The Best Time To Visit Mykonos
I'll start by admitting that the title of this post is extremely subjective—the best time to visit Mykonos really varies based on the type of person you are. For someone who loves to rage, party like a rockstar, and bake on the beach (I am sometimes this person) the best time for you to visit Mykonos would be anytime between mid-May and August. For those who prefer a laid back stay on a quiet island in cooler temps, the off-season during winter & early spring months will be optimal. While I really was looking forward to summertime raging, I'm delighted that we found ourselves in Mykonos during somewhat of a sweet spot between the two ends of spectrum—Easter weekend.
Easter in Greece is truly a special time for locals. 98% of the population is Greek orthodox, so it's safe to say that Easter is kind of a big deal in Mykonos. For many businesses on the island, Easter marks the end of the off-season so they re-open their doors to welcome locals & tourists alike. While the majority of visitors on the island during this time of year are Greeks visiting for the holiday, we didn't feel out of place for one second.
After 2 nights and 1 day in Athens, we headed to Mykonos via a quick 50 minute flight that we booked for €40 each via Ryanair. The views from the flight alone were enough to get our hearts fluttering for the experience ahead of us. As we approached the island, all you could see from the plane were hills lined with bright white cube shaped houses and miles of clear blue waters in the distance.
Our Airbnb was located inside of an apartment complex in a traditional white & pale blue Mykonean style that was a 2 minute walk from Ornos Beach, restaurants, and a grocery store. At $57 per night, the amenities and location truly felt like a steal.
A contrary experience to our previous stop in Athens, we found that most things that we wanted to do in Mykonos were not walking distance. There is no Uber and word on the street is that there are only 30 taxis servicing the entire island, so it can be easy to feel a bit isolated without a solid plan for transportation.
While I made an itinerary for our trip, the activities on my checklist were more suggestions than anything that was set in stone. All I had noted for Mykonos was to eat at Ornos beach, visit the town center, rent an ATV, and check out a couple more iconic beaches on the island. We decided to make a dent in my list and start by eating by the Ornos beachfront. We found a classy little spot that was just a 5 minute walk from our Airbnb called Kuzina. We were promptly seated and excited to dig into some seafood. I'd been eager (yet nervous) to try grilled octopus so I took this as a solid opportunity to be an adventurous foodie. My verdict on this round of octopus? A bit fishier than I anticipated and pretty chewy as well. While it was tasty, I was unsure if this was a dish I'd want to order again.
After chatting with some of the servers, we learned that this happened to be their first day open of the season and they were preparing for the festivities of Easter weekend to follow. After our early dinner, we rented a beach bed (€20) and lounged in front of the clear, blue mediterranean sea.
day 1 & 2
With our first full day in Mykonos ahead of us, we were still unsure what we should do. While a lot of places were just opening for the season, there were a lot that were still closed too. Our options were between checking off my to-do list and renting an ATV to explore the island, or checking out a beach club called Nammos. We finally decided "why not do both?" and it was honestly the best decision we could have made.
We rented an ATV for €25 per day, tried to retain the directions to Nammos that were given by the ATV rental clerks, and headed out on our way. I'll admit, we were both a little nervous—especially after seeing how crazy Greek roads could get at times. For this reason especially, I opted to wear a helmet as well to keep my dome safe on the road. I did notice that wearing a helmet on an ATV seemed to be a dead giveaway that you're a tourist. Marcos also had a great time laughing at me as I tried on their helmet sizes from small, to medium, to large—before we found the right size to fit my giant head. Being on an ATV with the winds rushing past your face and the Mykonean scenery ahead of you is an indescribable feeling, all I can say is that it's something I'll probably never forget and would highly recommend as a means of transportation for those visiting the island.
After a few wrong turns and a very scenic route, we successfully arrived at our destination around 2 PM. Since I read through some reviews of Nammos, I was prepared for a very swanky experience in a star-studded hotspot and knew this day would be a bit of a splurge. We were quickly seated at a beach bed and the hostess let us know that the beds were €30 per person. After looking at the menu and seeing bottle prices ranging from €35 all the way up to €120,000 (yes, seriously), we ordered a bottle of wine and did our share of sipping & tanning. My initial impression of Nammos was that this was definitely a place where people go to see people and be seen. With Marcos being the social butterfly that he is, he quickly made a Greek friend while taking a dip in the water.
By 4 PM, the music had switched from calming elevator music to full on party tunes. We shared a couple more bottles of Greek white wine with Marcos' new friend and danced on the Mediterranean beach to songs ranging from Shape Of You by Ed Sheeran to the latest Greek hits. We partied until the music stopped (once the sun started to go down) and headed back on the road. We decided to make a stop at one of the iconic Mykonos windmills for a photo op and headed back to the Airbnb for a bit of R&R.
After a nice nap, we took a cab to the town center to do some more exploring and grab a bite to eat. I'd heard great things about Nikos Taverna and was excited to give it a try. Apparently a lot of people love this spot so it was very crowded & busy, even at 11 PM. Since it was Good Friday, there was a parade (a very solemn one) of people moving through the town center that were holding candles and singing Greek hymns about the rise of Christ. It was truly a sight to see and made the experience of being in Mykonos on Easter weekend even more special.
Since we had such a good time the day before, after Marcos' new friend invited us to join him for another day of Nammos fun we decided to oblige. With it officially being Easter weekend, Nammos was even more crowded than the day before, but the party scene was a bit more calm. We had a full day of sun, beach, and wine—and made even more new friends. It was really cool that we were able to make friends that were familiar with the island to give us a local perspective that we would have never gotten otherwise.
On the eve of Easter, Greeks on the island head to church around midnight and continue their easter celebrations by partying the night away. With this kept in mind, we headed out again around 11 PM to check out the party scene within the town center. After bouncing between a few bars, we met up with Marcos' new friend again at a chic little club called Astra. I realized the club was rightfully named after noticing star-like lights that flickered all throughout the ceilings to the beat of the music. By 2 AM, the place was packed, music was bumping, and I was told that they would all be partying until 6 in the morning. While that sounded awesome, I'm a grandma at heart so we only lasted til about 3:30 AM before calling it a night. Either way, I was more than content with our stay on the island and ready to head to our next destination the following morning.
After 3 days in Mykonos, we were super excited to take a ferry to our next destination: Santorini. I booked our ferry tickets months in advance after learning that were no flights between Mykonos & Santorini scheduled for 2017. Once we arrived to pick up our tickets, the clerk told us that I had mistakenly booked a ticket from Santorini to Mykonos, and not the other way around. He said there was a boat leaving to Santorini within the next 10 minutes, but it was completely booked past capacity and there was no way he could fit us on there. We were told we would have to wait until the next ferry—the following day. I could not believe this was happening to us. At this point, we were stuck in Mykonos for another night with no place to stay, while our hotel room in Santorini was waiting for our arrival. I called our Airbnb host to ask if it was possible to stay an extra night if the suite hadn't already been booked. I was beyond relieved when he let me know that he moved some accommodations around and it would be fine for us to return to the suite! We booked our ferry tickets for the next day, which were about €65 each and I made sure that they were going in the correct direction this time. While it would have been perfect if we spent our unplanned extra day in Mykonos exploring the island a bit more—especially during Easter day celebrations, I was a bit too emotionally drained from the fiasco and decided we should just grab dinner and a bottle of wine and relax at the suite for the remainder of our stay.
Of course, everything worked out in the long run, we made it to our ferry the next day, our hotel in Santorini let us stay an extra night to make up for the one we missed, and it definitely made for an interesting twist to our travel story.
my overall verdict of mykonos
It's without a doubt that Mykonos is a beautiful island with lots to do, see, and eat. I definitely found our stay in Mykonos to be more on the expensive side, especially when compared to Athens. Marcos and I agreed that we'd love to come back one day, but maybe with a much bigger budget next time. I'd say on average, we spent around €300 per day, making this the most expensive part of our trip. Was I freaking out about how much we were spending at the time? Yes. Was it worth the experiences we had in the long run? Heck yes.
To harp on the timing of our trip a little bit more, I highly recommend visiting during Easter weekend if you ever have the chance to. We were told that summer gets insanely hot, crowded and even more expensive. Easter weekend granted us the perfect balance of just the right amount of crowds, perfect weather, and the feeling of having the island all to ourselves half the time. Although, I still would love to return in the summer months one day to compare experiences and get my party on!
Stay tuned, the final post in my Greece travel series will be coming soon. Our next and most special stop of the trip: Santorini.