The port of Ios is at the head of the Ormos natural harbor in the northwest. From there the bus or a 15-minute walk up the steep donkey path takes you to the village, known as Chora/capital. Chora is a white and very picturesque Cycladic village, full of steps and narrow paths that make it inaccessible for cars of any kind.
Although it is mostly famous as a youth destination, Ios has many places off the beaten track. Visitors love the traditional style of Chora and the sandy, crystal beaches. Holidays in Ios can be both peaceful or intense, depending on the preference of visitors. There are places where families with kids can spend a relaxing holiday and also places like Mylopotas with the beach bars and watersports that are fantastic for the young. Chora is the center of activities on the island with many shops, hotels and bars. The square with the old windmills is a center of commercial activity and a meeting place for the local festivals. The port, with its own life and market activity, is the best place for enjoyable walks.
Excavations on Skarkos hill unearthed a prehistoric settlement, proving that Ios has been inhabited since the early Cycladic period. According to ancient tradition, Homer's mother was from Ios, and he himself was buried there at the site of the ancient town of Plakotos. The north end of Ios has a ruined Venetian castle from the 15th century. The island is said to have 365 churches and chapels, like the days of the year.
Apart from the port and the village of Chora, Ios has only a few small settlements, mainly groups of spread out houses and villas in the background of major beaches. Ios is famous for its beaches Theodoti where you will have the occasion to admire the 16th century church of St. Theodoti, Kalamos, Gialos, Koumbara with several small sandy beaches, the amazing beach of Plakoto, and Manganari with four of the most beautiful beaches in the Aegean, each one lying next to the other, waiting for the visitor to enjoy their peaceful nature. There are many seaside taverns where you can taste fresh fish. Scenes from the film Big Blue (Le Grand Bleu) were shot in Manganari.
Boats and ferries to Ios depart from 2 ports in Athens: Piraeus and Rafina. During the summer months, ferries to Ios run normally about 3 times per day. It takes about 3 to 7 hours depending the type of ferry. If you fly to Santorini, ferries to Ios depart daily, and take about 45 minutes.
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