As a new generation of Greeks reclaim their heritage, they’re looking past overtouristed islands like Mykonos to quiet stunners such as Ios island. Reachable only by boat this 42-square-mile island in the Cyclades archipelago with its 32 sand beaches, outstands in beauty and authenticity.In the only town on the island, Chora (a hippie heaven during the 1970s), guests stay in laid-back lodgings ranging from the chic Agalia Suites, a 14-room boutique hotel that opened its doors in the summer of 2014, to family-run guesthouses on narrow stone walkways. Ios’s oldest archaeological site, Skarkos, dates from the third millennium B.C., and the 16th-century monastery of Pyrgos sits below the island’s highest peak. Dirt tracks lead to more than two dozen pristine beaches, which veteran philhellenes call some of the finest strands in the Aegean islands.
”We saw what happened to other Greek islands transformed by overdevelopment. We’re determined to save Ios from that fate,” says Vassiliki Petridou, president of Luxurios Island Experience, a local eco-resort company.