The beautiful Greek island of Ios has over 30 clubs and bars, as well as amazing beaches to relax on during the day. It is an awesome party destination!
Until six months ago my girlfriend and I had not heard of the small, party crazy Greek island called Ios. It was only by chance talking to an Aussie girl in Canada that got our minds buzzing about Ios. Coming from a nation where most of the young people venture off on their big OE (overseas experience) we were surprised we had not heard of this place.
You come to Ios to P-A-R-T-Y and party everyone does! Boasting over 30 clubs there is no shortage of dance floors and drink specials to get the night moving.
Ios is one of the Cyclades, a group of Islands located in the Aegean Sea off the Coast of Greece. The Cyclades are the closest set of islands to Greece. There are three main parts to the island: the port - where you arrive; the village - where all the clubs, shops and restaurants are located; and Mylopotas Beach - the main and biggest beach on the island, located only 15 minutes walk from the village with regular buses every 15 minutes going in both directions.
There are a few different ways of travelling to Ios. You can catch one of the many ferries departing from Athens or fly direct to Santorini which is a neighbouring island only half an hour away from Ios by fast ferry. We caught a ferry from Athens booked through the website: www.ferries.gr .
A fast ferry from Athens to Ios will cost 41 euro each, one way, taking around four hours. You can opt to get a slower ferry taking eight hours for half the price but the people I know who took it, said it is torture and they would definitely would not do it again. During peak season there are direct ferries from Athens to Ios otherwise they island hop on the way which is a great way to see a few of the other islands up close if you don't have time to stop over. Be careful though as the fast ferries will not operate in rough sea conditions so if booking a fast ferry make sure you have a bit of give with your future plans in case a cancellation occurs.
The tourist season runs from June to early September. During peak season (mid July - late August) there are more ferries available, but be warned they do fill up fast due to the large volume of people around that time. Arriving in early June was fantastic as you get to have the beach to yourself, the clubs are full but not packed, and get more of a feel for the island. The locals are also a lot more chilled out! If you want a more quieter and relaxed Ios then travel either side of peak season.
Where to stay
Your best bet is to have your accommodation organised before you arrive. The one simple reason is that you are guaranteed to get swamped as soon as you get off the ferry by hotel owners wanting you to stay in their hotel.
Just before peak season you can get some great deals from many of the nice hotels on the island. We stayed in Far Out Beach Village, located very close to Mylopotas Beach (the main and closest beach to the village), and it was only charging 25 euro each a night. The facilities were fantastic, and we were located in the highest room on the complex looking right out over Mylopotas Beach. The room was very clean and had modern stylish decor with TV, air con, and nice sized bathroom. The hotel also has a large deep pool with side bar on the main floor which also looks out over the beach.
If you want something a bit cheaper, there is also Far Out Camping which is located on Mylopotas Beach. If you have heard anything on Ios you will know that if you want to party during the day you go to Far Out. There are two massive pools, both with sun loungers around the pool. One has chilled out housey beats playing all day where the other has the dance tunes you love with the party people extending around the pool. The accommodation starts at eight euro each a night for a wooden tent or dog kennel as you will learn to know them by. Shared bungalows are also available for a reasonable price. Far Out Camping is a great place to meet like-minded people all rearing to go to make the stay on Ios one to remember.
Francesco's is another great place to stay with its location in the village being one of its prime advantages. It definitely makes for short stumble home after a big night! They have dorm like rooms, not quite a backpacker's hostel but very similar. Also, an onsite bar makes for a fun and comfortable place to stay.
If travelling with a bigger budget, then Ios Palace is definitely the place to stay. Located ON the beach and with its elevated position makes for a great outlook. If you don't want to get your feet sandy then chill out and relax by the pool and breathe in the sea air while sipping on a drink at the pool side bar.
Where to party
Now on to the main reason for everyone coming to Ios. Yes, the scenery is beautiful, the water a crystal clear aqua colour and the buildings white and blue Greek style, but the partying is something else. The clubs here know us young people cannot afford much so they put out some very affordable drink specials. The normal offers in most clubs are two drinks for five euro. This could be two long island ice teas or two Red Bull and vodkas... Venturing out before midnight is a no-no with the clubs open to at least 6am.
Most of the clubs play top 40 tunes and your house and electro dance favourites. Expect a cover charge on most of the clubs later in the night during peak season - around four euro. The upside of this is, when you wake up in the morning with a memory blank (it will happen), you can look at the collection of stamps up your arm and see where you have been. The square, as it is known, is the starting point for most people’s night - not to be confused with the big square next to the main road. Follow the crowds of people and you’ll find it.
My top five clubs in Ios
Astra - Fantastic cocktails - very yummy and made right in front of you from fresh ingredients - and great house music. Located up some stairs by the big square in between two jewellery shops.
Orange bar - These guys have come up with some great tasting shorts. From Malteser to Snickers and Bounty, the list goes on! And, they actually taste like the real thing. Don’t believe me, then go try it! http://iosorangebar.blogspot.com/
Slammers bar - Your'l find Slammer Bar in the heart of the action just off the main square up a little ally way. While you are there get a world famous slammer shot. This involves been hit over the head with a fire extinguisher, beer crate, hammer or a kick from the bartender while downing a tequila sunrise! (Helmet included!) http://www.slammerbar.com/
Scorpion club - This is a massive underground style club with a nice big outdoor seating area and has the full feel of a proper club. Located on the main road, on the edge of the village heading down towards Mylopotas Beach. Scorpion is only open middle of peak season and on special occasions.
Planet Ios - Set in cliffs, it has beds to sit on outside and a great dance floor. It is a very stylish place to hang out or party the night away! International Dj acts also play here. Located on the main road right next to Sweet Irish Dream. Walk down the road towards the port, you can't miss it.
Ios has it all. It is HOT, averaging 30 degrees or more every day. We lived here for three months and I think we had two to three days where there was actually a cloud in the sky. Bring sunscreen, a pair of jandels (flip-flops) and, of course, remember to bring a camera. As they say: "What happens in Ios, goes on Facebook!"