Sunday 31st July 2022
An Early Start to the Day
I usually try to take ferries late in the morning so I don’t have to wake up too early, but I’m at the mercy of the schedule and today’s journey begins at 8 am, so I had reluctantly set my alarm for 6:30. I ended up waking up just before it went off, though – my body just seems to know when the alarm is about to ring.
Since breakfast wasn’t included at my hotel (Hotel Landeris) and I wasn’t sure what would be open so early, I bought some yoghurt, coffee, and sugar the night before to make my own meal in the room before leaving. I took a quick shower, packed my things, and walked the blissfully short distance from my hotel to the port – it wasn’t even 5-minutes away.
The Express Skopelitis ferry is a favourite among those who frequently travel around the lesser Cyclades, but this would be my first time on it so it felt like a rite of passage. It’s not a fast boat, but the ticket only cost €11.20 and I was hoping for a smooth crossing as the sea looked quite calm. I arrived at the port at 7:30, with the boat already there as it stays overnight on Amorgos. I had considered waiting in my room until closer to the 8 am departure time, but in hindsight, I was glad I arrived early as there was limited seating on the upper deck and I managed to get a good spot in the shade with a small bench to myself.
A Brief View of Santorini
Despite Ios not being all that far from Amorgos, the ferry route goes via Santorini to the south before heading north to Ios. As a result, I would be on board for just over 5 hours which wasn’t ideal but equally, it’s quite fun to sit in the shade and watch the islands come and go. As we arrived in Santorini, I had some great views of the caldera that I hadn’t seen on previous visits due to being inside on a high-speed ferry:
As much as I enjoyed visiting Santorini on my second visit back in 2019, I was glad not to be getting off this time as it was bound to be extremely busy during the height of peak season. Even the port looked pretty crowded as you can see in the photo above.
While a few people got off here, many more got on board so I lost the empty seats next to me which was a shame. On the plus side, a young couple had taken the space and we spent most of the journey to Ios chatting, with me offering them advice on what to see and do.
Back on Ios
As we arrived at the port on Ios, I was happy to be back again. Thinking about the anxiety I felt when I first visited the island in 2017, it felt like a long time ago and I had such a great time here last year that I couldn’t resist coming back again. Once again, I’m staying at Mylopotas beach, which I think is the best resort on the island. This time, I’m even closer to the beach than ever before, spending a whole week at Deep Blue Rooms right on the beach road.
The accommodation was reasonably priced (€80 per night) given the location, time of year and the fact that it included breakfast. It also included a free transfer from the ferry, so for the first time on the island, I didn’t have to catch a local bus. I was met by one of the family owners and escorted to a nice big minibus. I had been the only guest arriving from my ferry, so I felt like a bit of a VIP being transported in style down to Mylopotas.
Nice Accommodation, Superb Location
Arriving at new accommodation always brings a certain amount of trepidation not knowing whether it will be as good as you expect or hope. I needn’t have worried, however, as I was shown to a lovely – and huge – apartment room on the first floor above the reception. Not only was the room spacious (it had a double and a single bed, plus a kitchenette area and a nice bathroom), but the balcony was about the same size as the room and could easily accommodate a dozen or more people – definitely wasted on me, but always better to have too much space than not enough I say!
After the traditional post-island-hop shower and a bit of unpacking – I’m here a full week so it was worth emptying my case – I headed out to get some supplies and reacquaint myself with the area. As I’d expected, the location was really perfect: right behind the large resort beach and just north of the mid-point, making it a few minutes’ walk to get to the tavernas and shops at the northern end and a similar distance to Far Out Village/Beach Club to the south. I was in heaven!
Easing into Ios Life
With supplies purchased and stored back in my room, I set out again this time heading south to Far Out Village. There were lots of young people around both on the beach and around the beach club, but it wasn’t quite as busy as I’d expected which I was quite pleased about – it’s nice to have a vibrant atmosphere but too many people can, for me, make a place feel too crowded and a bit oppressive.
Despite being mid-afternoon, I managed to find an empty sun lounger by the pool and – after purchasing a cold (and slightly expensive) beer from the bar – laid down to enjoy the sunshine and listen to my favourite tracks on Spotify.
Finding a Hidden Gym
During my time on Ios, I was hoping to get back into a gym so I could do a bit of training. The only one I’d seen on the island was in Chora next to the main parking area (Ios Gym), which wasn’t ideal as it would involve either a long walk from my hotel or a bus journey there and back again which would add to whatever it cost to actually train.
After sunbathing for an hour or so, I decided to get up and have a walk around the Far Out Beach Club grounds just to see what was going on. On my way there, I noticed a sign for a gym so I asked one of the staff where it was and they directed me to a building at the south end of the site. It was closed when I arrived, but a sign on the door stated that it opens in the afternoon from 5 pm, so I strolled back to my room, changed into gym gear and returned a little while later just in time for it to open.
A week pass only cost €20 too, so it turned out to be a great find – the equipment was a bit limited and it was fairly warm with no air conditioning and just the fresh air coming through the open front, but I was used to training in warm weather now. I had a good workout covering my chest, shoulders and abs for about 75 minutes and left feeling pretty pumped!
I was tempted to stop at Far Out Village for a dip in the pool but decided to head straight back to the hotel for a shower instead. I’d been up quite early and was getting hungry for dinner so I wanted to get out and eat.
I took the easy option and walked the short distance north from the hotel to Karma, an Italian restaurant right behind the beach that I’ve eaten at several times on previous trips. It’s maybe not the best food on the island, but I’ve never been disappointed by their pizza or pasta and the prices are quite reasonable. When I arrived I noticed a sign offering two-for-one on daiquiris so I ordered a strawberry-flavoured one followed by a Diavola pizza. They also had a promotion on Limoncello shots for €1 so I treated myself to one of those, too!!
It happened to be the day of the women’s European cup football final as well, with England playing Germany for the title so despite not being a massive football fan, it seemed like a good excuse to stay out a bit longer and see the result. England managed to win 2-1 in extra time so there were plenty of cheers from fellow British fans at the end.
Feeling pleased to be back on one of my favourite islands, and fairly merry from the alcohol, I strolled back to my hotel and went to bed.