The next stop on our adventure was the lovely little town of Ios.
Ios town is full of bars, shops and restaurants. The interesting thing about Ios is that (just about) no one actually lives on the island. Those Greeks who do reside on the island actually come from surrounding areas, largely Athens, for the tourist season and return to their home once the summer is over. And for every Greek person working on the island, there are probably 5 tourists working in Ios (predominantly Australians). This pretty much means that the whole island is dedicated to, and full of, tourists (again, largely from Australia). This gave Ios a strange familiarity, despite never having been before.
We arrived in Ios on the 12th of September, which was around the time of the last wave of people to the island for the year. Shops and restaurants were already starting to close up and the island had started to die down (though there were still plenty of people). My advice: if you want to feel the buzz of the place, try get to Ios slightly earlier, and definitely not after, 15th September to ensure you don’t miss out on what the island is all about. For example, Far Out beach club, one of the top party venues, had pretty much died down by this time of year.
However, if you are around in September and feel that the place is dead, do not fear. The crowds will miraculously appear at about 1.30/2.00 am and continue well into the night. Unlike in, say, Mykonos, where the streets were always packed full of people, Ios Town is dead quiet until people are ready to party (including during the day). Most people spend the day sleeping, by the hotel pool or at the beach.
There isn’t a whole lot to see and do in Ios. We spent most of our days by the pool or at Mylopotas Beach (by Far Out beach club), meandering through the town checking out the tourist shops [one massive sucker for souvenirs right here], bar hopping in the evening and, of course, eating! There are also a lot of water sports offered on Mylopotas Beach. Greece was about half way through our Eurotrip so it was the perfect chance to unwind, relax & recuperate (mostly our feet), save some money (our daily spend was well below the rest of the trip’s) and get prepared for the final jam-packed month of our trip (cue: Oktoberfest).
Now.. a bit about the food in Ios.
I know that I probably shouldn’t publicly admit to having Italian food in Greece (who does that?) but here goes… when the thought of another gyro made me cringe because of the recent burst of gyro consumption and we had begun reminiscing of our days in Italy, we luckily stumbled upon Ciao Bella, an Italian restaurant complete with a chef from Florence. How could we turn it down? The restaurant had a cosy set up – seated on cushions on the floor – and had lovely staff. Luckily, the food was delicious [and no, I’m not just saying that] and exactly what my body needed to prepare itself for some more gyro-packed days. I ordered some sort of a tagliatelle pasta with beef and spinach.. coupled with a perfecto serve of sangria [yes, I visited 3 countries in 1 night], it was a very tasty meal.
We also ate one night at Global Gourmet, which is in the main town. I ordered the lamb chops and roast potatoes. The lamb was super tender and juicy and, though a little bland, was really enjoyable. While I didn’t have dessert, I eyed the BF’s delicious Greek yoghurt and honey, which seemed like a winner.
Finally, we had our fair share of gyros while in Ios and, as always, each one was better than the next. There was one place (and I cannot for the life of me remember the name) that stays open all year long. The gyros at this place were pretty damn good. I think Pleasure is supposed to be one of the best.
There are lots of different cuisine options in Ios – I frequently spotted Mexican, Thai and Italian. There seemed to be something for everyone, though it is a bit tricky to research good eats or, even more so, locate them. There are plenty of cheap casual gyro-type restaurants, which are all cheap, deliciously fattening and drool-worthy.
In Ios, bar/club hopping is a must do. There are bars/clubs scattered throughout Ios town and you will often find that one minute a bar/club is packed full and the next it is empty (as everyone has moved onto the next place). There are also more chilled places where you can sit all night along the main strip, as well as more sophisticated/elegant bars along the outskirts of the main town (near the main road).
Definitely visit Orange Bar. They have the most amazing selection of shots, such as cappuccino, mint aero, maltesers, baclava, keylime pie and bounty. I, of course, could not have these because there were some nutty ones, but they are supposed to be incredible and taste like the real thing!
One bar to experience while you are in Ios is Slammer Bar. Now you are probably going to think I’m crazy, but I promise you I’m not making this up. At this mysterious place, Slammer Bar, if you choose to order the Slammer shot, you will drink a shot and then the barman will give you a helmet to put on and will hit you over the head [very hard, in fact] with an item of your choice. I did not take part in this activity (my head is way too precious), but it was mildly entertaining watching highly intoxicated people have their head slammed with a fire extinguisher, obviously thinking it was a good idea at the time.
That’s all for now from me folks.
Next stop: the stunning Santorini. Get excited!
Until next time…
The Allergian Abroad