Mykonos: the Ibiza of Greece. The most expensive Greek island with its boujee beach clubs, spenny sensational sunsets and popping with pink flowers and parties: 100% worth every penny!
Mykonos is a whole vibe. Which while I knew, I thought well I’ve done beach clubs and sunsets on many Greek islands.. this one just seems a lot more crazily expensive. And I was right. But what I hadn’t considered was the the Mykonos magic in my assumptions! It’s a thing – an pricey thing but a thing!
It’s not a party isle for nothing and a very different experience to the other Greek islands I’ve done (this is my 5th) but it’s truly fun and fabulous and everything in between. Perfect for my friends 40th – though take note that everyone is celebrating something: a birthday, a big birthday, a wedding, anniversaries and so on… so don’t except any special treatment unless you pay for it…. this is Mykonos, being here itself is the magic for celebrating whatever moment!
Airport & transfer
The first thing to know about the island (after taking a loan out to afford it all!) is taxis are sparse – reportedly only 30 on the island for a population of 15k, which in the summer jumps 3 times! And no Uber! Most hotels will offer you a free transfer. This does mean you need to wait for others staying at your hotel so that sunset drink was a race against time for us! Ensure you book one with your accommodation prior to leaving home! For us it was only 10/15minutes down to our hotel, so we made sunset.
We decided on south west on the island down near Platis Gialos beach. We knew we wouldn’t have time to visit the east and most of our must dos were the south beaches and in Mykonos town so it was perfect base. Note if you did want to stay in the town, it was heaving late September so can’t only imagine how busy it would be in summer. There were a lot of choice for fabulous but affordable hotels in this area and we settled on The George with a rooftop pool. Obviously! But also it sister hotel is 4 min walk on the beach and you can use their beach club for free – which on this Greek island is a big bonus!
Though to note on Platis Gialos beach there was no shade, even with umbrella’s the way the sun hits its really for sunbakers only. Which was a real shame but made the choice of the George even more sweeter – especially as we were upgraded to a room we could walk straight from our room into the pool.
There are 2 pools, and plenty of loungers (if you aren’t lucky as we were to have ours right outside our door!) There’s a small snack area which also serves a modest breakfast and doubles up as a bar for that night cap but it’s not a destination bar. This a perfect base, an oasis of calm from the craziness of the crowds in town and far enough from the beach the only music you can hear is that repeating in your ears and the staff – so lovely and helpful.
Beaches & beach restaurants
Whilst we couldn’t sunshade on Platis Gialos beach it was a great area with lots of restaurants and beach clubs crammed into this convenient cove. It was much quieter than the height of the season but that suited us as allowed for spontaneous dinners and dancing!
For eating, Eclipse rooftop restaurant was a stunning spot with sea views for miles and had shade. Not the best food or service but a light lunch of a classic Greek salad – for those views was worth it. Click here for more on the rooftops in Mykonos.
Dinner we did a spontaneous stop at Avil Tou Thodori which was magical – sat right at the waters edge on beanbags and great food.
We also tried Thea – If you can bag a sea view table then I’d highly recommend as the other restaurants round the beach are all set back behind the sunbeds so this was a sunset treat. And surprisingly cheap for Mykonos.
We also stopped for drinks and dancing at Anios. It was the end of the season and quieter than usual but seemed to be a super popular time for weddings and we ended up at a wedding party here (this photo is not from that night as no one needs to see those).
The world famous Nammos beach club brand is located just 10/15 minute cliff top walk from Platis Gialos beach. The walk alone is worth it – the views of Psarou beach are stunning – tho be warned this beach club apparently had the most expensive champagne in Europe!
Another beach close by was Pagana which you could water taxi to for €15 return from Platis Gialos beach (just below Thea). You can also hop on and off day to various beaches for an extra €5, stopping for a drink on each! One way to decide where you want to invest a whole day at.
We had already decided and booked to camp out at Kalua beach club – one of the cheaper starting at €20 per person for the sun lounger and a minimum spend starting at €40 not including eating in the restaurant. With cocktails at €20 that easily disappeared. Highly recommend ‘I love Coco’ cocktail – a watermelon twist on the the classic pina colada! Only found here! So when at Kalua be rude not to try,…
The service was impeccable from a text the day before confirming our reservation and if we needed to know anything or needed transport to get there arranged. I asked asked what the shade situation was – happily this beach there was plenty of options. The only slight strange moment was when we came to pay there was ‘mandatory’ tip, shame as we would have given more in cash as was great service. Aside that tiny blip this was super chill, gorgeous place to spend a day though there are some rocks so you may need sexy sea shoes or just walk a bit further down – the water is too amazing not to go in.
Just along from Kalua is the famous Scorpios beach club. This was a whole experience. Downloaded passes on the phone, no tagging photos allowed on their grid, a mug shot requested – so they can greet you personally… I was wary! But like everywhere, everyone was just so friendly. And staying here all day into sunset would be a must. I would even go so far to say it qualifies as my first beach club rooftop! Well on a cliff top! The food and service was also amazing so not just paying to be seen here at all.
One beach which we didn’t have time for was, Agios Ioannis. This is the beach Shirley Valentine has the famous date with herself is. If you are a fan then you’ll also want to visit the Hippie Fish restaurant – where she met Costa, also one of Mykonos oldest restaurants.
The simplest and cheapest way from our hotel to the town was to get the bus. (Note the taxi issue from transfer) Though it’s not a bus as you’d expect – it’s laid on airconned coach. Goes every half hour from opposite the Petaos hotel, just 5/10 mins walk from the hotel and only costs €1.80! (Note last one back is 2am… yea we made it!!)
The bus drops at a place called Fabrica and then you walk the labyrinth of their windy tiny streets. These were built in 13 century to help keep pirates away as they would get so lost in them! And they aren’t the only ones! Google maps was my friend! Though you can just wander and see where you end up. They are littered with the perfect pink blossom, shops galore and beautiful colourful buildings. These originated when blue doors were for sailors, green for farmers and everyone else red. Fast forward a few centuries to insta worthy photo ops of matching outfits to buildings!
Little Venice is everything you will have seen for sunset and more. More people mainly. And a lot smaller than expected – it’s like Piccadilly Circus on a tiny walkway and this was late Sept! So I would suspect height of summer would be horrible. Oh and top tip leave the heels at home. The path to the bars is treacherous as the sea laps up and makes the path slippery which is magical to see, not so much to fall over on- which apparently happens at least once a week, on to rocks. Amazingly not me this trip! Not once.
We went to Nice n Easy for a nice and easy lunch. (Really did what it says on the tin though maybe more fine and average but in a great location) We had tried to make a reservation but no one answered or replied to our emails so we chanced it.
Then there is bar after bar after bar along the walk way all hosting the magical sea view that’s been made famous on the gram. But each one has limited seats so it’s first come first served or book with a minimum spend. Highly recommend that is sunset is your goal.
Negrita is probably the most well known for partying and the insta sign and flowers to pose under – we chose not to book for sunset as there was a minimum spend and the reviews were dreadful but we stopped for chilled afternoon bubbles and came back after 11 for a very different vibe of DJs and dancing! And no idea why the reviews were bad as we were so well looked after – but it was like that everywhere – recommended somewhere but reviews weren’t great but when we went it was flawless service.
Veranda was another bar in Little Venice we loved. Right at the end looking back to the famous windmills – it was perfect pit spot for cocktails with a view.
We booked Bao for the sunset as their chairs face front (some in other bars are shared or back to the water) and we wanted to guarantee the perfect sundown spot! We were not disappointed. Tunes playing, happy vibes everywhere – reminded me a lot of the Mambo sunset in Ibiza. The light even an hour after sun down was burnt orange and golden – definitely a must when in Mykonos.
There was a insta v reality moment (as I had been stalking Little Venice all summer on socials) and what isn’t shown much is just how busy and bustling it is as you sit there. It is a walk way but people move along fast and no one tried to stop and block our (or anyone else’s view)
Rooftops aren’t your normal rooftops – more cliff tops bars, beaches and restaurants (which totally count!) but if you are looking for a classic rooftop bar then look no further than Sky bar on top of Townhouse hotel. Sweeping views of the town and ocean another perfect for sundown and like most places in Mykonos – its more that it seems with partying into the night. For more on the rooftop bars click here
Dinner at Interni is also a bucket list must. Not a rooftop or sea views but this stunning outdoor restaurant, with an indoor vibe is now one of my all time favourite restaurants. The food is fabulous and the atmosphere electric … there’s dancing, sparklers, and waving of the napkins at midnight while stood on tables and chairs! And it starts out so boujee and elegant! Not one to miss.
Aside Little Venice and a beach club, two other places for the best sunsets on this island are 180 and Meraki at Cavo Tagoo. Both need to be booked and with minimum spends varying where you want to be sat, It’s not a cheap sunset by any standards but it is a super special one! (And for a 40th totally justified and really it is was rooftop bar research!)
We decided to walk up from the town to 180 …. this wasn’t the brightest idea but definitely cheaper than booking a private car or risking not finding a taxi. If you do this then take water and go the road way. It feels a little precarious as no side walk but less of a work out than the steps from the town.
On arrival all is forgiven from the hike. It’s like walking into a fairy’s castle of magic. This is a date night dream. There were birthdays, proposals, dancing and a long line for the insta worthy spots! And when sun down happened they play ‘It’s time to say goodbye’ which was equally funny and emotional. It’s truly an experience.
Then we have the hotel Cavo Tagoo that hosts the famous Merki restaurant- which I’m calling a rooftop restaurant as the view and vibe are insane. This required a car to €40 each way as much further north than the town. And this was a whole other sunset sensation. Being the birthday girls 40th we booked the floating beds, sat on top of the infinity pool with sea views stretching as far as you could see, rose in one hand, phones to capture the magic at the ready in the other.
The service was like 180 – flawless and super friendly. The seemlier chose our wine, and the waitress was thorough to ensure allergies were catered for. My fish even came out on fire and we sat cross legged on this floating bed eating dinner with a setting so spectacular we wondered if it was a dream.
To note that next door (Well a 10 minute walk tho there is a €20 shuttle) is Zuma which is a bar and sushi restaurant with the same fabulous beds and service or try their bar for a drink after.
Lastly, in summery …
Careful of reviews as seems to quite split for some of these places but we couldn’t have found more friendly, fun and kind people. I would highly recommend booking everywhere, especially if going in high season! Yes most of ‘the’ places have a steep minimum spend but you’d only end up with a big bill at the end anyway. This way you can at least budget (first trip I was bang on budget when I got home and a few places were less than quoted) plus it ensures all your bucket lists booked and guaranteed, I also did follow ups nearer to going to double confirm.
This is without doubt the priciest Greek island – which is ironic as it used to be a poor island till after the second world war – then celebs and royals made it famous) and yes you could go to a neighbouring island and the same a sunset will cost €5 for a drink: You pay for the vibe, the DJs and for the gram. Just leave the heels at home or pack a first aid kit or have a driver and maybe a hairdresser as this is the windy isle though wasn’t as bad as we were prepared for,
If you love to party, need to fill your feed with Insta worthy places, have the cash or just want to soak up some amazing moments then you will love this island. It completely stole a piece of my heart… rather unexpectedly. The Mykonos magic was a thing! ❤️