A Travel Price Comparison for Families, Couples, and Backpackers Paphos vs. Ios for Attractions, Food, Nightlife, and Resorts

Should you visit Paphos or Ios?

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

If you're trying to decide where to visit between Paphos or Ios, this travel comparison, which includes costs, can help. The overall cost of travel is usually a consideration when deciding where to go next, and the cost comparison down below can help you decide based on the average prices from other travelers along with your own travel budget.


Paphos is a coastal, overlooked, and ancient town. The beauty of this spot is also one of the main reasons why visitors come. And you can't forget about the shopping, museums, and nightlife.


Ios is a backpacker-friendly, historical, and party-oriented island. This is also a very beautiful destination which attracts plenty of visitors. It's also known for shopping, museums, and nightlife.

Paphos and Ios: Pros and Cons

  • Popular museums and historical sights
  • Good scuba and snorkeling destination
  • Popular beach
  • Scenic old town
  • Family-friendly
  • Good for couples and romance
  • Good for backpackers and budget travelers
  • Impressive beauty
Things to Consider
  • Less popular for nightlife
  • 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 museums and historical sights
  • Less family-friendly

Is there more to do in Paphos or Ios?

Travelers will usually find more to do in Paphos. Although Paphos and Ios are popular destinations, Paphos has more sights and attractions for tourists. Paphos is very popular for its museums, food, resorts, historical sights, and shopping, while Ios attracts visitors for its nightlife and hiking. Paphos is famous for its historical sights, rich culture, and beautiful churches. It is also well known for Paphos Archaeological Park. Ios is famous for its party hard atmosphere that attracts a younger and rowdier crowd.

How is Paphos different from Ios?

Which is Better for a Holiday?

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

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


Paphos 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 Paphos are among the most recognizable in the world. The area is well known for its impressive archeological ruins, many of which are found at Paphos Archaeological Site. Other impressive sights include the Tombs of the Kings, the Chrysopolitissa Basilica & St. Paul's Pillar, Agia Paraskevi, and Paphos Fort.

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 Paphos or Ios? Which Destination has the Best Restaurants?


Paphos 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, Paphos is an obvious choice, as it is one of the food capitals of the world. Food is a huge part of the culture and family life in the area. The cuisine is influenced by the surrounding areas and you'll see similarities to Greek, Turkish, and Middle Eastern cuisines. Popular dishes include koupepia (vine leaves stuffed with a filling called gemista), souvlaki (a meat and salad filled pita), and makaronia tou fournou (a pasta dish made with halloumi and béchamel sauce).

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 Paphos or Ios Better for Nightlife?


Ios is renowned for nightlife. Also, Paphos is still popular, but not quite as popular for nightlife and partying.

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.

If you're looking for night time activities Paphos has a few options to choose from. Most people think of history, culture, beaches, and wine, but the city also has its share of clubs and bars. It's not the party-hard beach destination that you'll find at some Mediterranean tourist areas, but there are still plenty of bars and clubs with atmosphere and style. Head to Agiou Antoniou Street for the most action.

Is Paphos or Ios Better for Resorts?


Paphos 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, Paphos is a great choice. The area is filled with all types of resorts. There are many all-inclusive resorts that cater to families, honeymooners, or luxury vacationers. If you want to experience more of the local culture, there are also smaller boutique hotels or local apartments available.

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 Paphos or Ios Better for Scuba Diving and Snorkeling?


You'll find nice snorkeling or scuba diving in both Paphos and Ios.

Paphos has a few areas where visitors often go scuba diving or snorkeling. There are many snorkeling and dive spots that aren't far away. You'll also find a number of scuba or snorkeling excursions that you can join. The water conditions for snorkeling and diving are best during the summer months.

It's fun to get in the water and check out the local marine life in Ios. There are some nice snorkeling and diving areas around the island as well as vendors who organize snorkeling and dive trips.

Is Paphos or Ios Better for Beaches?


Both Paphos and Ios have fantastic beaches worth visiting.

The beaches in Paphos are among the best in the world. Many people head to the area specifically for the beaches. This region has the longest coastline of any region in Cyprus, but keep in mind that some of the best beaches are found outside of the main tourist areas. However, they most are usually accessible by city bus with many remote stretches found along the Akamas Peninsula. Within town the beaches are often rocky and pebbly.

Ios is considered to be a world-class beach destination. 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 Paphos or Ios Better for its Old Town?


Paphos is a popular place for its old town. However, Ios does not have a historic old town.

Many people head to Paphos to see the old town. The old town is a pleasant area to walk around with a number of interesting buildings.

Ios does not have a historic old town.

Is Paphos or Ios Better for Hiking?


Ios is a nice place to visit for its hiking experiences. However, Paphos is not a hiking destination.

Ios has hiking trails worth exploring. 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.

Paphos is not a hiking destination.

Is the Shopping Better in Paphos or Ios?


Paphos is notable for its shopping opportunities. Also, Ios is not as famous, but is still a good island to visit for its shopping areas.

Paphos is a popular shopping destination with plenty of stores. There are outdoor markets, major shopping streets, and international fashion brands. You can pick up local souvenirs or beach gear that you may have forgotten.

Ios has a variety of shopping areas worth visiting. 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 Paphos or Ios Better for Families?


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

Paphos is a very kid-friendly town. There are plenty of outdoor activities that kids will enjoy. Head to the beach or take a walk along the coastline. Animal lovers will appreciate a visit to the zoo, bird park, or aquarium and young thrill seekers will enjoy a day at the Aqua-park of Aphrodite. And, of course, there's also the ruins that kids can have fun exploring.

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 Paphos or Ios Better for Couples?


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

Paphos makes for a terrific place to visit as a couple. Honeymooners who enjoy history, nature, beaches, and culture will find it all in the area. There are stunning beaches where you can relax in the sun, world renowned archeological ruins where you can immerse yourself in a historical world, and beautiful views around every corner. There are also excellent restaurants and wine tasting opportunities that will make for a memorable trip.

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 Paphos or Ios Better for Backpackers and Budget Travelers?


Ios is renowned for backpackers. Also, Paphos is still popular, but not quite as popular 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.

Many backpackers visit Paphos. The area is generally accessible with a few good hostels and budget accommodation options sprinkled about. There are great beaches and restaurants as well as plenty of beautiful places to enjoy a walk.

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


You'll find somewhat comparable public transit options in both Paphos and Ios.

Visitors to Paphos can move around easily with public transportation. It's possible to get around by city bus to most places. Buses connect many touristy areas such as Kato Paphos, Tombs of the Kings, Chloraka, Kissonerga, Coral Bay and Paphos Center.

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 Paphos or Ios a more walkable city?


Paphos and Ios both are nice when exploring on foot.

Paphos is somewhat walkable. The main tourist area is Kato Paphos which is small, compact and easy to walk around, but if you want to head to areas further away then you likely won't be able to travel on foot. It's important to understand where your hotel is located if you're planning to explore on foot.

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

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

Should I spend more time in Ios or Paphos?

How long in Paphos or Ios?

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

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

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

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

One day in Paphos or Ios?

With museums and nightlife around the overlooked destination of Paphos, 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.

Many travelers enjoy the scuba diving and snorkeling and shopping when visiting the destination of Ios. It's a great spot for a beach vacation. One day is often enough time to do most activities.

A weekend in Paphos or Ios?

Many people visit Paphos for a weekend. With nightlife and food around the overlooked town of Paphos, there's plenty to do. People usually spend lots of time at the beach. Since there is so much to do in the area, a weekend is probably not enough for all of it.

Ios is a great place to explore. It is common to spend a weekend here. With all of its activities, you can easily fill a weekend here. Your budget might influence how long you stay.

Five days in Paphos or Ios?

With food and scuba diving and snorkeling around the destination of Paphos, 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.

It's hard to know how much time to spend in Ios. Most people come for the beaches. Five days may feel like too much time unless you plan to do a lot of relaxing. It has many unique tourist attractions and fascinating things to do.

A week in Paphos or Ios?

Paphos, a popular 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.

Travelers enjoy the nightlife and food when visiting the historical destination of Ios. This island offers a variety of activities to choose from. Many visitors spend time at the beach while visiting the area. Most people find that one week is more than enough time to see everything.

For some great organized tour ideas, see The Best Romantic Tours for Couples in Cyprus, The Best Tours for Seniors to Cyprus, The Best One Week (7-Day) Tours in Greece, and The Best 3-Day Tours in Greece.

Which place is cheaper, Ios or Paphos?

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

The average daily cost (per person) in Paphos is €97, 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 Paphos and Ios in more detail.

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

Looking for a hotel in Paphos 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 Paphos

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: Paphos Hotel Prices and Ios Hotel Prices.

Local Transportation
  • Local Transportation Taxis, local buses, subway, etc.
    Paphos 12
    Ios 16

Hired Cars and Shuttles in Paphos

Some specific examples of transportation prices in Paphos:

  • Private Transfer from Paphos Airport (PFO) to Limassol Port: $25
  • Private Transfer from Paphos city hotels to Limassol Cruise Port: $25
  • From Nicosia Sightseeing Tour with Hotel Transfer: $30
  • Paphos to Paphos Int Airport (PFO) - Departure Private Transfer: $30
  • Blue Lagoon trip with slide, music & transfer from Paphos: $31
  • Private Transfer from Paphos Airport PFO to Paphos City by Sedan: $32
  • Private Airport Transfer from Hotel to Paphos Airport in a 4-seater taxi: $41
  • Choirokitia & Famagusta Guided Tour with Transfers: $43
  • Private Transfer Paphos Airport PFO to Paphos City by Luxury Van: $46
  • Departure Transfer from Polis City to Paphos Airport PFO by Sedan: $69
  • Private Transfer Paphos Airport PFO to Limassol City by Sedan: $78
  • Private Transfer Paphos Airport PFO to Nicosia City by Luxury Van: $165

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

Is it cheaper to fly into Paphos or Ios?

Prices for flights to both Ios and Paphos 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
    Paphos 38
    Ios 33

Food Tours and Cooking Classes in Paphos

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

  • From Sunset Drink at Aphrodite's Rock & Folk Dinner: $52
  • Sunset Drink at Aphrodite's Rock & Folk Dinner: $53
  • Wave Dancer Fireworks, Buffet Dinner & Show Cruise: $66

  • Entertainment Entrance tickets, shows, etc.
    Paphos 12
    Ios 26

Tours and Activities in Paphos

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

  • Cruise to Blue Lagoon from Latchi Port: $20
  • Blue Lagoon Cruise with sightseeing departing from LATCHI HARBOUR. Postcode 8840: $22
  • Nafsika II Half Day Cruise Swimming to blue lagoon water slide : $24
  • From Limassol Experience: $25
  • Latchi to Blue Lagoon Glass Bottom+slide Boat Tour: $25
  • From Blue Lagoon Bus and Boat Cruise Day Trip: $26
  • From Paphos:Blue Lagoon Latchi Akamas day Boat cruise.: $27
  • Chrysoroyiatissa ,Kykkos ,Omodos Day Tour from Paphos: $27
  • From Guided tour of Limassol with Rock of Aphrodite: $29
  • Paphos/Akamas: Blue Lagoon Bus & Boat Tour with Water Slide: $30
  • From Authentic Cyprus Guided Tour with Breakfast: $32
  • Authentic Cyprus Historic Day Tour from Paphos: $33

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

  • Alcohol Drinks for one day
    Paphos 9.98
    Ios 33

Sample the Local Flavors in Paphos

Some specific costs for nightlife related activities in Paphos:

  • Wine tasting and winery tour at Fikardos Winery: $28
  • Troodos Mountains Jeep Tour with Wine Tasting: $64
  • Regional Wineries Tour with Wine Tastings: $80
  • WINE TOUR from Paphos: $103

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

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

Which is Bigger, Paphos or Ios?

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