travel bite: Ios, Greece

SO, back from the holiday and I can say with confidence that the terrible cliche of how I now needed another holiday to recover was certainly the case after time spent on this little island…

internal flight from athens to san torini

Following a mammoth journey getting there – airplane, 5hr kip on airport seating, propeller plane, taxi, boat, taxi – we arrived exhausted on what we soon found out was the party island. Not for Brits of course, who the majority of which quite naturally do not have the inclination to endure a journey time equivalent to that of one to the other side of the world; instead it was the predominantly Aussie and Swedish visitors that were lending this island its reputation.

katerina's rooms

pool and bar area

Luckily we were staying in a wonderful family run hotel called Katerina’s Rooms, perfectly located on the mid point of the main road between Mylopotas beach and the town, with each room boasting a balcony with a gorgeous view over the bay. The winning feature however was the pool area.

I’m not usually one to favour a pool day over a beach day, but the often empty pool, comfy mattress-bed sun loungers, wonderful view and great pool bar, serving ice cold Mythos beers and super strong cocktails, was enough to indulge anyone’s lazy side. Especially after clambering into bed well after sunrise.

If you ever do manage to have more than 4hrs sleep on Ios though, it is definitely worth exploring some of the beaches…

on the way to kolitsani beach

Kolitsani beach is a great little find if you don’t mind an off road walk down a rough trail/side of a giant rocky hill. A tiny cove, part sand part stone, its a delightful escape from the main beach of Mylopotas nearby. WARNING:  bouncing young Swedes may invade en mass via canoes late afternoon.

manganari beach

Manganari beach is the one for escaping the crowds. A bus ride away (€6 return) you arrive at a welcome stretch of golden sand gradually disappearing into crystal clears waters that allow for walks far out to sea without ever losing touch of the bottom.

Following beach time, and the mandatory siesta / drink by the pool, it’s time to eat…

ketogi

Ketogi offers a slightly more contemporary approach to Greek cuisine; don’t expect to find a classic moussaka on the menu. But instead, prepare to be delighted by a delicious selection of Greek dishes to be enjoyed in tapas form. Highly recommended would be the traditional sausage, baked feta with honey and sesame, sun-dried tomato filled filo rolls and the beetroot, yoghurt and walnut salad.

restaurant aphrodite

Kalypso is where you can not only find traditional Greek dishes but also lighter options of generously proportioned salads containing ingredients such as sun dried figs and crispy parma ham.

Finally, Restaurant Afrodite – situated on the waterfront in the port – is the best place to go for the catch of the day, cooking fish fresh on the grill for you.

Be prepared for the free shots at the end of the meal though. Even if you swear you weren’t planning on going out, temptation gets the better of you…

Here’s the best of what some may call a dodgy bunch when it comes to nightlife:

Amos – for sophisticated cocktails in a beautiful setting up on a candle lit terrace with candy coloured cushions.

Astra – €1 shots. Two cocktails for €5. Need I say more.

Koo Bar – tiny club appealing to those not searching for a night of cheese, happy to accept requests.

Club 69 – for the free sparklers.

Rehab – if you’re in the mood for some chart classics.

ios town

TOP TIPS:

 – get a boat from Athens OR a direct flight to San Torini. Do not do as we did if you want to preserve any dignity upon arrival.

 – embrace the Ios lifestyle of late mornings, late dinners, late nights.

 – do not go to Sweet Irish Dream…

 – and definitely avoid allowing 16 year old Irish boys to start following you back to your hotel.

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