Travelling to Ios
Ios has no airport and can only be accessible by boat.
There are four options available when travelling to Ios from abroad:
Note that another name of Santorini is Thira. This route is the most convenient one; however, it may be difficult to find a direct flight from your country. Please note that it may be possible to get a low cost flight by booking a flight only ticket for a charter flight. Ios is about 1 hour away from Santorini by boat and is usually the first stop. The port of Santorini is called Athinio and is about 20 minutes by bus or taxi from the airport.
Flight to Athens International Airport (ATH)
The advantage of this option is that there are many flights from all over the world to Athens International Airport (Eleytherios Venizelos).
After the arrival to Athens International Airport you can reach Ios by:
plane to Santorini Airport.
boat from Piraeus (Port of Athens) to Ios (See below for more information).
To get to Piraeus you can use the Public Transport Buses. The bus station is right outside the arrivals terminal. You need to buy a ticket at the bus ticket booth (easy to find, next to the buses). The route to Piraeus is X96. The ticket price is about 5 EUR (a taxi ride may cost approximately 50 EUR). It takes about 1 hour (depending on the traffic conditions) to arrive at the port. It is quite easy to understand where to get off the bus. You need bus stop "Karaiskaki Sq." (Πλ. ΚΑΡΑΙΣΚΑΚΗ). If you are unsure do not hesitate to ask the bus driver.
If you need more information about Public Transport in Athens please visit Athens Urban Transport Organization.
Flight to Mykonos Airport (JMK)
It is an ideal solution if you also want to spend a few days in Mykonos. Usually there is one boat trip to Ios on a daily basis.
Flight to Crete (Chania (CHQ) or Heraclion (HER))
Usually there is one boat trip to Ios on a daily basis.
Before going to the port you should make sure that there is a boat to get you to your destination by inquiring a local travel agency or visiting OpenSeas (official ferry schedule). Please note that the schedule may change sometimes (mainly before season begins, so check 20 days prior to travelling).
You can take two types of boats to Ios:
Conventional boats. The most affordable.
From Piraeus it takes about 8 hours to get to Ios. The standard route is Piraeus (~5 hr) -> Paros (~1.5 hr) -> Naxos (~1.5 hr) -> Ios (~1 hr) -> Santorini. Please make sure to get off the boat at the right Island!
From Santorini (usually) directly to Ios (approx. 1 hr).
High speed vessels. Faster and smaller boats. Ticket price is a little higher. Please make sure you don't get on a fast boat that can arrive later than the conventional boat (because the route it takes can be longer). The fastest service from Piraeus is HighSpeed 6 (aka "Red Vodafone"). It takes 3 hours and 30 minutes (Piraeus->Paros->Ios->Santorini).
You should also be aware that there are not so many boat trips to Ios from Mykonos and Crete as from Santorini and Pireaus. Generally, you do need to pay attention to the route and should ask about the duration. You should also book tickets as soon as possible, especially for the high speed vessels and especially in August.
You can actually book tickets online. When browsing the Open Seas website you will see a ticket button next to each trip. By clicking on the button you will get a list of travel agencies with online booking service. When you book a ticket you will get an electronic reference number which you should keep. Next you must get your actual ticket from any travel agency or ticket booth in Greece before you take a trip.