It was with a little trepidation we boarded the ferry for our week in Ios. With its reputation for wild parties, endless fun and hedonism we were a bit nervous about being totally out of place or being kept up all night. We didn’t know if we’d find the family friendly side of this island, Well Ios, we’re very happy to say you totally took us by surprise. Enjoy our guide to Ios Greece and it’s quieter side.

The moment we stepped off the ferry we felt a special magic at work here. With no pressure to do anything or see anything, we relished the chance to stop and enjoy what we had on our doorstep.

Sometimes, it does us good to curb our propensity for gadding about ticking things off. There were the usual pangs of guilt that we “should” be getting out and about and seeing more of the island. But, they passed quickly and sometimes the less you do, the more you see.

We slowed right down, explored everywhere on foot and quickly settled into a comfortable routine of long, lazy days on this beautiful island. Ios certainly has its share of youngsters up to hijinks in July & August but visit in quieter, shoulder season and you’ll find a gentler edge.

Perched up high on the hillside our balcony at Pavezzo Guesthouse certainly offers one of the finest views in all of Ios. Overlooking the turquoise blue seas, with the island of Santorini shimmering off in the distance while goats graze on the slopes below there isn’t a better place to start the day.

Nestled into the hillside our large, private terrace was a perfect spot for a long, leisurely breakfast. An oasis of peace and calm, starting the day with an Iced Frappes and that breathtaking view is hard to beat.

Pavezzo was just perfect in every way. A clean, cozy, comfortable apartment, beautifully decorated and with everything we could need. Ideally situated for a short stroll into the old town or a longer meander down to the bay of Mylopotas.

Angela & Vasilis could not have been more helpful and pointed us in the right direction to see all the sights of Ios. If you ever find yourself in Ios, do not miss the chance to stay at this excellent boutique guesthouse. You’ll get a beautiful apartment with a beautiful view and a beautiful welcome.

A stroll down the hill from Pavezzo you’ll find Mylopotas beach – the most popular beach in Ios. A long curving stretch of soft golden sand with crystal, clear waters lapping the shore. With calm, gently sloping water and rock pools to poke about in it was one of the best family beaches we’ve been on in Greece.

Sunbeds and umbrellas dot the shoreline, but you can still find large free patches to lay your towel too. You won’t go hungry, with restaurants and bars lining the beachfront, there’s plenty of choice. Cantina Del Mar was our favourite spot – a bistro bar specialising in juices, smoothies, real sandwiches and fresh wraps. With fabulous chilled Frappes, legendary breakfasts and a changing menu of daily specials it’s the perfect place to kick back and enjoy the view.

This end of the beach is relaxed and family friendly, far from the frivolity and endless partying at the Far Out Beach Club.

Another unexpected bonus of Ios is how blissfully quiet the beaches are in the mornings with the party crowd still tucked up in bed or nursing their hangovers!

A short stroll from our guest house found us in Chora, the traditional hilltop old town of small alleys and whitewashed houses.

We loved meandering through the charming village and mooching around the shops, boutiques and cafes. To enjoy the beauty of Chora it’s best explored during the day when the crowds are lying on the beaches, the bars closed, and the locals are out and about.

After dark the town becomes the stomping ground of youth and hedonism – the bars come alive, and the party starts. To be honest nothing gets going here until at least 1 am so you can enjoy dinner and drinks and still be tucked up in bed long before any of the antics even kick off.

Up at Mills Square, you’ll find this traditional Greek taverna serving up delicious local fare in a beautiful setting. Located in the highest spot in the village the view over the whitewashed windmills is truly unforgettable, especially during an amazing sunset.

The food is fresh, tasty and delicious – try the spit-roasted lamb, swordfish steak and other local favourites. Reasonably priced the servings were generous, and the atmosphere was welcoming – for less than 25 euros we had a feast for two including pita entree, incredible lemon cake dessert and beer! With bags of space for the girls to play we had a brilliant evening here.

The fun and frivolous atmosphere in Ios is contagious… Everywhere you go people are smiling, letting their hair down and having fun. In the early evening, the town is cosmopolitan, lively yet still very family-friendly. The restaurants are buzzing, the squares filled with people and the bars are open but empty. A perfect time for us to peek inside and enjoy a cocktail or two. The girls loved our family “night out” and sampling a taste of the party side of the island.

So it turns out you can get the best of both worlds here. You can spend your days enjoying the tranquil charms of Chora, bask on blissfully quiet beaches and still have a party of your own once the sun goes down.

If you are looking for a beautiful island, with a little more spice and a laid back vibe, then Ios is for you.

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