Birthday Wishes (and dreams!)
A Trip to Ios
As any traveler lost in wanderlust I used to travel not caring much about the destination; the important thing was to keep going. I guess this happens until you find your place in the World… and I did, I found it.
The first time I set foot on Greek soil I fell in love. I never stopped going back. Any excuse puts me on a plane to Greece.
Last month, sitting on the beach in Santorini, a distant, blurred shape kept capturing my attention. Later, I found it was Ios.
The more I read about it, the more I long for it.
So this is my birthday wish, my dream, my resolution: Ios island, Cyclades. A trip that must be done.
I will visit Ios and here are the reasons why
With an outstanding 6000 islands and islets around the Ionian and the Aegean, Greece is nothing but a beautiful promise. Who could stop wishing seeing them all? Will I ever see them all? I strongly doubt it. What I do know is that this year I want to see Ios. Islanders call their island Heaven and that was enough to get my attention since every time I visit Greece I already feel part of Paradise. Ios island, Cyclades. A trip that must be done.
Belonging to the Southern Cyclades, Ios is not the smallest Cycladic island; yet, less than 2500 people live there. Reachable by charter flight during the high season as well as with a ferry from Athens or nearby islands during the year.
One way or the other, your trip starts from the Chora, the capital city (you will notice that several islands have a “Chora” city. In fact, the term comes from the ancient Greek χώρα and, among other things, it also means “place”). Chora is built amphitheatrically across a hill, on top of which the church of Panagia Gremiotissa – the Lady of the Island – gives breathtaking views of unforgettable sunsets. The Chora of Ios is a whitewashed, picturesque village, with typical cobble-stone paths and stairs.
More than 300 white churches and chapels produce that magical contrast with the Aegean blue. Most of them are historical monuments since they are typical examples of Cycladic architecture. This is one of the reasons why Ios is calling my name: beautiful postcard views minus the crowds you normally find in more popular destinations. Even those well-known windmills: Ios counts twelve!
Yet, there is more to it. With a coastline of over 54 miles long, some beaches have received a Blue Flag for their quality. Some of them are quiet, romantic spots, others are special to practise water sports. Mylopotas, often described as one of the most beautiful beaches of the Aegean, is about two miles away from Chora. A combination of relaxing spots, clear waters and golden sand might be just enough to book a trip.
The perfume of thyme leads you across the island to reach the southern beach of Maganari. An exotic landscape, impressive rocks and whiter sand surrounded by an even wilder atmosphere. Scenes from the film Big Blue (Le Grand Blue) were shot there… Who would want to miss that?
Kolitsani is an untamed, lonely beach. With no bars or other facilities, it is perfect to spend a whole day: just you, your beach towel and a lunch packed from home. A day enjoying velvet-like sand and peaceful deep-blue waters.
For still more loneliness, Papas is the answer. A beach that can only be reached by boat. It is a tiny heavenly bay hidden in the south of the island.
Greece has always something else to offer you, beyond sunbathing and frappes on the beach. Its ancient history. My birthday wish also includes a morning wandering the Archeological Museum of Chora, for instance; and walking up and down the open ancient theatre.
The settlement of Skarkos is one of the most important prehistoric sites in the Aegean due to its perfect state of conservation. As if all these were not enough, Ios is thought to be the burial place of Homer. If you are into literature, it would be great to discover all the legends surrounding his burial site.
Cycladic dreamy landscapes, fresh Greek tastes, amazing beaches, blue Aegean… Do I need any other reason to visit Ios? Do you need it? When I close my eyes and think of Ios, I have no doubts. It does sound like Heaven to me. So yes, I want to go to Ios, I long to see this Heaven.
I want to specially thank Mr Athanasias and Mrs Fakou (President of the Tourist Board of the Municipality of Ios) for their amazing help, generosity and interesting insights while writing this post. All the pictures are copyright of the Municipality of Ios who kindly offered them to share on my blog, for more information about the island, you can visit the official website. The picture portraying the Windmills is a kind contribution of Greeka.com.
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