When in Greece, do as the Greeks would do (no, you still have to pay taxes); live each day as if it was your last, bring joy to yourself and to others and if you have any sense whatsoever, get yourself to Ios, asap. The last vestiges of authenticity are to be found here, in between gulps of retsina and the undulating rhythm of the sea. Ios is a place where the senses come alive. Even though it’s sandwiched between its two famous cousins, Mykonos and Santorini, Ios has managed to survive the onslaught of Moet showers and Porsche Cayennes. That means no selfie stick jungles or designer sunglasses galore.
PARTYS & NIGHTLIFE
Ios is a playground. Clubs, bars, beach bars; it’s all there. But the difference is that everything is normal. You see normal people with normal lives having fun, rather than drunk millionaires throwing cash around.
Some of the best festivals can be found in the Greek isles during the summer. They are called ‘panygyria’. And Ios is no exception. The first one up (out of 4) is Ai Giannis Klidonas and is honoured in the village of Pyrgos. The 15th of August festivity that take place all around the country is celebrated at the Assumption of the Virgin Mary at Gremiotissa church. This one is special as it gathers pretty much everyone from all walks of life. You’ll probably end up doing the sirtaki with a spirited septuagenarian at 6 am. Mark it.
If you’re up for some more conventional partying then just walk around. Any time, any day, Ios parties likes its 1999. In the town of Chora, its anything goes.
CULTURE & HISTORY
That doesn’t mean that Ios lacks character. It isn’t just some party island. This is Homer’s final resting place, after all. It is imbued with a certain spirit, and one can see for themselves when visiting what is regarded as Homer’s tomb, up in a mountain top. The author of the greatest book ever written (as per Amazon) is widely revered, and especially here.
Don’t miss out on other archaeological sites, either. Ios is undergoing an archaeological re-awakening. Despite the fact that it played a small part in affairs back then, it does nevertheless have a few interesting places that are worth exploring. Archaeologists are currently excavating what is considered to be the oldest prehistoric settlement in Greece. It’s open to the public and we strongly advise a visit. Located in skarkos, it’s open from June to September, so you know, get that pint to go.
The Byzantines left Ios with a few souvenirs, namely churches. In Palaiokastro you can go see the remnants of a fortress. Which is pretty cool.
As always with Greek islands, and particularly the Cyclades, it is pure bliss. You can do no wrong. Enjoy!