Ios #1 beach party {… or not}

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.

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Partly organised with a couple of  taverns and rooms, the beach is so big it can never feel crowded.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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Ios, 25-29 June  2015

Shared image credits (Konstantinos & Lia)

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9 thoughts on “Ios #1 beach party {… or not}

  1. How things change! I’ve been an Ios lover for over a decade (1990-2003) and spent more than a month every summer on the island. Back then, there was only a really dirty road to Manganari (which had no electricity by the way!), the only beach with asphalt was Mylopotas and nudists were welcomed and everywhere, even in some beach bars (like the famous “Far out”)!

    • How I wish I’d have seen this! I definitely need a time machine, for things do change, and not always for the better… It’s not that we felt unwelcome (except for the crazy woman in Manganari), it’s just that textiles seemed to have invaded the place, even the remote beaches where one has to wonder why they would go to such lengths. Btw, in one of the taverns where we had lunch in Manganari, there is even wi-fi connection – forget those romantic times without electricity!

      • Knowing Ios from that era, it is really unbelievable… especially Manganari was the perfect hippie hideout! But change is apparent everywhere nowadays. At the time, being topless on the beach was the most common thing, now suddenly prudishness rules… it’s really so strange!

  2. Beautiful photos! I love to swim naked, but I always feel weird at nudist beaches. Still, it´s better than the regular beach, drying the swimming suite takes AGES. If I can choose, I love to be alone at the beach and just wear (or not) whatever I please without being shy 🙂

    • Thank you! I’m at ease both at nudist and textile beaches but my first choice is nude. Not only you don’t have to wait ages for your swimsuit to dry (I’m with you 100% here) but you also avoid the usual ”tupperwear” families with screaming kids (anyone who’s been to a regular beach in Greece will know what I’m saying) 🙂

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