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

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

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

Pros
  • Popular museums and historical sights
  • Good scuba and snorkeling destination
  • Good for hiking
  • Family-friendly
  • Good for couples and romance
  • Impressive beauty
  • Quaint atmosphere
Cons
  • Less popular for nightlife
  • Less attractive beach
  • Less popular with backpackers
Pros
  • Popular museums and historical sights
  • Good nightlife
  • Good scuba and snorkeling destination
  • Popular beach
  • Good for hiking
  • Good for couples and romance
  • Good for backpackers and budget travelers
  • Impressive beauty
Cons
  • Less family-friendly


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.

Is Santorini or Ios Better for Museums and Historical Sights?

Santorini
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 Santorini or Ios Better for Food?

Santorini
Ios

Dining out at restaurants in both Santorini and Ios can be an enjoyable experience.

Santorini has a delicious restaurant scene that relies on local flavors. Popular foods on this island include fava, Greek salad, and kofta.

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.

Is Santorini or Ios Better for Nightlife?

Santorini
Ios

For nightlife, head to Ios instead of Santorini.

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
Ios

With a similar set of options, resorts can be found in both Santorini and Ios.

Santorini offers an unforgettable resort vacation. 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.

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.

Is Santorini or Ios Better for Scuba Diving and Snorkeling?

Santorini
Ios

You'll find 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?

Santorini
Ios

Ios is considered to be a more popular beach destination than Santorini.

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
Ios

Santorini and Ios are both places where visitors can find 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 Santorini or Ios Better for Shopping?

Santorini
Ios

If you're looking to go shopping, Santorini and Ios both offer plenty of spots.

Santorini is well-known for its shopping. Towns around the island are filled with clothing and jewelry boutiques as well as many unique Greek shopping experiences.

Many visitors go to Ios to go shopping. 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
Ios

Santorini and Ios are both fun destinations for the whole family.

Santorini offers lots of family activities. 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 the most family-friendly destination. 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
Ios

Santorini and Ios are both fun to visit as a couple.

Santorini has so much to offer for a romantic couple's vacation. 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 is a very popular place to visit for couples. 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?

Santorini
Ios

Travelers usually think of Ios as a better destination for backpackers than Santorini.

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?

Santorini
Ios

Santorini and Ios both offer public transit to get you around.

While Santorini offers some public transit options, it might not be your first choice. 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.

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.

Is Santorini or Ios a more walkable city?

Santorini
Ios

Santorini and Ios are similar 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.


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 Ios.

The ideal length of time for a trip to Santorini is 3-7 days, and the ideal length of time for a trip to Ios is 1-3 days.


  • 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 romantic 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 beautiful 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 party-oriented 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.

Which city 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 €131, while the average daily cost in Ios is €73. 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 Santorini and Ios in more detail.



Accommodation
  • Accommodation Hotel or hostel for one person
    Santorini 66
    Ios 31
  • Accommodation Typical double-occupancy room
    Santorini 132
    Ios 62
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 23
    Ios 13

Hired Cars and Shuttles in Santorini

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

  • Shared Transfer Service: $17
  • Santorini transfer service: $17
  • Oia Sunset: Evening Shuttle Transfer and Free Time: $23
  • Private Airport Transfer: $25
  • Santorini Airport Hotels Transfer Shuttle Bus Service: $27
  • Transfer from Santorini Airport&Port all destination except OIA up to 4 customer: $37
  • Santorini Airport to Hotel: Private Arrival Transfer: $45
  • Private Transfer to/from Santorini Airport (JTR): $50
  • Santorini Taxi Service & Airport, Hotel and Port Transfers: $62
  • Tour of Caldera on Sailing Boat & Bus Transfer:Volcano-Hot springs-Thirassia-Oia: $75
  • Premium Santorini Private Day Tour Lagoon 450, BBQ, drinks, transfer: $933
  • Helicopter Transfer between Mykonos & Santorini: $2,839

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
  • Food Meals for one day
    Santorini 38
    Ios 26

Food Tours and Cooking Classes in Santorini

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

  • Live Virtual Cooking Class: $26
  • A taste of Mediterranean Cuisine Dinner: $90
  • Hands on Cooking Class with a Chef: $90
  • Fira: 4-Hour Walking Food Tour With Tastings: $108
  • Sunset Sea Kayak and Snorkel with Dinner: $108
  • Santorini : Sunset Sea Kayak & Snorkel with Dinner: $118
  • Santorini : Cooking Class, Easy Hike, and Snorkeling: $131
  • Cooking Class with Santorini’s Aroma: $506
  • Full-Day Royalty Private Cooking Class and Tour in Santorini: $506
  • Cooking Class with Santorini’s Aroma: $546
  • Santorini Private Sunset Sailing Cruise with Dinner, Drinks &Transfer included: $1,350

Entertainment
  • Entertainment Entrance tickets, shows, etc.
    Santorini 29
    Ios 21

Tours and Activities in Santorini

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

  • Akrotiri Prehistoric City Audio Tour: $18
  • Unique Oia's Sunset Tour in Santorini: $30
  • Royalty Unique Oia’s Sunset Tour in Santorini: $31
  • Santorini-Unique Oia’s Sunset Tour: $31
  • Island Bus Tour: The Majestic Spots Of Santorini: $43
  • Santorini Volcano and Thirassia Islands Tour: $43
  • Oia and Fira Evening Small Group Tour: $45
  • 3 Hour Santorini Walking Tour with Hotel Pickup: $50
  • Volcanic Sunset Cruise: $58
  • Santorini Traditional Villages and Oia Sunset Tour: $62
  • Santorini-Classic Tour in Traditional Villages: $67
  • Santorini-Classic Tour in Traditional Villages: $71

Tours and Activities in Ios

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

  • From Ios to Sikinos Island & Winery Tour: $96
  • Half Day Sunset Sailboat tour (afternoon): $210
  • Ios Speed Boat Adventure: $54

Alcohol
  • Alcohol Drinks for one day
    Santorini 21
    Ios 26

Sample the Local Flavors in Santorini

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

  • 4-Hours Santorini Vothonas Village Tour with Wine Tasting: $89
  • Authentic Santorinian Tour at Vothonas Village with Wine Tasting: $93
  • Half-Day Santorini Tour Vothonas Village with Wine Tasting: $93
  • Santorini-Wine Tour Αround Megalochori Village: $111
  • Sunset and Wine Tasting Tour by Electric Bike: $114
  • Santorini-Wine Tour Around Megalochori Village: $117
  • Santorini-Wine Tour Around Megalochori Village: $124
  • Santorini-Sunset Caldera’s View from Megalochori with Wine Tasting: $134
  • Santorini-Sunset Caldera’s View from Megalochori with Wine Tasting: $140
  • Half-Day Sunset Wine Tasting Tour in Santorini with Pick Up: $141
  • Santorini Wine Tasting and History Small Group Tour: $153
  • 4-Hour Sunset Wine Tour: $159


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.

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Santorini vs. Ios Travel Comparison

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