A Travel Price Comparison for Families, Couples, and Backpackers Kos vs. Marbella for Food, Nightlife, Resorts, and Scuba Diving & Snorkeling

Should you visit Kos or Marbella?

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 Marbella 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

Kos is a beautiful, ancient, and cultural island. It's considered by many to be an absolutely beautiful destination, too. Visitors also love the nightlife, food, and scuba diving and snorkeling.

Marbella

Marbella is a glamorous, fun-filled, and high energy resort town. This is also a very beautiful destination which attracts plenty of visitors. Other reasons to visit include scuba diving and snorkeling, beaches, and shopping.

Kos and Marbella: Pros and Cons

Pros
  • Popular for food and cuisine
  • Good scuba and snorkeling destination
  • Popular beach
  • Family-friendly
  • Good for couples and romance
  • Good for backpackers and budget travelers
  • Good public transit
  • Impressive beauty
Cons
  • Not as many resort options
  • Less popular for shopping
Pros
  • Great resorts
  • Good scuba and snorkeling destination
  • Popular beach
  • Good for shopping
  • Family-friendly
  • Good for couples and romance
  • Good for backpackers and budget travelers
  • Impressive beauty
Cons
  • Less popular for food
  • Public transit not as usable


How is Kos different from Marbella?

Which is Better for a Holiday?

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

Is Kos or Marbella Better for Food?

Kos
Marbella

For a nice culinary experience, head to Kos, which is well known for it's local dishes and restaurants.

Many restaurants in Kos have been singled out for their culinary prowess. 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.

Visitors will find a budding food and restaurant scene in Marbella. The area is filled with tourists, so finding an authentic dining experience can be difficult. Several favorite dishes include croquetas, boquerones, and pulpo.


Is Kos or Marbella Better for Nightlife?

Kos
Marbella

Both Kos and Marbella have similar vibes after the sun sets.

Kos has a lively atmosphere and nightlife is popular here. 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.

People head to Marbella just to party. European tourists flock to the town for its beaches and resorts. The town has a glamorous nightlife scene with exclusive clubs and ritzy cocktail bars, particularly in Puerto Banus and along the Golden Mile.

Is Kos or Marbella Better for Resorts?

Kos
Marbella

If you're looking for a better selection of resorts, you'll probably want to head to Marbella.

Marbella is a world class resort vacation destination. From luxury to family-friendly, this area has plenty of resorts to choose from. Popular resorts in the area include Marbella Club Hotel, Puente Romano Marbella, and Don Carlos Resort and Spa.

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 Marbella Better for Scuba Diving and Snorkeling?

Kos
Marbella

Both Kos and Marbella offer scuba diving or snorkeling.

Kos is a world class destination for scuba diving and snorkeling. 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.

People travel from around the world to go scuba diving and snorkeling in Marbella. There are more than 100 dive sights and endless snorkeling opportunities in the area. There are deep offshore reefs that you can explore as well as shallower wrecks and caves.

Is Kos or Marbella Better for Beaches?

Kos
Marbella

Both Kos and Marbella are considered to be good 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.

Marbella offers stunning beaches that attract visitors from around the world. The area boasts some of the best beaches in Europe. They are hubs of activity with lots of energy, and there are more than 18 miles of sandy beach in the area. Popular options include Guadalmina Beach, San Pedro de Alcántara Beach, and Nueva Andalucía Beach.


Is Kos or Marbella Better for Shopping?

Kos
Marbella

While Kos and Marbella are both popular shopping destinations, overall Marbella is considered to be better.

People travel from around the world to go shopping in Marbella. This area attracts vacationers from around Europe and the shopping is some of the best in Europe.

Kos offers some nice shopping areas. 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.

Is Kos or Marbella Better for Families?

Kos
Marbella

Both Kos and Marbella are fun to visit with kids.

Kos is a family-friendly island. 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.

Marbella is a very kid-friendly island. The area has beautiful, family-friendly beaches and many resorts with pools that are great for kids.

Is Kos or Marbella Better for Couples?

Kos
Marbella

Both Kos and Marbella are good 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.

Marbella is fantastic couple's destination with fun and romantic activities. The area has luxury resorts, nice beaches, water sports, golf, and water activities that are perfect for a honeymoon or a romantic weekend or a honeymoon.

Is Kos or Marbella Better for Backpackers and Budget Travelers?

Kos
Marbella

Kos and Marbella are both good destinations for backpackers.

Kos is very popular with the backpacker crowd. 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.

Marbella is popular with backpackers and budget travelers. There are a few good hostels in the area for backpackers who want to enjoy this part of Spain's cost. There's also a lively nightlife scene and plenty of opportunities to meet others.


Is Kos or Marbella Better for Public Transit?

Kos
Marbella

Kos generally offers a better public transit system than Marbella.

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

Public transit is generally limited in Marbella. There is a bus system through the area, but most visitors prefer to get around by car.

Is Kos or Marbella a more walkable city?

Kos
Marbella

Kos and Marbella are similar when it comes to walkability.

Kos is very walkable. 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.

Marbella is a very walkable island. The old town is particularly walkable and there are a number of hotels and nice resorts within a short walk of the town along a nice promenade.

Should I spend more time in Marbella or Kos?

How long in Kos or Marbella?

In either Kos or Marbella, you'll find plenty of activities to fill your time. You can fill a similar amount of time in either place.

The ideal length of time for a trip to Kos is 2-5 days, and the ideal length of time for a trip to Marbella is 2-5 days.


  • How many days in Kos or Marbella? Ideal Length of Stay
    Kos 2-5 
    Marbella 2-5

One day in Kos or Marbella?

The beautiful island of Kos offers museums and nightlife. Most people come for the beaches. With so much to do, one day is probably not enough time to see everything. It will give you the chance to have new experiences.

With shopping and nightlife around the glamorous destination of Marbella, 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 Kos or Marbella?

Kos 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. Many visitors spend time at the beach while visiting the area. While some people choose to spend more or less time in Kos, a weekend is sufficent for most. Take your pick from the many activities offered here.

Many people visit Marbella for a weekend. With nightlife and live music around the fun-filled resort town of Marbella, 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 Marbella?

Kos is a popular choice for travelers. Five days here is typical. While some people choose to spend more or less time in Kos, five days is sufficent for most. The entire region has so many activities, and you'll want time to do everything.

With live music and food around the destination of Marbella, 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 Kos or Marbella?

Kos 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.

Marbella, a popular resort town, 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 city is cheaper, Marbella or Kos?

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

The average daily cost (per person) in Kos is €107, while the average daily cost in Marbella is €93. 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 city. What follows is a categorical breakdown of travel costs for Kos and Marbella in more detail.



Accommodation
  • Accommodation Hotel or hostel for one person
    Kos 49
    Marbella 49
  • Accommodation Typical double-occupancy room
    Kos 98
    Marbella 98
Compare Hotels in Kos and Marbella

Looking for a hotel in Kos or Marbella? 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 Marbella


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 Marbella Hotel Prices.

Local Transportation
  • Local Transportation Taxis, local buses, subway, etc.
    Kos 29
    Marbella 19

Hired Cars and Shuttles in Kos

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

  • Private departure Transfer from Kos island resorts to Kos airport: $96
  • Private Airport Transfer: from Kos Island to Kos Airport (KGS): $41
  • Private Transfer to/from Kos Airport (KGS): $71
  • Kos - Airport Private Transfer: $62

Hired Cars and Shuttles in Marbella

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

  • TRANSFER MALAGA AIRPORT from/to PUERTO BANUS-PRICE ALL INCUSIVE: $106
  • TRANSFER MALAGA AIRPORT from/to MARBELLA-PRICE ALL INCLUSIVE: $106
  • Private Transfer from Nueva Andalucía to Malaga (AGP) Airport: $144
  • Private Transfer from Marbesa to Malaga (AGP) Airport: $111
  • Private Transfer from Marbella to Malaga (AGP) airport: $151
  • Private Transfer from Los Monteros to Malaga (AGP) Airport: $122
  • Private Transfer from Lomas De Cabopino to Malaga (AGP) Airport: $111
  • Private Transfer from Las Chapas to Malaga (AGP) Airport: $111
  • Private Transfer from La Quinta Golf Resort to Malaga (AGP) Airport: $151
  • Private Transfer from Hotel Marbella Beach Resort to Malaga (AGP) Airport: $111
  • Private Transfer from Elviria to Malaga (AGP) Airport: $111
  • Private Transfer Marbella, Malaga, Gibraltar or Tarifa to Seville SVQ by Sedan: $568

Is it cheaper to fly into Kos or Marbella?

Prices for flights to both Marbella 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
  • Food Meals for one day
    Kos 35
    Marbella 31

Food Tours and Cooking Classes in Marbella

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

  • Cooking courses at home & online: $75
  • Tapas & Paella Cooking Course: $80
  • Food Tour: $85

Entertainment
  • Entertainment Entrance tickets, shows, etc.
    Kos 26
    Marbella 15

Tours and Activities in Kos

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

  • Kalymnos and Pserimos Day Cruise: $55
  • Photo tour island of Kos: $684

Tours and Activities in Marbella

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

  • Alhambra Private Tour from with Transport and skip-the-line tickets: $386
  • Bike City Tour Marbella: $32
  • Can-am Route Experience: $77
  • Casares private half-day Tour from Marbella or Malaga: $299
  • E-Mountain Bike Explorer Tour departing from Marbella: $93
  • From Blue to Blue - Hiking tour in the Rif Mountains of Morocco: $1,151
  • From Costa del Sol: Casares Private Tour: $274
  • Full-Day Gibraltar Shopping Tour from the Costa del Sol: $33
  • Granada and Alhambra from Marbella and Costa del Sol: Vip Private Tour: $862
  • Half-day White Villages E-Mountain Bike Tour: $148
  • Marbella Gourmet Tapas Tour - Do Eat Better Experience: $88
  • Marbella Like a Local: Customized Private Tour: $41

Alcohol
  • Alcohol Drinks for one day
    Kos 16
    Marbella 4.57

Sample the Local Flavors in Marbella

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

  • Tour of the Old Town with Wine Tasting & Tapas: $112
  • E-Mountain Bike & Wine Tour from Marbella to Sierra Blanca: $123
  • Manilva & Gaucin Wine Tour from the Costa del Sol: $160
  • Ronda Full Day Wine Tour from Marbella: $210
  • VIP Wine Tour through the Guadalhorce Valley & Wolf Sanctuary Visit: $360
  • Ronda Private Wine Tour and Tapas from Marbella: $406
  • VIP Ronda Wine Tour and Tasting and Gourmet Lunch Experience with Winemaker: $778


When comparing the travel costs between Kos and Marbella, we can see that Kos 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.

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Kos vs. Marbella Travel Comparison

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