For our 5th (wow!) wedding anniversary, we have decided to go back to Greece. And include one of the Cyclades in your itinerary. Would you be surprised to hear that we didn’t go to Santorini or Mykonos?
It was obvious that we’d fly into Athens – and thanks to Ryanair we found a nice flight from Budapest – but we wanted an island, too. The obvious choices – Hydra or Aegina nearby the mainland didn’t sit well with us. The Cyclades self-made tour ended up costing way over our (already high) budget. So we chose: Ios. A dear friend of our lives there and we’ve been wanting to see the island with our own eyes since we have always loved her photos (check her Instagram).
How we planned our wedding anniversary trip
Here are the steps I always take when I plan a trip:
- choose the timeframe
- choose the destination
- decide on transportation
- choose the accommodation
- book everything
- (bonus) a list of what we plan to do
>> read more about planning an anniversary trip to Greece
What we did on our wedding anniversary
We left for Greece with only two things planned. And both of them in Athens. We have decided to be on Ios for our wedding anniversary but haven’t made any arrangements. All I had was a list of places to go to during our stay.
Thanks to our friend – and to Lady Faith – we were given some excellent ideas for things to do and places to check out.
Tip: if your special day falls on a Tuesday, make sure to book Meltemi’s Ios Island Tour. We absolutely loved it.
Our anniversary was on a Thursday and we have already done some amazing things on the island since our arrival on Monday.
We still had some interesting things to do so our plan became clear on Wednesday evening: walk to Koumpara beach, try to get to the lighthouse, and then the evening in the port, complete with the sunset.
We decided to just wake up whenever we felt like. Greece is not a country you need to worry that you have to show up early for breakfast. After 9 a.m. is really ideal.
We woke up to a really sunny day and made our way to the garden to have breakfast (and check on social media). Yogurt and honey plus Greek coffee, our usual choice in the morning.
Gearing up for the walk
We were planning to get to Koumpara beach. And hopefully to the lighthouse. Then walk back to the accommodation to have lunch – leftover salad from the previous night’s dinner – and go to the port for the early evening, sunset, and dinner.
Towel and action camera in the day pack, water bottle in hand, bandana on my head…we set out to walk. My better half had his DSLR with him.
The walk – from our accommodation near the port – starts on the road. And in full sun. It is an easy uphill walk. At about 1 km mark, the charming Tzamaria beach shows up. It is nicely tucked away in a bay which protects it from winds.
We walked down the stairs and played in the sand and water. The crystal clear water makes it perfect for snorkeling, by the way. It is a mostly pebbly beach, but there is enough sand, as well. Absolutely no sun beds or other touristy stuff here. Yay. There’s a taverna on the side, though.
Properly refreshed, we continued our walk to Koumpara. We had the printed map from the accommodation and the saved map on my Google Maps app. We found it, alright, but the closer we got, the more we heard construction works going on. And the area didn’t give us a nice feeling, at all. We saw a tiny church we were hoping to get to but it was on private land and before we even had a chance to ask if we could go up there, the door closed in our face. Sigh.
So we decided to try to get to the lighthouse. The printed map showed up where it was and it was also visible from the port. But, good luck finding how to get there. We found the road, which, at one point, lead to nowhere. So we came back. A day later, we found out that we should have kept going, past the walls and on unmarked trails. Maybe next time?
Making our way back to the accommodation we were pretty close to falling asleep. But, by 5 pm, we decided to go to the port for some snacks and drinks. We ended up at Thai Me Up , a place we have planned to check out. So we splurged a bit. And also ran into (our new) friends.
The plan was to see the sunset from the church overlooking the Port and then have dinner at what became our fav place on the island: The Octopus Tree .
We walked to the Agia Irini Church and we were delighted to be almost alone. Then a very funny American girl came back and we chatted like we’ve known each other for days. That was so interesting and fun. The sunset was magnificent.
Tip: if you want to see amazing sunsets on the island, track all the way to Gaitis museum, past the windmills. Or walk all the way up to the Church with the Palm House in Chora.
It was time for dinner. We enjoyed the food so much that I couldn’t find a single photo of what we ordered that evening.
>>read more about the foods on Ios (and where you can have them)
We ended up going back to the accommodation almost close to midnight. In true Greek style, we had an amazing day dotted with discovering beaches, walking, and sharing wonderful times with friends.
How much did it cost?
Breakfast was paid as part of the accommodation (and it was 3.50 euros per person). Our drinks and snacks at Thai Me Up cost little above 25 euros. And our dinner at the Octopus Tree cost about the same.
How else can you do on Ios?
The island offers a lot of interesting places to check out and things to do:
- visit the Bronze settlement of Skarkos
- visit the ruins of the Venetian Fortress (Paliokastro)
- spend a day at Mylopotas Beach
- get lost on the street of Chrora
- visit the history museum
- walk to the windmills
- see the sunset from the Gaitis Museum
- explore Psathi Beach
- try the food at Lord Byron
- enjoy traditional Greek food at Alonistra Tavern (close to Psathi)