A Travel Price Comparison for Greece Santorini vs. Ios for Nightlife, Resorts, Beaches, and Couples

Should you visit Santorini or Ios?

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

If you're trying to decide where to visit between Santorini 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.


Santorini is a historic, romantic, and stunning island. You'll find world class beauty here as well. This is an attractive and quaint destination worth visiting as well. And you can't forget about the nightlife, food, and scuba diving and snorkeling.


Ios is a beautiful, striking, and touristy island. The beauty of this spot is also one of the main reasons why visitors come. Visitors also love the scuba diving and snorkeling, beaches, and hiking.

Santorini and Ios: Pros and Cons

  • Popular museums and historical sights
  • Good scuba and snorkeling destination
  • Good for hiking
  • Family-friendly
  • Good for couples and romance
  • Impressive beauty
  • Quaint atmosphere
Things to Consider
  • Less popular for nightlife
  • Less attractive beach
  • Less popular with backpackers
  • 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

Is there more to do in Santorini or Ios?

Visitors will usually find more to do in Ios than Santorini, as it offers more sights, attractions, and activities. Ios is better known for its food, nightlife, and beaches, while Santorini is more popular for its resorts, shopping, impressive beauty, and quaint atmosphere. Santorini is more touristy than Ios and is popular for its beautiful volcanic beaches, stunning natural beauty, and breathtaking sunsets over the whitewashed villages. Ios is well known for its party hard atmosphere that attracts a younger and rowdier crowd. Also, Ios is famous for Skarkos Archeological Site.

How is Santorini different from Ios?

Which is Better for a Holiday?

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

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


Visiting museums and landmarks is a fun activity in both Santorini and Ios.

Santorini offers a variety of museums and landmarks to choose from. One of the most impressive historical sights is Akrotiri Archaeological Site. The island has many archeological sites as well as the Archeological Museum in Fira.

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 Santorini or Ios? Which Destination has the Best Restaurants?


Ios is a great island for its local flavors and cuisine. Also, Santorini is not as popular, but is still a nice island for its local cuisine and restaurants.

Ios has a huge number of terrific 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.

There are many up and coming restaurants in the Santorini area. Popular foods on this island include fava, Greek salad, and kofta.

Is Santorini or Ios Better for Nightlife?


Ios is an unbeatable place for nightlife and partying. Also, Santorini is not as popular, but is still a nice island for its evening party scene.

The nightlife in Ios is well established with world renowned clubs and venues. 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.

There's a variety of activities in the evening in Santorini. It is one of the calmer, more romantic islands in Greece. For the best nightlife, you'll want to stay near Fira.

Is Santorini or Ios Better for Resorts?


Santorini 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, Santorini is a great choice. The resorts range from all-inclusive options to resorts with a more local feel. The island is one of the most romantic of the Greek Islands, and the resorts are no exception.

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 Santorini or Ios Better for Scuba Diving and Snorkeling?


You'll find notable snorkeling or scuba diving in both Santorini and Ios.

Santorini has a few areas where visitors often go scuba diving or snorkeling. Some of the best snorkeling places are found at Red Beach, White Beach, and the less accessible Kambia. One of the island's best diving spots is Caldera Beach.

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 Santorini or Ios Better for Beaches?


Ios is an unbeatable place for the beache. Also, Santorini is not as popular, but is still a nice island for the beach.

The beaches in Ios are among the best in 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.

Plenty of visitors enjoy relaxing on the beach in Santorini. The island has many beaches, most of which are made of black pebbly sand that are a result of the island's volcanic history. Popular beaches include Perissa Beach, Kamari Beach, and Perivolos Beach.

Is Santorini or Ios Better for Hiking?


Santorini and Ios are both places where visitors can find notable hiking trails.

Santorini has hiking trails worth exploring. The best hiking trails on the island pass by quaint villages and offers stunning ocean views. You can also hike along the edge of a volcano.

Plenty of visitors go hiking around 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 Santorini or Ios?


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

Santorini is a popular shopping destination with plenty of stores. Towns around the island are filled with clothing and jewelry boutiques as well as many unique Greek shopping experiences.

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 Santorini or Ios Better for Families?


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

Santorini is a family-friendly place to visit. It is a calmer destination than many of the Greek Islands. While it's a great place to relax with kids, the beaches aren't as good as they are on some of the other islands. Most families hang out in Kamari and Perissa Beach.

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 Santorini or Ios Better for Couples?


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

Santorini makes for a terrific place to visit as a couple. It is a dream honeymoon destination that is famous for its picturesque setting and luxury resorts. For many couples, this is a top pick for a romantic trip to the Greek Isles.

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 Santorini or Ios Better for Backpackers and Budget Travelers?


Ios is an unbeatable place for backpackers and budget travelers. Also, Santorini is not as popular, but is still a nice island for backpackers.

With so many budget-friendly offerings, Ios is extremely popular 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.

Santorini is a good island to visit for backpackers. The island has its share of 5 star resorts, but if you head a few streets in you'll find some surprisingly affordable accommodation. Backpackers are welcomed on the island and beaches are free, so it's possible to get by on a relatively low budget.

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


Ios is a great island for times when you don't have a car. Also, Santorini is not as popular, but is still a nice island for its public transit.

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.

Santorini has a few public transit options. There is a bus system, KTEL Santorini Buses, that runs 23 buses during the summer months but only a small fraction of that operate during the winter months.

Is Santorini or Ios a more walkable city?


Santorini and Ios are notable when it comes to walkability.

Santorini is a somewhat walkable place. Many towns on the island are walkable, including Fira, but the actual island is too large to explore on foot.

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

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

Should I spend more time in Ios or Santorini?

How long in Santorini or Ios?

Visitors can find plenty of fun things to do in both Santorini and Ios. With generally more activities and things to do, visitors tend to spend more time in Santorini than in Ios. Usually, 3-7 days is a good amount of time for Santorini, and 1-3 days is enough time in Ios.

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

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

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

One day in Santorini or Ios?

With museums and nightlife around the romantic destination of Santorini, 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.

You'll find nightlife and food around the island of Ios. People often spend their time relaxing at one of the resorts. One day is a great amount of time to relax and see the many things that Ios has to offer. It has many unique tourist attractions and fascinating things to do.

A weekend in Santorini or Ios?

Many people visit Santorini for a weekend. With nightlife and food around the historic island of Santorini, there's plenty to do. People enjoy relaxing at one of the resorts. Since there is so much to do in the area, a weekend is probably not enough for all of it.

You'll find food and scuba diving and snorkeling around the backpacker-friendly destination of Ios. People usually spend lots of time at the beach. This is a popular place to visit for a weekend.A weekend should give you a good understanding of everything this island has to offer. This island offers a variety of activities to choose from.

Five days in Santorini or Ios?

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

Travelers enjoy the scuba diving and snorkeling and shopping when visiting the backpacker-friendly island of Ios. The length of your ideal trip is an individual decision. It's also a relaxing resort destination. Five days is plenty of time to see everything, even with extra days to spare.

A week in Santorini or Ios?

Santorini, 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.

Ios is a popular choice for travelers. People enjoy relaxing at one of the resorts. One week 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. It will give you the chance to have new experiences.

For some great organized tour ideas, see The Best Luxury Tours to Greece, The Best Budget Tours to Greece, The Best Tours for Seniors to Greece, and The Best Contiki Tours to Greece.

Which place is cheaper, Ios or Santorini?

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

The average daily cost (per person) in Santorini is €175, 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 Santorini and Ios in more detail.

  • Accommodation Hotel or hostel for one person
    Santorini 93
    Ios 39
  • Accommodation Typical double-occupancy room
    Santorini 186
    Ios 78
Compare Hotels in Santorini and Ios

Looking for a hotel in Santorini 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 Santorini

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: Santorini Hotel Prices and Ios Hotel Prices.

Local Transportation
  • Local Transportation Taxis, local buses, subway, etc.
    Santorini 28
    Ios 16

Hired Cars and Shuttles in Santorini

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

  • Transfer From or To Santorini Airport Designed By You: $15
  • One-Way Transfer to/from the Port or Airport: $15
  • Economy Roundtrip Transfer Santorini Airport ( Max 4 stop ): $15
  • Santorini transfer service: $15
  • Santorini Private Transfer From or To Airport: $16
  • Departure Transfer To Santorini Airport: $17
  • Shared Transfer From Airport and Port to Santorini: $17
  • Shuttle Transfers From or To Santorini Port: $21
  • Private Arrival Transfer From Santorini Airport To All Destinations: $22
  • Private Transfer Santorini: $22
  • Departure Private Transfer Santorini to Santorini Airport JTR by Sedan Car: $23
  • Santorini : Economy Private transfer to all destinations: $24

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 Santorini or Ios?

Prices for flights to both Ios and Santorini 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
    Santorini 48
    Ios 33

Food Tours and Cooking Classes in Santorini

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

  • Santorini Caldera: Sunset Cruise with Dinner: $69
  • Romantic Sunset Caldera Cruise with Dinner: $69
  • Volcanic Sunset Cruise with Dinner: $80
  • Catamaran Tour with BBQ Dinner, Drinks, and Music: $91
  • Volcano and Hot Springs Sunset Dinner Cruise: $96
  • Santorini Sunset Dinner Cruise Including Nea Kameni Visit: $98
  • Santorini Cooking Class with Wine Tasting: $107
  • Santorini Volcano Sunset Cruise Including Dinner on Board: $108
  • The Aegean Cooking Class: $109
  • Cooking Class in Traditional cave house in Santorini!: $120
  • Sunset Cruise with Swim Stops, Dinner, and Drinks: $120
  • Fira: 4-Hour Walking Food Tour With Tastings: $123

  • Entertainment Entrance tickets, shows, etc.
    Santorini 36
    Ios 26

Tours and Activities in Santorini

Also, here are some specific examples of entertainment, tickets, and activities for Santorini.

  • Authentic A Self-Guided Audio Tour of Oia: $6.99
  • Megalochori: Lost Atlantis 9D Experience Museum Entry Ticket: $15
  • Akrotiri Archaeological Site Entry Ticket: $16
  • Oia Sunset Daily Tour: $16
  • Santorini Volcano and Hot Springs Cruise Tour from Fira Old Port: $27
  • Volcanic Islands Cruise with Hot Springs Visit: $28
  • Santorini Caldera Cruise Tour (Volcano, Hot Springs, Thirassia): $33
  • Santorini Volcano Tour: $37
  • Santorini Volcano & Hot Springs Tour : $40
  • Santorini Volcano Half Day Tour: $44
  • Mesa Gonia, Pyrgos and Oia Tour: $44
  • Ferry Ticket to Paros or Naxos with Hotel Pickup: $45

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

  • Alcohol Drinks for one day
    Santorini 26
    Ios 33

Sample the Local Flavors in Santorini

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

  • Half Day Simply Santorini Tour with Wine Tasting: $60
  • Top Sights Day Trip, Wine Tasting, & Oia Sunset: $62
  • Fira Town Walking Tour with Wine Tasting: $75
  • Visit to a Wine Museum and Wine Tasting in Santorini : $76
  • Notos Day Tour through History & Wine Tasting: $98
  • Santorini 4 Hour Private Oia Tour & Wine Tasting : $104
  • Wine Tour with Sunset in Oia: $105
  • Santorini Highlights Small-Group Tour with Wine Tasting from Fira: $109
  • Wine Tour Santorini: $118
  • 3-Hour Wine Tasting in Santorini : $125
  • Small Group Local Wine Tasting Tour In Santorini : $131
  • Wine tasting and Carving lesson in Santorini: $131

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

Which is Bigger, Santorini or Ios?

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