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Santorini and Mykonos are very similar islands, that’s why we are comparing them! Santorini was created by a volcano, and to this day has stunning caldera views. Mykonos is equally as ancient, but may not have quite the same landscape and perspectives as Santorini. However, Mykonos has a captivating presence and allure. We’ve compared major components of these alluring Greek islands that would likely be a part of helping you consider which one to visit. But hey, you might fall in love with everything, and decide to visit both of these memorable Greek islands.
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We will go ahead and save you the debate on this one—both have similar weather. Being only a 3-hour ferry ride apart, it’s just going to depend on the day, when it comes to the forecast. But the summer months are the most popular because who doesn’t like basking in the warm sun by jewel-colored waters? July is peak season and most crowded, as this is the hottest time.
Mykonos has that old-world feel and is met with a lot of subtly sleek touches that still keep everything true to Greece. Finding an Instagram-worthy hotel or day cruise on a yacht is the norm.
Santorini has the hotels and the amazing day cruises, too. But the overall look of the landscape is a touch more dramatic and breathtaking. Secondarily, there is more of a wine culture on this island, so guests can visit vineyards and have afternoon tastings.
Santorini has the edge when it comes to luxury.
Designer shops, dining experiences of a lifetime and hotels with traditional architecture—Mykonos can be expensive. While there are ways to lessen the price tag, if truly diving into the island’s offerings, you can spend up to $600 a day on a hotel room alone.
Santorini hotels can be equally as expensive, but there seem to be a few more options (including gorgeous Airbnbs) that dip into the $100 range (phew!). Food is generally as accessible and affordable in both islands.
Santorini, by an inch, would likely deliver a more affordable vacation.
Mykonos has a diverse food scene, you can dine more upscale near the beach, while there is an abundance of cheap eats to enjoy. Markos Falafel crisps up different meats, while crafting delicious sandwiches. Some restaurants are tucked away and wait to be discovered—it’s worth the search.
Santorini is very similar, with a nice balance of both scenic fine dining experiences and quick bite, less expensive stops that still center around favorites like falafel and fresh veggies. Rakadiko Meraki is a more pricey experience with beautiful surroundings, heavenly risotto, and honey cake that would make one travel back to Santorini all on its own.
All in all, Mykonos barely “takes the cake”, since both cheap and expensive restaurants feel highly eclectic and authentic.
Mykonos’ can be a fun family stop—the kids will enjoy a lot of the staple offerings from food to souvenir shopping. Platys Gialós is a family-friendly beach with water taxis and aquatic activities—a contrast against some of the beaches on the island. FYI: Super Paradise and Eliá are dotted with folks sans swimsuits—aka, they’re nude friendly.
Santorini has more things to do beyond shopping, that may be more interesting to kids. Hot springs, scenic swimming holes and a super cool volcano boat tour are some things that the family can do together.
With a few more family-friendly experiences, we’d say Santorini takes this one.
Things To Do In Town
Mykonos, as mentioned above, has an abundance of restaurants to choose from. Have an afternoon espresso, or stop by a scenic spot for hummus and pita. Interesting museums that delve into the long history and archeological finds of Mykonos can be found in town. The Folk Museum is set in an old mansion, and houses ancient artifacts, while the Municipal Art Gallery serves up a taste of local artistry.
Santorini also has many museums with ancient treasures from far earlier times. Intriguingly enough, the Prehistoric Museum displays items thought to be from the hidden city of Atlantis. Some believe Atlantis lies closely around the island. Spend some time at a winery on the island, which offers local flavors and a time to relax.
Santorini has diversity, but you won’t lack in things to do in Mykonos—we call a tie.
Peace and Quiet
Mykonos is more crowded within the villages. Travelers largely attribute this to small streets and tight spaces. But expect things to be hopping a bit more, a bit longer, so it might be more challenging for those looking for tranquility. Keep in mind inland villages such as Ano Merá are more chill escapes when wanting to ditch tourist traffic.
Santorini still welcomes many visitors and cruise ships like Mykonos. But the difference may be that the streets here are larger and everyone can spread out a little more. Find a tranquil place in the village of Oia to watch one of the legendary sunsets disappear behind the volcanic terrain.
Santorini delivers more when it comes to peace and quiet.
Mykonos is accessible by both plane and boat—but a direct flight from Athens takes less than an hour. Hopping aboard a ferry from the same departure point can be a little simpler. Mykonos also has a bus system to create ease when moving about the island.
Santorini has similarities with Mykonos when it comes to accessibility. Visitors can either take the speedy plane route or board a ferry. A bus system also exists here, to keep things simpler. Biking is also a solid option.
Santorini and Mykonos mirror each other on this, but bike-friendly Santorini might make things more convenient.
Mykonos has more of a nightlife presence—but it’s described by frequent visitors as more “festive” verses a “party town”. People just like to celebrate life, so don’t be surprised to hear techno music bumping from some hang out, or to see lively gatherings at Paradise beach.
Santorini’s village of Fira is where the majority of bars and nightlife scenes reside. It’s nice that most of the late bustle is tucked away in one area, for the most part.
Mykonos has more of a glitzy party scene, so those who like to go out a lot on vacation will probably prefer things there.
Mykonos beaches are more suited for lounging and recreation. This is often a major deciding factor for those trying to choose one or the other. For every type of traveler, there is a beach with soft sand to suit your needs.
Santorini is also home to breathtaking blue waters Greece is praised for, and paired with iconic white buildings— it’s overwhelmingly amazing. But frolicking at the water’s edge isn’t so easy, as volcanic rock largely makes up the coastline. But Kamari and Perissa are both black sand beaches which do offer amenities like resorts and water-sports.
Ultimately—Mykonos beaches win.