Where to stay in Ios Island – Best areas, hotels & Airbnb
Beautiful beaches with crystal clear waters, plenty of young people meeting at night in the exciting Chora and a unique landscape of olive trees make Ios one of the most beautiful islands in the Cyclades.
The Greek island of Ios has gone through an amazing transformation, keeping the night fun for young travellers (mostly in Chora), and creating new accommodations (next to the spectacular beaches) for families and chilled out time.
This jewel of the Cyclades offers so much to everyone, however, you really need to select accurately where to stay in Ios, otherwise you may end up with sleepless nights or a boring holiday far from the action.
In this guide you will find the 5 top destinations and a simple and easy table that quickly compares all of them.
But let’s go into the juicy stuff.
Best places to stay in Ios Island – In a nutshell
The table below compares the major areas/destinations based on average cost ($-$$$$$), distance to the harbour town of Gialos, the beach (1-5 with 1 being the lowest score) and other factors. I added also links to suggested hotels in the area.
Click on the area name to read much more information about it, with all the pros and cons of booking there, besides tips on hotels, cafes, restaurants etc.
|Old Town (Chora)
|Relux Ios Hotel
|Chilled out, value
Keep reading to find out more about the island, the most interesting areas and other accommodation options.
There are regular busses going back and forward between Gialos Beach (the port of Ios) and Mylopotas Beach, stopping by Chora (roughly every 20 minutes or so).
A small selection of buses serve the route Chora-Manganari Beach, in the south of the island.
You can also decide to walk your way up to Chora from either Gialos Beach (1.5km or 20 minutes) or Mylopotas Beach (less than 2km or 20-25 minutes)
If you want to be more flexible with your time, then I suggest renting a car. In this way, you can explore more of the island, including some amazing coves and beaches not reachable by bus.
I usually book the car through DiscoverCars, a website that compares the rental prices of global and local car agencies providing the best value around.
With the car you can easily make it to the north of the island, at Agia Theodoti Beach, and why not to Homer’s Tomb, the mystic place in the heart of the Aegean Sea.
Here below you will find all you need to know about the 5 best areas to stay in Ios, including advantages and drawbacks for each place, and a bunch of recommended accommodations
- 🌎 Best area to stay in Ios for an overall experience 🏩 Ios Palace Hotel & Spa is the recommended accommodation on this beach
- 👍 Pros: the longest and wider beach in Ios, crystal clear waters, good range of accommodations, quiet and relaxing, great beach clubs, 5-10 minutes by bus to the Chora nightlife
- 👎 Cons: not much of a nightlife scene, 5km or 15 minutes by bus to the Ios ferry port
- 🍷 Best restaurants and bars: Karma Beach Bar, Salt Restaurant Bar, Mario’s (very unique)
- 🧛♂️ Nightlife: Far Out Village
Mylopotas Beach (also spelt as Milopotas) is, in my opinion, the best place to stay in Ios for an overall experience.
Let’s start from the sandy beach, so amazing. I am actually finishing off this post from the Great One RistoBar, with the view over the Aegean Sea, my suggested spot for some casual food, ideal for lunch.
It is wide and over 1km long, with turquoise water and a good abundance of marine life (great sport for some easy snorkelling).
The beach is partially organised, with moderately priced sunbeds and umbrellas.
There are also free areas where you can lie down and chill out without paying any entry.
Although being a stone away from the hectic Chora, this area still remains quiet.
In fact, many young travellers prefer to stay in Mylopotas Beach for a peaceful sleep, then spend the afternoon in one of the few beach clubs, take the quick bus to Chora, and enjoy the nightlife there.
It is an area that works so well for everyone. You are either on a family trip looking for a relaxing time with your kids, or on a romantic breakaway (stay in the souther end of the beach), or for easy access to plenty of nightlife (stay on the northern end, closer to Chora).
In Mylopotas Beach you can find a good range of accommodations, from cheap hotels to boutique stay.
Here below, I have listed four options that cover pretty much any budget and style.
Here you get a pristine location, right on the beach, with the architecture of the property itself designed to make the most of the spot.
Check into the stylish rooms, enjoy Mylopotas bay views from the balcony, take a dip in any of the three pools – and soak in the sun with a cocktail in your hand, pamper yourself in the spa centre – your stay at the Ios Palace Hotelwill be luxurious.
Classical music contributes to the ambience, especially at the pool where you can also take your meals.
It also takes just about 15-20 minutes to walk into Chora, if needed, which can be very handy for a long night out.
Spacious and airy rooms, personal care services from manicure and pedicure to waxing available, free WiFi everywhere in the property – Ios Memories aims to keep you relaxed all through.
From the balcony, you have views of the beach and the Aegean Sea, while the town itself is just 2 km from the hotel.
Free transport to and from the hotel is provided, and if you’re coming with your vehicle, then you get ample private parking at the property.
There’s a bus stop a short walk from the hotel, and you can also get bike and car rentals here.
The units here are well maintained, complete with spacious seating and dining areas, a kitchenette with all the cookware needed to prepare your meals, and a private balcony that gives you views of the beach.
You get to wake up to a sumptuous Greek breakfast, there’s a mini market just 150m from the premises for you to get the groceries and supplies you need.
Gianemma Luxury Apartments have an outdoor pool, while the suites have a private pool.
The apartments are between the beach and Chora, with the bus stop right outside the property as well.
The highlight of the hotel is the outdoor pool, from where you get outstanding panoramic views of the sea.
Sun loungers here also enable you to kick back and relax as you listen to the lapping waves at the shore.
Rooms here are air-conditioned, spacious, and include a private bathroom with a shower.
There’s an on-site restaurant with its Mediterranean cuisine, and the hotel offers complimentary rides to and from the port.
- 🌎 Best area to stay in Ios for nightlife and character 🏩 Liostasi Hotel & Suites is the recommended accommodation in this area
- 👍 Pros: one of the best nightlife in the Greek islands, 2km (or 5 minutes) by bus to the Ios ferry port
- 👎 Cons: no beach, it can be very noisy (select your accommodation carefully)
- 🍷 Best restaurants and bars: Katogi Tavern, Sunset Dining Bar, Click Cocktail Bar or Blue Bar
- 🧛♂️ Nightlife: Disco 69 or Pasha Nightclub
The Ios Chora (typically, Chora is the Greek word for the capital town of most islands) is one of the best places to be for nightlife in the heart of the Cyclades, probably second only to Mykonos.
It’s not only about the quantity but also the quality that really caters any age, including a few late bars for the middle age couples, maybe on a revival comeback after their hippy trip of the 80s/90s (yes, I am one of them).
Chora itself is not that big, but surely steep, with more stairs than streets, probably. It has plenty of character, with the typical whitewashed houses, tiny lanes and hidden squares, a real jewel.
You may already know that Chora is not by the water, but there are regular buses to the best beaches and the main port of the island.
You can also walk to the port, with a shortcut using a few stairs (1km or around 15-20 minutes)
Start your night with sunset drinks at the Sunset Dining Bar. One of the best views over Gialos Beach and the Lighthouse.
For dinner, head inside the old town to Katogi Tavern for its lovely Greek food cooked in a more modern style, something different.
For a late drink, check out the Click Cocktail Bar (one of the best places for cocktails, but they do not come cheap) or Blue Bar (characteristic, good value for money)
Finish off the night, till the early morning, at Disco 69 or Pash Nightclub.
I have short listed 3 accommodations below that are in the traditional Chora but hidden and quiet for a long night’s sleep (the noise in a few streets can be sometimes too much, both night and days).
Set in one of the most picturesque place of the island, overlooking Gialos Beach, this hotel is located in the best sunset spot.
It’s close enough to Chora for restaurants, drinks and nightlife, but far enough for a quiet night sleeping.
The outdoor pool is unique for its spectacular views. Liostasi is one of the best boutique hotels on the island.
The Lofos village is one of the most convenient and relaxing stay in Chora.
Located in a quiet setting on the hill, you will get to enjoy the amazing views of the town, especially from the terrace.
You will be also metres from the local buses, restaurants and shops. So handy!
There’s a lovely pool with a bar to grab a few drinks.
The rooms themselves have a traditional decor, and still offer the facilities needed for comfort – from the TV and mini fridge, bathtub and hair dryer, to extras like a safety box.
The staff are friendly, even organising transfers between the port and the hotel.
The property is a couple of minutes away from the beach, featuring air-conditioned rooms, private bathroom, fridge, as well as a flat-screen TV for your entertainment.
Also in this case, fantastic views from the balcony await you here.
The owner keeps the unit well maintained – including ensuring that you have clean and fresh towels and bedding, and is also available to pick you up and drop you off at the port.
- 🌎 Best area to stay for a short and practical stay 🏩 Relux Ios Hotel is the recommended accommodation on this beach
- 👍 Pros: next to the Ios ferry port, lovely beach with clear water, good range of accommodations, very quiet, 2km or 5 minutes by bus to Chora for some nightlife
- 👎 Cons: same bay as the port, minimal nightlife
- 🍷 Best restaurants and bars: Allo Bar Tapas and Akrogiali Restaurant
- 🧛♂️ Nightlife: Doors
This is the beach that you will see when you arrive at the port of Ios on the ferry.
The seawater is so transparent, although Gialos Beach shares the bay with the port area.
The council has installed also facilities for people with mobility issues, which are pretty unique, especially considering we are in the heart of the Cyclades.
It’s a very practical base on the Greek island of Ios for a short stay, 1-2 nights, or for a late arrival/early departure.
It is a very quiet side of the island, which works great for families or a relaxing stay, still very close to Chora for some exploration or party time.
There are a few restaurants, mainly next to the main port, and a limited choice of bars for some nightlife (Doors is a great late night cocktail bar).
Here below two accommodations that you should check out:
The hotel is right next to the Ios Port, with some units having views of the Aegean.
Each suite here comes with its satellite TV, minibar, private bathroom with facilities like a hair dryer, and staff at the 24-hour front desk are always on standby to address any queries you have.
Dry cleaning and ironing services are available as well.
Relux Ios Hotel has its outdoor pool and restaurant, and since it is located in a quiet spot, it makes it a serene area to enjoy your holiday.
Here you have a holiday home with its own room service, spacious rooms, fully equipped kitchenette, a patio that has lovely garden views, and a terrace where you can kick back and relax.
The house has been stylishly decorated, and it is located near the harbour, making it a convenient spot.
The owners are friendly, and they ensure that the property is maintained in clean condition.
Free WiFi and parking are available as well
If you are after a more exclusive stay on this side of the island, I suggest checking out Agalia Luxury Suites, one of the famous luxury hotels on the island with beautiful villas and private pools.
But hold on and keep reading till Calilo Resort for a unique breakaway.
- 🌎 Best area to stay for a chilled out beach time 🏩 Dimitris Rooms is the recommended accommodation on this beach
- 👍 Pros: amazing set of beaches with crystal clear waters, value for money accommodations, perfect place for a peaceful breakaway
- 👎 Cons: far from the port of Ios, not very practical, no nightlife, limited selection of restaurants
- 🍷 Best restaurants and bars: Venus Bar Restaurant and Antonis
- 🧛♂️ Nightlife: no nightlife in the area
Let me start from the beach, actually the beaches, because Manganari Bay (also spelt as Magganari) has 4 small coves, all sandy, easily reachable from the road.
The two main sandy beaches are partially organised, meanwhile the other two are wilder and somehow even more beautiful.
In a few words, it’s a little paradise, the perfect spot for a chilled out holiday, far from everything and everyone, especially later in the day when most of the day travellers go back to the more popular northern resorts.
In this area you can also find some great value for money hotels, actually quite cheap to be in Ios.
Manganari Beach is around 45-50 minutes south of the port of Ios (by bus one hour, give or take).
If you are looking for isolation, then you will have it. There is really nothing around within a 30 minutes driving, except a beautiful landscape of olive trees and some amazing beaches, hardly visited by any traveller.
There are a couple of restaurants and a beach bar. Enough not to get bored.
These two hotels below offer amazing value for money
A peaceful setting that’s great for families, lovely owners and staff catering to you throughout your stay, and a great location on the beach – this beachfront property has it all.
It even features an onsite restaurant serving its Greek menu and seafood – all homemade, as well as a snack bar with drinks and light meals.
The rooms themselves have the required amenities – from the TV and fridge, the kitchenette with its cookware, as well as a furnished balcony. Free parking is available.
Your day in this accommodation kicks off with a continental buffet breakfast, and there is an on-site snack bar that serves light meals and refreshing drinks all day.
The rooms come with their private bathrooms, a fridge, TV, free WiFi, and even a safe for your valuables.
The balconies and sun terrace overlook the sea, with sun loungers and beach umbrellas provided for the guests as well.
The shuttle service from the port makes things convenient for guests checking in.
- 🌎 Best area to stay for an exclusive time 🏩 Calilo Resort is the recommended accommodation on this beach
- 👍 Pros: boutique private beach, exclusive stay, superb hotel
- 👎 Cons: far from the ferry port or any town
- 🍷 Best restaurants and bars: at the resort
- 🧛♂️ Nightlife: at the resort
Where to start? This is one of the most isolated beaches in Ios, definitely a fantastic spot to relax and forget about the busy life back at home.
But what it takes this area apart is the Calilo Resort, one of the most exclusive luxury hotels in Greece, with rooms including private pools (more than one in the suite) and romantic bed swings overlooking the bay.
It’s a new hotel, built in a typical Cycladic style, with a modern interior design inspired by the island landscape (see photos here).
This is THE ideal place to regenerate, to recharge yourself physically and mentally.
Sure, it’s not for every budget, however, considering the place and service, it is well priced.
How to get to Ios Island
The closest airport to Ios is in Santorini, with both domestic and international flights. From there, it is a 1 hour ferry (or less with a fast ferryboat).
You can also fly to Athens and catch a ferry from there, however it will take longer and it will be more expensive.
My go-to website for the most up-to-date ferry schedules is Omio website. This is also where I buy my tickets in advance for peace of mind.
The best time to visit Ios are the months of June and September, warm but not hot, and not as busy as in July and August, the peak season of Greece.