Prior to visiting the Greek island of Mykonos I had heard that it was the place to go if you want to party which made me both excited and horrified all at once. I’ve been known to enjoy a mid-day beach party and an after hours dance club in my day but I am also acutely aware that I am generally one of the oldest people there. I also wasn’t quite prepared for just how many youngins and how much electric dance music would dominate my existence for my 4 night stay.
The most popular beaches are Paradise Beach and Super Paradise Beach (which, strangely enough is less “super” than the original) where every square inch of the beach is covered in lounge chairs and go-go dancers are rocking out to head-thumping remixes on the tables of every bar and restaurant. If you’re like me and your idea of a “relaxing day at the beach” involves a good book and a little peace and quiet, this clearly won’t be your jam. However if you are looking to rent an overpriced, sweat-stained lounge chair, drink sugary cocktails, and fist pump to techno music alongside drunk frat guys grinding on nearly naked girls then you’ll have the time of your life! Personally, I don’t think I’ve ever felt so old, unattractive, sober, or overdressed in my entire life.
So while Mykonos is not somewhere I’ll likely return anytime soon (I prefer Santorini), I did manage to find a few activities that were very enjoyable and felt a bit more age-appropriate. If you too find yourself overwhelmed on Mykonos, follow my tips to avoid needing a vacation from your vacation.
Rent a 4-wheeler and explore the less popular (but more beautiful) beaches in the north.
The most popular way to get around Mykonos is via moped or 4-wheeler as the island is fairly small and the roads mostly paved. The taxis are known to be shady – a taxi from the airport should be no more than 20 euro but they frequently overcharge. And at the time we visited they did not yet have Uber (although rumor has it, it will arrive any day now).
You can rent a decent 4-wheeler from a variety of shops sprinkled all over the island for 30 euros for a 24 hour period. Load up on snacks and water, don’t forget sunscreen and a beach towel, and head north to Agios Sostis and Panormos beaches for a day of lounging.
Most of the popular beaches in Mykonos fill every square inch of beach space with lounge chairs and charge anywhere from 10-100 euros to occupy it for the day. Panormos Beach is half resort with beach chairs and half sandy public beach. Vendors selling ice cold beers and donuts will wander by occasionally.
Agios Sostis is a protected area so there are no resorts in sight and only one tiny restaurant option (but no electricity so it’s all grilled meats and fresh salads) – but expect to wait at least an hour for a table. The crystal clear water and undeveloped beach is stunning but also too far for most tourists to travel to so you’ll find it far less populated than the southern beaches.
Wake up for sunrise and wander around the alleyways in Mykonos town.
Visiting the city center of Mykonos anytime between the hours of 11:00am and 8:00pm will require you to push your way through hoards of tour groups in the blazing sun. And from 11:00pm until the wee hours of the morning the streets are again filled with college students pounding shots and dancing in the streets or spilling out of one of the many techno music blasting nightclubs.
If you really want to experience the beauty of the whitewashed buildings and the pristine cobblestone streets, get there early – aside from the morning deliveries you’ll have the place pretty much all to yourself. Take photos of the beautiful white buildings smattered with bursts of bright colors and enjoy a coffee and some yogurt with fresh fruit at Popolo Cafe.
Around 10:00am the waterfront restaurants will begin to fill with up with people and clattering silverware and you’ll be amazed by how the streets are almost unrecognizable as they come to life.
Buy a floatie and spend the day lounging at your infinity pool with epic views.
Artemoula’s Studios Hotel is conveniently located near the beach and just a few minute walk to a grocery store, a delicious cafe, and the bus stop. Get up early to grab a prime cushioned spot and spend the day sipping delicious white wine for only 3 euros from the bar and lazily floating in the peaceful and pristine pool. While the hotel is quite popular, it is not a “party scene” – you won’t find any thumping dance music or go-go dancers here. They offer an amazingly helpful and friendly staff, reasonably priced snacks and drinks, and loads of options for lounging. The rooms are also quite large and each has it’s own patio if the pool gets too crowded for your liking.
When you get hungry, head down to Avlio on Platis Yialos beach for the best Greek food in the area but be sure to call ahead if you want a table with a view.
Enjoy a glass of wine while enjoying sunset at a corner table with a view.
Similar to the way that the beaches of Mykonos are filled to the brim with beach chairs, the seafront of Little Venice is teaming with tables vying for the best views of the sea. In order to get around you must weave your way through the mass of diners which is an unpleasant walking experience and likely an even worse patron experience. But a few spots such as Gelleraki Cocktail Bar offer second story patio tables where you can watch the madness unfold below you from a comfortable distance.
The sunsets in Mykonos are absolutely stunning and you’ll have the best view in town! If you have a 4-wheeler you can also venture up the hill to 180º Sunset Bar which offers beautiful views of the city below, delicious martinis, and sweet jams.
And while you’re here… why not let loose a bit and shake your booty like it’s 1999 until dawn at least once? You’re on the biggest party island in all of Greece, live it up!