We just got back from visiting Mykonos for the first time! We had already visited Santorini two years prior. Now having seen both of them, it’s tough to say which one we prefer. I’d always recommend visiting both, you can do day trips from Mykonos to Santorini by ferry. But in case you have to choose for you trip sake, I’ll just point out that Mykonos is more of a party/nightlife town and Santorini is more of chasing the sunset and shopping in souvenir shops till close vibes. We prefer Santorini vibes ourselves, but Mykonos was fun due to all the exploration we did on our mopeds!
1. Visit Little Venice
It’s their main downtown shopping and restaurant area. Honestly, you will only find maybe 10 restaurants not located in Little Venice. This part of town comprises 85% of all of Mykonos that you’ll be visiting.
It has those iconic greek island white painted roads with grey clay boxes, a ton of souvenir shops that are filled with Mykonos treasures, lined up with beautiful restaurants around the whole Little Venice area, and a large night life. When the sun goes down, that’s when Little Venice really picks up in traffic. People go out for drinking and dancing. For transparency, clothes are risqué here! Hopefully that helps with deciding what to pack 😉
If you’ve been to other parts of Europe, I’m sure you’ve seen a lot of stray cats and dogs. Santorini had a variety of both, Mykonos we only saw cats – mainly all in Little Venice. We are huge cat people so this was a fun part of the trip for us 🙂
2. Rent Mopeds!
I’m sure you’re googling whether or not to rent mopeds and are seeing a lot of back and forth comments about it. At the end of the day, everyone’s comments will be based on their own experience so it’ll never sound the same. I’ll try to stay factual to help with deciding whether or not it’s right for you –
They’re cheap – we got ours for $84/moped for 4 days.
It allows you to get around easier due to most hotels not being near Little Venice nor near bus stops. Our hotel was a 3 mile up hill hike on a road with no sidewalks to the nearest bus stop.
Their speed limit is 30-50 on the island but most people go 45-55 everywhere.
If you are sharing a moped, get at least a 100CC due to the hills, you don’t want to get stuck with all the weight on it.
Helmet’s are a part of the contract when you book your moped but you’ll notice locals do not wear helmets.
Their entire island has no stop lights, just stop signs and roundabouts. Due to roundabouts building up lines of cars, you’ll notice mopeds go around the cars and lane split. If you don’t want to, just try to stay to the right.
Lots of locals ride mopeds so parking will seem easy, you can park with all the others or use a regular car parking spot.
Last tip, read these traffic signs for Greece. It’ll be well worth it!
& just know that we struggled with our mopeds for the first day & we ride motorcycles. They have high torque meaning they go from 0 mph to 15 mph in an instant it feels. PRO TIP: If you hold your break in a little bit and then rev, it’ll allow you to control your take off.
Moped or ATV? All I’ll say is ATVs were slowwww. We zipped around them on our little 50CC mopeds.
I hope this helped with deciding on whether or not you want to rent them! In case you do, this is the company we rented through and they were super nice 🙂 They will also shuttle you from the airport to the moped place for free!
3. Visit beaches
The beaches are lined up with cabanas that you will need to purchase to lay on one of the chairs. But the beaches do have small public areas that are free to all and that’s where you’ll see locals go and lay out their towels. We did public areas and it was just fine. We’ve done the whole expensive cabana thing in Positano and decided to skip it this trip and lay out in the sun 🙂
Platis Gialos Beach
-mainly all hotels
-25 minute moped ride from Little Venice area
-Cabana prices differ depending on day. Can range from 15-95 a chair
-Has a small public area to lay out all the way to the left end of the beach
-also has a little hike you can follow that’s above the public beach area (you’ll see groups of people take it) this leads you to a small private area to get into the water away from the crowds, or you can go further and reach Scorpios Beach
-Great area to snorkel – will mainly just see small silver fish
-Parking: follow the road all the way straight and it’ll turn into a parking area for mopeds that leads right to the front of the coastline
-moped parking is on top of the hill, if you have car you will follow the road down and it’ll lead to a parking area with a concierge
-has more shops than Platis Gialos
-looks a bit more like Positano hills
-Smaller beach with paid cabanas
-public beach with just sand. There’s no cabanas, restaurants, or chairs.
-We didn’t go there but heard from a local that it’s a great place to watch the sunset
PRO TIP: look into the water prior to just diving in. Some days there are no jelly fish and other days the water will be filled with them. If you notice not a lot of people are in the water, or are in clusters near one another, keep an eye out. We never got stung but heard from a local that it feels like little needles zapping you and it’s painful.
Try All The Cool Restaurants
Little Venice will be lined up with beautiful restaurants along the entire border. They all have a beautiful, bohemian vibe to them. As you walk past them, they’ll have a hostess that asks you to check out their menu or “please have a seat” just know that they’ll all do that! So don’t feel pressured or guilty to say no and continue to walk by
Most of the restaurants do have very similar foods. So I wouldn’t worry too much about checking out every menu but rather what vibe do you like the best. Chances are, they have 80% the same menu as the last restaurant had. The food is mainly going to be seafood, salads, and pastas.
Catch the sunset above Little Venice
There’s a place called 180 Sunset Bar. It’s a hyped up place on the internet that has lead to crazy wait times. Definitely check it out if you want – it’s $50 for a table (doesn’t include drinks or food) and a local recommended getting there prior to sunset so around 4p (in August sunset began around 5:30-6p). Sometimes the wait can get up to over 2 hours to get in if you wait too close to sunset time.
What you can do instead is check out the sunset at a huge windmill that’s right down the street from that sunset bar. You can actually get to the windmill from Little Venice streets. There’ll be a ground of people watching the sunset from up there. It’s a beautiful sight! It’s one of the stops that we did during our photo shoot we booked with the amazing Yannis.
BONUS: ENSURE TO LOUNGE AT YOUR HOTEL!
Mykonos is a bit pricy on the hotel side, just like Santorini but for good reason. A lot of pools come with private pools or jacuzzi’s. We wanted to experience an infinity pool, so we chose a hotel that allowed us to have a personal infinity pool and we absolutely loved it! Felt like our modern, luxurious escape from the busy downtown Little Venice. It also allowed us to have a place to swim on the day that there were a ton of jelly fish at the beaches!
Insider tip: the pool will always be freezing. We were there in mid August, 85+ degree weather and our pool was breath taking cold everyday of the trip. To manage, we bought water tubes at a market so we could still get in the water and not feel so cold & that worked wonders! The pool did feel amazing after long rides back home from excursions on the moped. I do think that we would have used a jacuzzi more, in case that helps with deciding what to lean towards.
You’ll be all set for your trip to Mykonos with this list! If this is your first time visiting international or want a refresher on what it’ll be like to navigate around/communicate with locals, read this blog post. It’ll help you know more about the culture of Greece and Mykonos 🙂