Wednesday, 8 June 2016

Greece: Ios island, the Kingdom of eternal youth!

The time stops as beauty, energy and happiness collide in an explosion of laughter and joy in this magical island!

Chora of Ios at sunset (photo by Irene Mc. Photography)

The sun starts to cover in red the white graciousness of the Chora (main village of a Greek island), perched high up on the hill, as it sets deep in the blue, tender embrace of the Aegean sea around it. Gradually the bars of the Chora pump up the volume, and the music begins to invade with its notes of all the white alleys, the blood begins to warm up, the energy, the beauty and the youthfulness collide in an explosion of laughter and joy, as the time stops in the "Kingdom of eternal youth", in the seductive island of Ios.

Mylopotas beach
Every summer, thousands of tourists, mainly of a young age, arrive from all over the world to get lost in the vibrant cobbled alleys of the Chora and the famed bars of Ios.  They swarm in the island to live its legendary parties and swim in its cold waters. Ios island offers everything generously: magical beaches with golden sand, a beautiful, vibrant and dynamic Chora, accommodation of the best quality, and, without any doubt, promises unforgettable nights!

An island with an irresistible magnetism, with a history that is lost in ancient myth, as Homer, the legendary ancient Greek bard and writer, casts his shadow on this Cycladic island, as he rests, as it is believed, deep inside this beautiful land. It is an island with a distinct vitality and an unrestrained dynamism, that will captivate you the moment you feel its energy as you walk in the Chora or you enter the cold, clear waters of the bay of Mylopotas. The latter is the most organized beach of the island with an amazing beach resort of an exceptional quality, which has distinguished itself internationally, as people with enthusiasm, knowledge and passion for what they do, constitute its soul. 

Far Out Village, mylopotas beach
Far Out resort, consists of a camping site, a hotel and spa, and a beach club and it seems as though this is the place for which the famed band Blur have sung the lyrics "..follow their hearts down to Greece .."! Each and every summer, it becomes inundated by thousands of tourists, particularly from Australian, eager to live it all in the legendary parties organized by the beach club. There, apart from the frozen daiquiris by the beautiful pool, you will be able to indulge in numerous water sports, enjoying one of the cleanest beaches in the Cyclades islands.  The fact, however,  is that you have to book as early as possible as tourists thirsty for sun, sea and guaranteed fun, rush there each year! In addition, other quality options are the five and four stars hotels, such as "Ios Palace", "Dionysos" and "Liostasi" or the most economic choices of "Avanti" with beautiful vistas of the Chora and the famed "Francesco's".

Far Out Beach Club
Having ensured your stay, you must explore Homer´s island of to discover the beauty in all of its aspects, as there are many hidden treasures on this island which are well-kept secrets. If you  follow the road that begins from Chora up on the adjacent hill you will encounter two gorgeous sights, the Museum of Modern Art "Gaitis-Simosi" and the Open Theatre "Odysseus Elytis", both of which offer a spectacular view and worth the visit.  Moreover, there are other important monuments to visit, as is the impressive prehistoric settlement of Skarkos, in which you arrive through a beautiful trail, directly from Chora.  The ancient settlement looks like a stone snake wrapped around a hill and you can take a magical walk through its ancient history, as the alleys still seem to resonate with the long forgotten voices of its inhabitants.  If you can spare some time, you could also visit the alleged Homer's Tomb with breathtaking vistas at the sea beyond and then go for a swim at Agia Theodoti beach, close by. 

Kalamos beach
If you become tired of exploring and sightseeing, then you must visit the famous gold beaches and cool waters of Ios. Besides Mylopotas, being the largest sandy beach of the island and probably the biggest in Cyclades islands, the beach of Manganari is equally impressive, as is organized and in a beautiful bay.   Aghia Theodoti, close to Homer's Grave, is accessible by a rough road, but will reward you with its endless golden sands.  Do not forget to visit also the small and hidden Kolitsani beach, Koumbara beach with a great tavern by the sea, Kalamos and Valma, both being beautiful beaches with golden sand, and some hidden gems like Aylaki tou Papa (accessible by a rough path) and Pikri Ammos (only by boat).

With your mind haunted by the beauty of this land, you can now take the road that leads to the wonderful Chora of Ios, to wander through its narrow alleys, buy beautiful handmade jewelry in the «Theros» and enjoy an iced freddo in the charming little square next to the "Kafeneio", or even climb up to the temple of Panagia Gremniotisa overlooking the unique, vast, blue horizon far beyond. If you get hungry then let your nose lead you to the "Katogi", a small charming restaurant,  where Theodora, the always smiling owner, will offer you the best tapas of the island, made with an overwhelming Cycladic taste, and with the company of some of the best cocktails you will ever try, preparing you for the lively, vibrant, and passionate night of Ios island.  Bars like "Slammer", "69", "Orange" and "Scorpios Club" have long been the centre of the nightlife in Ios with a vast offer of cocktails and shots promising a crazy night out with countless happy faces to accompany you in this radiant Aegean paradise!

(more photos to come! stay tuned..)

(Published in KATHIMERINI ©, on June 27, 2015 - transl. & edited from Greek, original here)

Far Out Village

View at the sea (photo by Irene Mc. Photography
Treis ekklisies beach


Far Out Village bar