An island memorably described by one of my contributors as a haunt for a lot of young people, many of whom belong to the "Sand, Sea and Sex Brigade", who seem to equate nudity with a form of advertising … ! However, whilst there may be an element of truth in that, outside the peak holiday weeks, there are some lovely beaches suitable for naturism. In 2010, the Sand, Sea and Sex Brigade seems to have faded or gone elsewhere.
A correspondent notes a small, unremarkable beach on the other side of the port from Milopotas beach. To get there from the town, face the water and head to the right, heading away from the mob. Head up the hill, over the headland and it's the first beach you come to. It is a reasonable walk of about 15 minutes. My contributor was there in May 1997 and it was pretty quiet. The beach itself is very average but it is an alternative and requires little effort to get to. Of those on the beach, some were nude and some were not. The water was very clear if a little cold (although that presumably depends on the time of year) and the beach itself seemed to alternate between sand and pebbles. The surrounds are not particularly attractive so it doesn't rate highly but it is within walking distance of the town. In May 2001 there were 9 nudists at the far end but it did not have a good nudist beach atmosphere.
A report from August 2007 says Koumbara has become a developed beach, 100% textile. Maybe better in low season, but in August it's not recommended for naturism. However, the water is fine and the beach is very clean. Visitors in June 2010 confirmed this view; there were three rows of parasols and beach umbrellas drawn up, and it was full of families, with not even topless sunbathing in evidence.
This little beach tends to get rather-unfairly overlooked, but is very handy for Port Ios, being within 20 minutes' easy walk, past the church on the left headland. There is a long-standing taverna which supplies free fixed parasols (3) and loungers (15) regardless of actual custom - so long as you put the latter away! They only wish you to "have fun". The clientele tends to be more mature and doesn't turn a hair if you are brave and strip off first: proportions nude have been recently (Sept 2010) noted to vary between 0% and 95%. The swimming is OK for snorkelling although there is a band of hefty boulders quite close to shore. Further out, the rocks on both sides are often adorned by the unclothed too. Probably what keeps this little haven in its own time-warp is the difficulty of getting there or back by motorised transport!
Probably the best bet for a real nudist beach, though reports vary and there seems to be significantly less naturism here in high season. Those who have visited it out of season seem to love it, however.
It is in a small cove on the headland between the port and Mylopotas. Along the way to Mylopotas from the village, before the Mojo club, you fork right off the road and go down a concrete road. There is a small sign beside the road. Whilst steep and narrow in places, the concrete road is passable by scooter or small car. Park on ground to the right when you come to an open col, about 800m down. Then follow the (very faded) white arrows down the valley to the right. You'll find a nice little beach divided in two parts by a rock outcrop. On the right hand side, again facing the sea, there's the place where you can sunbathe nude. Early reports talked of mostly singles (male and also female), some couples, some groups of friends. Not very crowded either by nude people nor textile ones. Nice sea: clear and easy to get into.
However … a report from August 2002 says there were few people there and no naturists. But a more promising one from 2005 describes it as one of the best beaches on Ios: hidden away but can be busy. Great for being nude, and the water is very safe to swim in. My contributor says the beach can be "very nude", with a great mix of ages.
And one from May 2006: Barefooters found nobody on the beach. Although some houses were rather close, two big inscriptions "nude beach " reassured them. So they spent a very pleasant afternoon bare, peaceful, quiet and sheltered from the wind. They rated the beach a rare 100%. But one from August 2006 gives a quite different impression. The walk there indeed only requires about 15-20 minutes but, though picturesque, it is far from easy. The beach on the day of my contributor's visit was dreadful. There was a handwritten sign describing it as 'nudist beach', but there was no naturist in sight and loads of textiles. In addition, it was extremely dirty on that particular day, both on the beach itself and in the sea (the latter, to be fair, was due to the southern wind, and was probably true for every Cycladic island on that day).
In August 2007, Barefoot reporters thought Kolitsani one of the most beautiful beaches around, with very nice water and fine sand. My reporters were nude until 3pm when the beach got very crowded and 95% textile; other people were not completely polite so they decided to leave. Recommended for the morning sun.
Visiting in June 2010, a couple found just a scattering of people, only 30% nude, but beautiful pure sand, gently shelving into the water and sheltered from the wind. No shade, so own sunshade + food and water needed. Another reporter visiting on the first Sunday in September 2010 confirms this.
In end of July 2013 - from 10 am - 3 pm; my wife and I were the only nudes. But - totally 10-20 textile people stayed or passed through during this period. No-one took any offence at our nudity.
Thursday July 3, 2014. Apparently a well known nudist cove because our hotel even told us about it.
Just outside the Chora on the road heading to Mylopotas you will see two mini-markets across the street from each other. Just past this point there is a road on your right. Signs on the building wall point to Kolitsani Beach, and Pavezzo and Blue Horizon Studios. Continue all the way down the road for about 5 minutes or so, past several houses with private driveways. You will eventually come upon a very faded sign nailed to a tree post pointing to the beach to the right. Go on this road a short few metres, you will see another Kolitsani Beach sign pointing off the road onto a foot path. The path is rocky and you need to be careful. Actually there appear to be three trails, take the one on the right for an easier descent down to the cove, follow the white arrows painted on the rocks on the ground (the left path leads to higher ground for a view down). You will soon approach the beach, announced by another sign Kolitsani Nude Beach. The cove is very beautiful, sandy and backed by rocks, and about 1-1/2 football fields across. There are no services here, so bring provisions. On this day there were only about 14 people (about 5 couples) pretty evenly split male/female. About 5 males were nude and 2 females (the other women were topless).
This beach can no longer be recommended. It is a fairly big beach just south of town. It has a few camping grounds and tavernas. Frewin Poffley's Independent Traveller's Greek Island Hopping says that the building of a new road has destroyed nudism there.
Two big camping sites, one of them with a bungee jumping structure, tavernas and restaurants. Lot of young people, lot of water sports resort: waterbikes, windsurf, and so on. Nice beach, but anyway not a nude one at all. A damning report from August 2002 says it is a "boom-boom beach full of party-lions and -cats". A report from August 2006 confirms all these impressions, unfortunately.
Despite the reports above, one Barefooter tells me that although this beach is wonderful for swimming it has never been nude, despite other reports. In the seventies people were even fined by civil police for sunbathing topless. Now it's topless and relaxed, and without sunbeds in the middle part, but not nude. To get privacy instead head for the rocks to the right of the beach behind the Mexican restaurant. Textiles are optional, depending on if you inhabit your spot early or not. Far out, in the eastern part of the beach is the young people's beach party area. I would say that if you don't like loud r'n'b and happy and playing teenagers, head for another spot or another beach.
This is a report from another Australian correspondent who visited Ios in June 1994: it should probably be archived but is kept for its amusement value and as a reminder of how far things have developed since then.
I took a moped to Manganari beach on the southern end which the The Rough Guide (Europe) had described as a place to get a serious tan. The local literature described Manganari as one of the best beaches in the Greek islands. It took over an hour to travel the 18 km from the port to Manganari.
The beach is sandy & expansive. At least one km wide with sand dunes behind a low shallowing beach. The tide was out. As I approached I could see the beach shimmering … excitement mounted.. as I crested the last hill (of many) I could see that the shimmering was a large herd of goats, maybe 3000? I'm no goatherder so don't quote me but they covered the whole beach width. Not a body to be seen. I'm not surprised with goat sh.. covering the beach. It is also an exposed beach and would be roasting hot in mid-summer. I'd give it a 2/10 for the sand which is otherwise rare on Greek islands.
There is a small beach on the northern side of the port [I think this refers to Port Ios?]. Although a bit exposed with some weed evident there were several small groups having a swim here. Several couples were nude including a pair of young (20-something) Greek girls who appeared to be locals - a rare event.
A report from August 1999 describes sunbathing nude at Manganari. There are a few beaches at Manganari. The most westerly two were unspoilt with the smaller being the best and nudist. There is now a taverna here with building works creating tennis courts, etc and parasols/sunbeds on both beaches. However, there were some nudists on the most westerly of these beaches.
Unfortunately, a report from August 2002 says the main beaches at Manganari are now textile, including the coves furthest from the taverna which now have sunbeds, brollies and their own taverna. A better bet is a beach thought to be called Three Trees beach. As you drive down the final stretch to Manganari there is a small church on the left hand side. Walk down another 100 metres, then go through a gate and carry on walking, you'll see track to a house on the right, you can follow the track or make your own way down a scrubby hill to the beach, it is generally deserted [This is Tres Klisies beach, below]. You can also get off the bus at the Kalamos monastery and follow the coastline to Manganari, an 8-kilometre walk, there are some lovely sandy beaches, all deserted.
Another report from August 2007 says that Manganari is developed; lots of people visit by bus and the beach is 100% textile.
In June 2010, there was a boat running to Manganari from Gialos Port twice a week; probably more frequently in high season. A Barefooter reporting in early September 2010 had hoped to go there by the 1100 boat from Port Ios but, due to lack of demand, it did not go and he had to go by 50-seater 7-litre turbocharged-and-intercooled 8-speed air-conditioned Jonckheere bus instead, which left half-an-hour later and took twice as long to get there, due to a diversion to Mylopotas for extra passengers and the mountain-top route (vastly improved double-track tarmac at EU expense but hardly an inch straight). Enquiring on arrival at the taverna about the proper place for nudists did not throw them and he was expertly directed to the two bays just out of sight to the right. The second bay had a large party of (?Italian) textiles in the far corner but, once they left in search of a late lunch, there were no further arrivals for the rest of the afternoon. The intervening smaller beach had a 50-50 scoreline, coming and going. On a second visit, the further beach had 7 men (1 textile) and 1 topless and occasionally bottomless woman.
Just before you reach Manganari by the divide [?fork] in the tarmac road, this lonely beach is on the left side. Park by the road (near a small chapel) and walk down the track, which bends to the left. There's a sign 'follow path to the beach' and the "path" is well marked with painted blue blobs on the rocks. When my contributor was there, there were few people, max. 8. There are two olive trees for shade, no booth for drinks or snacks (thank goodness). If you want it even more lonely, pass this one beach along the coastline to the left if facing sea, walk about ten mins. My contributor found this absolutely perfect!
Barefooters who were there in August 2007 thought the beach was wonderful, the water was just a bit too cold, but very, very clear. There were 8 people excluding my reporters: a straight naturist couple and some Greek (and polite) textiles. Recommended: my reporters rated it 100%.
Visitors in June 2010 similarly enthused over the beach; a mixture of shingle and sand, some stones as you enter the water, but a beautiful secluded spot. Difficult to imagine that it ever gets busy, even in August, given its remote location. Apart from my correspondents, there was only one other person there all day, plus three others who came and went.
From Chora, follow the signs to Ag Theodotis. In June 2010, there was no bus service, so you need your own transport.
There are two tavernas on the right-hand-side of the road leading down to the beach, and on the beach four batches of parasols/umbrellas for rent. When my correspondents visited in June 2010, they were the only people on the sunbeds at the far end of the beach from the road, and were therefore comfortable to be nude, and enjoyed walking along the water's edge as well as sunbathing and swimming naked. This is one of the best beaches my contributors found in Ios; about 2 kms long and sandy.
A previous report from July 2002: there were scattered nudists at the end furthest from the car parking area, including some local girls.
In peak season, there's every likelihood that this beach will be quite crowded and naturism will not be possible.