tried and tested combination of fat, fluffy sand and (shallow) green-blue waters, as well as the semi-arid natural landscape that the island chain is famous for. There are comforts and amenities as well as more secluded spots where you can throw down your towel on the sand and bask in the sun. Lunch is handily available at a nearby taverna with a sea view. If you’re looking for some chill time, Agia Theodoti is a must on your list of Ios beaches.

  • Amenities: A few sunbeds & umbrellas, snack bar, nearby taverna
  • Access: By road

Gialos beach

If you’re stationed in Ios town (Hora) and want an easy swim, then Gialos beach is for you. It’s great for everyone (especially children because it has shallow, calm waters) and is fully organised, although there are some more peaceful spots with tamarisk trees offering natural shade. Alternatively, if you’re looking for a beach with some solitude near Hora, Tzamaria beach has nothing but natural tree shade and pristine waters, while Valmas (on the other side of the town) is covered in fine sand and equally calm. Both are a short walk from town. 

  • Amenities: Sunbeds & umbrellas, beach bars, restaurants, parking, sea ramp 
  • Access: By road

Koumbara beach

Another of Ios’ most Instagrammable beaches, Koumbara is 5km west of Gialos and is divided in two by a rocky islet (to which it is connected) with nothing but a chapel on it that is perfect for a sunset stroll. The waters are shallow and blue-green and the beach is Blue Flag-certified, with a mix of fine golden sand and pebbles. It’s fully organised, including beach bars and water sports. Carefree is the word of the day. There are several tavernas and shops in the area, but Koumbara beach also has some wild parts where you can lose yourself. 

  • Amenities: Sunbeds & umbrellas, beach bars, restaurants
  • Access: By road

Loretzaina beach

Tucked away inside a rocky, windless cove, this gem of a beach is wild and beautiful. Loretzaina is a paradise of fine golden sand and green emerald waters. This is where you come if you want to get away from it all (even though it’s relatively close to Hora) and listen to nothing but the waves washing onto the shore. There’s nothing here (or in the vicinity) by way of amenities, so come prepared. This is one of the most secluded and tranquil beaches in Ios accessible by car. Loretzaina beach is about chilling, reading, snorkelling and tanning. And it’s another gorgeous sunset spot. Namaste.    

  • Amenities: None
  • Access: By road

Psathi beach

Psathi has fine golden sand and the aura of the Cyclades islands at their best. The tranquil tone is set by the wicker umbrellas … just about the only facilities on the beach, so come prepared. This is where you’ll be heading if you’re looking for pure relaxation on your beach holidays in Ios. It’s also favoured by windsurfers (although it’s best avoided when northerly winds pick up, if you’re not a windsurfer). There’s a nearby taverna for when you get hungry that serves 100% traditional Greek food. Undoubtedly one of the best hidden-gem beaches in Ios.

  • Amenities: A few umbrellas, nearby taverna
  • Access: By road

Kalamos beach

Kalamos is a long stretch of golden sand mixed with fine pebbles, located in eastern Ios, on the way to Manganari. It is one of the prettiest beaches in Ios, with no amenities, and requires traversing a sizeable chunk of dirt road to get there, which means it is less crowded despite its popularity. The water is ideal for snorkelling and there are pine and almond trees hugging the rugged coastline. If you want a spot of culture, you’ll find the impressive 19th-century Byzantine chapel of Agios Ioannis on the way. Meanwhile, to the north, on Kalamos Bay, you’ll find Plakes and its wild, sandy beach (and quite possibly goats, too), while to the south, the mesmerising waters of Papas beach are a short distance away. This is prime beach-hopping territory in Ios. 

  • Amenities: None
  • Access: By road

8 of the best beaches in Ios

Ios does beach holidays in its own, inimitable way, combining fun and sun seamlessly, but with a quiet side too that rewards you the more you look for it. With Insta-perfect beaches that you’ll remember forever, Ios has Cycladic charm to spare.

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