A Travel Price Comparison for Greece Kos vs. Ios for Attractions, Food, Nightlife, and Scuba Diving & Snorkeling

Should you visit Kos or Ios?

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

Trying to figure out where to travel next? This travel comparison between Kos and Ios can help. It includes a travel cost comparison in addition to other factors. For many travelers, the cost of a destination is a primary consideration when choosing where to go.


Kos is a party-hard, vibrant, and beautiful island. You'll find world class beauty here as well. And you can't forget about the nightlife, food, and scuba diving and snorkeling.


Ios is a party-oriented, vibrant, and beautiful island. This is also a very beautiful destination which attracts plenty of visitors. Other reasons to visit include nightlife, food, and scuba diving and snorkeling.

Kos and Ios: Pros and Cons

  • 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
  • Impressive beauty
  • Active nightlife
  • Popular beach
  • Good for hiking
  • Good for couples and romance
  • Good for backpackers and budget travelers
  • Impressive beauty
Things to Consider
  • Less museums and historical sights
  • Not as popular for scuba diving and snorkeling
  • Less family-friendly

Is there more to do in Kos or Ios?

Travelers will usually find more to do in Kos. Although Kos and Ios are popular destinations, Kos has more sights and attractions for tourists. Kos is very popular for its museums, food, scuba diving & snorkeling, and impressive beauty, while Ios attracts visitors for its nightlife and resorts. Ios is more touristy than Kos and is popular for its party hard atmosphere that attracts a younger and rowdier crowd. Kos is famous for its sandy beaches and crystal clear blue water. It is also well known for Asklepieion Archeological Site.

How is Kos different from Ios?

Which is Better for a Holiday?

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

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


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

The museums, monuments, and landmarks in Kos are among the most recognizable in the world. The small island is packed with archaeological sites and interesting history. Famous places worth visiting include the ruins of Asklepion, the ancient Agora, Roman Odeon, Neratzia Castle, and so many more!

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 Kos or Ios? Which Destination has the Best Restaurants?


Kos 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, Kos is an obvious choice, as it is one of the food capitals of the world. The cuisine relies heavily on locally harvested ingredients with many dishes featuring cheese, seafood, vegetables, olive oil, and potatoes. The dishes are influenced by Italian and Turkish cuisines and common dishes include moussaka, souvlaki and tzatziki. Popular seafood options are prawns, squid, lobster and octopus. A great way to enjoy a sampling of local dishes is to visit an ouzeri, which is a Greek taverna that serves mezza style meals with small dishes that you can share.

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 Kos or Ios Better for Nightlife?


Ios is very popular for nightlife. Also, Kos is not quite as popular, but is fairly good for nightlife and partying.

Ios is a party destination, and you'll find plenty of activity all night long. 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.

The people in Kos know how to have a good time. For such a small island you'll find a huge party scene during the peak summer months. There are almost nightly parties, beach raves, and late night clubs throughout the summer months. The bars and clubs are mostly concentrated around a couple of streets in the center of Kos Town, but Kardamena is also a lively party area. It's popular with British tourists who head here for the all-night clubs.

Is Kos or Ios Better for Resorts?


Ios is an excellent place to visit for its luxury resorts. Also, Kos is not quite as popular, but is fairly good for its resorts.

In Ios, you'll find some of the region's top resorts. 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.

With a selection of resorts, Kos makes a nice vacation spot. It's a smaller island and there aren't as many resorts here as there are on some of the larger Greek islands. Some of the best resort areas include Lamp and Psalidi to the northwest, Tigaki on the west coast (a good option for families), as well as Mastihari and Marmari which both have relaxed atmospheres. The younger crowd often hangs out around Kardemena on the east coast.

Is Kos or Ios Better for Scuba Diving and Snorkeling?


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

The clear water and abundant marine life make Kos a world-class scuba diving and snorkeling destination. There are countless snorkeling sports around the island where you can immerse yourself in the undersea world. Popular snorkeling areas include Camel Beach and Limnionas Beach. Make sure you understand the water conditions before heading into the water.

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 Kos or Ios Better for Beaches?


Both Kos and Ios are considered to be terrific beach destinations.

Kos is considered to be a world-class beach destination. The island is famous for its beautiful beaches, many of which are sandy with various shades of color. There are touristy beaches with plenty of amenities as well as less frequented beaches that offer a quieter and more remote atmosphere. Some of the most visited beaches on the island include Agios Stefanos, Kardamena, Kefalos and Lambi while some of the more peaceful areas are Cavo Paradiso and Helona Beach.

Ios offers stunning beaches that attract visitors from around 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.

Is Kos or Ios Better for Hiking?


Both Kos and Ios are destinations which offer nice hiking.

Plenty of visitors go hiking around Kos. This is a great walking island with a number of easy walks or hikes that take you along the coastline or through interesting landscapes.

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.

Is the Shopping Better in Kos or Ios?


Shoppers can find a variety of nice stores in both Kos and Ios.

Plenty of visitors enjoy shopping while in Kos. There are a number of traditional items that you can pick up while you're in town. Fun souvenirs include jewelry, leather items, and perfumes.

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.

Is Kos or Ios Better for Families?


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

Kos is a family-friendly place to visit. It's comparable to other Greek islands when it comes to kids' activities. Kos Town can get a bit lively at night so if you want to avoid the party crowds, then those areas are easily avoided. Popular activities include exploring ancient ruins, going to the Kos Archaeological Museum, visiting The Castle of the Knights, and of course, hanging out at the beach. One of the best family-friendly resort areas is Tigaki along the west coast.

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 Kos or Ios Better for Couples?


Both Kos and Ios are excellent destinations for a couple's getaway.

Kos makes for a fun place to visit for a couple. This small island offers beautiful beaches and plenty of ancient ruins to explore. Kos Town is where you'll find the liveliest atmosphere but for some of the best resorts you'll want to stay in one of the resort suburbs like Lampi or Psalidi.

Couples visit Ios frequently as it offers plenty of romantic activities. 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 Kos or Ios Better for Backpackers and Budget Travelers?


Ios is very popular for backpackers and budget travelers. Also, Kos is not quite as popular, but is fairly good for backpackers.

Many backpackers frequent Ios. 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.

Kos is a great island to visit for backpackers. It's a small island but has a few hostels and a variety of apartments available for rent. Despite its small size, there are areas where you'll want to have a car if you wish to explore, but if you stay in town you'll find getting around fairly easy. The island attracts its share of young travelers and you'll find plenty of people to hang out with.

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


Visitors will find excellent public transit in both Kos and Ios.

Visitors to Kos can move around easily with public transportation. Buses connect many of the tourist destinations including beaches, cultural sights, are resort areas.

The public transit in Ios can get you around easily. 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.

Is Kos or Ios a more walkable city?


Kos 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.

Kos is a very walkable island. It's small size means it's possible to explore parts of the island on foot or bicycle. There are some beautiful walks on the island, but some areas will require a car or bus.

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

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

Should I spend more time in Ios or Kos?

How long in Kos or Ios?

Visitors can find plenty of fun things to do in both Kos and Ios. With generally more activities and things to do, visitors tend to spend more time in Kos than in Ios. Usually, 2-5 days is a good amount of time for Kos, and 1-3 days is enough time in Ios.

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

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

Backpackers and budget travelers should spend more time in Ios than Kos 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 Kos or Ios? Ideal Length of Stay
    Kos 2-5 
    Ios 1-3

One day in Kos or Ios?

With museums and nightlife around the beautiful destination of Kos, 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.

With museums and nightlife around the striking destination of Ios, there's plenty to do. It's also a relaxing resort destination. So, one day is just the right amount of time to spend here. The length of your trip often depends on your style of travel.

A weekend in Kos or Ios?

Many people visit Kos for a weekend. With nightlife and food around the vibrant island of Kos, there's plenty to do. People usually spend lots of time at the beach. Because of this, a weekend is usually enough time for a trip here.

Many people visit Ios for a weekend. With nightlife and food around the backpacker-friendly island of Ios, there's plenty to do. 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 Kos or Ios?

With food and scuba diving and snorkeling around the destination of Kos, there's plenty to do. Many people spend five days here. It's also a great beach destination, too. It offers something for everyone. Because of this, five days is usually enough time for a trip here.

The destination of Ios offers food and scuba diving and snorkeling. Travelers enjoy the resorts in the area as well. 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 Kos or Ios?

Kos, a popular island, 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.

Ios, a popular island, 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.

Which place is cheaper, Ios or Kos?

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

The average daily cost (per person) in Kos is €134, 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 Kos and Ios in more detail.

  • Accommodation Hotel or hostel for one person
    Kos 62
    Ios 39
  • Accommodation Typical double-occupancy room
    Kos 124
    Ios 78
Compare Hotels in Kos and Ios

Looking for a hotel in Kos 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 Kos

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: Kos Hotel Prices and Ios Hotel Prices.

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

Hired Cars and Shuttles in Kos

Also for Kos, here are a few examples of actual transportation services:

  • Roundtrip Minivan Transfer to Therma Natural Spa Beach: $24
  • Lido Water Park Admission Ticket with Transfers: $24
  • Roundtrip Bus Transfer to Mount Zia for Sunset Viewing: $27
  • Kos Town: Kalymnos & Pserimos Day Cruise & Optional Transfer: $30
  • Kos - Airport Private Transfer: $55
  • Kalymnos, Pserimos & Plati Island Cruise with Hotel Transfer: $55
  • Artemis Hamam and Spa with Hotel Transfers Kos Island: $57
  • Arrival Transfer From Kos Airport : $61
  • Departure transfer to Kos Airport : $64
  • Arrival transfer from Kos Airport : $64
  • Kos Airport to Kos Hotels Private One–Way Transfer: $65
  • Private Transfer: Kos Island International Airport (KGS) to Kos: $81

Hired Cars and Shuttles in Ios

Some specific examples of transportation prices in Ios:

  • 1-Way Private Helicopter Transfer to the Greek Islands: $2,446

Is it cheaper to fly into Kos or Ios?

Prices for flights to both Ios and Kos 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
    Kos 43
    Ios 33

Food Tours and Cooking Classes in Kos

For Kos, here are some samples of tours and activities related to meals and dining experiences:

  • Greek Dinner with Music, Dancing, and Unlimited Wine: $43
  • Private Greek Cooking Class in Kos with Lunch: $89
  • Kos Cooking Classes by Mama Contessa: $96
  • Sunset Safari Tour with Dinner: $96
  • Private Cooking Class in Kos, Local Recipes: $98
  • Half Day Wine Tasting with Dinner in Kos: $115

  • Entertainment Entrance tickets, shows, etc.
    Kos 33
    Ios 26

Tours and Activities in Kos

For Kos, here are a few prices for actual activities, tours, and tickets provided by various companies:

  • First Discovery Walk and Reading Walking Tour: $3.25
  • Kos Scavenger Hunt and Best Landmarks Self-Guided Tour: $6.62
  • Self-Guided Highlights Scavenger Hunt and Walking Tour: $8.12
  • Escape Game and Tour: $8.12
  • Kos Town: Glass-Bottom Boat Cruise with Swimming Stops: $22
  • Dory's Glass Bottom Boat Adventure in Pserimos and Pserimos Beach: $30
  • 3-Island Cruise with Greek BBQ Lunch and Swimming: $32
  • From Kalymnos, Pserimos and Plati Day Cruise: $32
  • Kos Island: 3-Island Wooden Ship Cruise w/ Lunch: $32
  • Full-Day Tour to Nisyros The Volcano Island: $33
  • Full Day Boat Cruise to 3 Islands with optional pickup: $33
  • The Santa Maria Full-Day Island Cruise in Aegean Sea : $34

Tours and Activities in Ios

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

  • 5 -6 Hour Private Chora E-Bike Tours: $132
  • Electric Bike Tour Chora to Diaseli Cheesery: $110
  • Electric Bike Tour Chora to Homer's Tomp: $110
  • From RIB Boat Trip to Sikinos Island and Winery Tour: $86
  • Ios Island Trekking Tours: Discover Ios Unexplored: $28
  • Ios Island: Speedboat Cruise from Mylopotas Beach: $53
  • 4-Hour Cruise of the Best Beaches: $64
  • Private Orienteering Experience in Mylopotas: $165

  • Alcohol Drinks for one day
    Kos 19
    Ios 33

Sample the Local Flavors in Kos

Some specific costs for nightlife related activities in Kos:

  • Wineries Tour w/ Wine Tastings, Lunch & Transportation: $60

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 Kos and Ios, we can see that Kos 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 Kos would naturally cost you much more money, so you would probably want to keep your budget a little tighter in Kos 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 Kos Expensive? and Is Ios Expensive?.

Which is Bigger, Kos or Ios?

Kos has a larger population, and is about 10 times larger than the population of Ios. When comparing the sizes of Kos 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.