Expensive Greek Islands & their Budget Friendly Alternatives

Expensive Greek Islands & their Budget Friendly Alternatives

Despite the reputation, did you know that Greece is actually one of the most affordable countries in the world to travel to? Yes, you are reading this right. Everyone automatically wants to travel to the popular islands such as Mykonos or Santorini which will put a hefty bill on your credit card unless you travel them properly. While I do have a blog post on how you can travel to Santorini on a budget and can help you plan a budget-friendly trip to any of the other neighboring islands of Greece, I will dig deeper into two swaps for the popular islands of Mykonos and Santorini that you can travel to for under $30/day. 


budget friendly greek island alternative to Santorini

Visit Paros Instead of Santorini 

Paros is a great alternative if you want the romantic feel of Santorini with blue domed churches and charming cobblestone alleyways. It’s also much more affordable as it attracts a younger crowd. Paros has more budget-friendly options for hotel rooms that come with a private plunge pool kind of like the ones you would see on Santorini. 


paros is a great budget friendly alternative to santorini

Charming Towns to Visit on Paros

Parikia and Lefkes town are both home to blue domed churches just like Santorini, Get lost in the cobblestone alleyways here and admire the beautiful, charming architecture. 


Paros is a great budget friendly alternative to the greek island of santorini

What to do in Paros

Visit the sleepy village of Piso Livadi and admire its harbor.

Have a Beach Day

Kolympethres, Monastiri, and Lageri beaches are all beautiful and perfect for cooling down in the hot Greek sun.


Sunset spots in Paros

The best sunset spots here are St. Anotonio’s Monastery and Parka for sunset.


Sunrise Spots in Paros

Make sure to wake up early to watch the sunrise at Naoussa or Molos beach.

Where to stay on the island of Paros

Paros accommodation can be very affordable which makes it a great destination for travelers wanting to see Greece on a budget. 

Hostels in Paros (click for more)

Surfing beach hut: $30/night 

Hotels in Paros (click for more)

Selina Paros: $108/night ($54 per person)

Sersi Paros Villas and Suites (villa with a private hot tub on the terrace): $294/night ($147 per person)

Paros Palace (room with a private hot tub on the terrace): $381/night ($190 per person)


Ios is a great budget friendly alternative to mykonos

Visit Ios instead of Mykonos

With better beaches, fun nightlife, and much more affordable accommodation, Ios wins over Mykonos in my opinion. The prices in Mykonos are so incredibly high that you can head to Ios instead and spend a fraction of what you would spend in Mykonos and have a great if not better trip. I have traveled to both Ios and Mykonos and I can say I would choose Ios over Mykonos any day. Ios attracts a younger crowd which makes for great vibes. 


Beautiful beaches of Ios Greece

Beach Hopping in Ios

Rent an ATV for only $25 and explore the many beaches this island has to offer. My favorite has to be Never Bay. It’s a hike to get down there because it’s located off the side of a cliff, but in the summer it’s full of life and people cliff jump there, floating in the clear water with a cold drink in their hands. Never Bay is a great way to spend the day. 

Never bay is the best beach on Ios Island in Greece

Other beaches you should visit are Mylopotas Beach, Kalamos Beach, and Tripiti Beach (you can only get here by boat!). Book this tour to see the best beaches. 

Don’t forget to also visit Far out Beach club for a day party. 

Nightlife in Ios

As mentioned, Ios has a great mix of nightlife, so you’re guaranteed to have the time of your life while traveling on a budget. Below are some recommendations for clubs and bars. 

- Coo Bar

- Scorpion Night Club 

- Astra Cocktail bar

- Pash Night Club


best sunset spot on the island of Ios Greece

Sunset Spot

The most famous sunset spot on the island is called Pangria Church. Make sure to come here at least once during your trip to Ios. 

Dinner Spot

I really enjoyed grabbing dinner with a view at Grandmas



Lastly, don’t forget to take some photos by the famous windmills

Where to stay on the island of Ios

As Ios becomes more of a hub for backpackers and budget travelers, more affordable hostels and hotels keep opening up on this island. 


Hostels in Ios (click for more)

Far Out Beach Club: $30/night 

Princess Sissy: $22/night 


Hotels in Ios (click for more) 

Skala Hotel (where I stayed): $60/night ($30 per person)

Ios Palm Passion: $65/night ($32.50 per person)

Villa Mata: $47/night ($23.50 per person) 

I hope you enjoyed reading about these two budget-friendly alternatives to the two most expensive, yet famous Greek islands. I promise if you choose either Ios or Paros, you will enjoy your time in Greece to the max! For any more help with planning your Greece trip or travel advice, don’t hesitate to book a call with me. Happy traveling! 


  • Such a helpful article. I am going to show this to my mom to try to convince her to take us on a trip to Greece now

    Cecellia K
  • This inspired me to book a trip to Greece next year. I always thought it would be too expensive, but after reading this I have faith I can afford it after all. Thank you!!!! 💗


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