Quadbiking in Ios - Tips and Tricks
So you're in the mood for a spot of exploring, but the buses just can't take you to the best places in Ios? Renting a quad bike is your best solution! Read on to discover how you can make the most out of your four wheeler - the island is yours for a day!
- Where to rent your Quad:
Most rentals can be found either at the Port or in Chora. There's also a rental place in Mylopotas Beach if your accommodation is close by. There are quite a few of them, and I recommend you shop around for prices before choosing your vehicle. Prices can vary from as little as 15 euro to 30 for one day, and if you're staying in Ios for a while, renting it for more than one day is definitely cheaper. Don't forget to check if the fuel tank is full or not before committing to it, although filling up a tank should not cost you more than 15 euro.
I like to think I'm a savvy bargain hunter, but somehow I managed to bag a 30 euro quad bike with a half-empty tank... not my finest moments!
- What you'll need:
In order to rent a quad bike, you'll need your driving licence from home. As a form of guarantee, they'll usually make a copy of your licence or keep it until you bring the bike back, which is understandable considering that half their customers are usually drunk teenagers!
After having reached an agreement, you'll be asked to sign a contract with all the terms and conditions of rental. As a law student, I highly recommend that you read it - believe me, you never know what can happen on the road!
- Finally on the road!
Now that you've got your wheels, it's time to hit the road. Ask the rental place to give you a map, and plan out your day. I recommend starting from Chora, as all roads meet there, and it's a good place to get your bearings. Plus, the view from the windmills is quite something!
Don't forget that driving is on the right hand side (which took quite some getting used to for my Malteser self!), and that most roads are either very steep or very winding, as they go around huge hills. The island is small, but driving around takes time, and quad bikes don't have the necessary engine power to whizz you along. Make sure you have sunscreen and enough water to stay hydrated!
The views along the way however make it worth the ride -
- North / South Routes:
Chora (your starting point) is in the north west, which makes northern routes towards Koubara and Agia Theodoti (both gorgeous beaches) easier and faster. At the southern-most point of Ios, there is Manganari Beach, which is a huge beach away from the hustle and bustle of central Ios.
It's up to you to choose your direction - I tried going for the northern one but somehow ended up not reaching the beach and on the long road towards Manganari! Almost two hours of driving in the hot July sun - sunscreen is a must. After that long drive, a cool dip in Manganari was just what the doctor ordered :)
Back on the road and firmly in the southern area, I tried to explore as much as I could, but be warned; some beaches, such as Kalamos and Papas, have very steep dirt roads, which make for very difficult driving. Not wanting to find myself under my quad bike, I gave them up and drove back north.
- Get help when you need it
After about half a day of driving around, it was clear that a map alone was not going to help me get to those secret spots on the island. I found that the best solution is to ask the locals for directions - they're friendly and used to lost foreigners on their tiny island! With some sign language and pointing, they showed me the way to one of the most beautiful beaches I've ever swam in - Loretzena Beach.
With the sun dipping low in the sky, I rushed back to my hostel in town for a quick change, then went to watch the sunset with the rest of the team from the helipad. The helipad is just behind Chora, it's open and usually not in use, and it has the perfect view to watch the sun set over the island!
A blissful ending to a happy day. Share your quad biking adventures in the comments below - I'd love to read about your adventures!