The distance between Athens and the Cycladic island of Ios, is 163 miles (263 km). The most convenient way to travel between them is by high-speed ferry, which takes 4 hours from Piraeus, the port of Athens, to the Ios port. Slower ferry options are available, which take anywhere from 5 hours 40 minutes to 7 hours 30 minutes.
Alternatively, you can fly from Athens to a neighboring island such as Santorini or Naxos and then hop on a ferry from there. Flights from Athens to either Santorini or Naxos are about 45 minutes and then from there, a high-speed ferry is 40 minutes while a slow ferry is 1 hour 20 minutes to 1 hour 45 minutes.
Note that ferry schedules in Greece become much more limited during the low season (mid-September through mid-June), with some routes not operating at all. If traveling at this time, be sure to check that the ferry is running on your travel dates before making your plans.
When planning your trip, consider this 9-day itinerary, which explores Athens and the Cycladic islands of Tinos, Naxos and Ios through unique outdoor activities. For a more relaxing experience of the Greek islands, check out this 14-day itinerary of Syros, Tinos, Naxos and Ios.
By Fast Ferry
Duration: 4 hours
The easiest and quickest way to get to Ios from Athens is by taking a fast ferry from the port of Piraeus, which is 20 minutes from the city center. Seajet is one of the companies that operates these high-speed hydrofoil ferries. These ferries are popular during the summer high season (mid-June through mid-September), so be sure to book in advance to snag a seat if you're traveling at that time. Economy and business class tickets are available but note that your ticket price will increase if bringing a vehicle or motorbike.
By Slow Ferry
Duration: 5 hours 40 minutes - 10 hours 25 minutes
Ferries can be an essential part of the experience of the Greek islands and the slow ferry offers a cheaper and more scenic way of getting to Ios from Athens. These ferries depart from Piraeus and additionally, there is one a day during the summer that leaves from Rafina, the smaller port that is about 30 minutes from Athens International Airport.
Slow ferries are larger than the high-speed hydrofoils, offering expansive outdoor deck space to walk around and take in the magnificent views of the Aegean. There can also be a larger variety of food options on these bigger ferries, so consider this if you want to relax with a delicious bowl of fasolakia (green beans with tomatoes) or potatoes with lemon.
Tickets on the slow ferry vary from economy seats to a private cabin and their prices will increase if you bring a vehicle onboard. If booking an economy ticket, it’s suggested that you book a “numbered seat” as the deck/lounge ticket option does not include a guaranteed seat and you might find yourself struggling to find an open seat in the non-numbered area.
By Plane and Ferry
Duration: 1 hour 25 minutes - 2 hours 30 minutes
If you're interested in exploring some other islands en route to Ios, consider flying to a neighboring island such as Santorini or Naxos and then hopping on a ferry to Ios. Flights from Athens to either of these islands are 45 minutes and only economy class tickets are available on these short flights.
The fast ferry from Naxos is 45 minutes while the slow ferry is 1 hour 45 minutes. Alternatively, the high-speed ferry from Santorini to Ios is 40 minutes and the slower ferry is just 1 hour 20 minutes. Although flights to Santorini or Naxos operate throughout the year, ferries may not necessarily run in the low season so be sure to check ferry schedules before booking this option.