Over the past couple of years I have really fell in love with the Greek Islands and Ios in particular. This is a fantastic island and I promise if you make the effort to travel there you will have an absolute blast……….and probably stay longer than planned!
Ios, Greece: the party island with secluded beaches
Always overlooked Ios is the original Greek party island offering a vibrant and bohemian nightlife, yet still retaining everything that makes it typically Greek
Ios party island really is about the laid back lifestyle. There’s not a great deal to do other than enjoy the beach life, relax, drink, eat and party the night away. With no airport it is slightly harder to get to and this means it is overshadowed by its neighbour Mykonos. However, in my opinion, if you make the effort to get here you will be rewarded by the best nightlife of all the Greek Islands.
Where to stay
Most people stay in Chora, which is the main town on Ios party island. The Chora is situated on the hill above the port and is where all the action happens.
My favourite hotel is Ios Resort. What makes the hotel so great is undoubtedly the owners Mike and Maroussa. Mike meets all guests from the ferry and is a great host. The hotel itself has modern rooms and is within five minutes of all the nightlife yet is located in a peaceful setting for those who want some sleep.
If you’re a dedicated beach lover then stay down the hill from Chora at Mylopotas beach. The best choice here is the Far Out Beach Village where you can choose to stay in the main hotel for a little luxury, the village hotel for run of the mill with standard facilities, or the camping club, which allows you to pitch your own tent, rent a tent or stay in a basic beach bungalow.
If you want to be in the Chora and are on a budget then I’d recommend Francescos. This hostel has been here for years and offers cheap dorms for around 15 euros a night. It’s also a great place to meet like minded travellers young and old.
At the other end of the scale and offering complete luxury is the Liotasi Hotel & Spa. The hotel is luxurious with a spa on site and is uniquely styled. Its location offers incredible views, especially at sunset, and it’s a peaceful area yet only 15 mins to either the beach or the Chora.
A day in the life – eating, drinking and partying
If you’re up early enough or haven’t been to bed yet you will find most people head down to Mylopotas Beach to sleep and catch some rays. The Far Out Beach Village gets busier during the day and offers a party atmosphere with people dancing around the pool. There are also plenty of watersports to do if you want to dip into the sea and cool down from the midday heat.
Come dinner time there are so many choices you are spoilt. If you’re still down at the beach there is a Thai restaurant, which is surprisingly authentic. My personal favourite here though is Harmony, which is probably the coolest restaurant on Ios. It’s a Mexican restaurant and bar in an open air setting and has a great vibe. The portions are large and very tasty with the chili burger and nachos being particularly good. They usually have some excellent live music and it is a good place to begin your night.
If you are going to be eating in the Chora the two places I recommend are Lord Byrons (www.lordbyronios.gr) or Piperri. Lord Byrons is a beautiful restaurant with a nice courtyard area. Inside it’s painted in a deep blue and the staff are very welcoming. The food is Mediterranean cuisine and if they have the Lobster risotto on the menu it’s a must. Piperri is run by Mark, known locally as ‘OiOi’. His beautiful restaurant is small but wonderfully decorated with artefacts from around the world. The food that is produced from the small kitchen is presented well and tastes gorgeous. For something local I would recommend the Mykonos sausage.
After dinner it’s time to go out! Everyone young and old goes out for a good night in Ios.
The Chora is like any typical Greek village with small cobbled alleys, whitewashed walls and blue roofs. However, hidden in all these quaint buildings is some of the most raucous, no holds barred nightlife you will ever experience. There are plenty of places to party on this planet but Ios really is in a class of its own.
Early evening is a great place to go is the Fun Pub. It has a killer pool tournament every night, a large jenga game, karaoke and as the evening goes on the music gets louder and the atmosphere, as in the name, more fun.
After enjoying the Fun Pub head up to the town square, which offers plenty of bars to choose from. One of the most unique is the Slammer Bar. Order a tequila slammer here and you might be shocked to have a helmet placed on your head before your drink is served! The bar staff then proceed to slam your drink on your head before giving it to you to down after which your hit again with either a hammer, fire extinguisher, bar stool, skateboard or beer crate. Definitely crazy and typical of wild Greek nightlife.
Flames is another one of my favourite bars with great rock indie music and a fun crowd. Their signature drink, fittingly, is the Flaming Lamborghini and the bar staff are often setting the bar alight and the DJ demanding everyone take their shirt off before he plays any more music.
I also enjoy Shamrock Bar and Red Bull bar but both are quite small and can get very busy.
Most of the bars around the town square close at 4am, however many people head out to the Scorpion Club which is on the road down to Mylopotas Beach where the party continues until closing time at 9am. Yes I did say 9am and, surprisingly, the club is busy until this time every morning in peak season with everyone having a good time.
If the above sounds all too much you can sit in the lower square of the Chora and be oblivious to all the goings on enjoying some typical Greek music and a glass of wine after dinner. This contrast is one of the reasons I love Ios so much.
It is so easy to get stuck into the way of island life you won’t want to leave. Many people come here for just three nights and end up spending three months. No doubt once you do leave you will of course return. Enjoy the uncomplicated Ios island lifestyle and if you happen to be there the same time as me I will buy you a shot!
What kind of average age can you expect on Ios island? Are we too old for this place (late 20s)?
Hey Johnny, the hardcore party people who are out until 7am or so are are generally early 20s however there are plenty of people there in their late 20s, late 30s, late 40s, late 50s and even older!
Ios island really is a place for everyone and whilst it has the party island image for the youngsters it still provides excellent and unforgettable nightlife for anyone of any age!
What time of year are you thinking of travelling? I say definitely go and enjoy the island of Ios 🙂
Thanks for the quick reply – i hope i can get there in late June or August.
Either time is perfect Johnny, have a great time and if you have any more questions on the island just ask!
Ios island is the absolute love of my life.
great place isnt it Monika! I love the island hoping to pop back this year at some point. Thanks for stopping by my blog 🙂
You definitely should go back this year!!
I am going back in 4 weeks…literally counting dow the days! I would live there forever if I could hehe
Hi Monika thanks for stopping by the blog I appreciate it 🙂 Im hoping to go back in sept depending on how things are going! Are you travelling to anywhere else in Europe whilst you’re here?
Great blog. I’m heading over with my brother for 4 nights, 14 -18 June 2011. We are in our mid 20’s and looking for the biggest out of control party we can find. I know its mid season but will that really matter? I know it won’t be absolutely packed but they say it’s still pretty busy and apart from massive line-ups for drinks etc will it really be that different from July and August? We are staying in Francesco’s. What do you think? I hear most of Scandinavia is in Greece during June… more so that July. Is that true?
It’s the start of a 5 week tour for us that will takes us to Corfu, Hvar, Pag, Dubrovnik, Ibiza and Pamplona and San Sebastian for Running of the Bulls so we will have plenty of opportunities to go crazy. After Ios we are travelling in a group of 5 but in Ios we will only be 2 so thats why I’m asking about the crowds.
Your thoughs will be greatly appreciated!!
Hi Zak thanks for stopping by! Im not sure you will find a huge party in Ios on these dates (depends what you mean by huge?) but you will definately be able to find some out of control stuff! The island is pretty busy by mid june and the nightlife is getting into swing. Lots of Scandinavians in June they come for midsummer which is 25th June. There wont be huge huge crowds but the party atmosphere will be great and you will im sure fall in love with the island like everyone else 🙂
Hi mate thanks for the excellent review. I’m coming to Ios 4th July for 2 or 3 nights with 2 mates. Do you recommend staying at the far out beach club or in chora? Is it easy to get between the 2? We are looking to party hard day and night 🙂
Personally I prefer staying in the Chora its easy for dinner and the night out. For hitting the beach in the day its about a 25 min walk down to Mylopotas beach or just a couple of euros on the bus. Thanks for reading the blog and I know you will love Ios, Im trying to get back there myself this summer too!
hiii – ios island sounds amazing. i finish uni mid june and am planning to head out early july. just wondering if you worked out there and how easy it is to find work over the summer? thanks!
hi caroline, it is amazing! It will be harder to find work in July rather than may or June but this shouldnt put you off just be prepared to perhaps not get a job straight away!
Thanks for stopping by the blog too 🙂
thanks! please can i also ask you another very quick quesiton – it is about ferries. i am flying home from kos. is it posible to get a boat from ios to kos??
as far as I’m aware there are no direct ferries. I believe you will have to go to either Paros, Naxos or Santorini first to connect to a Kos ferry.
I’m not an expect on ferries and they change all the time so its best to check here http://www.openseas.gr
Hi Tom, First off great review!
I will be on Ios island for 2 weeks from the 8th of Aug this year.
What is this time of the year like? What nationalities mainly dominate this time of the year?
We have booked Francesco’s for 1 week and were going to see how we go the last week, would we be better off just booking the lot now?
We are there to party and party hard.
Where is Francesco’s in regards to the main town? on the way to the beach or on the other side of town?
Thanks in advance!
Hi Steve thanks for stopping by the blog I really appreciate it.
August is very busy and there is a whole range of nationalities although you might find more Italians and Australians than others! Francescos is right in the centre of town so everything is on your doorstep. For the beach you can either walk down to the port or catch a bus to the busier Mylopotas.
You say you are going for 2 weeks what are your plans for the 2nd week? If your are definitely going to stay in Ios then I would recommend booking your accommodation now. However if you have never been to Santorini before then the island is worth ticking off the list for a couple of nights and its only an hour away by ferry from Ios.
Thanks for the fast reply!
We will spend one night on Santorini on the way to Ios and am unsure if that will be enough but we can always head back.
We are undecided on the 2nd week as some have been to ios and some have not and a few of us are fairly keen to stay the whole time but some of the other guys would like to check out some more islands.
Is there any other islands that offer a similar party style vibe non stop?
Personally I think 2 weeks there will be heaven!
Hi Steve no worries, the general trend for backpackers wanting to party seems to be to head to Ios, Santorini and Mykonos. Santorini has good nightlife but obviously its not quite as crazy.
If you want to go somewhere else I would recommend Mykonos the nightlife here is incredible although its a lot (and I mean loads) more expensive than Ios. You could just perhaps do 2-3 nights in Mykonos depending where your flying in and out off?
love the blog. Am looking to go to Ios in the second week in August with about six people and we were looking to rent a villa near the beach at Mylopotas. Is that possible and if so do you have any suggestions?
Hi thanks for stopping by! The links below are the only two villas I know of understandably they might not hire out to single sex party groups. If you cant get a villa then there are still some great hotels for groups.
Hi Tom, We are going to stay at Mykonos for 3 nights and see how we go after – Maybe back to Ios island for a few more.
Where is the best place to stay in your opinion on Mykonos to party?
We are thinking Paradise beach club in the resorts style room.
Or better to stay in town?
Sounds good Steve! Buses run frequently between Mykonos town and Paradise beach. Personally I prefer to stay in the town and get the bus to the beach each day but it depends what you prefer and what your budget is for rooms
have a great time 🙂
We are planning to go to Ios in August, but we have a problem
we have no idea how to get there?
Every blog that we read or every site that we see, people say they went from Santorini to Ios
It sounds good to us, but we couldn’t find a site where to purchase a ticket for the ferry to Ios?
Could you tell us from where you went to Ios and how and just everything haha
Hey guys no worries I will send you an email with all the details 🙂
I have been reading the above guys messages and everyone seems to be in the same boat regarding getting information from you!
Could you help me out please regarding travelling around the islands.
I am heading there with a friend around the 9th July- probably flying into Athens as it looks like it will work out cheaper.
If we fly onto the mainland then what will be the best and cheapest way to get to the islands? We aim to visit Mykonos, Santorini, Ios and wherever the boats and tides take us.
Hi Ryan, thanks for stopping by the site I appreciate it!
For ferries then I would recommend this site its prob one of the best http://www.openseas.gr you can then check the sailings on the dates you want to travel. The highspeed4 by Hellenic seaways connects all 3 of the islands you want to visit but this is the fast very and quite expensive you may find the slower ferries or overnight ones a lot cheaper. I know there is an overnight from Athens to Santorini which costs around €50 with a cabin so not bad as it includes your accommodation for the night too! You could of course sleep on deck though 🙂
One last tip get the X96 bus from Athens airport to Piraeus instead of the metro or rail. Its a lot cheaper and runs 24 hours a day
Excellent Blog by the way! Me and a few mates are going to go to Ios over the summer, the dates we’ve picked out are Thurs 11th Aug, till the 18th. Now one of the lads who’s been before seems to think the season ‘ends’ on August the 14th. Now I find that almost impossible to believe what with August being one of the hottest months of the year!
Upon reading this I think my mates talking rubbish, but just for my own piece of mind Ios party island will busy for all of August really won’t it?
Cheers in advance and keep up the good work!
Thanks for stopping by the blog, yes August is crazy busy so no worries! Ive been early Sept and there is still plenty of partying going on!
Glad to hear it! Thanks for the quick reply, I apreciate it.
Wow, thanks for all of the great info about the island of Ios! I got so many questions answered just by paging through your forum. One I did not find though. My sister and I are in our mid 20’s and leave Ios to go back to Piraeus on Aug. 23 in the evening. The next morning we have 5:00AM flight out of Athens. Do you recommend staying in a hostel near Piraeus or go close to the airport? Is the airport area fun for our last night in Greece? Recommendations for an affordable place to stay?
Thanks so much!! Xx
Hi Justine, Thanks for the comments I will drop you an email 🙂
its really good job Tom..! Exellent blog..! I was thinkin to read smth about ios for a while but now Im writing abt the island thus reading your blog.. 🙂 its been hours, still reading..
so, my question is, we are planning to travel this island,too actually our plan is to stay for a nite and then move to mykonos, (Im not sure after reading this blog) ok ok, the question is 🙂
do you think we need a bike for discovering the island? we will arrive around 11 a.m. and will leave the next day around 6 p.m… ? or walking is just enough..
we are planning to camping and you suggest us to make it in Far Out Beach Village, can you suggest another one or it is the only one..?
Ps: if you will be in the island mid. of sept. we could meet.. talk to you soon..!
thx again for this awesome blog..!
hey thanks, if you are on the island for one night then its probably not worth having a bike. It wont be worth you leaving the town (chora) or mylopotas beach. There is a bus that runs between the two and only costs just over a euro.
Far out camping is down at Mylopotas beach so no problems for the beach and you can catch a bus into the town or posibly walk (its about a 20 minute walk but then i walk very quick!) If you have your own tent the camping is only about 5 euros.
Mid september is quieter on the island and the big clubs have shut but the small bars are still busy and there will still be people around. i wont be there myself but enjoy and have a great time 🙂
Thanks for this blog, very useful! (also your advices on tripadvisor)
I was actually suprised, that so little information can be found directly about the island, not to mention certain events or dates (unlike Mykonos) Your blog is more informative than most of the Ios websites.
As I’ve failed to get info about closing events, closing parties, I have to ask you about it. 🙂
I’ll be there on 28th-29th of August (+1 night maybe), before moving to Santorini, and I was wondering about any closing events/dates for the bigger clubs. Perhaps they’ll be closing even before that?
My plan is to party hard with my gf, get sobber, and enjoy greek culture for the next 5-6 days (visiting all the archeologic sites on Thira, and more) ..
So I was wondering if we could still catch the deep part, as we aren’t planning to chill out on THAT island 🙂 Any hints for the end of august?
Thanks in advance!!!
Hey thanks for stopping by and for the compliments. It uis actually quite difficult to get info on the island of Ios which is one reason I wrote the blog post!
I honestly don’t know of any closing parties its best to ask what is happening that evening when you arrive. Everything is so compact anyway so it wont be a problem. They don’t do closing parties like Ibiza on Ios island but in my opinion they just PARTY better 🙂 If you can I would recommend staying two nights as 4-5 days on Thira (Santorini) is plenty.
You will have a great time so enjoy
First great blog,mate!
i just a booked flight to Athens for tomorrow. So i will take the ferry on thursday morning to Ios,spent some 4-5 nights there. And then go further to Naxos for some 4-5 nights to relax. this are my first free days in this year.So after hard working i need some time to relax and chill, but without party it not going. :O). I’m in the mid 30’s but traveling makes so much fun . I hope I’m not the oldest on the island ios :O) In the last years i’ve been traveling around Southeast Asia,backpacker style! Two years ago i was on Santorini for 7 nights. so its time to check out some other Cyclades islands.
best regards ,enjoy life!
Hey thanks, I hope you enjoy Ios and Naxos both are great islands and you definitely will not be anywhere near the oldest on the island
hello there. so its super early for official plans but a friend and i have decided to take the summer off to spend in ios. we are 2 american girls with bartending experiance and im under the impression that work will not be difficult to find for us. your blog has helped wih some general information (more then i could find on other sites) and i thankyou for that! can you give me some more info? i was wondering how long before the begining of the season would be a good time to show up looking for work? we were thinking about leaving the states late may so we could spend a couple nights in mykonos. also, where is the best place to stay for the job/housing hunt?
thanks for all your help, youve been great already!
hey Lauren, glad the post helped. I have sent you an email with some info
Hey man im looking at hitting up Ios next summer, but the only problem is Im going to be backpacking Europe alone. Im not too worried about being solo for the first part of the trip with the hostel scene in Europe, but im kind of worried about Ios. Im looking at staying at Far Out. So I guess my question is how hard is to meet people there?
Hey Andrew, I wouldn’t worry its easy to meet plenty of people there and you will find plenty of other backpackers too! Infact its probably easier on Ios that some of the the other hostels around Europe.
I really loved your blog… I own ‘Harmony’ and appreciate your support for the restaurant and Ios! I cant wait to read more of your adventures and blogs.
Drop me a line when you are at Harmony again! Hope to see you soon 🙂
No worries Kathleen, I don’t think I have visited the restaurant whilst you have been the owner so will make sure I drop in and say Hi when I am next on the island. If you ever set a website up for the restaurant let me know and I will link to it from the post for you
I just got home from the Greek Islands and having withdrawals from Ios… Was the best place ever and can’t wait to go back next year and hopefully work, was the best time so much better then the other islands we went 2
glad you enjoyed yourself and thanks for the comment
Thanks for the blog, really useful to have everything in one place!
Me and 3 friends are thinking of holidaying in Ios for a week or so this summer? We were just wondering if the age range on Ios goes below the 20s as we will all be 18 when we travel? Is this the island for us or is there any others you would recommend?!!
helloo we are looking to go to ios for a few days whilst island hopping in the beginning of september i just wanted to find out if you know whether it would still have a buzzing nightlife during that time? thank youuu
I’ve sent you an email 🙂
Hey Tom! Awesome read! My friends and I will be in Ios June 18-21, we are there for the midsummer festival this year so I am very excited by that! Just wondering how you think the party atmosphere will be mid June? Unfortunately, I didn’t really know July and August were the months to go for partying but do you think it would still be a good party place early on? Thank you for your help!!
Hi Tom! What is Ios like in mid-May? Is it very quiet and are there still lots of bars and nightlife open??
Travelling with some friends and wondering what’s you opinion of Ios from the 2nd to 9th of September? Will it be busy?? Also what are the temperatures like that time of year and do many Irish people go there?
Thanks for your help, great review!
Hi to nice blog , hi tom am going to go to the Greek Islands and like to try Los am 50 and single and be traveling a lone just wandering is Los and age group going to right for me or can you recommend a Greek island with lots of singles not just couples and groups thanks Tom ……..,, steve
Thank you for all the help on this page.
My friends and I are planning a holiday in Ios but we would have to come towards the end of May or early July. We are not looking for an extremely crazy nightlife, but we would still like to have a great time in the evenings and meet lots of people.
Would you say there is still a fair amount of people at that time?
Thank you very much! 🙂