COME SEE the Express Boat Tour Ios, Greece.

As told by Jackie Te-Aroha.

In Ios there’s definitely no shortage of amazing beaches and bays you can visit by bus, car & ATV but sometimes, sometimes there are those places that just can’t be reached via public roads. Those times call for boat tours! During the high season there’s plenty of tour operators but because we were visiting early October the pickings were a lot slimmer. We spotted a watersports Kiosk on the shore of Mylopotas Beach and enquired within (read our Experience Guide to Mylopotas Beach here). It was a 3 hour excursion that would visit lots of locations including the one beach we so desperately wanted to visit, Pikri Nero and hence the name ‘Express’ tour. It came in at just €40 pp or €35pp if we paid cash, which of course we did for the savings.

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We opted for the morning tour which met just before 10am on Mylopotas Beach. We waited a few minutes for the rest of the group to arrive and organised our belongings that were staying at the kiosk. We were very happy to see that there were only three other ladies joining us and that we were also Aussie and we were all keen to get out and see some of the gems Ios had to offer.

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All in all there were 6 stops with an intermission ride-by tour of various private waterside properties. The locations and activities on this tour included the following:
1. Harmony Cliff Jump
2. Kolitsani Nudist Beach
3. A random shipwreck snorkel
4. Koumbara Caves
5. Heart eye rock annnnd…
6. Pikri Nero.

But what remains my favourite memory from this tour wasn’t any one location but Yanni, our boat man. And you’ll soon find out why.

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If your considering booking this tour but want a little more information on the spots, then here it is:


1. Harmony Cliff Jump

After passing the bouys just out of Mylopotas Beach Yanni put the petal to the metal and about 2.5 seconds later we were arriving at our first stop. “It’s cliff jump” Yanni explained, “you get out here, go there, and jump. You have 10 minutes”. Before we could even blink the young girl from the other group was in the water and I was handing Zade the camera because although the water was a tad warmer than Ice; we both knew it was me doing this one.

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2. Kolitsani Naturalist Beach

The second stop was a place we had previously visited, and one of our favourite beaches in Ios. The water at Kolitsani is shallow and calm, which also means its warmer than other nearby beaches. Its a wide open bay that is accessed via the sea or a 10-15 minute hike down the hillside. The path isn’t paved and therefore is not recommended for the frail, oh and its not organised either which means you have to organise your damn self some snacks and beverages before you visit. Because of this, its usually pretty quiet which is just what we like.

COME SEE our full experience guide to Kolitsani Beach.

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3. Shipwreck Snorkel

A boat tour isn’t complete without a short mid sea snorkel! Yanni handed us some snorkels and pointed us in the direction to swim if we wanted to see the tip of a boat and also “don’t go here, go here”. I can’t remember any information about the boat but seeing it was an eery feeling. There were lots of fish swimming around it and the water was getting deeper, darker and colder. Considering it was something like 11m deep, the water visibility was incredible.

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4. Koumbara Caves

On our way to Koumbara Yanni pointed what seemed like his new toy speed boat toward the open ocean in a direct beeline of a passing ferry. It was here when I was first like… um? He put his foot on the gas and immediately the winds were strong, the waves got choppier, and as our acceleration grew so did the smile on Yannis face. Meanwhile we were holding on for dear life praying that we wouldn’t go flying off after we smack landed on some rougher than rough waves. He passed some large rocks and then quickly turned her back in along a narrow peninsular and slowly bought her in toward Koumbara. We arrived at the caves and he explained “you can go in here, or here and come out here, you have 10 minutes”. I don’t do small dark spaces and Zade was still coming to terms with the rough passage we just took so we both opted to stay onboard for this stop and let the other Aussies go for their life.

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5. Shark Eye Rock

Turning back and heading south along the coast we passed Mylopotas and pulled in behind a rather large rock. Yanni pointed out a peculiar heart shaped hole in the rock that looked like an eye on the head of a shark; hence my appropriated name for this stop. On the mainland behind this beautiful rock formation was a large slanted rock face that eased its way into the clearest turquoise waters. We were once again told we could get out for 10 minutes which I’m sure we stretched to 15.

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Intermission

On the way down toward our final stop Yanni pulled the boat in to the other small beaches along the way. Although they were public shores he explained, the roads that lead to them are private which is why only people with boats normally visit them. And damn were they impressive! The one that stood out to me the most was one that had its own swimming pool like area that was protected from the winds by large rocks and was an astounding 8m deep. The water was so clear I could see shells and small pebble in the sand below. MIND BLOWINGING CLEAR!!

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6. Pikri Nero Beach

And for the main event. The beach that we had so desperately wanted to visit, Pikri Nero. When we arrived there was one other boat in the middle of the bay and a few girls tanning on the shore. The water was crystal, calm and the sun was beaming. We laid out our towel and basked for a moment… because as I’m sure you’ve grasped by now, these stops are very time limited. We then went to test the waters and Mayne! Cool but not too fresh, still but not stale, soft sand and the perfect Little Rock platform that I would have happily sat on til the sun set.

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Before we knew it (about 30-40 minutes), Yanni was back and we were all jumping aboard to head back to Mylopotas. But before we left and without any warning Yanni once again let her rip and started doing doughies in this gorgeous little spot in Ios. the boat was literally at such an angle that one of the ladies lost her hat and he was forced to slow down and go back for it before it sunk. And thus, although every spot was beautiful you now know why Yanni was the real star of this tour for me.

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