One of my dreams is to visit either Mykonos or Santorini – Greek islands dotting the Mediterranean Sea that welcome guests with cobalt, crystalline waters, sandy beaches, superb sunset views, and a rocking range of options and activities for everyone. Now, if you had to choose which of the Cyclades islands you wanted to visit (there are about 220 islands!), this instantly presents a challenge. So how do you make up your mind? The key here is to ask yourself the right questions.
What do you want from your Greek Island holidays?
Answering this question will give you a guide towards what must-haves you should be looking for from an island.
- Do you want to party until the wee hours and have fun with lots of drinks and dancing? (Mykonos)
- Are you coming with the family and long for sandy kid-friendly beaches and water activities? (Mykonos)
- Are used to a luxury lifestyle and don’t want to settle with nothing less. (Mykonos)
- Are you more interested in Greek history and historical sites than a vibrant nightlife? (Santorini)
- Are you planning a honeymoon? (Santorini)
- Want a quick escape from the bustle of the city? (Mykonos + Santorini)
- Want to join a lively LGBT community? (Mykonos)
- Wish to combine holiday-making with boutique shopping? (Mykonos)
- Be treated with captivating sunset views and wine tasting tours? (Santorini)
Your replies to the above questions will provide you with a broad holiday blueprint to work with. As soon as you have your answers, see which island best suits your requirements and needs.
Where to Go for the Best Beaches – Mykonos
Mykonos features a fantastic coastline with sandy beaches and azure, crystal-clear waters. You have an impressive plethora of beaches, islets, and coves to choose from, depending on your needs. So, you can pick from cosmopolitan shores of ultimate glam to family-friendly and even isolated coves for enhanced privacy. Also, beaches hosting epic parties from sunrise to well after midnight, and beach bars inviting international DJs to excite the crowds.
Santorini, on the other hand, impresses with its unique beaches with black and red volcanic sand. These can be great for photoshoots but if enjoying the beach includes kicking back on the beach for the majority of your vacation and sunbathing and diving into waters with sandy seabeds (good for children), you won’t find it here. Santorini’s beaches are not inviting enough to stay for many hours (the sand is too hot after midday). Also, many Santorini shores are not easily reachable by car.
Where to Go for the Best Activities – Both
Besides the picturesque Little Venice with the colorful houses whose balconies hand over the water, Mykonos is also home to the world-famous Windmills. Offering a glimpse into the way islanders used to grind wheat and make flour, some of the remaining windmills are turned into interesting museums showing sides of Mykonos now many people know of. Add to these the numerous water sports activities you could try, the hiking trails, the cobbled streets of Mykonos Town, and the scenic villages, the museums, and the pristine shores, and you get a nearly full list.
And, let’s not forget the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Delos Island, just a short boat ride away. Plus, an incredibly vibrant nightlife, with lots of bars, clubs, restaurants, tavernas, boutique shops, and, of course, Petros the Pelican (the island mascot), and you definitely have lots to anticipate from a Mykonos visit.
Santorini will entice you with its volcanic morphology and how the earthquakes and volcanic eruptions of the past have reshaped the entire island. Expect villages with cave houses, an imposing Caldera with breath-taking views of the Santorini volcano, idyllic sunsets, and some cultural and historical activities, such as a visit to the archaeological site of Akrotiri and the Prehistoric Thira Museum. You can also submerge in the sulfur waters of the Hot Springs or take a tour around the island and even visit Thirasia island and the smaller Palea Kameni and Nea Kameni volcanic islands.
So, it all has to do with what you want. However, Mykonos has a tad more things to do than its popular counterpart. Plus, a whole host of LGBT-friendly clubs, bars, and beaches. In general, if you want non-stop all-around fun, then Mykonos is a one-way street. But, if you wish for more laid-back experiences and more quiet holidays, then do give Santorini a go.
Where to Go for ULTIMATE Pampering & Luxury – Mykonos
In this respect, Mykonos and Santorini spoil visitors with a plethora of luxury services. You will find equally ravishing exclusive villas and elegant mansions in both islands offering a wide range of VIP amenities.
However, Mykonos offers more abundance and more options than Santorini’s accommodation. For example, you can rent a stylish villa on a hilltop, right in front of the beach, with access to a private beach, in the middle of the Mykonos capital, in prestigious locations around the island, and even choose the privacy level you desire. In addition, the concierge services on offer at Mykonos far surpass anything you have already experienced or will ever experience during your summer holidays.
In any case, whichever destination you choose, you will certainly be rewarded with life-long memories! I for one cannot wait to go!