Ios

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Greek Islands » Ios » Travel

Getting to Ios

Cyclades map

Where is Ios? The island lies in the Cyclades group, directly south of the mainland between Naxos and Crete.

The island has no airport and most holiday visitors arrive by ferry from Mykonos, to the north, or Santorini, to the south, and there are ferry services from Piraeus and Rafina on the mainland.

Journeys via Mykonos or Santorini usually require an overnight stop as, although ferry connections are plentiful, they rarely coincide with flights.

Roads on Ios are generally good and buses leave hourly from the capital to all the major beach resorts. Car hire is needed by those who wish to explore the island further.

Ios has a good supply of holiday accommodation with most of it located around the capital Chora and the neighbouring beach resort of Mylopotas.

Updated for 2016

Ios flights: travel by air

There is no airport on the island of Ios but Santorini Airport (JTR) is less than 60 minutes away by ferry and international charter flights also land at Mykonos Airport (JMK) where there are more ferry services from the nearby port.

Most visitors choose to fly directly to Athens, Santorini, Mykonos or Crete and then take the ferry to Ios Island.

There ferry links to Ios from several islands in the Cyclades group that also take domestic flights such as Paros, Naxos, Sikinos, Folegandros, Anafi and Syros.

Santorini has regular UK summer charter flights but there are no regular charter flights to Santorini in the winter months.

Mykonos Airport is located about four kilometres from the port and has a regular bus service operating from the airport to the main town.

There are regular UK charter flights to Santorini throughout the summer and a shuttle bus to the main port at Fira leaves every 90 minutes. Taxis are wait at the airport.

Ios ferries: travel by sea

Ferries services to Ios operate from two ports on the mainland, Piraeus and Rafina, both a bus ride from Athens International airport. Over the main holiday season, ferries to Ios run quite frequently, up to three ferries each day with a journey time of three to eight hours depending on the type of ferry.

Blue Star Ferries has three crossings weekly from Piraeus and daily sailings from Rafina, both between six and eight hours journey time. Blue Star also has daily sailings to Mykonos (four hours) and three sailings weekly to Santorini (one hour) as well as 10 crossings weekly to Naxos and Paros (one to two hours).

Hellenic Seaways operates routes twice daily to Mykonos and Paros, daily services to Naxos and on to Piraeus, as well as daily sailings to Crete (about three hours) and three times weekly to Santorini.

NEL Lines operates routes to many other islands in the Cyclades including Anafi, Folengandros, Kea, Kimolos, Lavrio, Milos, Mykonos, Naxos, Paros, Santorini and Syros.

Faster services to Piraeus, Mykonos and Santorini are offered by Sea Jets which also runs high speed ferries daily to Crete, Folengandros, Milos, Naxos, Sifnos and Tinos.

As if that weren't enough Ventouris Ferries also has three sailings weekly to Folengandros, Piraeus, Serifos, Sifnos, Sikinos and Santorini.

Regular buses connect the port and the town but is not too far to walk the wide stone steps up the hill to the Chora if you are travelling light. A tourist office (tel: 091028) is at the end of the harbour and opens about 30 minutes before boat sailings.

Ios island caiques (water taxis) run daily between Yialos and the beach at Manganari via Mylopotas beach during the summer months.

Ios map: getting around

Ios is one of the southern Cycladic islands in the central Aegean Sea with nearest northerly neighbours Paros, Naxos and Amorgos and Santorini to the south. Ios has an area of 108 sq km and it's about 18 kilometres long and 10 kilometres wide. The population hovers around the 1,800 mark.

Ios is a hilly island with the highest point at Mount Pirgos at 713 metres. Ios has only three settlements of note, the hill town capital of the Chora with the port area of Yialos below it to the west, and the Milopotas tourist beach area to the east. There are no inland villages of any great size.

Tourism is the main source of income on Ios with some small scale farming and a little fishing.

Climate on Ios

Ios has a typical Mediterranean climate with hot, dry summers and mild winters. Rain falls mainly between November and March.

From June to September Ios has little rain and the hot summer days are tempered by the strong 'meltemi' winds blowing in from the north-west in July/August.

The island has more than 300 sunny days a year and the warmest months are July and August, when daytime temperatures average 28°C. In spring, Ios is much milder, greener and fresher.

Ios transport: travel on land

Car rental

Car hire is not essential on Ios, especially for those who plan to visit only the trio of tourist centres at Yialos, Chora and Mylopotas. Bus services run between these three every 15 minutes although the buses can be very crowded in the high summer.

An hourly bus service operated between Yialos and Koymbara and there are daily excursions buses that leave Yialos, Chora and Mylopotas for more far flung beaches at Agia Theodoti and Manganari.

Several taxis operate out of Chora, Mylopotas and the port and visitors can haggle the price for trips to the more remote beaches and organise pick-ups to get back home.

There are few paved roads on the Ios and little chance of you losing the way despite the lack of road signs. The main road runs from Koumbara to Mylopotas via Yialos with a branch north to Agia Theodoti.

Ios is not known for its walking trails but there are some good walks to be had. Cycladen offers a number of good walking routes on the island.

Ios rooms: places to stay

Rooms

Ios has a good supply of holiday accommodation, most of it in and around the capital Chora and the neighbouring beach resort of Mylopotas.

Visitors are usually hit with offers of rooms to they step off the ferry. Many offer decent rooms at decent prices but the waterfront agency kiosks also offer good hotels.

There are domatia all along the steep hill road to Chora but those hoping for a good night's sleep are advised to avoid the Chora itself. This is the main nightclub area and street party noise can last until the early hours.

Youngsters and backpackers usually head for the Francesco Youth Hostel for cheap dormitory beds and a few rooms. The centre of Chora is packed with hotels and self-catering studios. The old quarter is the nosiest while the quieter new quarter is found on the road to Mylopotas beach.

As a favourite party island for youngsters Ios has a couple of big camping sites around the main beach of Mylopotas. Far Out Club Camping is set in olive groves behind the beach and has tent pitches to small bungalows while the Purple Pig and Stars has a pool bar and wi-fi,

More hotels and apartments can be found at Manganari beach in the south-east of Ios and there also a few good hotels sited in the port of Ormos.