Couples Travel Guide to Ios Greece
Ios (pronounced “e-yoss”) is a small island neighbor of Santorini, known mostly for it’s party scene. Most people who travel to the Greek islands go to Santorini for the romantic couple vibes. While we love Santorini and the caldera views, we also love the more quiet romantic scene that can be found on Ios. Ios is a perfect destination if you’re looking to get away from the tourists while still enjoying that magic of the Greek islands. In our inaugural Couples Travel Guide, we’ll explore the beautiful and romantic side of Ios, Greece.
Transportation to Ios
Ios does not have an airport since it’s a relatively small island. The nearest airports can be found on Santorini or Athens. The only way to get to Ios is by ferry. Speed ferries can be taken from Athens ,which will take 3 hours and 45 minutes with stops along the way. Ferries from Santorini will take 1 hour and 30 minutes.We used the GTP Ferry Connections site to find the ferry schedules. The speed ferries are pretty nice and we would recommend just buying the lowest fare available. Tickets can be bought online via the ferry’s website or at the ticket office. If you have a tight schedule, buying online is probably best since there could be lines at the office.
In our most recent trip, we flew into Santorini and then took a ferry from there to Ios. It’s easy to just find a taxi from the airport or your hotel to the ferry port. Be aware though that there are multiple ferry companies that operate similar schedules. Ferries also have a tendency to be late. Our ferry ride to Ios from Santorini was on time but our return ferry was 1 hour late. You can stop by the ferry office to ask about your ferry’s status.
Pro tip: If you’re someone who gets motion sickness, make sure to take some Dramamine or ginger root pills to help. Even though it’s a huge ferry, we still felt the chop of the waves at times.
Stay at Seabreeze Hotel
Ios does not have any major hotel chains. There are some decent hotels on the island, but the gems are the bed and breakfast accommodations. We stayed at the Seabreeze Hotel (they call themselves a hotel but are more of a b&B) which we found through TripAdvisor and booked via Booking.com. The Seabreeze Hotel is a small b&b run by a lovely couple, Chris and Annerie. The hotel sits on a hillside overlooking the bay where the ferries dock and has the most amazing views of Ios.
We absolutely loved our stay at the Seabreeze. Almost all the rooms have a view of the bay and are nicely secluded. Not only were the rooms cute and immaculate, the service from Chris and Annerie were second to none. They made us feel like we were friends instead of guests. Chris and Annerie picked us up from the ferry port, took us on a quick tour in their car, brought us to the hotel and offered us drinks while we chatting about our plans and their recommendations, and then offered to book restaurant and scooter/ATV reservations for us. If this isn’t 5* service, then I don’t know what is! We cannot say enough how awesome they were and will come back just because of them!
Oh, if you’re already not convinced about staying at the Seabreeze, that infinity pool though…
Rent an ATV or Scooter
Getting around Ios can be done via taxi or bus, but the most fun and romantic way to get around is by ATV or scooter. What’s more romantic than riding around in an ATV or scooter on a Greek island?? In our opinion, this is the only way you should travel on Ios. All the ATVs and scooters can fit two people. You can get from one side of the island to the other under 1 hour. The roads are extremely safe as long as you keep to the paved roads. There is other car traffic on the roads but we never felt unsafe riding around town.
During our visit, we opted for the ATV since we wanted to be able to ride it in more rough terrain. We arrived to Ios without a reservation but you can easily find a rental shop that has availability near the ferry port. We rented a 50cc ATV from Jacob’s Rentals, which is right off the main street next to the ferry port. Our price was 32€ per day and you have to get gas after you rent which came out to 16€ for a full tank. The 50cc ATV had decent power but struggled going up hills with both of us on so we would recommend getting something with more power. All the rental shops give you helmets. Make sure to use them at all times when driving!
Pro tip: Get your international license if you want to rent an ATV or scooter. All the rental shops require it in order to rent. We did not have an international license but got extremely lucky. We won’t risk it the next time we visit.
Road trip to Homer’s tomb or Magganari Beach
Now that you have your ATV or scooter, make a road trip to Homer’s tomb. Homer, one of the most greatest ancient Greek poets, supposedly took his last breath on this spot and was subsequently buried here. Homer’s tomb is more about the journey than the destination. There isn’t much to see around it other than the tomb itself. The tomb does overlook the Mediterranean though so you will have great views.
The journey to the tomb is where you will be able to really take in the beauty of the island. You’ll ride through the country side and up steep hills. Take in the beauty and just enjoy the ride with your significant other. It’s a secluded ride so take the time to stop if you see something interesting. Once you get there, build a rock stack or two in remembrance of one of the greatest Greek poets.
If the tomb isn’t your thing you can also make a road trip Magganari Beach, one of the best beaches on the island. The ride will take from 45 minutes to an hour if you’re starting in the near the ferry port area. If you have a long stay in Ios or staying near the center of island, we would definitely recommend visiting. If you have a shorter stay or are near the ferry port area, you can find equally beautiful beaches in the area.
Enjoy quietness at Loretzena Beach
So you both have made the drive to Homer’s tomb and now want to find a beach to relax. Luckily, there is an amazing beach that is on the way back from the tomb. Ios does not have a shortage of beautiful beaches but our favorite is Loretzena Beach. Loretzena use to be a secret little beach that could only be accessed on an ATV via a little dirt path. The city has now created paved roads to get there.
Though there is a paved road there, it is surprisingly still relatively unknown and secluded. Depending on the time of day you go, you could have the beach all to yourself! The water is pristine and clear. There is more rock than sand so if you’re getting in the water, bring some water shoes. Bring an beach umbrella as well when you visit as there is not really any shade. Another thing to note is that there are no facilities at the beach so be prepared. When we visited, there were a few people but they left leaving us the beach to ourselves. A private beach for two? Yes, please!
Visit Koumbara Beach & Eat at Polydoros Restaurant
Another beautiful beach that is close to Loretzena and the Seabreeze Hotel is Koumpara Beach. Koumbara Beach has more visitors than Loretzena but is still gorgeous. Koumbara is a great place to lay out and just enjoy the sounds of the sea. When you’re feeling hungry, stop by the Polydoros Restaurant. Polydoros Restaurant is a little mom and pop run restaurant just before the beach. The people there are super friendly and the food there is delicious. Polydoros is one the best places to find authentic Greek food on Ios. When we stopped by, they brought us back into the kitchen to show us what “mama” was cooking that day and let us pick what we wanted!
If you lose track of the time and suddenly find that the sun is going down, stick around the beach. You can view the amazing Ios sunset right from this beach. The featured photo for this Couples Travel Guide post was taken at this beach!
Take a walk in Ios town
The beaches and natural landscapes may have made you forgotten that there is a town on this island. Hop on your ATV or scooter and take a little tour around town. After you get your bearings, find a spot to park and just venture the town. In beautiful Greek island fashion, the buildings are all white washed with highlights of blue. The people are friendly and the atmosphere is relaxed.
The town is relatively small so you can easily walk the entire town. There are a lot of cool shops and restaurants along sprinkled throughout. Wander around, get lost, and enjoy gentle breeze that blows through the alleys. This is quintessential Greek island town.
Sunset drinks at Ios Club
Before you leave Ios town, make sure to stop by the Ios Club for some cocktails and another amazing view of the Greek sunsets. The Ios Club sits on the side of a hill and has a spectacular view of the bay and the sunset. The Ios Club is a bit of a classier place and people tend to dress nicer than the regular beach wear. The cocktail prices were reasonable and tasted amazing.
Make a reservation or arrive early to get a table. The Ios Club is probably the most popular place on the island to watch the sunset so the tables get filled up quickly. When you do get a table, order up two drinks and enjoy the nature show. This view is hard to beat!
Ios is one of the most beautiful places to visit with your significant other. There is so much to do and see on the island. You can relax or live it up.We did not mention any nightlife or beach parties, but they are definitely there if that’s more your style. There’s a bit of everything for any couple. We love Ios (probably more than Santorini) and definitely will be back!
Have any other suggestions? Let us know in the comments below!