Ios Island is Where Beauty Meets Culture
Many believe Ios is the most beautiful of all the Cyclades Islands. Its name is derived from a flower, and it is linked to history through Homer, the epic poet, where it’s said to be not only Homer’s mother’s home, but also the poet’s final resting place. If you’re planning a trip to Greece, then don’t miss out on all that Ios has to offer. As the ferryboat reaches the island, you’ll experience automatically, the beauty of the island at the harbor in Ormos, which is built like an amphitheater on the side of a hill. At the top of this hill are what remains of its medieval castle. This is Hora (Chora) where Cycladic architecture is at its best, and as such, this is listed as a traditional village. You’ll
witness firsthand. It’s enchanting, picturesque snow white houses and arcade covered alleys. It’s famous 12 windmills are also a site not. Also true to the cyclonic architecture are the blue domed churches. Hora for its sheltered alleys, important to the culture of the island residents, where every May, a custom of young men making swings for young ladies upon which to rock themselves. As the ladies swing, they listen to traditional love songs sung to them.
Ios Island has an astounding 365 churches. Its most important church is Panagia Gremiotissa, which is at the Hora’s peak, offers the most incredible views of the sea, as it stands on the edge of the cliff. August 15 is another important traditional festival in the town in honor of the Virgin Mary.
The archaeological site in Skarkos demonstrates the settlement, that dates back to 2800 BC. The island’s historical antiquities can be viewed in the Archaeological Museum of Hora, that has a rich collection for visitors to enjoy. On the northeast side of the island find a Byzantine fort at Palaiokastro (Old Castle). People of these times used to control the seaways via visual signals and fires with other castles located on the other neighboring islands, including Santorini, Amorgos, and Naxos.
Exploring Ios Island
Ios is known for its beaches worldwide. In fact, it is a top choice for diving, thanks to the emerald waters that surround the magical island. Some of the most popular Ios Island beaches include Kalamos, Gialos, Psathi, Myloptas, Agia Theodoti, and Magganari.
Exploring the inland requires one to only follow the paths used by shepherds. This will give any tourist the feeling that they truly experience the island, through its views, gorgeous colors, and magical scents.
Dining out in Ios
Ios is a feast for the senses, including the taste buds of tourists who enjoy learning all they can about places they visit. Here, they can enjoy chickpea balls, stuffed vegetable marrow flowers, known as tsimetia, vegetable marrow omelettes, and dolmades (made with fresh vine from the local vineyards. Ios Island residents are also renowned for their local wine, or niotiko. Goat soup is another delicacy of the island, as is their pumpkin pie and pastota figs that are sesame seed topped dried figs.
Local cheeses are a must to try, and take home. There is herbed soft goat cheese known as skotiri, and a ricotta-like sweet cheese known as myzithra. Locally produced kefalotyri is a hard yellow cheese that’s just delicious. For snacks, try pastelia which are honey sesame bars.