Though not terribly different – geographically or architecturally – from its immediate neighbours, no other Greek island attracts the same vast crowds of young people as Íos. Although it has worked hard to shake off its late-twentieth-century reputation for alcohol excesses and to move the island’s tourism one class up with some success, Íos is still extremely popular with the young backpacker set who take over the island in July and August.
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The only real villages – Yialós (for families), Hóra and Mylopótas (for the 18–25s) – are clustered in a western corner of the island, and development elsewhere is restricted by poor roads. As a result there are still some very quiet beaches with just a few rooms to rent. Most visitors stay along the arc delineated by the port – at Yialós, where you’ll arrive, in Hóra above it, or by the beach at Mylopótas. Despite its past popularity, sleeping on the beach on Íos is strictly banned these days and so is nudism.
Homer’s tomb can be reached by car or motorbike (signposted from the road to Ayía Theodhóti, 4.5km from Hóra). An ancient town has long since slipped down the side of the cliff, but the rocky ruins of the entrance to a tomb remain, as well as some graves. There is certainly an ancient tradition, from Pausanias and Pliny, that Homer was buried on the island; furthermore, Hellenistic coins from Íos bear his name and his head. However, it was Dutch archeologist Pasch van Krienen who first discovered these tombs in 1771 and immediately claimed one of them as Homer’s – in reality, though, it probably dates only to the Byzantine era.