A Travel Price Comparison for Families, Couples, and Backpackers Ios vs. Portimao for Nightlife, Resorts, Beaches, and Families

Should you visit Ios or Portimao?

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

Should I visit Ios or Portimao? 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 backpacker-friendly, historical, and party-oriented island. With stunning beauty, it attracts visitors from all around. Other popular activities here include shopping, museums, and nightlife.

Portimao

Portimao is a vibrant, colorful, and stunning coastal city. You'll find world class beauty here as well. And you can't forget about the nightlife, scuba diving and snorkeling, and beaches.

Ios and Portimao: Pros and Cons

Pros
  • Popular museums and historical sights
  • Popular for food and cuisine
  • Active nightlife
  • Good scuba and snorkeling destination
  • Popular beach
  • Good for hiking
  • Good for couples and romance
  • Good for backpackers and budget travelers
  • Good public transit
  • Impressive beauty
Things to Consider
  • Less family-friendly
Pros
  • Active nightlife
  • Good scuba and snorkeling destination
  • Popular beach
  • Family-friendly
  • Good for couples and romance
  • Impressive beauty
Things to Consider
  • Less popular for food
  • Less popular with backpackers
  • Public transit not as usable


Is there more to do in Ios or Portimao?

Tourists will generally find more to do in Ios. Although Ios and Portimao are both popular with visitors, Ios has more sights, activities, and attractions for travelers. Ios is more popular for its museums, food, nightlife, and hiking, while Portimao is known for its resorts, scuba diving & snorkeling, and impressive beauty. Portimao is more touristy than Ios and is known for it's dramatic and beautiful beaches and its many activities. Ios is popular for its party hard atmosphere that attracts a younger and rowdier crowd. It is also home to Skarkos Archeological Site.

How is Ios different from Portimao?

Which is Better for a Holiday?

Let's take a look at the differences and similarities between Portimao 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 Portimao?

Ios
Portimao

Ios is a good destination for its sights and museums. However, Portimao does not have 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.

Portimao does not have museums and landmarks.


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

Ios
Portimao

Ios is a well-known place for its local cuisine and restaurants. However, Portimao is not a good coastal city for its restaurants.

Dining out in Ios is an experience not to be missed. 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.

Portimao offers some easy restaurants to choose from. Many resorts have attached restaurants where visitors often find themselves dining. For a slightly more local vibe, you can check out one of the many restaurants around town. Much of the restaurant scene is centered around the Alvor District where you'll find unique options that serve local dishes mixed in with some international choices. The city is most famous for its grilled sardines, which are considered a local specialty.

Is Ios or Portimao Better for Nightlife?

Ios
Portimao

Ios is renowned for its evening party scene. Also, Portimao is not as famous, but is still a good coastal city to visit for nightlife.

Ios is a destination that you simply have to visit at least once for nightlife. 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.

Portimao has a large number of nightlife venues. The city's nightlife scene is mostly found around Praia da Rocha. It's a compact area that makes it easy to hop from bar to bar on foot. Particularly during the summer months you'll find plenty of parties and all night activities that draw a crowd. Sunset boat parties are also a popular activity in the area.

Is Ios or Portimao Better for Resorts?

Ios
Portimao

Portimao 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, Portimao is a great choice. The area has all types of resorts, from all-inclusive options to luxury or more family-friendly. Many of the resorts are surprisingly affordable and offer easy access to the beach.

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 Portimao Better for Scuba Diving and Snorkeling?

Ios
Portimao

Portimao 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 Portimao. The best water conditions are during the summer months but this is also when the beaches are crowded and swimmers can kick up a lot of sand. There are a variety of vendors where you can book snorkeling or diving trips in the area.

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 Portimao Better for Beaches?

Ios
Portimao

For a relaxing beach holiday, both Ios and Portimao are amazing 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, Portimao is a very popular vacation destination. The stunning beaches are a major draw to the area. They are sandy and feature a backdrop of dramatic red cliffs. The most popular beach in town is Praia da Rocha, which can get crowded during the summer months, but it is quite large so you should still be able to find a spot. The strip behind the beach is lined with shops, bars, restaurants, and a casino. If you want to avoid some of the crowds you can make the walk down to Praia do Vau. Families often enjoy Praia de Alvor, which has a boardwalk that leads to Ria de Alvor nature reserve.

Is Ios or Portimao Better for Hiking?

Ios
Portimao

Ios is a good destination for the nearby hiking options. However, Portimao is not a hiking destination.

Ios offers some nice hiking trails. 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.

Portimao is not a hiking destination.


Is the Shopping Better in Ios or Portimao?

Ios
Portimao

Both Ios and Portimao 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.

Portimao has a variety of shopping areas worth visiting. It's the second largest city in the Algarve so you'll find several large and modern shopping centers including Aqua Portimão.

Is Ios or Portimao Better for Families?

Ios
Portimao

Portimao 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, Portimao is a very family-friendly destination. Kids will love the wide range of activities available near Portimao. They can kayak through caves, see an underwater world snorkeling, learn to surf, visit waterparks, explore nature parks, and more. There are activities that the whole family can enjoy, making this stretch of coastline the perfect option for those traveling with kids.

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 Portimao Better for Couples?

Ios
Portimao

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

Portimao makes for a terrific place to visit as a couple. This beautiful stretch of coastline offers unique beaches and stunning outdoor activities. It makes a wonderful honeymoon destination for couples who enjoy adventure, pampering, and romantic resorts. There are great restaurants as well as places to relax or activities for thrill 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 Portimao Better for Backpackers and Budget Travelers?

Ios
Portimao

Ios is renowned for backpackers. Also, Portimao is not as famous, but is still a good coastal city to visit 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.

Plenty of budget travelers visit Portimao. Most people think of high end resorts when they think of the Mediterranean coast, but there are a couple of hostels available for backpackers. You should also consider transportation options. While buses are available, many visitors prefer to have access to a car so they can experience the outlying regions. The good news is the area in general is not particularly expensive so you can enjoy a touch of luxury at a lower cost.

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

Ios
Portimao

Ios is a well-known place for its public transit. However, Portimao is not a good coastal city 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.

Public transit is mostly limited in Portimao. There are local buses around town but many routes don't run on weekends.

Is Ios or Portimao a more walkable city?

Ios
Portimao

Ios is a good destination for its ease of walking around. However, Portimao is not a good coastal city for its walkability.

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

Portimao is generally not a very walkable island. While there are some nice walks along the coastline, the city is fairly large and spread out with many resorts located far from the center of town.


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

Should I spend more time in Portimao or Ios?

How long in Ios or Portimao?

It's fun to spend time in either Ios or Portimao. Generally, people tend to spend more time in Portimao due to the larger number of activities and things to do. Usually, 1-3 days is a good amount of time for Ios, and 2-4 days is enough time in Portimao.

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

Backpackers and budget travelers should spend more time in Ios than Portimao 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 Portimao? Ideal Length of Stay
    Ios 1-3 
    Portimao 2-4

One day in Ios or Portimao?

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 scuba diving and snorkeling and shopping around the stunning destination of Portimao, there's plenty to do. It's also a relaxing resort destination. One of the main draws to the area is the beaches. 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 Portimao?

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 Portimao for a weekend. With shopping and nightlife around the vibrant coastal city of Portimao, there's plenty to do. One of the main draws to the area is the beaches. People usually spend lots of time at the beach. Because of this, a weekend is usually enough time for a trip here.

Five days in Ios or Portimao?

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 Portimao offers nightlife and scuba diving and snorkeling. Travelers enjoy the resorts in the area as well. It offers something for everyone. One of the main draws to the area is the beaches. 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 Portimao?

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.

Portimao, a popular coastal city, is full of activities for travelers. People often spend their time relaxing at one of the resorts. 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 from Athens, The Best 10-Day Tours from Athens, Tours for Outdoor and Nature Lovers in Portugal, and The Best Bicycle Tours in Portugal.


Which place is cheaper, Portimao 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 Portimao is €152. 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 Portimao in more detail.



Accommodation
  • Accommodation Hotel or hostel for one person
    Ios 39
    Portimao 78
  • Accommodation Typical double-occupancy room
    Ios 78
    Portimao 156
Compare Hotels in Ios and Portimao

Looking for a hotel in Ios or Portimao? 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 Portimao


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 Portimao Hotel Prices.

Local Transportation
  • Local Transportation Taxis, local buses, subway, etc.
    Ios 16
    Portimao 37

Hired Cars and Shuttles in Ios

Some specific examples of transportation prices in Ios:

  • 1-Way Private Helicopter Transfer to the Greek Islands: $2,465

Hired Cars and Shuttles in Portimao

Some specific examples of transportation prices in Portimao:

  • Transfer Armação de Pêra - Balaia Golf (Albufeira): $34
  • Transfer Alvor - Alamos Golf (Portimão): $34
  • Transfer Lagoa - Alamos Golf (Portimão): $34
  • Transfer Portimão - Alamos Golf (Portimão) Pending: $35
  • Transfer Praia da Rocha - Alamos Golf (Portimão) : $35
  • Transfer Lagoa - Balaia Golf (Albufeira): $41
  • Transfer Ferragudo - Balaia Golf (Albufeira): $41
  • Transfer Alvor - Boavista Golf (Lagos): $50
  • Private Transfer from Armaçao de Pera to Faro (FAO) Airport: $55
  • Transfer Alvor - Balaia Golf (Albufeira): $59
  • Transfer Praia da Rocha - Balaia Golf (Albufeira): $60
  • Transfer Lagoa - Boavista Golf (Lagos): $61

Is it cheaper to fly into Ios or Portimao?

Prices for flights to both Portimao 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
    Portimao 45

Food Tours and Cooking Classes in Portimao

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

  • Evening 4x4 Tour of Monchique Hills with Dinner: $99
  • Algarve Food Tour in Portimão: $110

Entertainment
  • Entertainment Entrance tickets, shows, etc.
    Ios 26
    Portimao 41

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: $93
  • 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: $167

Tours and Activities in Portimao

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

  • From Portimão to Paradise 60 minutes Sunset Tour: $16
  • From Portimão to Paradise 90 minutes Sunset Tour: $22
  • Express Tour - Benagil Cave: $22
  • Portimão: Benagil Caves Speedboat Tour: $24
  • Two Hours Tour from Portimão to Paradise : $25
  • Kayak Tour with local guide in Benagil: $25
  • Portimão to Benagil: Adrenaline Wave 90 Minutes Cave Tour: $25
  • Guided Kayak Express Tour: Unveil the Wonders of Benagil Cave!: $28
  • Kayak Tour around Benagil to see Sunset or Sunrise: $28
  • Stand Up Paddle Boarding Guided Experience in Praia da Rocha: $28
  • Private Polynesian and Hawaiian Canoe Adventure through the Algarve: $28
  • Benagil Cave Kayak Self-Guided Tour: $28

Alcohol
  • Alcohol Drinks for one day
    Ios 33
    Portimao 30

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

Sample the Local Flavors in Portimao

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

  • Wine Tasting and Art Tour: $40
  • Carvoeiro, Albufeira & Vilamoura: Wine Tasting & Music Experience: $61
  • Lagos, Portimão & Alvor: Wine Tasting & Music Experience: $61
  • Algarve wine tour of 2 wine estates and lunch at the countryside: $156


When we compare the travel costs of actual travelers between Ios and Portimao, we can see that Portimao 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 Portimao would naturally cost you much more money, so you would probably want to keep your budget a little tighter in Portimao 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 Portimao Expensive?.


Which is Bigger, Ios or Portimao?

Portimao has a larger population, and is about 20 times larger than the population of Ios. When comparing the sizes of Ios and Portimao, 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.