How do we explain Mykonos. Primal? Sensory Overload? A mix of Africa, Middle East, and Greece all in one place? Perhaps a combination of all these things, combined and focused on fulfilling your desires to let go and let loose, through epic sounds, beaches, food and fun. Mykonos has a lot to offer singles and families alike. Before you book your trip, read this blog to hear our take on if Mykonos is worth the hype or if you should opt to go somewhere else for your summer holiday.
What's the Highlights about Mykonos?
Mykonos is an island in the Cyclades group in the Aegean Sea. It's popularly known for its summer party atmosphere. Beaches such as Paradise and Super Paradise have bars that blare thumping music all night long. Massive dance clubs attract world-renowned DJs and typically stay open well past dawn. Iconic landmarks include a row of 16th-century windmills, which sit on a hill above Mykonos town.
It. Is. Expensive.
I'm not sure what we expected coming to Mykonos. We traveled with our 1.5 year old son, and stayed at an amazing 4.5 star cliff-side hotel with a delicious half-board package at their fine dining restaurant on the property. So, we knew we were paying a little more for the luxuries we wanted out of our holiday (great views, an epic pool, and finer accommodations that made it more comfortable to travel with a baby).
We knew vacation would be expensive, but didn't realize just how expensive it would be. It's nearly impossible to get fresh grilled fish for less than $100 EUR/kg. The mark-up here is crazy, and they're largely targeting an international crowd, so they know that people will spend the money. We could have easily spent $1K on food in just one week(maybe we did?!?), and that's literally just eating at some of the normal beach front restaurants on the boardwalks (nothing crazy fancy).
Prices ease up once you actually get into Mykonos Town, and we found some great gems we'll share below under "what we loved." Regardless, if you decide to come to Mykonos, be prepared to spend a lot more than you expected on food, cabs, and entertainment.
It's not as "Greek" as you Might Think
We were surprised to find the entire island centered around tourists. I'm really not sure why we had this idea that by coming to Mykonos, we would have a 'locals' experience. While, yes, there's definitely places to go that feels more local, and we found those gems. But, all in all, the island is 99% tourists, and most of the people we met were America honeymooners, and friends coming to party for a long weekend.
We did meet families too, and again, that is all about where you stay. Our hotel had a good mix of honeymooners and young families, doing a lot of the same as what we were doing (spending the better parts of our day on the beach or lounging by the pool, eating, and in the evenings, going out for dinner)
What we Loved
The Views and Beaches on the Island are Breathtaking
The beaches here are just magnificent. Unlike Crete, where most of the beaches are actually stones, Mykonos has many small sandy beaches, on a dry desert-like rugged island. You can catch water taxis for about 30 eur from one beach to the next. We stayed on Platis Gialos beach. Beautiful views and lots of dining options in this area. It's also really close to the famed Scorpios beach club.
It's a Foodie Paradise
After our trip to Mykonos, I fell in love with the greek salad all over again. We literally made it for dinner every night the entire summer last year. There's a hundred ways to enjoy it, and it always came with a light dressing, amazing fresh feta, and delicious olives. I probably ate this 90% of the time during our trip. Besides great fresh salads, they of course, have great fish, wild caught every day. Like I said before, Mykonos is expensive, so if you want to enjoy a whole fish, you're paying a ton of money (close to 100 Eur). As you venture into Mykonos Town, you'll find more affordable places to eat. There's lots of easy burger and gyro joints all over old town.
Our absolute favorite foodie find in Old Town is To Maereio Mykonos. It's run by two twin brothers, and it's 100% local. Our hotel gave us this tip, and we came back here three times during our stay. It's cheap, I mean locals cheap, and some of the best food on the island for quality and value. We didnt have reservations anytime we came, so it was a bit of a wait. So we ordered a carafe of wine, and sat outside, while Lucas ran around playing in the alley. Don't come to Mykonos and not stop here at least once. You'll thank us later.
Mykonos Town and Luxury Shopping
Mykonos Town is the historic center of the island, and is this intricate connections of small roads, alleys, and beautiful white washed buildings with pops of bright blue everywhere you go. What surprised me most is the amount of luxury shopping you have in Mykonos Town. There's a bus that brings you into the center from any main point on the Island and round trips per day are less than 2 EUR. Cabs are expense here so we definitely recommend taking the bus, which is more like a private coach. We spent hours walking around and checking out larger retailers like Louis Vuitton, to smaller independent designers with flagship stores in Mykonos. It's literally the center of all the fun and partying on the Island.
Everyone who comes to Mykonos town checks out the historic windmills. They're definitely pretty at sunset, but it was too windy for us to spend more than 30 seconds there to take pictures. Be sure to check out Skandinavian bar which leads the nightlife of Mykonos since 1978 and is located right in the center of Mykonos town.
Our Hotel was Amazing
We stayed at Myconian Ambassador Relais & Chateaux–a beautiful cliff-side hotel perched above Platis Gialos beach. It was just a 3 minute walk to the beach, and had the most expansive pool we saw on the whole island. It was a hotel that targeted honeymooners and families, so don't expect a crazy party with a DJ next to the pool. It was perfect for what we were looking for and I highly recommend it to any families or couples looking for a quiet, luxurious place to stay on Mykonos.
If you stay here and want to visit some beach parties, you have to go to Scorpios. Literally, it was the highlight of our trip. It's a beautiful restaurant, that also has a beach party, and it's 25 minute walk along the cliffs to get there from the hotel. We had to carry the stroller up a couple boulders, but otherwise accessibly by foot with kids. The staff all look like they're straight out of a Game of Thrones scene, dressed like Khal Drogo and the Dathrakis. Miraculously, my son fell asleep at 7pm, and stayed asleep, through all the music, while we enjoyed some drinks, and dinner until about 11pm. They have a day party, too, and their panoramic views of the beach are breathtaking. This is mostly an adult place, but kids are fine until about 11pm or midnight, when the restaurant starts to get quiet, and it switches to a pure beach party.
Not far from our hotel on the beach was Branco Hotel Mykonos. We ate here a few times, and I think if we came back without kids, we would stay here. There's a DJ that plays every day on the beach. It's a smaller place, but the views are amazing, and their restaurant is delicious.
Would we come back?
There's so many places to see in Europe, and so many Greek islands to think about. Would I come back? Yes, if I were coming with my husband (no kids!) to enjoy letting go at the most incredible beach parties I've seen in the world.
Is it worth coming for a week with kids? I guess maybe, if you've got cash to burn, can rent a yacht, and explore all the natural adventures and beauty of the island with your kids, then it's totally worth it.
In the end, we are so glad we came to Mykonos. It was beautiful experience and our family really enjoyed all it had to offer. But if you're just a family looking for a warm weather beach escape, beautiful views, amazing hotels and pools, and simple good food, you might get the same experience visiting a different island like Crete, that's more centered around families, and local European travelers, at a fraction of the cost!
Are you visiting Mykonos for the first time? Tag Unbound_Travelers on Instagram to share your experience with us!
We are explorers.
Thrill Seekers. Foodies.