Our room looked out onto the main street. At night, the car traffic was far less noisy than the drunken young things roaming the streets in high spirits. It’s not for nothing that Ios features regularly on top of the list of the best party islands in the world. So, if you intend to sleep at night, better have your earplugs handy.
The next morning dawned bright with a light northerly wind, ideal for an easy day at the beach. I walked into the car rental, just across the street from the hotel, and drove out in a car and a contract with the clear stipulation that I was not to drive in dirt roads.
That had me bewildered, wondering whyever would they rent a car unfit for dirt tracks on any given Greek island where, in most cases, ways leading to beaches are dirt tracks. But, as I would soon find out, the paved road network in Ios, not only is of a surprisingly good quality, but its size is inversely proportional to the size of the island.
30 minutes comfortable driving later, we arrived at the beautiful Manganari beach.
Partly organised with a couple of taverns and rooms, the beach is so big it can never feel crowded.
We headed towards the westernmost part, as far away from the taverns as possible and close to the rocks, hoping to find a discreet spot for nudists. As in most places in Greece, nudism is not allowed (except in designated beaches) but tolerated in secluded or less crowded ones, especially off- or early in season.
We stopped at, what we thought was, an acceptable distance and had already spent a wonderfully quiet afternoon, when a woman appeared out of a hut (we had seen people going out fishing earlier and thought it had been empty). She asked us to leave, and not in a kind way. Knowing better than to argue with a scandalised local and seeing it was anyway time to go back, we obliged.
The following day the wind had picked up. In search of a sheltered beach our hotel host pointed us to Kolitsani, a secluded quite cove just off Chora, ”where you may come across some nudists”. Reached through a path or by boat and, seemingly, a favoured stop for kayakers, it makes for an interesting mix of nudists and textiles.
Kolitsani is also a welcome alternative to the neighbouring Mylopotas, where Ios’ renowned yolo-party culture has sprung from, originally. Today it is more packed, noisy and popular than ever so, unless you are under 21 and party-obsessed, you may want to give it a miss.
I don’t mind mixed beaches as, unless they provide able natural shade, I am usually so covered up during dangerous hours*, I can hardly be called a nudist.
*Dangerous hours for light-sensitive, vampire skins like mine, begin at 10:30 a.m. and extend well into late afternoon.
Ios, 25-29 June 2015
Shared image credits (Konstantinos & Lia)