A Travel Price Comparison for Greece Ios vs. Crete for Food, Nightlife, Resorts, and Beaches

Should you visit Ios or Crete?

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

Should I visit Ios or Crete? 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 is a historical, party-oriented, and vibrant island. With stunning beauty, it attracts visitors from all around. Other popular activities here include museums, nightlife, and food.


Crete is a stunning, breathtaking, and world-renowned island. The beauty of this spot is also one of the main reasons why visitors come. And you can't forget about the nightlife, food, and scuba diving and snorkeling.

Ios and Crete: Pros and Cons

  • Popular museums and historical sights
  • Active nightlife
  • 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
  • Popular museums and historical sights
  • Active nightlife
  • Good scuba and snorkeling destination
  • Popular beach
  • Good for hiking
  • Family-friendly
  • Good for couples and romance
  • Good for backpackers and budget travelers
  • Good for students
  • Impressive beauty

Is there more to do in Ios or Crete?

Tourists will generally find more to do in Crete. Although Ios and Crete are both popular with visitors, Crete has more sights, activities, and attractions for travelers. Crete is more popular for its museums, food, resorts, scuba diving & snorkeling, and hiking, while Ios is known for its nightlife. Crete is more touristy than Ios and is known for its breathtaking beaches, wild nightlife, and impressive archeological ruins. It is also home to the Palace of Knossos. Ios is popular for its party hard atmosphere that attracts a younger and rowdier crowd.

How is Ios different from Crete?

Which is Better for a Holiday?

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

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


Crete 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.

Crete offers many unique museums, sights, and landmarks that will make for a memorable trip. The island is filled with archeological sites including the famous Palace of Knossos. While most people come to Crete for the natural beauty, in the cities you'll find some great museums and landmarks.

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 Ios or Crete? Which Destination has the Best Restaurants?


Crete 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, Crete is an obvious choice, as it is one of the food capitals of the world. Local cuisine is influenced by the island's fertile environment and excellent agriculture. You'll find olive oil in most dishes and seafood is a major staple. You'll also find a lot of stews and recipes that incorporate local ingredients.

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 Ios or Crete Better for Nightlife?


Ios is an amazing island to visit for its evening party scene. Also, Crete is still popular, but not quite as popular for nightlife.

Ios has a colorful and one-of-a-kind nightlife scene. 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 Crete for the nightlife scene. The island has excellent nightlife with clubs and bars found in Chania, Malia and Stalis to Elounda. The area is popular with British tourists and you'll find many bars open until 2 or 3 in the morning.

Is Ios or Crete Better for Resorts?


Crete is very popular for its resorts. Also, Ios is not as famous, but is still a good island to visit for its luxury resorts.

For the ultimate resort vacation, Crete is a great choice. The island has world class resorts that include pools and buffet meals. There are many beachfront resorts that range in style from romantic to family-friendly.

Vacationers can choose from a number of terrific resorts in Ios. 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.

Is Ios or Crete Better for Scuba Diving and Snorkeling?


Crete is notable for its diving and snorkeling. Also, Ios is not as famous, but is still a good island to visit for snorkeling and scuba diving.

Many visitors partake in scuba diving or snorkeing while visiting Crete. The island is surrounded by clear waters that make for great snorkeling and diving. There's a number of beautiful fish and other sea life that you can see. Be on the lookout for crabs, sea stars, sponges, and even octopi.

It's worth going snorkeling or scuba diving in Ios. There are some nice snorkeling and diving areas around the island as well as vendors who organize snorkeling and dive trips.

Is Ios or Crete Better for Beaches?


For a relaxing beach holiday, both Ios and Crete are first-rate choices.

Travelers come from around the world to visit the beaches in Ios. 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.

With world-famous beaches, Crete is a very popular vacation destination. There are some of the best beaches in the world on Crete. The areas around Chania have some of the island's best beaches, with one of the most beautiful being Balos. On the northern side of the island, be on the lookout for strong winds, particularly in August, which can make for larger waves. The island is large, so you'll find everything from secluded and quiet beaches to more active and lively places.

Is Ios or Crete Better for Hiking?


Crete 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.

Crete is a popular spot for hiking. The island is filled with beautiful hikes that run along the shoreline or head inland through the island's beautiful landscapes. There are hikes for every ability level that offer spectacular views and an incredible experience.

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 Crete?


Both Ios and Crete are good 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.

Crete has a variety of shopping areas worth visiting. The island has many markets that sell local foods and handicrafts. There are also shops and boutiques where you can buy anything from souvenirs to homemade artwork.

Is Ios or Crete Better for Families?


Crete is very popular for its family-friendly activities. However, Ios is a mediocre island for its kid-friendly activities.

As it has a large number of activities for kids, Crete is a very family-friendly destination. The island is large and filled with countless family-friendly activities. You can spend several days at the beach, explore Lake Kournas, visit a water park, or even take a pirate themed boat cruise. There's also the amusement park, ​​Labyrinth Park, aquariums and more.

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 Crete Better for Couples?


Crete is very popular for its romantic activities. Also, Ios is not as famous, but is still a good island to visit for couples.

Crete makes for a terrific place to visit as a couple. It's stunning beaches, beautiful landscapes, world renowned restaurants, and amazing resorts make this a top honeymoon spot for international travelers and romance seekers.

Ios makes for a fun place to visit for 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 Ios or Crete Better for Backpackers and Budget Travelers?


Ios is an amazing island to visit for backpackers. Also, Crete 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.

Crete is very popular with the backpacker crowd. It's a large island with a great social scene and no shortage of hostels for backpackers to choose from.

Is Ios or Crete Better for Students?


Crete is notable for students. However, Ios is not popular with students.

Crete is a very popular island for students and younger travelers. It's affordability and great coastal activities is a big draw for students in the area.

Ios is not popular with students.

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


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

Ios offers a very effecient public transportation network. 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 Crete offers some public transit options, it might not be your first choice. There's a decent bus system that travels around the island and offers access to many areas.

Is Ios or Crete a more walkable city?


Ios is a popular place for its ease of walking around. However, Crete is not particularly known for its walkability.

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

Crete is generally not a very walkable island. The island is large and requires a vehicle to get around, but there are short strolls that let you enjoy the stunning landscapes.

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

Should I spend more time in Crete or Ios?

How long in Ios or Crete?

Both Ios and Crete have a number of activities to choose from. With generally more activities and things to do, visitors tend to spend more time in Crete than in Ios. Usually, 1-3 days is a good amount of time for Ios, and 5-7 days is enough time in Crete.

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

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

Backpackers and budget travelers should spend more time in Ios than Crete 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 Crete? Ideal Length of Stay
    Ios 1-3 
    Crete 5-7

One day in Ios or Crete?

In Ios, many people enjoy the food and scuba diving and snorkeling that this striking destination offers. People enjoy relaxing at one of the resorts. This island offers a variety of activities to choose from. Because of this, one day is usually enough time for a trip here.

With museums and nightlife around the scenic destination of Crete, there's plenty to do. It's also a relaxing resort destination. 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 Crete?

It's hard to know how much time to spend in Ios. For many, it makes a great getaway for a weekend. It's a great spot for a beach vacation. This would be the perfect place to spend a weekend, as it has just the right amount of activities. The length of your ideal trip is an individual decision.

Many people visit Crete for a weekend. With nightlife and food around the scenic island of Crete, 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.

Five days in Ios or Crete?

Ios is a fun place to experience. Travelers enjoy the shopping and museums when visiting the destination of Ios. People often spend their time relaxing at one of the resorts. Most people find that five days is more than enough time to see everything.

With food and scuba diving and snorkeling around the destination of Crete, there's plenty to do. Many people spend five days here. Travelers enjoy the resorts in the area as well. It offers something for everyone. Because of this, five days is usually enough time for a trip here.

A week in Ios or Crete?

You'll find museums and nightlife around the backpacker-friendly destination of Ios. You can also relax and pamper yourself at one of the resorts. Take your pick from the many activities offered here. One week is plenty of time to see everything, even with extra days to spare.

Crete, a popular island, is full of activities for travelers. This is a popular place to visit for one week. People often spend their time relaxing at one of the resorts. Your budget might influence how long you stay. One week is usually enough time to experience most activities.

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, Crete 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 Crete is €102. 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 Crete in more detail.

  • Accommodation Hotel or hostel for one person
    Ios 39
    Crete 48
  • Accommodation Typical double-occupancy room
    Ios 78
    Crete 96
Compare Hotels in Ios and Crete

Looking for a hotel in Ios or Crete? 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 Crete

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 and Crete Hotel Prices.

Local Transportation
  • Local Transportation Taxis, local buses, subway, etc.
    Ios 16
    Crete 23

Hired Cars and Shuttles in Ios

Some specific examples of transportation prices in Ios:

  • 1-Way Private Helicopter Transfer to the Greek Islands: $2,408

Hired Cars and Shuttles in Crete

Some specific examples of transportation prices in Crete:

  • One-Way Shared Transfer From or To Heraklion Air - Hersonissos: $16
  • Rethymno: Shared Transfer to/from Chania Airport: $17
  • Heraklion Airport: Shared Transfer To/From Rethymno: $19
  • One Way Shared Transfer From/To Heraklion Airport - Bali: $21
  • Private Transfer from Chania Hotels to Chania Souda Cruise Port: $23
  • Shared Transfer to/from Airport-Georgioupolis/Kavros: $23
  • Private Transfer to/from Ports & Airports by Mercedes: $27
  • Acqua Plus Water Park Admission with Optional Transfer: $31
  • Acqua Plus Water Park Admission with Optional Transfer: $32
  • Acqua Plus Water Park Entrance Ticket with Transfer: $32
  • Private Transfer in Crete: $33
  • One way shared transfer from or to Chania Airport To Bali : $34

Is it cheaper to fly into Ios or Crete?

Prices for flights to both Crete 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 Meals for one day
    Ios 33
    Crete 34

Food Tours and Cooking Classes in Crete

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

  • Cretan Night with Dinner & Live Show: $49
  • Olive Oil Factory Tour, Dinner & Traditional Dancing: $59
  • Chania: Cretan Folklore Dance Show with Dinner and Pickup: $75
  • Cook with Locals | Cretan cooking Class at Archanes (transfer - lunch included): $86
  • The Delicious Chania PRIVATE Street Food Tour : $87
  • Sightseeing Day Trip with Cooking Lesson and Lunch: $95
  • Full-Day Jeep Safari Tour with Cooking Lesson: $97
  • Heraklion: Cretan Cooking Lesson with Lunch in Arolithos: $117
  • Chania: Authentic Cooking Class in the White Mountains: $117
  • E-bike Food Tour Tasting in Heraklion : $125
  • Sunset Craft Beer & Food Tour - Chania: $130
  • Private Interactive Cooking Class with Aggeliki : $158

  • Entertainment Entrance tickets, shows, etc.
    Ios 26
    Crete 26

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: $27
  • Ios Island: Speedboat Cruise from Mylopotas Beach: $52
  • 4-Hour Cruise of the Best Beaches: $63
  • From RIB Boat Trip to Sikinos Island and Winery Tour: $84
  • Electric Bike Tour Chora to Homer's Tomp: $108
  • Electric Bike Tour Chora to Diaseli Cheesery: $108
  • 5 -6 Hour Private Chora E-Bike Tours: $130
  • Private Orienteering Experience in Mylopotas: $163

Tours and Activities in Crete

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

  • Chania: Self-Guided Scavenger Hunt and City Highlights Tour: $6.93
  • Heraklion Archaeological Museum Ticket & Audio Guide: $8.52
  • CRETAquarium Entrance Ticket in Crete: $8.71
  • The Terra Creta Olive Oil Experience Tour: $11
  • Chania: Archaeological Museum Skip-The-Line Ticket and audio tour on your phone: $11
  • Heraklion: Hop-On Hop-Off Sightseeing Bus Tour: $13
  • Chania: Sunset Boat Cruise with Guide: $15
  • Entry E-Ticket to Heraklion Archaeological Museum with Audio: $15
  • Heraklion: Hop-on Hop-off Open Top Bus Sightseeing Tour: $16
  • Gramvousa Island and Balos Lagoon Day Tour from Rethimno: $16
  • Chersonissos: Mini-Train City Highlights Tour: $17
  • Heraklion City Tour - Aquarium: $17

  • Alcohol Drinks for one day
    Ios 33
    Crete 20

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: $38

Sample the Local Flavors in Crete

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

  • Chania: Off-Road Tour at Sunset with Wine Tasting: $95
  • Ecobike Wine Tasting Tour in Heraklion: $114
  • Heraklion: Half Day Small Group Wine Tour with wine Tastings: $125
  • Wine Tasting on Luxury Yacht Sunset Evening in Marina: $173
  • The Gourmet Wine Tour of Heraklion area: $180
  • Knossos, Olive Mill, Winery - Distillery with Tastings & Lunch : $196
  • Heraklion SUV Private Guided Wine Tour with Lunch : $215
  • Private-Knossos Palace and Wine tasting in Heraklion countryside: $218
  • From Elounda Private Heraklion Wine Tour with Tastings and Lunch: $228
  • Heraklion: Private Knossos & Wine Tasting Tour with Lunch: $245
  • Ecobike Tour • All in One • Historical Tour-Food Tasting-Wine Tasting: $256

When comparing the travel costs between Ios and Crete, we can see that Crete 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 Ios Expensive? and Is Crete Expensive?.

Which has a larger population, Ios or Crete?

Crete has a larger population, and is about 330 times larger than the population of Ios. When comparing the sizes of Ios and Crete, 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.