Heads up: some of the links on this site are affiliate links. If you click and make a booking or purchase, I’ll make a commission (at no extra cost to you). I partner with companies I personally use and the $$ goes towards creating more awesome, free travel content.
Often referred to as “The Jewel of the Aegean”, Mykonos is one of the most popular islands in Greece that simply begs the question – is Mykonos truly worth visiting?
I firmly believe the answer is yes. It’s one of my favorite islands in Greece and I personally prefer it to Santorini. With its stunning landscapes, vibrant nightlife, golden beaches, and delicious cuisine, Mykonos has a lot to offer. There are a few drawbacks though, which I’ll go into further on in this article.
Let’s delve into the specifics and discuss the pros and cons. I’ll list some reasons why you should add this Greek island to your travel list, plus some more negative aspects of the island.
Top Reasons to Visit Mykonos
Chora, also referred to as Mykonos Town or Mykonos Old Town, is undeniably one of the prettiest towns in Greece. From the intricate cobbled streets, white-washed buildings with vibrant accents, to iconic historical sites and authentic local life, it’s an ambiance that’s hard to resist.
“Little Venice”, the seafront section of Chora, is a blissful spot where photogenic houses seem to rise straight out of the sea. Drenched in warm hues of sunset and delicately lapped by the Aegean Sea, this area dates back to the 18th century. It’s a place where you can enjoy the local tavernas, cozy cafes, and art shops, all while appreciating the breathtaking sea views and beautiful sunsets.
Don’t miss the Church of Panagia Paraportiani – one of the most famous and most photographed churches in all of Greece. Panagia Paraportiani is actually a complex of five churches that were constructed over a span of two centuries. Its multi-tiered design and whitewashed classification make it a truly unique architectural marvel well worth a visit.
Another significant church of the island is the Saint Nikolaos Church, located at the old port of Mykonos town. Saint Nikolaos is the patron saint of sailors, and this seaside position of the church pays homage to that association. The vibrant blue dome of the church pops in contrast to the stark white walls, making it an authentic piece of Cycladic architecture.
The Old Port, once the bustling entry point to the island, now offers a serene and picturesque view of Mykonos Town. With its line of quaint fishing boats, traditional tavernas, and uninterrupted views across the turquoise Aegean Sea, it’s a perfect place to soak in the island’s charming atmosphere.
Art lovers will love Rarity Gallery, which is tucked within the labyrinth of Chora’s inviting streets. Established in 1995, this contemporary art gallery showcases the works of renowned artists from around the world. The range of mediums and subject matter represented here offers something for every art enthusiast.
Beach Clubs and Nightlife
Famed for its pulsating nightlife, Mykonos knows how to throw a party. Beaches like Paradise and Super Paradise, frequented by celebrities from around the globe, deliver an unparalleled party experience complete with world-class DJs and stunning views.
Mykonos is home to tons of great beach clubs, each with a different vibe. There are chic, upscale beach clubs such as Scorpios, SantAnna and Ftelia Beach, or lively beach clubs where you can enjoy a full-on party experience, such as Tropicana Beach Club and Super Paradise Beach Club.
If you love techno music, big clubs and partying on the beach, you’ll love Mykonos. Top DJs like Tiesto, Black Coffee and Calvin Harris have all performed here. If you prefer smaller bars, you’re better opting for nearby islands like Ios and Santorini. But if you want to dance ’til dawn to the sounds of famous DJs, Mykonos should be your choice.
Cuisine and Food
Foodies will be in heaven with the Greek islands’ vibrant gastronomic scene. Whether it’s devouring freshly caught seafood, savouring traditional Baklava or sipping local wines, dining in Mykonos is as much a cultural experience as it is a treat for your palate. Some of the top restaurants in Mykonos Town include M-Eating, Kastro’s, To Maereio and Eva’s Garden.
Some traditional Greek dishes to try in Mykonos include:
- Moussaka: Moussaka is a classic Greek dish made of layered eggplant, minced meat, potatoes, and bechamel sauce. This hearty and comforting dish is a must-try on your visit to Mykonos.
- Tzatziki: This is a refreshing dip made from yogurt, cucumber, garlic, olive oil, and fresh dill. It’s usually served with warm bread as a starter.
- Kopanisti: A local specialty, Kopanisti is a spicy, creamy cheese known for its distinct flavour. It’s often served as a dip with fresh bread or as a topping on salads.
- Souvlaki: Souvlaki consists of small pieces of meat and sometimes vegetables on a skewer. It’s usually served with tzatziki sauce or in a pita sandwich with garnishes.
- Dolmadakia: These are grape leaves stuffed with rice and herbs, a widely loved appetizer in Greece.
- Louza: A traditional dish of Mykonos, Louza consists of thin slices of spiced, cured pork.
- Greek Salad: No visit to Greece is complete without having a traditional Greek Salad. Fresh tomatoes, cucumber, onions, olives, and a block of feta cheese — simple yet delicious!
- Spanakopita: This Greek spinach pie is a delightful mix of spinach, feta cheese, onions or scallions, egg, and seasoning wrapped in a crispy flaky pastry.
- Baklava: For those with a sweet tooth, don’t miss out on Baklava, a sweet pastry made of layers of filo filled with chopped nuts and sweetened with syrup or honey.
- Kremmydopita: A local Mykonian specialty, Kremmydopita is an onion pie where the onions are mixed with a creamy cheese filling and baked inside a flaky phyllo dough.
With over 25 spectacular beaches, ranging from serene secluded spots to bustling party locations, you’re bound to find your perfect sandy spot under the sun.
The island’s most famous beach is Paradise Beach, which is known for its wild parties and beautiful people. If you’re looking for a more relaxed experience, head to Elia Beach or Psarou Beach. Both are family-friendly and offer plenty of water sports activities.
Some top beaches to visit:
Paradise Beach: Known for its lively atmosphere and famous beach parties, Paradise Beach is a must-visit for those seeking some fun under the sun.
Super Paradise Beach: While still offering the energetic vibe of its neighbour, Super Paradise Beach is slightly less crowded, providing a good party-beach balance.
Elia Beach: This is the longest sandy beach in Mykonos. Elia offers a relaxing atmosphere, crystal-clear waters, various water sports activities, and a great lineup of beach-front restaurants.
Agios Ioannis Beach: Known as the ‘sunset beach’, Agios Ioannis offers stunning sunset views. It’s quieter than most making it perfect for a peaceful beach day.
Kalafatis Beach: A hub for water sports enthusiasts, Kalafatis Beach is the place to go if you’re into windsurfing, jet-skiing or scuba diving.
Ornos Beach: Ideal for families, Ornos Beach has shallow waters and a range of amenities close by. It’s well protected from the wind and has excellent access from the town.
Platis Gialos Beach: Located close to Mykonos Town, it’s a popular beach with crystal clear waters, great seafood restaurants, and a host of sunbeds to relax on.
Psarou Beach: Psarou is a luxury hotspot and caters to an upscale crowd. Here you’ll find the high-end Nammos Beach club, along with a beautiful landscape and clear waters.
Remember, each beach in Mykonos has its unique vibe, so be sure to explore a few to find your perfect match!
Day Trips from Mykonos
Mykonos’s central Aegean location makes it a perfect base for day trips. From a visit to the sacred Delos island, the birthplace of Apollo and Artemis to exploring neighbouring islands like Santorini, there are numerous places to explore in the surrounding area.
Most visitors plan a day day to Delos, which is a small island in the Cyclades archipelago, just off the coast of Mykonos. It’s one of Greece’s most important archaeological sites and has been a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1990. The island was once home to a thriving city that was abandoned around 1000 BC, but today you can still see its ruins including temples dedicated to Apollo and Artemis as well as an ancient theatre.
Tours to Delos often include a visit to the uninhabited island of Rhenia, where visitors can swim in the island’s crystal clear waters and do some snorkeling.
Easy Accessibility and Size
One thing to consider when visiting the Greek Islands is that some of the smaller islands don’t have airports and can only be reached by ferry. Mykonos has its own international airport, Mykonos-Manto Mavrogenous Airport, which means you can fly directly to Mykonos without having to visit Athens first.
In addition to daily flights from countries all over Europe, Mykonos has many ferry connections per day between Athens and the other Cyclades Islands. With both flight and ferry options, getting to Mykonos is a breeze.
Once you’re there the island’s manageable size makes it easy to explore in a short time frame. While I’d recommend you spend around 3 nights in Mykonos, it can easily be explored in just one day if you’re visiting as a cruise ship passenger. Visitors can easily get around the island by local bus, taxi or water taxi to some of the popular beaches.
However, like any destination, Mykonos has a few caveats.
The Cons of Mykonos
High Number of Tourists
Mykonos’s popularity can also be a drawback. The summer months can see the island swarming with tourists, often leading to overcrowded beaches and fully-booked restaurants.
Mykonos Old Town, Chora, is small with very narrow streets, so it can be a tight squeeze. Combine that with cruise passengers visiting on day excursions, and you have one busy islands. If you want to avoid the hordes of tourists, you’ll probably want to visit more off-the-beaten-track, less visited islands in the Cyclades.
An Overly Energetic Scene
Mykonos is undoubtedly trendy, with an energetic “party all night” philosophy. However, if you’re looking for a quiet, slow-paced destination with an authentic feel, Mykonos may not entirely align with these expectations.
Nightlife here doesn’t really get going until midnight or even 1am, so you either have to take a nap after dinner and set alarm, drink a lot of caffeine, or skip it altogether. If you’re at that stage in life where you just want a quiet meal and a relaxed drink or two in a cocktail bar or a taverna, then you probably won’t be able to fully appreciate the Mykonos nightlife.
You can definitely get away from the party scene by exploring the island and staying away from the popular beaches, or relaxing in one of the more refined beach clubs, but if you’re looking for an overall more relaxed experience, consider islands such as Milos, Naxos, Syros, Andros or Paros.
Expensive Compared to Other Greek Islands
Since Mykonos has become incredibly popular with the influencer crowd, it’s definitely the trendiest of the Greek islands. Home to chic beach bars, luxury hotels and even a Soho House, the island attracts a more affluent crowd.
Prices are some of the most expensive in Greece, and a visit to Scorpios Beach Club, you might find yourself cursing at your bank balance. At some of the trendy beach clubs, expect to pay New York prices.
Lack of City Vibes
Lastly, Mykonos doesn’t offer a traditional city vibe, like you might find in Athens or Thessaloniki. If you’re interested in history, architecture and impressive landmarks, Mykonos doesn’t have a whole lot to see.
Aside from a couple of churches and the very pretty old town, most of the island is sparse with not a lot of attractions. Everything in Mykonos is really centered around beaches, nightlife and eating out.
If you’re not a beach person or you prefer bigger cities and a more bustling energy, you may want to visit a larger Greek island such as Crete, Rhodes or Corfu.
While Chora is unquestionably attractive, it retains a quaint island charm rather than a big city feel.
All things considered, is Mykonos worth visiting? The spectacular views, vibrant nightlife, delicious cuisine, and sandy beaches make it a must-visit destination for most travellers. However, like all destinations, it’s essential to align your expectations with what the place has to offer.
If you’re after a tranquil retreat and simple living, you might wish to explore quieter Greek Islands. But, if a blend of culture, parties, top-class food, and beaches is your preference, then Mykonos is a magnificent option waiting to be explored.
Book Your Trip
Book your flights: Find cheap flights using Google Flights, Skyscanner or Kayak. To get travel deals sent straight to your inbox, sign up for Scott’s Cheap Flights or Jack’s Flight Club. Use the Hopper app for their AI powered price change predictions.
Booking your accommodation: I use Booking.com to book all my hotels. Their Genius loyalty program allows you to earn reward credits no bookings and 10%-20% off hotel prices. You can also try Google Hotels and TripAdvisor to search prices across a variety of sites. Agoda is the best site for booking hotels in Asia.
Travel on a budget: Staying in hostels is a great way to meet people and is best if you’re on a budget. You can find plenty of awesome hostels with Hostelworld.