One of the biggest tourist destinations in Greece (and one of the prettiest), Mykonos predominantly attracts cruisers, partiers, and honeymooning couples. It is the most expensive island in the Cyclades, but it’s tough to resist with its winding streets, small alleys lined with whitewashed houses overlooking a beautiful harbor, centuries-old windmills, beautiful beaches, amazing restaurants, and out of control nightlife.
The party lasts all night here, as world-class DJs blast thumping music across the beach well into the morning hours. It’s an energetic island, especially in the summer when it’s bursting to the seams with visitors. Prices skyrocket during this time, however, making a few days in paradise a costly affair.
While I loved my time in Mykonos, I wouldn’t suggest visiting during July or August — especially if you’re a budget traveler. Come during the shoulder season instead, when prices are a bit lower and the tourist hordes aren’t as thick.
This travel guide to Mykonos can help you plan your trip, save money, and have an epic visit!
Table of Contents
Top 5 Things to See and Do in Mykonos
1. Go beach hopping
2. Relax in Little Venice
3. Explore Mykonos Town
4. Explore Delos Island
5. Visit Panagia Paraportiani
Other Things to See and Do in Mykonos
1. Hang out at Elia Beach
The longest stretch of white sands in Mykonos, this beach also has clear waters ideal for snorkeling. It’s about 6 miles (10km) from Mykonos Town, which makes for an ideal day trip away from the bustling tourist spots. It’s lined with restaurants and bars, as well as watersports kiosks advertising water-skiing, parasailing, and windsurfing. (Note: Nudists love hanging out here!)
2. Go scuba diving
There’s excellent scuba diving around Mykonos. You won’t find a lot of coral, but there are lots of fish and a few wrecks. Paradise Reef has a large variety of marine life, including sponges, barracuda, octopus, and starfish. There’s also Dragonisi, an island off the coast of Mykonos, with its unique underwater rock formations. A two-tank dive costs around 140 EUR.
3. Visit the Archaeological Museum
This museum won’t take you long to visit as it’s very small, but it contains some treasures, such as a headless statue of Hercules from the 2nd-century BCE, carved beautifully out of Parian marble. There are also a lot of artifacts from nearby Delos, including pottery and funerary monuments too. It’s 4 EUR to visit.
4. Explore Lena’s House
This is a traditional 19th-century Mykonian house-turned-folk-museum. It contains the original owner’s antique furnishings as well as artwork like paintings, tapestries, and woodcarvings, all laid out to resemble how the house would have looked in the 1800s. Be sure to also check out the display case of 18th-century Mykonian women’s clothing, as well as the two courtyards and dovecote (a building for holding doves or pigeons). Admission is 2 EUR.
5. Watch the sunset at the windmills
The 16 windmills on the hills around Mykonos Town are an iconic symbol of the island (you’ve probably seen them on Instagram). They also happen to be the most popular place to watch the sunset. There will be crowds so get there early to secure a good spot!
6. Go snorkeling
If you’re not a diver, you can still check out some of the underwater activity by renting snorkeling equipment. Paranga Beach has the island’s best snorkeling conditions with calm weather and clear waters, but you can also hop on a boat tour for some deep-water snorkeling. A tour costs about 50 EUR per person and lasts a few hours while renting gear costs around 20 EUR.
7. Take a boat tour
Although this may not be a budget-friendly option, it’s a relaxing way to spend an afternoon or evening. There are cruises for all interests here, from party cruises to more scenic-themed trips. Many cruises go to Delos or the Rhenia Islands (with lots of time for swimming), or let you hang out at Paradise Beach for a bit before having a BBQ back on the boat. Tours start from 49 EUR, while all-inclusive trips with food and drink start at 90 EUR.
8. Visit the Aegean Maritime Museum
The Aegean Maritime Museum covers everything from ancient Greece to the modern day. Its exhibits include amphorae and pottery, old nautical maps, navigational instruments, and incredibly detailed models of sailing ships and steamers. Don’t miss the giant Fresnel lighthouse in the courtyard before you leave! Admission is 4 EUR.
For more information on other destinations in Greece, check out these guides:
Mykonos Travel Costs
Hostel prices – There are only a few hostels in Mykonos as this is more of a luxury destination. During the peak season, a bed in a dorm with 8-10 beds costs at least 25 EUR, though prices can jump all the way up to 85 EUR! In the shoulder season or off-season, some hostels close so be sure to check in advance.
Camping is your cheapest option on Mykonos. At Paradise Beach, you can get a campsite for 15 EUR during peak season, or 10 EUR in the shoulder season. They also have single cabins and prices range on a sliding scale from 24 EUR in April to 66 EUR in July and August. Paradise Beach is closed during the off-season.
Budget hotel prices – Budget two-star hotels start at 165 EUR in peak season, although you can usually find small locally-owned guesthouses that are cheaper. In the off-season, single rooms start at 35 EUR per night.
Mykonos also has lots of Airbnb accommodations. For a private room in peak season, prices start at 150 EUR per night and escalate steeply from there. Entire apartments start from 180 EUR, but average around 300 EUR (and can be as high as 750 EUR per night).
Prices are significantly cheaper in the off-season. A private room ranges from 40-100 EUR per night while an entire apartment averages about 300 EUR per night (but you can find studio apartments for 80 EUR).
Average cost of food – Traditional Greek cuisine is very healthy, using a lot of fresh seasonal vegetables, olive oil, lamb, fish, pork, and cheeses (especially feta). Yogurts are also super common. Filo pastries stuffed with meat or spinach and cheese are a local favorite as are souvlaki and gyros.
To eat cheap, stick with eating gyros, souvlaki, and kebabs. These cost 2-5 EUR and easily fill you up. If you’re on a tight budget, you can live off these for as little as 10 EUR per day.
Restaurants cost more here than elsewhere in Greece. At one that serves traditional cuisine, expect to pay around 15 EUR for a main dish like moussaka and about 4 EUR for a glass of wine. A Greek salad costs between 8-10 EUR. Fish will be more expensive, costing around 25 EUR for a fillet and a way too expensive price per kilo, so just avoid ordering per kilo. After that, prices really go up the nicer and more luxurious the restaurant is.
All restaurants charge for bread. The price is between .50-1.50 EUR.
Beer is 5 EUR while a latte/cappuccino is around 3 EUR. Bottled water from the supermarket is 0.50 EUR. Cocktails are expensive, however, usually costing 12-20 EUR.
If you cook your meals, expect to pay 50 EUR per week for groceries including pasta, vegetables, chicken, and other basic staples. It’s easy to eat on the cheap in Greece.
Backpacking Mykonos Suggested Budgets
If you’re backpacking Mykonos, expect to spend at least 60 EUR per day. This budget covers a hostel dorm, taking the bus the get around, cooking some meals and eating cheap street food like gyros, limiting your drinking, and doing mostly free activities like hanging out at the beach. If you want to take part in the party scene, you need to add at least another 30 EUR per day. If you travel during peak season, expect to spend closer to 100 EUR per day.
On a mid-range budget of 145 EUR per day, you can stay in an Airbnb during the shoulder season, eat out for all your meals, have a few drinks, take the occasional taxi to get around, and do more paid activities like cruises or snorkeling trips. if you visit during the summer, expect to spend closer to 200 EUR per day for this budget.
On a “luxury” budget of 300 EUR or more per day in the shoulder season, you can stay in a hotel, eat out anywhere you want, drink as much as you’d like, party the nights away, take more taxis or rent a car, and do whatever activities and guided tours you want. This is just the ground floor for luxury though. On Mykonos with all the rich folks who visit, the sky really is the limit!
You can use the chart below to get some idea of how much you need to budget daily, depending on your travel style. Keep in mind these are daily averages – some days you spend more, some days you spend less (you might spend less every day). We just want to give you a general idea of how to make your budget. Prices are in EUR.
Mykonos Travel Guide: Money-Saving Tips
Mykonos is by far the most expensive island in Greece. It’s a tricky place to visit on a budget. There’s not a lot you can do here to cut your costs. If you stick to cheap eats, only see a few attractions, and limit your drinking, you’ll spend less but still more than you would elsewhere. Here are some suggested ways to save money in Mykonos:
- Avoid peak season – If you can, come here before June when the beaches get overcrowded and prices triple. The shoulder season is a must if you’re on a budget.
- Take advantage of free attractions – You can still enjoy Mykonos to the fullest if stick to the free attractions, like visiting the windmills, hanging out on the beaches, and walking around Little Venice and Mykonos Town. You’d don’t have to take tours and cruises to have fun!
- Curb your drinking – It’s easy to blow a LOT of cash on partying in Mykonos. If you do want to experience the nightlife, keep it minimal or have a few drinks in your hotel room first.
- Don’t stay in Mykonos Town – Accommodation prices in the town are the most expensive on the island. The further you go from the town, the cheaper things get. There is a decent bus system to get you to and from town so you won’t be isolated.
- Book overnight ferries – Greece’s inter-island ferries can get quite expensive if you are visiting a lot of them. Taking the overnight ferries can save you up to half off the normal price plus save you a night of accommodation.
- Get a ferry pass – Eurail/Interrail has a ferry pass that has 4- and 6-trip options. The only caveat is that you can only take Blue Star and Hellenic Seaways ferries. Those tend to be the larger, slower ferries and, depending on the islands, might require you to connect somewhere. You’ll need to research routes in advance to see if the pass is worth it. I would search routes on FerryHopper to see if it works for you. You can purchase your pass on Eurail (non-EU residents) or Interrail (EU residents).
- Go to museums on their free admission days – Most museums have some days when admission is free. Check the Odysseus Culture website for details as they vary from museum to museum.
- Bring a water bottle – The tap water here isn’t safe to drink so bring a reusable water bottle to save money and reduce your plastic use. LifeStraw is my go-to brand as their bottles have built-in filters to ensure your water is always clean and safe.
Where to Stay in Mykonos
Despite its popularity, Mykonos doesn’t have a whole lot of hostels. Here are some of my suggested places to stay in Mykonos that don’t cost a fortune:
How to Get Around Mykonos
Bus – The KTEL Mykonos bus network covers Mykonos, and its two main terminals are in Mykonos Town. The Old Port Bus Station can take you to the east and northwest of the island (including Agios Stefanos, Elia, and Kalafatis), while buses leaving Fabrika Bus Station service the southwest of the island (including the airport, Paraga, and Paradise Beach).
The fare for the bus is between 1.60-2.40 EUR, depending on where you’re going. Mykonobus.com offers you a breakdown of routes, and schedules. Keep in mind that routes are drastically reduced in the shoulder season and the off-season.
Boat – Mykonos Sea Transfer and Mykonos Seabus are two groups of boat taxi operators that can take you to all of the island’s best beaches, including Paraga, Paradise, Super Paradise, and Elia. It’s an excellent way to do some beach hopping throughout the day. Return trips cost 4-7 EUR.
Scooter/ATV rental – There are lots of scooter and ATV rental shops all around the island. You can usually find a scooter rental for about 20 EUR per day for one person, while ATVs start from 40 EUR per day for two people. In the off-season, some shops rent out their vehicles for about one-third of that price.
Taxi – You won’t have to go far to find a taxi on Mykonos but wait times can be long during the peak season. Prices are high too. It costs around 14 EUR from Mykonos Town to Platys Gialos, and 22 EUR from Mykonos Town to Kalafatis or Elia. Skip the taxis if you’re on a budget!
Car rental – Car rentals start at 20 EUR per day in the shoulder season and go up from there. Drivers need an International Driving Permit and must be at least 21 years old.
Hitchhiking – Hitchhiking on Mykonos is relatively easy in the summer. There are far fewer cars around in the shoulder season and low season, so avoid hitchhiking then as waits can be long. Use Hitchwiki for more information.
When to Go to Mykonos
The peak season in Mykonos is from June to August. Temperatures average in the mid-30s°C (mid-90s°F) each day and this is when the island is busiest (some might even say overcrowded). All the clubs, restaurants, and bars are jam-packed and prices are high.
Winters in Mykonos are mild, but many businesses close, and the island is virtually deserted. If that doesn’t bother you, then visiting Mykonos during this time can be very enjoyable for its slower pace of life. Expect daily highs around 14°C (57°F).
The shoulder season (April-May and September-October) is my favorite time to visit. There’s still enough action to keep you busy, and you can still meet plenty of people, but it’s not nearly as crowded. Prices are lower and the weather is beautiful, especially during the fall when the average daily high temperature is 26°C (79°F).
How to Stay Safe in Mykonos
Mykonos is very safe to visit, but like most busy destinations, there’s a risk of pickpocketing and petty crime around tourist attractions. Don’t bring your valuables to the beach and definitely don’t leave them unattended. When you go out to the bar, only take the money you need. Leave your wallet at home.
Because this is a party island, be mindful of drinking too much or leaving your drink unattended at the bar. Avoid drugs at all costs, or you may face huge fines or even jail time.
If you rent a car, drive carefully. Greeks drive aggressively so you’ll want to make sure you take extra care on the roads.
If you go out hiking, always bring water and sunscreen and wear a hat. The heat can be taxing!
Remember, if you don’t do it at home, don’t do it on Mykonos!
If you’re worried about getting scammed, you can read about the 14 travel scams to avoid right here.
Always trust your gut instinct. Avoid isolated areas at night, and be aware of your surroundings at all times. Make copies of your personal documents, including your passport and ID, and don’t keep a lot of valuables on you.
And be sure to purchase good travel insurance. Travel insurance protects you against illness, injury, theft, and cancellations. It’s comprehensive protection in case anything goes wrong. I never go on a trip without it as I’ve had to use it many times in the past.
Greece Travel Guide: The Best Booking Resources
These are my favorite companies to use when I travel to Greece. They are included here because they consistently find deals, offer world-class customer service and great value, and overall, are better than their competitors. They are the ones I use the most and are always the starting points in my search for travel deals.
- Skyscanner – Skyscanner is my favorite flight search engine. They search small websites and budget airlines that larger search sites tend to miss. They are hands down the number one place to start.
- Momondo – This is my other favorite flight search engine because they search such a wide variety of sites and airlines. I never book a flight without checking here too.
- Airbnb – Airbnb is a great accommodation alternative for connecting with homeowners who rent out their homes or apartments.
- Hostelworld – This is the best hostel accommodation site out there, with the largest inventory, best search interface, and widest availability.
- Couchsurfing – This website allows you to stay on people’s couches or in their spare rooms for free. It’s a great way to save money while meeting locals who can share the ins and outs of their city. The site also lists events you can attend to meet people (even if you’re not staying with someone).
- Booking.com – The best all-around booking site that constantly provides the cheapest and lowest rates. They have a no money down policy, great interface, and the widest selection of budget accommodation. In all my tests, they’ve always had the cheapest rates out of all the booking websites.
- Intrepid Travel – If you want to do a group tour around Europe, go with Intrepid Travel. They offer good small group tours that use local operators and leave a small environmental footprint. If you go on a tour with anyone, go with them. And, as a reader of this site, you get a discount when you click the link!
- Rome2Rio – This website allows you to see how to get from point A to point B in the best and cheapest way possible. It gives you all the bus, train, plane, and boat routes that can get you there as well as how much they cost.
- World Nomads – I buy all my travel insurance from World Nomads. They have great customer service, competitive prices, and in-depth coverage. I’ve been using them since I started traveling in 2003. Don’t leave home without it!
- EatWith – This website allows you to eat home-cooked meal with locals. Locals post listings for dinner parties and specialty meals that you can sign up for. There is a fee (everyone sets their own price), but this is a great way to do something different, pick a local’s brain, and make a new friend.
- FerryHopper – This is the best website for finding and booking ferries in Greece. They list routes, times, and prices so you can book directly with them. It’s super easy and there are no hidden fees.
Mykonos Gear and Packing Guide
If you’re heading on the road and need some gear suggestions, here are my tips for the best travel backpack and for what to pack!
The Best Backpack for Travelers
Straps: Thick and cushy with compression technology that pulls the pack’s load up and inwards so it doesn’t feel as heavy.
Features: Removable top lid, large pocket at the front, hydration compatible, contoured hip belt
If you want something different, refer to my article on how to choose the best travel backpack for tips on picking a pack and other backpack suggestions.
What to Pack for Your Trip
- 1 pair of jeans (heavy and not easily dried, but I like them; a good alternative is khaki pants)
- 1 pair of shorts
- 1 bathing suit
- 5 T-shirts (Unbound Merino is my preferred company. If you’re a member of NM+, you can get 15% off your purchase)
- 1 long-sleeved T-shirt
- 1 pair of flip-flops
- 1 pair of sneakers
- 6 pairs of socks (I always end up losing half)
- 5 pairs of boxer shorts (I’m not a briefs guy!)
- 1 toothbrush
- 1 tube of toothpaste
- 1 razor
- 1 package of dental floss
- 1 small bottle of shampoo
- 1 small bottle of shower gel
- 1 towel
Small Medical Kit (safety is important!!!)
- Hydrocortisone cream
- Antibacterial cream
- Hand sanitizer (germs = sick = bad holiday)
- A key or combination lock (safety first)
- Zip-lock bags (keeps things from leaking or exploding)
- Plastic bags (great for laundry)
- Universal charger/adaptor (this applies to everyone)
- LifeStraw (A water bottle with a purifier)
Female Travel Packing List
I’m not a woman, so I don’t know what a woman wears, but Kristin Addis, our solo female travel guru, wrote this list as an addition to the basics above:
- 1 swimsuit
- 1 sarong
- 1 pair of stretchy jeans (they wash and dry easily)
- 1 pair of leggings (if it’s cold, they can go under your jeans, otherwise with a dress or shirt)
- 2-3 long-sleeve tops
- 2-3 T-shirts
- 3-4 spaghetti tops
- 1 light cardigan
- 1 dry shampoo spray & talc powder (keeps long hair grease-free in between washes)
- 1 hairbrush
- Makeup you use
- Hair bands & hair clips
- Feminine hygiene products (you can opt to buy there too, but I prefer not to count on it, and most people have their preferred products)
For more on packing, check out these posts:
Mykonos Travel Guide: Suggested Reading
The Iliad, by Homer
A story of men and gods, Homer’s epic poem conveys the horror and heroism of the Trojan War before moving into its heart-wrenching, tragic conclusion. The translated version by classicist Robert Fagles is a beautiful rendition of this story. Just take a second to appreciate the fact that this poem has been around since the 9th century BCE. It’s a wonderful glimpse into life at that time. (Follow it up with The Odyssey!)
Zorba the Greek, by Nikos Kazantzakis
This book was first published in 1946 and is considered a Greek classic. It’s the story of a Greek working man named Zorba, a great lover of life, and the unnamed narrator who accompanies him to Crete where they work together in a mine. The book is about the “struggle of men to find their souls and purpose in life.” Zorba is a lively, memorable character, and the writing the absolutely poetic. This is a must-read.
Eurydice Street: A Place in Athens, by Sofka Zinovieff
Sofka Zinovieff became enamored with Greece when she studied there as a student. Years later she moved back with her Greek husband and two young daughters. This book is about her first year in Athens and all the trials and (hilarious) tribulations that come with learning how to be Athenian. There are a lot of great insights into everyday Athenian life here, including how to catch a taxi, the importance of cigarettes, and how to get a pig cooked at the bakers. It will definitely spark your desire to hang out in Athens for a while!
It’s All Greek to Me, by John Mole
This is the self-deprecating, humorous true story of John Mole, a man whose dreams of a Greek paradise lead him to buy a broken-down home in the countryside. The house has no water, no electricity, no doors, and no windows. Mole drags his family along for the journey. Together, they spend time cleaning out 20 years of goat poop and getting to know the friendly neighbors (like Elpida, who cures back pain with raw eggs). This is a seriously funny, charming book!
The Summer of My Greek Taverna: A Memoir, by Tom Stone
One summer, Tom Stone went to Greece to write a novel. He ended up staying 22 years. On the island of Patmos, he fell in love with a French painter named Danielle, and seven years later they moved to Crete. This book is about life as an American struggling to make his dreams a reality in a foreign place and all the joys and sorrows that accompany that.
Mykonos Travel Guide: Related Articles
Want more info? Check out all the articles I’ve written on Greece travel and continue planning your trip: