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IOS is a very popular island, that attracts mainly a crowd of international youth, that party all night, every night, at the bars and clubs of the island.

It would be a pity, though, to leave it at that. Ios is much more than these old stereotypes and, as a typical Cycladic island, it features clean waters, wonderful beaches, great food, a long history, and traditions that still go strong. But, let's take things one at a time. Ios is at the southeastern Aegean, between Naxos, Sikinos, and Santorini, and its population is about 1,800. The trip from Piraeus is anywhere between 4 to 8 hours, depending on the kind of boat you take. The harbor of Ios is Gialos, a wonderful natural harbor, one of the largest in the Cyclades. All tourist services are clustered around the harbor, as well as many hotels and taverns. At the end of the harbor, on the road to the capital town of Chora, you come across Homer Square. Homer, the first and greatest epic poet in history, is related to Ios: not only did his mother, Klymeni, was born and died on the island, but ancient sources say that he stopped at Ios, on one of his trips, because of bad weather, and he died here, exhausted and sick. There are some ruins of an ancient grave at the north end of the island, near Plakoto, but it is doubtful whether it is Homer's grave, as some locals claim. The capital town on Ios, Chora, is about 2 km from the harbor, and overlooks Gialos from atop a hill. Chora is a typical Cycladic settlement and is built along a slope. This is the center of the island's nightlife. Chora features narrow, picturesque cobblestone streets and the Church of Panagia Gremiotissa, at the top of the hill. From here you can gaze at the views of the neighboring islands and even Crete, weather permitting. The resort town of Mylopotas, south of Chora, attracts a good part of the tourists that come here, especially the younger ones, that turn the beach into a daylong party, every day.

Another major resort area is Maganari, at the south coast. A wonderful beach, which is really five consecutive coves, Maganari is a favorite anchoring spot for many luxury yachts, on Aegean cruises, in the summer. Maganari is also the favorite vacation spot of the current Greek Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis, which has made it somewhat famous in the last few years.

 

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