Disclaimer: Thank you to Liostasi for hosting us as your guests. The thoughts and opinions expressed here are entirely our own.
First Off, Why Visit the Greek Islands?
In the age of Instagram, pictures can determine the economic and touristic success of a country, luring in crowds of tourists to see these wondrous spectacles for themselves; nowhere is this more evident than the Greek islands with their Aegean blue waters, iconic white architecture, and golden beaches that stretch seemingly forever. Every island has its own personality but few have managed to capture the public’s imagination and wallets like Santorini and Mykonos.
Santorini is undeniably the most famous of all the islands due to its legendary sunsets, dramatic geological features, and burgeoning wine industry. The sunsets are so breathtaking they’ve earned accolades all over the world with over 6 million Google results including various blogs, travel to do’s and imagery!
The key to this noteworthy island lies in the isle’s charged volcanic past: There have been dozens of known eruptions, all of which contributed to the formation of the island’s jagged edge known as the Caldera. Santorini today has a sheer wall of solidified lava that reaches up to 300 meters and multicolored beaches, with the most popular (and crowded) being the Black, Red, and White sanded beaches.
Volcanic activity, while vastly destructive for those who witness it, leaves future inhabitants an incredibly fertile ground perfect for growing any and all crops. This terrain, combined with the warm weather and salty ocean breeze, have birthed a vibrant wine culture you’ll want to sample over and over and over again.
Santorini gets the crowds for a reason: between the cornucopia of beaches and the quality of the wines it’s no wonder this island is packed from sunup to sun down.
Where Santorini delights with natural beauty, Mykonos oozes charm and sophistication. This Cycladic destination is teeming with unique architecture, high end shopping, a buzzing bar scene and trendy beaches.
The white-washed buildings and iconic windmills contrast sharply with blue roofs and colorful doors to deliver endless photo opportunities. The painting of homes started centuries ago to reflect the harsh rays of the sun and have since become quintessential examples of Cycladic construction. Thanks to the influx of tourism, many locals have turned their homes into upscale shops offering designer jewelry, clothing, and super-exclusive international brands like Hermès and Louis Vuitton.
Lest you think Mykonos is entirely cosmopolitan, the island also offers a bevy of beaches catering to all types of tourists. Paradise and Super Paradise Beach host parties all summer long with international DJs headlining events to rival the best Ibiza and Miami have to offer.
Mykonos is a party lover’s haven, a place to drink, dance, and have fun in the sun!
Ios surpassed our every expectation and instantly became our favorite stop in Greece. Why you may ask? Well we can guess that you’ve never heard of Ios, especially when compared to its famous neighboring island counterparts; And that’s a great thing!
Ios does not have an airport, nor does it receive any massive cruise ships, happily letting Santorini and Mykonos receive the hordes of tourists while offering the best of the Greek archipelago: stunning natural landscapes, world-class beaches, and quiet towns full of Cycladic charm.
All travelers arrive by boat to Chora, the capital of the island, and are greeted by Aegean blue waters, blonde beaches, and Agia Irini Church. The island’s rugged, volcanic landscapes are immediately apparent in the multicolored igneous rocks topped with a brilliant white church built in the 17th century Cycladic style. This dramatic portrait is but a preview of the incredible sights and sounds this isle has to offer its visitors.
Ios is the Greek paradise we’re all searching for with its quiet charm, crystal clear waters, and best of all, complete lack of crowds! Only here can you get a personalized, intimate, island experience.
Where to Stay in Ios?
The perfect getaway starts with the perfect hotel: One of the finest luxury hotels on the island of Ios is Liostasi, a boutique hotel that embodies a modern contemporary design while conveying a quiet romantic charm, enhanced by breathtaking, unobstructed views of the azure sea and surrounding hillsides.
The setting: serene. The staff: outstanding. The fare: extraordinary. This exclusive hotel is a dream come true with its opulent rooms, lavish pools, attentive service, and decadent award-winning cuisine.
We were fortunate enough to stay in the Ilios Suite during our time at Liostasi. From the moment we arrived we were bathed in extravagance: from behemoth bathtubs to swanky showers, blissful bedrooms to private pools, we were spellbound.
Our personal favorite was obviously the private pool. This particular pool offers visitors a unique glass design, granting guests an unprecedented view into an underwater world. We took an immediate liking to this and used this space as our own playful haven.
Just a stone’s throw away from town and near all of the best sun kissed beaches - Liostasi’s central location places you near all the iconic destinations; to be fully transparent, we found ourselves not wanting to leave our little paradise. We often frequented the main pool - fully equipped with a hydro massage corner for additional relaxation, sunbeds and an inviting pool bar. Each day we looked forward to a plethora of refreshing cocktails in the summer sun, as we embraced the magical island views before us.
The Greeks are famous for their unrivaled hospitality and Liostasi is no exception to the rule. They take hospitality to the next level, with personalized service and a friendly demeanor, you can’t help but feel at ease in this welcoming atmosphere.
If you are looking to indulge on some much needed self care, look no further than the luxurious Ios Spa and Jacuzzi. Here guests can enjoy soothing spa treatments in an idyllic and picturesque backdrop. Single or couples treatments are provided in both indoor and outdoor settings that include sensational views of the Aegean Sea. Tranquility will find you here - providing relaxation and rejuvenation to their utmost degree.
The fairy tale doesn’t end there. Liostasi prides itself on continually setting the bar high for excellence. Adding to their mega list of lavish amenities, guests are invited to grab a seat in the hotel’s open air movie theater, Cine Liostasi, to watch some of the best cinema has to offer, as the sun begins to make its way towards the horizon, under a starry painted night sky.
Everyone knows the most important meal of the day is breakfast, and if anyone does breakfast right, it’s Liostasi. Each morning guests can enjoy an assortment of Greek delicacies: from Ksinotiri cheese to homemade pies and bread, omelets to eggs benedict, mouth watering pancakes to puddings, and a selection of sweets you wouldn’t even believe, each offering is made with the highest quality ingredients and cooked with care.
Liostasi also has a super trendy chic Mezze Bar. This informal daytime restaurant has a much more laid back, casual feel - serving tapas and various comfort foods along with standout seafood appetizers and notable Greek cuisine specialties. The sea view with a meal isn’t too shabby either!
The crowned jewel of Liostasi’s lineup of tasty fare however, is Grandma’s, undoubtedly the best restaurant Ios has to offer and one of the country’s top contenders for creative, authentic Greek cuisine. The menu consists of classic Meditteranean recipes with a contemporary twist. Each dish is an explosion of flavors, produced with the best local products found on Ios and the surrounding islands of the Cyclades.
This modernized take on Greek cuisine is not to be missed. The setting is refined opulence, nestled above the main pool on an open air deck - here visitors can enjoy a romantic dinner as they enjoy the tantalizing tastes of greek dishes passed down through the ages as they admire the world famous sunsets of the Mediterranean.
Grandma’s restaurant invites those who dine there a chance to savor the enchanting charm this island has to offer. With each savory bite, your tastebuds will be taken on a whirlwind of flavor. This restaurant is one to remember for those who are lucky enough to experience it.
The Greek islands have duly earned their place as one of the public’s top travel destinations, with their lush landscapes, charming cities, and bountiful beaches. While we can’t recommend a single island as each has their own independent flair, we can recommend Ios, Santorini, and Mykonos as indelible parts of your itinerary, especially when hotels like Liostasi all but guarantee the perfect trip.