Although Ios has a reputation for being a party island, it offers more than just the chance to stay up until sunrise. Many people travel to the island to relax on stunning beaches like Milopita or Manganari, while literature and mythology buffs can make a trek to Homer's Tomb.
The best way to reach Ios is by taking a ferry from Athens. Piraeus, the major port of Athens, offers a number of ferries to Ios. Alternatively, other Cycladic islands, such as Folegandros, Santorini, and Paros, have direct ferries to Ios if you're planning an island-hopping trip.
Ios does not have an airport, but its proximity to Santorini, Mykonos, and Naxos, all of which do have airports, makes it possible to reach Ios through a combination of airplanes and ferries.
When planning your trip to Ios, consider this relaxing 12-day itinerary, which will take you to some of the hidden gems of the Cyclades, including Ios, Tinos, and Syros.
From Athens by Ferry
Duration: 4.5-6.5 hours
The most convenient way to reach Ios is by taking a ferry from Athens. The greatest number of options, which include both high-speed and slower ferries, leave from Piraeus.
However, it is possible to take a ferry from Rafina, the smaller port of Athens, which is closer to the Athens International Airport. Note that there are no direct ferries available from Rafina.
High-speed ferries are more expensive and can be rough on those who get seasick easily but do offer the quickest way to get to Ios.
Slower ferries are larger, with more outdoor space, and can be a great option if you have time and the desire to live by the more leisurely Mediterranean clock.
From Athens by Plane & Ferry
Duration: 2+ hours, depending on your route
While Ios does not have an airport of its own, it is possible to fly to a neighboring island, such as Santorini or Mykonos, and then get on a ferry to Ios.
This can be a good option if you are pressed for time. The airports on nearby Cycladic islands are international, so you may be able to find a direct flight depending on your starting location, as cities like London, Berlin, and Paris fly directly to certain Greek islands.
Otherwise, there are direct flights from Athens to all of the Greek islands that have airports, so you can fly from Athens to the island of your choice and then take a ferry to Ios.
From Other Greek Islands by Ferry
Duration: 40 minutes or longer, depending on your starting location
If you are on another Cycladic Island, such as Naxos, Folegandros, or Amorgos, you can easily find a ferry to Ios. Most of the Cycladic Islands offer high-speed or slow ferries directly to Ios.
If not, you can book an "indirect ferry" ticket, which will include stops at neighboring islands along the way.
For locations in other island groups, such as the Ionian Islands or the Dodecanese, direct ferries to Ios may be available depending on your original location.
If no direct or indirect ferries are available, you will have to travel back to Athens to take a ferry to Ios.
Economy and business class tickets are available for all ferries, and many offer private cabin options as well. You can bring transportation on board, which will increase your ticket price depending on whether you bring a car or motorbike.
From Other Greek Islands by Plane & Ferry
Duration: 3 hours or longer, depending on your route
If you're on another Greek island that has an airport and want to fly part of the way to Ios, you can do so with a plane and ferry combination.
A number of Greek islands, such as Corfu, Lesvos, and Crete, have airports and so you can fly to an island close to Ios, such as Mykonos or Naxos. From there, you can take a quick ferry to Ios and thus avoid long journeys if you're on an island that's far away.
All flights to the Greek islands go through Athens, so you will have a stop in Athens if you choose to fly from one Greek island to another. For these short flights, only economy tickets are available.