Mykonos is one of the world’s most popular beach destinations, and once you go, you want to return time and again. There are several beaches around the cosmopolitan island, all of them beautiful, with crystal-clear turquoise waters, some with bars and restaurants, others nearly deserted. It also helps that the hotels are beautifully designed, and usually offering postcard-worthy views. But because there are so many beaches and so many wonderful places to stay, we have done all the work for you and point you in the right directions. This is your guide to the best of the Mykonos experience.
Why Go to Mykonos?
Beaches, beaches, beaches. That’s why everyone goes to Mykonos. But there are many great beaches all over the world, including in neighboring destinations in the Mediterranean, so what makes Mykonos special? It’s its stunning natural beauty, its sunsets, and the fact that it has adapted so remarkably well to tourism, changing very little over the years. You won’t find high-rises on the coast like in many parts of the Mediterranean. Here you’ll still see the traditional local architecture, made up of small whitewashed buildings. And then there’s the nightlife and the partying by the sea, but if that’s not your thing, you also have plenty of quiet, relaxing places for yourself by the calming blue of the Aegean. Mykonos is the best island to visit from Athens and one of the most unforgettable in the world!
What and where is Mykonos?
Mykonos is a Greek island, part of a group on the Aegean Sea known as the Cyclades, in southeastern Europe. It’s 150km (93 miles) to the southeast of Athens, 150km (93 miles) north of Santorini and 230km (143 miles) north of Crete. It has around 10,000 permanent residents and is about 1.5 times the size of Manhattan. It takes just 40 minutes to drive from the western end (where the main town is) to the eastern end.
What is Mykonos known for?
Mykonos is known as a trendy beach paradise and a party island, much like Ibiza, but it’s much more than. In fact, most of the partying happens at less than a handful of beaches, and most people spend more time quietly sunbathing and swimming than drinking and dancing. It’s also known as a well-preserved Greek island, with centuries-old windmills and a pretty maze of narrow streets lined with whitewashed houses. It offers beautiful sunset views and stylish hotels, which attracts couples on a romantic getaway or honeymoon. It’s also one of the world’s top destinations for gay travelers and the main gateway to the uninhabited island of Delos, which is one of Greece’s most important historical sites, with ruins from ancient Greece.
Why is Mykonos so popular?
Mykonos grew as a travel destination in the 1960s, first attracting hippies and then wealthy Europeans. In the 1980s, it became one of the world’s first gay-friendly destinations. Today it welcomes all kinds of people. It’s popular because of its beautiful beaches, lively and romantic atmosphere, live-and-let-live attitude, and because it’s one of the Greek islands that are easiest to reach. There are direct flights from many of the major European cities and regular ferries from Athens.
How to Go to Mykonos
Mykonos is easy to reach by ferry from the two ports in the Athens region -- Piraeus and Rafina. Piraeus is the one closest to the center of the city, and Rafina the closest to the airport. On a regular ferry, it takes about 5 hours to go from Piraeus to Mykonos. On a speedboat, that journey takes just 3 hours. From Rafina, the ferry takes 2.5 hours and the speedboat 2 hours. However, the services from Rafina are only an option if you’re heading straight to Mykonos from Athens’ airport. If you’re visiting Athens before heading to the islands, the port of Rafina is about 1 hour and 15 minutes away, so you won’t be really saving time choosing it over Piraeus. The shortest travel time from Athens to Mykonos is 3 hours by speedboat, from Piraeus.
Mykonos is also connected by ferry to other islands, such as Santorini, Naxos, Paros, Ios, Milos, Folegandros and Crete. The travel time between the islands depends on the distance and the type of boat, so it can range from 30 minutes to 5 hours.
Flights from Athens to Mykonos take about 30 minutes. Direct flights from Western Europe (London, Amsterdam, Paris, Rome and other major cities), take 2 to 4 hours.
See the Mykonos transportation guide.
When to Go to Mykonos
Naturally, Mykonos is a summer destination, with July and August being the most popular months. May, June and September are perhaps the best times to go. The weather is usually hot, dry and with perfectly blue skies, but it can be windy (the famous “meltemia” winds of the Aegean Sea are particularly strong in July and August). The beaches in the south of the island are usually more protected from the winds.
How many days should I spend in Mykonos?
Five days is the ideal amount of time in Mykonos. That allows you to tour the island, take a trip to Delos, explore several of the beaches and enjoy the nightlife and the strip of bars in Little Venice. You’re likely here to relax, so there’s no need to rush. Two days would be a minimum, but that wouldn’t give you the full Mykonos experience. Also keep in mind that if you’re coming on a ferry from Athens and then returning, you’ll spend much of those two days traveling. Accommodation can be expensive, so if you can’t afford five days, stay at least 3 nights.
Mykonos Travel Costs
Mykonos is a seasonal and very in-demand destination, so prices are high, especially accommodation. It’s the most expensive Greek island, together with Santorini. The cheapest accommodation can be as much as €135 (165 US dollars or 120 British pounds) in the high season. Restaurants are also among the most expensive in Greece, but you can always have the gyros, souvlaki and Greek salads sold at small eateries around the island for as little as 3 or 5 euros each. One way to save on meals is to stay in an apartment and cook for yourself! To save on accommodation, book early (as much as 6 months in advance, as prices go up as demand increases)!
If you include the cost of accommodation, you can spend anywhere between 150 and 500 euros per day. That all depends on the hotel category, where you eat and if you ride the bus or rent a car, scooter or ATV. Thankfully, practically all of Mykonos’ attractions (beaches, windmills, churches and sunsets) are free and you can walk to different beaches from a large number of hotels! -- see the best beach hotels.
What are the main towns in Mykonos?
Chora (sometimes spelled Hora) is Mykonos' main town and better known as Mykonos Town. It’s located on the western coast, by the two ports, and is where you find the vast majority of hotels, restaurants, bars and shops. Outside of the beach clubs, it’s where you have the best nightlife, especially around the waterfront by Little Venice. The only other village is Ano Mera, located roughly in the center of the island. Ano Mera has a 16th-century monastery, charming streets and authentic tavernas, but no hotels, so you won’t find many tourists. The other major area for visitors is the southern coast, which has the main beaches. Buses from Mykonos Town take you there.
Where should I stay in Mykonos?
If you want beachfront hotels, choose the beaches of Platys Gialos, Psarou, Ornos, Super Paradise or Elia. If you prefer to be within walking distance of restaurants and nightlife, stay in Mykonos Town. Those who like quieter areas, away from the crowds, will enjoy Agios Ioannis and Panormos. But if you’re here to party, stay in Paradise Beach or Paraga. You find the complete information about these places and hotel recommendations here: Where to Stay in Mykonos
Do I need a car in Mykonos?
Renting a car in Mykonos is quite common. In fact, many people choose to do so, instead of relying on the sometimes infrequent buses. It allows you to see more of the island and reach more beaches, especially the more remote ones in the north. The main beaches, however, have regular bus services, so you don’t really need a car.
Parking in the center of Mykonos Town can be a challenge, and you may end up having to park in the outskirts or on the parking lot by the Old Port. Only the bigger hotels have parking lots. Also remember that cars are not permitted in the narrow streets of Mykonos Town (they’re easily accessible on foot).
There are only about 30 taxis in the whole island and they can be expensive. Uber is not available in Mykonos.
What are the best things to do in Mykonos?
The top activity in Mykonos is beach-hopping. You can tour most on the southern coast in one day and there are also boat tours. End the day admiring the magical sunset view between the windmills and Little Venice. Follow that with a walk around the pedestrian streets of Mykonos Town, browsing the shops and discovering the perfect restaurant and bar. The top cultural experience is Delos island, which is a short boat ride away. Many of the artifacts found there are now on display in Mykonos’ archaeological museum.
See the top 10 things to see and do in Mykonos.
Is Mykonos safe for tourists?
When it comes to personal safety, travelers to Mykonos have nothing to worry about. It’s practically crime-free and there are no real dangers. If your concern is health, you should just remember to always pack plenty of sunscreen and water.
What airlines fly into Mykonos?
The following airlines have year-round or seasonal flights to Mykonos: easyJet (from the UK, Germany, and Italy), British Airways (from London), Aegean (from London, cities in Greece, Cyprus, Belgium, Italy, France, Germany, Spain, and Switzerland), Ryanair (from Austria, Cyprus, France, Germany, Hungary, and Italy), Condor (from Düsseldorf), Vueling (from Barcelona), Lufthansa (from Frankfurt), Neos (from Italian cities), Volotea (from major and smaller cities in Greece, Italy, Croatia, and France), Wizz Air (from Austria, Bulgaria, Hungary, Poland, and Romania), Transavia (from Amsterdam and Paris), Austrian (from Vienna), Eurowings (from Cologne), TUI Fly (from Brussels), Blue Bird Airways (from Tel Aviv), and Qatar Airways (from Doha).
What currency is used in Mykonos?
Greece is part of the Euro zone of the European Union, so the currency in Mykonos is the euro. Credit cards are accepted at practically all hotels and at major restaurants and shops. However, it’s a good idea to always carry some cash, as you’ll need it if you take the bus or make small purchases such as water and snacks. There are ATMs in Mykonos Town and at the major beaches.
Official Mykonos Tourism Board
Mykonos doesn’t have its own tourism board or an official tourist office on the island, but there are many travel agencies in the main town if you need any travel information. However, you’ll likely have all your questions answered on this website. It provides useful tips from travel experts and locals, not associated with or sponsored by any local business, institution or organization -- it’s entirely independent and unbiased.