A Travel Price Comparison for Greece Chania vs. Ios for Food, Nightlife, Beaches, and Backpackers

Should you visit Chania or Ios?

Which is cheaper to visit? Which is more expensive for vacation?

If you're trying to decide where to visit between Chania or Ios, this travel comparison, which includes costs, can help. The overall cost of travel is usually a consideration when deciding where to go next, and the cost comparison down below can help you decide based on the average prices from other travelers along with your own travel budget.


Chania is a historic, idyllic, and charming city. It's a large city, so you'll find plenty of things to do around town. And you can't forget about the nightlife, food, and scuba diving and snorkeling.


Ios is a vibrant, beautiful, and striking island. With stunning beauty, it attracts visitors from all around. Other popular activities here include food, scuba diving and snorkeling, and beaches.

Chania and Ios: Pros and Cons

  • Popular museums and historical sights
  • Good scuba and snorkeling destination
  • Popular beach
  • Scenic old town
  • Good for hiking
  • Family-friendly
  • Good for couples and romance
  • Good for backpackers and budget travelers
Things to Consider
  • Less popular for nightlife
  • Popular museums and historical sights
  • Active nightlife
  • Nice resorts
  • Good scuba and snorkeling destination
  • Popular beach
  • Good for hiking
  • Good for couples and romance
  • Good for backpackers and budget travelers
  • Impressive beauty
Things to Consider
  • Less family-friendly

Is there more to do in Chania or Ios?

Tourists will generally find more to do in Chania. Although Chania and Ios are both popular with visitors, Chania has more sights, activities, and attractions for travelers. Chania is more popular for its museums, food, historical sights, hiking, and big city activities, while Ios is known for its nightlife, resorts, and impressive beauty. Chania is popular for its beautiful beaches, impressive historic sights, and diverse local cuisine. It is also home to The Venetian Harbor. Ios is popular for its party hard atmosphere that attracts a younger and rowdier crowd.

How is Chania different from Ios?

Which is Better for a Holiday?

Let's take a look at the differences and similarities between Ios and Chania. Then, you can decide for yourself which place is better for your next trip.

Are the Museums and Historical Sights Better in Chania or Ios?


Chania is notable for its sights and museums. Also, Ios is not as famous, but is still a good island to visit for its museums and history.

Chania offers many unique museums, sights, and landmarks that will make for a memorable trip. The city is filled with historic sights such as the Venetian Lighthouse, the Castle of Gramvoussa, the Ottoman Baths, and the Clock Tower. There's also the Archeological Museum, where you can learn about the history of the area.

If you're looking for an educational opportunity, there are a decent number of museums and historical sights around Ios. If you can pull yourself away from the beaches or parties, there are a number of archaeological and historic sights around the island. Churches like Panayia Gremiotissa Church and Evangelisimos Cathedral are worth visiting. Other attractions include Odysseas Elytis Theatre, Homer’s Tomb, and Skarkos Hill.

Is the Food Better in Chania or Ios? Which Destination has the Best Restaurants?


Chania is very popular for its local cuisine and restaurants. Also, Ios is not as famous, but is still a good island to visit for its restaurants.

For foodies, Chania is an obvious choice, as it is one of the food capitals of the world. The city is filled with traditional and modern restaurants that serve fresh and delicious dishes. The local cuisine is heavily influenced by the many invaders of the island. You'll note culinary influences from the Venetians, Egyptians, and Ottomans. The island also traded with the Jewish, Arab, and European populations, so they have also influenced the cuisine.

Ios has a number of nationally recognized food spots and restaurants. Most of the island's restaurants are found in the port area or in the town of Chora, but you'll also find several options near Mylopotas Beach. Most restaurants offer typical Greek dishes, but they often have a local twist. You'll often find local cheeses or a slightly different take on an old favorite. Popular ingredients include cheese, yogurt, fish, olives, honey, olive oil, and grains. Common meats include lamb, beef, and even rabbit, but seafood is obviously popular as well.

Is Chania or Ios Better for Nightlife?


Ios is a world-class destination for its evening party scene. Also, Chania is still popular, but not quite as popular for nightlife.

People head to Ios just to party. This is one of the quintessential party islands in Greece. Many young backpackers come here just to party, particularly during the summer months. You'll find many parties start around midnight or later and carry on well into the morning. Most of the clubs and bars are around the main square and nearby streets in Chora, but there are also clubs spread throughout the town. Outside of town, Mylopotas Beach is another popular party area.

If you're looking for night time activities Chania has a few options to choose from. The town is more known for its relaxed vibe in the evening than its all-night parties. Many visitors enjoy a laid back night in one of the town's many local pubs. You'll find the most charming places tucked away down side alleys in the old town.

Is Chania or Ios Better for Resorts?


Ios is well known for its resorts. However, Chania is not a resort destination.

Ios is a popular resort destination that attracts visitors from everywhere. There are a number of resort areas around the island with families preferring the areas around Yialos Beach and Manganari Beach. Partiers usually head to Chora and the great beaches near Mylopotas, but if you want to escape the crowds, head to Agia Theodoti.

Chania is not a resort destination.

Is Chania or Ios Better for Scuba Diving and Snorkeling?


You'll find good snorkeling or scuba diving in both Chania and Ios.

Chania has a few areas where visitors often go scuba diving or snorkeling. There are snorkeling trips from town that take you to some of the better snorkeling sights in the area.

It's fun to get in the water and check out the local marine life in Ios. There are some nice snorkeling and diving areas around the island as well as vendors who organize snorkeling and dive trips.

Is Chania or Ios Better for Beaches?


Both Chania and Ios have fantastic beaches worth visiting.

The beaches in Chania are among the best in the world. You'll find picturesque beaches near town that have white sand or colored pebbles. The beaches range from urban and crowded to hidden gems, but each has striking blue water and the atmosphere of paradise. Favorite beaches in the area include Balos, Falassarna, and Elafonissi.

Ios is considered to be a world-class beach destination. The island has beautiful sandy beaches that range from family-friendly to party hard. There are popular and more developed beaches near Chora like Koumbara and Mylopotas as well as more relaxing beaches a little more removed like Kalamos and Manganari. Because of their striking beauty, the beaches around the island have been featured in a few films.

Is Chania or Ios Better for its Old Town?


Chania is notable for its old town. However, Ios does not have a historic old town.

Many visitors explore the old town while visiting Chania. Surrounding the Venetian Harbor is the town's old town. It's filled with restaurants, shops, and cafes that offer a quaint atmosphere for visitors.

Ios does not have a historic old town.

Is Chania or Ios Better for Hiking?


Chania is notable for the nearby hiking options. Also, Ios is not as famous, but is still a good island to visit for its hiking trails.

Chania is a popular spot for hiking. Outside of town there are many hikes that take you through beautiful gorges, along the scenic coastline, or through the unique countryside.

Many people include a hike when visiting Ios. The island has a barren and rocky landscape that offers spectacular views. Many of the hikes are quite challenging, but there are a few options for beginners as well. Many also pass by the spectacular ruins around the island.

Is the Shopping Better in Chania or Ios?


Shopping is a popular activity in both Ios and Chania.

Many visitors go to Chania to go shopping. Head to the old town to browse shops selling local favorites such as traditional island knives and locally made ceramics. There are also jewelry boutiques and other clothing shops around town.

Plenty of visitors enjoy shopping while in Ios. There are a number of local souvenirs that you can pick up. Many visitors prefer to take home unique items such as a tin of olives or olive oil. Jewelry, honey, and local ceramics also make good gifts.

Is Chania or Ios Better for Families?


Chania is notable for its family-friendly activities. However, Ios is a mediocre island for its kid-friendly activities.

Chania is a very kid-friendly city. Kids will enjoy exploring the old town, with its many markets and shops. Wandering around the harbor is also a highlight for many families. There are also several kid-friendly museums such as the Minoan's World 3D Museum and 9D Cinema, the Maritime Museum, and the Archaeological Museum of Chania. There are also kid-friendly activities just outside of town like a visit to Lake Kournas or any of the nearby archeological sites.

Ios is not always a place people visit with their families. While the island is known as one of the top party destinations in Greece, it also has a more cultural side. There are impressive archaeological ruins and stunning beaches that kids will enjoy. The island also has snorkeling and plenty of kid-friendly food. Some of the best family-friendly beaches are in Manganari Bay and Yialos Beach is a nice family-friendly area.

Is Chania or Ios Better for Couples?


Chania and Ios are both very good to visit as a couple.

Couples visit Chania frequently as it offers plenty of romantic activities. The old town, waterfront harbor, and outstanding restaurants make this a great place to stop on any romantic trip.

Ios is a great city if you're traveling as a couple. Because it's so close to Santorini, many people visit as a day trip. While the island is synonymous with partying, there are still many world-class archaeological sites and romantic beaches that make for an active and fun honeymoon. It's a bit quieter outside of the peak summer months.

Is Chania or Ios Better for Backpackers and Budget Travelers?


Ios is a world-class destination for backpackers. Also, Chania is still popular, but not quite as popular for backpackers and budget travelers.

Ios is a very popular island to visit for backpackers. For many backpackers, partying in Ios is a quintessential European experience. Nights are spent at all night clubs or beach raves, while days are spent nursing a hangover on the beach. There are plenty of venues that cater to the budget crowd, with cheap food available at different places.

Chania is very popular with the backpacker crowd. There is no shortage of hostels around town that make this an affordable place to stay for backpackers.

Is Chania or Ios Better for Public Transit? Which Is Easier to Get Around Without a Car?


Ios is well known for its public transit. Also, Chania is still popular, but not quite as popular for times when you don't have a car.

Many visitors use the public transit system in Ios. There are public buses that travel to most of the tourist sights around the island including several of the more remote beaches like Manganari and Agia Theodoti.

While Chania offers some public transit options, it might not be your first choice. KTEL bus service operates routes both within town and to nearby localities.

Is Chania or Ios a more walkable city?


Chania is notable for its high level of walkability. Also, Ios is not as famous, but is still a good island to visit for its ease of walking around.

Chania is a very walkable city. The historic center and harbor areas are compact and walkable. There are some beaches outside of town that can be walked to as well if necessary.

Ios is a somewhat walkable city. Chora is the most walkable part of the island.

For even more information, also check out Is Chania Worth Visiting? and Is Ios Worth Visiting?.

Should I spend more time in Ios or Chania?

How long in Chania or Ios?

Visitors can find plenty of fun things to do in both Chania and Ios. With generally more activities and things to do, visitors tend to spend more time in Chania than in Ios. Usually, 3-4 days is a good amount of time for Chania, and 1-3 days is enough time in Ios.

Families should spend more time in Chania than Ios. Because of the many family-friendly attractions and fun things to do for kids in Chania, it's a great place to visit with the whole family.

Couples should spend more time in Chania than Ios. You'll find plenty of romantic sights and fun activities in Chania that are great for a weekend getaway or a longer couple's trip.

Backpackers and budget travelers should spend more time in Ios than Chania if your budget allows for it. With a larger number of budget-friendly sights, good nightlife, and active things to do, anyone traveling on a budget would have a good time in Ios.

  • How many days in Chania or Ios? Ideal Length of Stay
    Chania 3-4 
    Ios 1-3

One day in Chania or Ios?

With museums and nightlife around the picturesque destination of Chania, there's plenty to do. Many visitors spend time at the beach while visiting the area. One day is usually not enough time for a trip here as there is plenty to do. The length of your trip often depends on your style of travel.

Many travelers enjoy the scuba diving and snorkeling and shopping when visiting the destination of Ios. It's a great spot for a beach vacation. One day is often enough time to do most activities.

A weekend in Chania or Ios?

Many people visit Chania for a weekend. With nightlife and food around the historic city of Chania, there's plenty to do. Make sure you spend some time hiking while you're in the area. Since there is so much to do in the area, a weekend is probably not enough for all of it.

Ios is a great place to explore. It is common to spend a weekend here. With all of its activities, you can easily fill a weekend here. Your budget might influence how long you stay.

Five days in Chania or Ios?

The destination of Chania offers food and scuba diving and snorkeling. It's also a great beach destination, too. It offers something for everyone. Five days is usually plenty of time to spend here with extra days to spare. With this much time, visitors often visit nearby destinations or take day trips.

It's hard to know how much time to spend in Ios. Most people come for the beaches. Five days may feel like too much time unless you plan to do a lot of relaxing. It has many unique tourist attractions and fascinating things to do.

A week in Chania or Ios?

Chania, a popular city, is full of activities for travelers. It's a great spot for a beach vacation. Your budget might influence how long you stay. One week is more than enough time to enjoy everything. Take some day trips to nearby places to fill the extra days.

Travelers enjoy the nightlife and food when visiting the touristy destination of Ios. This island offers a variety of activities to choose from. Many visitors spend time at the beach while visiting the area. Most people find that one week is more than enough time to see everything.

For some great organized tour ideas, see The Best Adventure Tours to Greece, The Best Cruise Tours and Packages in Greece, The Best Sightseeing Tours in Greece, and The Best Vineyard & Wine Tours in Greece.

Which place is cheaper, Ios or Chania?

These are the overall average travel costs for the two destinations.

The average daily cost (per person) in Chania is €93, while the average daily cost in Ios is €91. These costs include accommodation (assuming double occupancy, so the traveler is sharing the room), food, transportation, and entertainment. While every person is different, these costs are an average of past travelers in each destination. What follows is a categorical breakdown of travel costs for Chania and Ios in more detail.

  • Accommodation Hotel or hostel for one person
    Chania 46
    Ios 39
  • Accommodation Typical double-occupancy room
    Chania 92
    Ios 78
Compare Hotels in Chania and Ios

Looking for a hotel in Chania or Ios? Prices vary by location, date, season, and the level of luxury. See below for options and compare which is best for your budget and travel style.

Hotels in Chania

Hotels in Ios

Kayak helps you find the best prices for hotels, flights, and rental cars for destinations around the world. Compare prices for multiple destinations when planning your next trip.

Our Analysis
We've analyzed the average and typical hotel prices based on guest reviews, star ratings, and hotel amenities here: Chania Hotel Prices and Ios Hotel Prices.

Local Transportation
  • Local Transportation Taxis, local buses, subway, etc.
    Chania 15
    Ios 16

Hired Cars and Shuttles in Chania

Some specific examples of transportation prices in Chania:

  • One-Way Shared Transfer To/From Chania Air-Georgioupolis/Kavros: $23
  • Private Transfer from Chania Hotels to Chania Souda Cruise Port: $23
  • Arrival Transfer Chania Airport to Chania, Rethimno or Heraklion: $25
  • Elafonisi Beach Day Trip with Elos Stop and Transfer: $35
  • Cretan Folklore Night with Buffet and transfer: $36
  • Falassarna Beach Sunset Trip with Transfer: $37
  • Full Day Limnoupoli Waterpark Admission with Transfer: $48
  • Private Airport Transfer (CHQ) from/to Chania city: $49
  • Bali: Shared Transfer from Chania/Heraklion Airport to Bali: $54
  • From Shared Transfer from Chania Airport to Plakias: $65
  • Private Airport Transfers from Chania Airport to Chania center ow: $66
  • Transfer from Chania airport to Stalos up to 3 or vise versa: $68

Hired Cars and Shuttles in Ios

Some specific examples of transportation prices in Ios:

  • 1-Way Private Helicopter Transfer to the Greek Islands: $2,451

Is it cheaper to fly into Chania or Ios?

Prices for flights to both Ios and Chania change regularly based on dates and travel demand. We suggest you find the best prices for your next trip on Kayak, because you can compare the cost of flights across multiple airlines for your prefered dates.

  • Food Meals for one day
    Chania 32
    Ios 33

Food Tours and Cooking Classes in Chania

Also, here are some specific examples of food and dining related activities in Chania.

  • The Delicious Chania PRIVATE Street Food Tour : $88
  • Authentic and Traditional Cooking Class in Chania Crete: $101
  • Chania Cooking Class-The Authentic: $119
  • Guided Walking Food Tour with Tasting: $125
  • From The Ultimate Food Tour Of Chania Villages: $125
  • From Agioi Theodoroi Catamaran Dinner Cruise: $129
  • Sunset Craft Beer & Food Tour: $130
  • Sunset Craft Beer & Food Tour - Chania: $132
  • Wine, Food, and Sunset Tour with 3-Course Dinner: $143
  • Private Dinner at Sunset and Cocktails: $176

  • Entertainment Entrance tickets, shows, etc.
    Chania 21
    Ios 26

Tours and Activities in Chania

Here are a few actual costs in Chania for available activities, ticket prices, and tours:

  • First Discovery Walk and Reading Walking Tour: $3.25
  • City Exploration Game and Tour: $7.05
  • Chania's Turbulent History: A Self-Guided Audio Tour: $8.99
  • Discover Chania's Echoes: A Self-Guided Audio Tour: $11
  • Gramvousa Island & Balos Bay Full-Day Tour from Rethymno English & German guide: $19
  • Full-Day Tour Gramvousa Balos Bay from Rethymno with French Guide: $19
  • Gramvousa Island and Balos Bay Full-Day Tour from Chania: $24
  • Full Day Guided Botanic Garden Tour in Spili, Preveli and Plakias: $28
  • From Rethymno Areas: Full-Day Knossos and Heraklion Guided Tour: $28
  • Skip the Line: Limnoupolis Water Admission Ticket: $28
  • Chania Town: Glass-Bottom Boat Cruise to Thodorou & Lazareta: $29
  • Chania City Evening Tour From Rethymno: $31

Tours and Activities in Ios

Some specific costs of activities, tours, and entrance tickets for Ios are as follows:

  • Ios Island Trekking Tours: Discover Ios Unexplored: $28
  • Ios Island: Speedboat Cruise from Mylopotas Beach: $60
  • 4-Hour Cruise of the Best Beaches: $71
  • From RIB Boat Trip to Sikinos Island and Winery Tour: $92
  • Electric Bike Tour Chora to Diaseli Cheesery: $111
  • Electric Bike Tour Chora to Homer's Tomp: $111
  • 5 -6 Hour Private Chora E-Bike Tours: $133
  • Private Orienteering Experience in Mylopotas: $166

  • Alcohol Drinks for one day
    Chania 18
    Ios 33

Sample the Local Flavors in Chania

Here are a few nightlife and alcohol tours and activities from local tour providers in Chania:

  • Cheese and Wine Tasting Tour From Chania: $42
  • Cretan wine tasting, hosted in French: $92
  • Milia Mountain Tour w/Lunch Olive Oil/Wine Tastings: $146
  • Wines, Olives, and History: A Private Wine Tour from Chania: $803

Sample the Local Flavors in Ios

Also in Ios, these are the prices for nightlife and alcohol related activities from various tour providers:

  • Bar Crawl Ios Ticket in Cyclades: $39

When comparing the travel costs between Chania and Ios, we can see that Chania is more expensive. However, the two cities are actually relatively comparable in price, as the difference is somewhat minimal. Generally, this means that you could travel with generally the same travel style and level of luxury in each place. Since both cities are in Europe, it's no surprise that their costs are relatively close, as many destinations here have somewhat similar travel prices overall.

If you're trying to decide if either of these two destinations are within your price range, also see Is Chania Expensive? and Is Ios Expensive?.

Which is Bigger, Chania or Ios?

Chania has a larger population, and is about 30 times larger than the population of Ios. When comparing the sizes of Chania and Ios, keep in mind that a larger population does not always imply the destination has more attractions or better activities. So, always research the type of place that you want to visit along with the activities and attractions that interest you.