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For many visitors, Ios is one big party island. The local traditions and history are ignored by the rave brigade but luckily, the word is out that there’s more to Ios than Hora’s party-hard scene. With Homer’s tomb and the excavated site of Skarkos, the island of Ios suits families, history buffs and party animals alike.

During the day, the main town of Hora has lots to explore, including a typically labyrinthine old town of narrow lanes and lovely whitewashed houses. The large cathedral is the main landmark here.

The beaches are a big draw on Ios, with perhaps the most lovely stretch of sand on the island’s southern tip at Manganari. Gialos is only a short walk from the port, and the beach at Milopotas is resort central with a nightly party scene and daytime water sports. Hire a scooter to reach quieter beaches dotted around the coast.

And if you’d like to see that legendary spot where Homer is said to have been buried, take a tour or ride a scooter 12km (7.5 miles) north of Hora. The lonely hilltop cairn marking the spot is suitably poetic and remote.

The Bronze Age site of Skarkos is another Ios highlight, with walled terraces and the ruins of typical Cycladic buildings. You can see finds from the site on display in Hora’s archaeological museum.

Practical Info

The island’s three major towns cluster together on an inlet on Ios’s west coast. The main town, Hora, is 2km (just over a mile) inland from the main port, Ormos; Mylopotas is 2km from Hora.

Ios lies on the main ferry route connecting Mykonos and Santorini, around an hour’s sail. Boats also run from Ios to Piraeus, Heraklion, Thirassia, Sifnos and other Greek islands.

Four buses an hour connect the major towns Hora, Ormos and Mylopotas Beach, and you can sail between Ormos and Manganari Beach by little boat.

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