A Travel Price Comparison for Greece Ios vs. Arachova for Nightlife, Backpackers, Food, and Hiking

Should you visit Ios or Arachova?

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

Should I visit Ios or Arachova? This is a common question asked by many travelers. By figuring out which city has activities that align with your interests along with knowing which is more affordable, you'll understand where you can get more bang for your buck. So, let's dive into the details and the data, which all comes from actual travelers.

Ios

Ios is a beautiful, striking, and touristy island. This is also a very beautiful destination which attracts plenty of visitors. It's also known for scuba diving and snorkeling, beaches, and hiking.

Arachova

Arachova is a outdoorsy, bustling, and beautiful town. It's a very nice small town not to be missed. And you can't forget about the shopping, museums, and skiing.

Ios and Arachova: Pros and Cons

Pros
  • 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
Pros
  • Popular for skiing
  • Popular museums and historical sights
  • Active nightlife
  • Scenic old town
  • Good for hiking
  • Family-friendly
  • Good for couples and romance
Things to Consider
  • Less popular with backpackers


Is there more to do in Ios or Arachova?

Travelers will usually find more to do in Ios. Although Ios and Arachova are popular destinations, Ios has more sights and attractions for tourists. Ios is very popular for its nightlife, resorts, scuba diving & snorkeling, beaches, and impressive beauty, while Arachova attracts visitors for its skiing, historical sights, hiking, and small town charm. Ios is famous for its party hard atmosphere that attracts a younger and rowdier crowd. It is also well known for Skarkos Archeological Site. Arachova is famous for its surrounding mountain beauty, festive Christmas atmosphere, and nearby winter skiing.

How is Ios different from Arachova?

Which is Better for a Holiday?

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

Is Ios or Arachova Better for Skiing?

Ios
Arachova

Arachova is a popular place for snow skiing. However, Ios is not a skiing destination.

For winter sports and skiing, Arachova is a great destination to visit. The Parnassos Ski Resort is located just 24 kilometers from town and offers skiing that is beautiful and fun. There are spectacular views and the area has gained popularity in recent years. There are lessons for kids and many other fun winter activities nearby.

Ios is not a skiing destination.


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

Ios
Arachova

Plenty of people visit the nice sights and museums in both Ios and Arachova.

Ios offers a variety of museums and landmarks to choose from. 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.

If you're looking for an educational opportunity, there are a decent number of museums and historical sights around Arachova. There are some interesting sights in the surrounding area, as well as the unique Ai Giorgis Church near town.

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

Ios
Arachova

Both Ios and Arachova offer very good local cuisine and restaurants.

Eating is part of the travel experience when you visit Ios. 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.

Arachova has a number of nationally recognized food spots and restaurants. The town is filled with old tavernas that serve up traditional local cuisine. You'll find a lot of the local cheese, formaela, as well as a local noodle dish called hilopites. Pork ribs and delicate desserts are also popular.

Is Ios or Arachova Better for Nightlife?

Ios
Arachova

Ios is an unbeatable place for nightlife. Also, Arachova is still popular, but not quite as popular for nightlife and partying.

The nightlife in Ios is well established with world renowned clubs and venues. 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.

Many people head to Arachova for the nightlife scene. There are many charming bars around town that stay open late into the night. During the popular winter months, you'll find the streets filled with people that come for the unique winter atmosphere.


Is Ios or Arachova Better for Resorts?

Ios
Arachova

Ios is well known for its resorts. However, Arachova 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.

Arachova is not a resort destination.

Is Ios or Arachova Better for Scuba Diving and Snorkeling?

Ios
Arachova

Ios is a nice place to visit for the nearby scuba diving and snorkeling. However, Arachova is not a scuba or snorkeling destination.

Ios has a few areas where visitors often go scuba diving or snorkeling. There are some nice snorkeling and diving areas around the island as well as vendors who organize snorkeling and dive trips.

Arachova is not a scuba or snorkeling destination.

Is Ios or Arachova Better for Beaches?

Ios
Arachova

Ios is an unbeatable place for its beaches. However, Arachova is not a beach destination.

The beaches in Ios are among the best in the world. 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.

Arachova is not a beach destination.


Is Ios or Arachova Better for its Old Town?

Ios
Arachova

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

Many visitors explore the old town while visiting Arachova. The charming old town is at its best during the Christmas season when there are decorations around the town square and the streets are filled with people.

Ios does not have a historic old town.

Is Ios or Arachova Better for Hiking?

Ios
Arachova

Arachova 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.

Arachova is a popular spot for hiking. For the best outdoor activities, head to nearby Mount Parnassos, where there's skiing and snowboarding during the winter months and beautiful hikes through the mountainous terrain during the summer months.

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 Ios or Arachova?

Ios
Arachova

Both Ios and Arachova are nice shopping destinations.

Ios offers some nice shopping areas. 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.

Arachova has a variety of shopping areas worth visiting. The charming town has many unique shops that sell carpets, woven goods, and local food items.


Is Ios or Arachova Better for Families?

Ios
Arachova

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

Arachova is a very kid-friendly town. The charming town has long served as a winter escape for those living in Athens. There's plenty for kids to do including and ice skating rink, a horse ranch, and even nearby skiing.

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 Ios or Arachova Better for Couples?

Ios
Arachova

With fun activities for couples, both Ios and Arachova make for a very good place to visit.

Ios is a very popular place to visit for couples. 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.

Arachova makes for a fun place to visit for a couple. It's a romantic setting with nice accommodation, delicious local taverns, and plenty of unique activities that couples can enjoy.

Is Ios or Arachova Better for Backpackers and Budget Travelers?

Ios
Arachova

Ios is an unbeatable place for backpackers. However, Arachova is not particularly known for backpackers and budget travelers.

Ios is a mecca for backpackers and budget travelers. 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.

Arachova is a challenging destination for budget travelers and backpackers due to the higher prices. Most backpackers don't think to visit this area on their trip to Greece. There are some guesthouses, but not a lot of hostels, so you might find a limited number of social activities.


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

Ios
Arachova

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

Public transit in Ios is fairly effecient and thorough. 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 Arachova offers some public transit options, it might not be your first choice. There are some public buses in the area.

Is Ios or Arachova a more walkable city?

Ios
Arachova

Ios and Arachova both are nice when exploring on foot.

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

Arachova is a somewhat walkable island. The town has many walkable streets that are fun to explore on foot.

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

Should I spend more time in Arachova or Ios?

How long in Ios or Arachova?

Visitors can find plenty of fun things to do in both Ios and Arachova. In our opinion, Ios has more to see and do, so we recommend that you spend more time in Ios than Arachova. In general, 1-3 days is a good amount of time for Ios, and 2-3 days is enough time in Arachova.

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

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

Backpackers and budget travelers should spend more time in Ios than Arachova 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 Ios or Arachova? Ideal Length of Stay
    Ios 1-3 
    Arachova 2-3

One day in Ios or Arachova?

The beautiful island of Ios offers museums and nightlife. Most people come for the beaches. With all of its activities, you can easily fill one day here. It will give you the chance to have new experiences.

With museums and skiing around the bustling destination of Arachova, there's plenty to do. Exploring the old town is a popular activity. 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.


A weekend in Ios or Arachova?

Ios is a popular place that is full of things to see and experience. If you have a weekend, this island makes for a great vacation. People enjoy relaxing at one of the resorts. While some people choose to spend more or less time in Ios, a weekend is sufficent for most. Take your pick from the many activities offered here.

Many people visit Arachova for a weekend. With skiing and nightlife around the bustling town of Arachova, there's plenty to do. Make sure you spend some time hiking while you're in the area. Because of this, a weekend is usually enough time for a trip here.

Five days in Ios or Arachova?

Ios is a popular choice for travelers. 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. The entire region has so many activities, and you'll want time to do everything.

The destination of Arachova offers nightlife and food. Most visitors spend time around the old town while in the area. 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.

A week in Ios or Arachova?

Ios is a great place to explore. It's also a great beach destination, too. One week is more than enough time to enjoy everything. Take some day trips to nearby places to fill the extra days. This island offers something for everyone.

Arachova, a popular town, is full of activities for travelers. Visiting the old town is also a must. 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.


For some great organized tour ideas, see The Best One Week (7-Day) Tours in Greece, The Best 3-Day Tours in Greece, The Best 2-Week Tours in Greece, and The Best Bicycle Tours in Greece.


Which place is cheaper, Arachova or Ios?

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

The average daily cost (per person) in Ios is €91, while the average daily cost in Arachova is €112. 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 Ios and Arachova in more detail.



Accommodation
  • Accommodation Hotel or hostel for one person
    Ios 39
    Arachova 50
  • Accommodation Typical double-occupancy room
    Ios 78
    Arachova 100
Compare Hotels in Ios and Arachova

Looking for a hotel in Ios or Arachova? 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 Ios


Hotels in Arachova


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: Ios Hotel Prices.

Local Transportation
  • Local Transportation Taxis, local buses, subway, etc.
    Ios 16
    Arachova 51

Is it cheaper to fly into Ios or Arachova?

Prices for flights to both Arachova and Ios 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
  • Food Meals for one day
    Ios 33
    Arachova 29

Entertainment
  • Entertainment Entrance tickets, shows, etc.
    Ios 26
    Arachova 28

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
  • Electric Bike Tour Chora to Homer's Tomp: $111
  • Electric Bike Tour Chora to Diaseli Cheesery: $111
  • 5 -6 Hour Private Chora E-Bike Tours: $133
  • Private Orienteering Experience in Mylopotas: $166

Alcohol
  • Alcohol Drinks for one day
    Ios 33
    Arachova 6.43

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 we compare the travel costs of actual travelers between Ios and Arachova, we can see that Arachova is more expensive. And not only is Ios much less expensive, but it is actually a significantly cheaper destination. So, traveling to Ios would let you spend less money overall. Or, you could decide to spend more money in Ios and be able to afford a more luxurious travel style by staying in nicer hotels, eating at more expensive restaurants, taking tours, and experiencing more activities. The same level of travel in Arachova would naturally cost you much more money, so you would probably want to keep your budget a little tighter in Arachova than you might in Ios.

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


Which is Bigger, Ios or Arachova?

Arachova has a larger population, and is about 2 times larger than the population of Ios. When comparing the sizes of Ios and Arachova, 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.