Thinking of whether you should visit Mykonos vs Santorini, is a beautiful dilemma. Obviously, the best thing would be to combine both Mykonos AND Santorini in a visit. But if you don’t have the time, here is the ultimate comparison of Mykonos vs Santorini.
Rest assure that whatever island you choose to visit, you will have a great time, in a different way though.
If you don’t have time to read all the blog post, here is a quick view:
Is Mykonos or Santorini better for my honeymoon?
Santorini is better for your honeymoon. More romance, spectacular views of the caldera and impressive hotels.
Is Mykonos or Santorini more expensive?
Mykonos is more expensive. Even though both islands have very expensive places and Santorini has more cheap-eat places or low-budget rooms to stay.
Which is a better party island? Mykonos or Santorini?
Go to Mykonos if you want to party hard. Much better beach parties and nightlife than Santorini.
Is Mykonos or Santorini better for Couples?
Go to Santorini. It’s more romantic.
Mykonos vs Santorini: Which is more gay friendly?
Mykonos is more gay friendly than Santorini. Mykonos is actually the most Gay-Friendly place in Greece.
Mykonos vs Santorini: Which island has better beaches?
Mykonos has by far better beaches than Santorini. The beaches in Mykonos are with white/yellow sand while in Santorini with black, or red, volcanic dust.
Mykonos vs Santorini – Which is easier to access?
Both Mykonos and Santorini have airports and you can also access them via ferry boats. Mykonos is closer to Athens with the ferry, so a small advantage here for Mykonos.
Mykonos vs Santorini – How many days do I need?
In both islands, you will need at least 3 full days to get in the vibe and enjoy the best that Mykonos and Santorini have to offer. It’s a tie here.
Does Mykonos or Santorini have better restaurants?
It’s a tie. Both have excellent local food and amazing restaurants.
Which island is better for families? Mykonos or Santorini?
Mykonos is better for families with small kids. The beaches of Mykonos don’t have deep waters (as is the case in Santorini) and are more suitable for kids.
Mykonos vs Santorini if you go out of Season (e.g. November, December):
Santorini has more shops open during the very low season months of November, December, January and February. The touristic season in Mykonos is smaller.
Mykonos vs Santorini: Which island is safer?
Both islands are pretty safe to visit. There is petty theft though and you should take care of your belongings when being in the sea.
Mykonos vs Santorini: Which island has more Sightseeing and attractions?
Santorini has more places to see, and you can go to archaeological monuments. Mykonos doesn’t offer this. Santorini offers also many winery places, which you can visit (around 16 wineries).
Mykonos vs Santorini on Culture and Museums:
Santorini wins here, as it has more than 10 museums and around 18 wineries to visit. Mykonos has 8 museums to visit and many interesting orthodox churches.
Read also our blogpost on How to get from Santorini to Mykonos
Which is better? Mykonos or Santorini?
Mykonos is better for nightlife, parties, beaches and fun, while Santorini is better for romance, honeymoon and scenic views.
Mykonos or Santorini in March?
Go to Santorini. It will have more shops open and things to do than Mykonos. You will not be able to swim in either island though as the waters are too cold.
Mykonos or Santorini in April?
Again, Santorini will have more things to do and more facilities open than Mykonos but Mykonos will be still and good enough choice. You will not be able to swim in either island but the weather will be good.
How many days do you need in Mykonos?
You will need at least three full days to get in the vibe of the island and enjoy its beaches.
Is Santorini safe?
Yes, Santorini is a pretty safe island to visit. There is a really small possibility for a serious crime, such as murder, rape or kidnapping. Small thefts might take place as in every touristic place in the world.
Is Mykonos safe?
Yes, Mykonos is a pretty safe island to visit. There is a really small possibility for a serious crime, such as murder, rape or kidnapping. Small thefts might take place as in every touristic place in the world.
Mykonos vs Santorini on Size: Which one is Bigger?
Mykonos is bigger than Santorini. Mykonos has a total area of 105 square km, while Santorini is 90 square km. So, both Mykonos and Santorini are pretty small islands and they have around the same size. Santorini is longer, and its shape is like a banana, while Mykonos is more “rounded”.
In Mykonos, you can drive from one part of the island to the other in 40 minutes. Santorini is longer and less wide and you will need about an hour to cross the island in your car.
However, slightly more people are living permanently in Santorini than in Mykonos. Santorini has a permanent population of 15.5k people, while Mykonos has 15k inhabitants.
|Name of the island
|May, June, September and early October
|July and August
|Late October to April
|April, May and October
|Late June to early September
|November to April
The maps illustrating the locations of Mykonos and Santorini. You can access the map here.
Mykonos vs Santorini on Scenic Views: Winner is Santorini
Let’s have a look at some photos from Mykonos:
And now let’s have a look at some photos from the scenic views of Santorini.
Even though Mykonos main town is really beautiful, Santorini is a volcanic island and offers some of the best scenic views you can get in the world. The first time that you will gaze at the caldera of Santorini and all its white houses, will be a moment to remember forever. Reality is even more impressive than what you expect to see from the photos.
Mykonos vs Santorini on Best time to Visit: Winner is Santorini
Santorini has a longer touristic period and you can find more shops open during the low season of October, November and February, March, than what you will find in Mykonos.
The best time to visit Santorini is from March to November and Mykonos from April to October. The peak time in both islands is July and August, when the temperatures reach 35 degrees or even higher.
Mykonos vs Santorini on Food and Restaurants: Winner – Both
Mykonos has always been a great place to have a delightful gastronomic experience. Since there are many visitors arriving on this island, it has more than 300 restaurants working to deliver the distinctive dishes of exquisite local cuisine. The main gastronomic raptures of the island are the soft fresh cheese
Santorini has a large list of unique local products, such as fried white eggplant, succulent sun-dried tomatoes, tomato pastes, zucchini fritters, and many others. All these products are widely used in the local cuisine recipes and are turned into a creation of art with a modern touch. Typical local Santorini dishes are Santorini pudding, marinated fish, Atherinopita (tiny fish and onion pie), etc. Both islands can give you excellent food experience and a true feeling of Greek culture.
Mykonos vs Santorini on Restaurants
Both islands have excellent restaurants with Greek, or international cuisine. Santorini has more cheap-eat places (e.g. souvlaki places, where you can eat with 15 euros per person), while Mykonos has only a couple of them. In both islands you will find amazing restaurants, on the beach or in the towns, and of course the prices are pretty high for Greek standards. Expect to pay +50 euros per person for lunch or dinner in a middle budget restaurant.
Some famous Mykonos restaurants:
Have a look at some of the best restaurants in Santorini:
Mykonos vs Santorini Beaches: Winner – Mykonos
Details for Mykonos Beaches
One of the most notable features of Mykonos island is its heavenly beautiful golden beaches with turquoise waters. Santorini, on the other hand, is a volcanic island, thus the beaches are covered with black and volcanic sand that have a detoxifying and anti-stress effect. It does not mean that you will not have an enjoyable beach experience at Santorini, but Mykonos definitely wins here.
The water is crystal clear in both islands and the sea temperature is usually better in Mykonos.
Have a look below at some of the most popular beaches in Mykonos and Santorini, to understand the difference.
Details for Santorini Beaches:
(-)The water in the beaches of Santorini is deep. Not that great for families with small kids, or if you don’t love deep waters.
(-)There is no “white-sandy” beach in Santorini. You can find a black one, a red one but no “yellow or white” sand beach.
(-) The famous black sand beaches (in Perissa and Perivolos), attract a lot of sunlight and get too hot during the summer. You cannot even walk on them on bare feet.
(+)The beaches are organized well and you can easily find an umbrella and sunbeds.
Mykonos vs Santorini on Romance: Winner – Santorini
Santorini is known as one of the best places to spend your honeymoon. Many couples visit here to spend a relaxing and peaceful time, enjoying the beautiful sunsets, wine tasting and overall the romantic setting of the island.
However, Mykonos is also fit for couples. If you and your other half enjoy parties, tasty food, and golden beaches, this is the destination for you.
Mykonos vs Santorini on Sunsets: Winner – Santorini
Sunsets at Mykonos are breathtaking and there are many locations, hotels, and restaurants to enjoy them from. Santorini is considered one of the most famous sunset spots in the world, where many people arrive to photograph sunsets and of course, enjoy the view. That is also the reason why the island is considered one of the most romantic places for honeymoons and couples overall.
Mykonos vs Santorini on Nightlife| Winner – Mykonos
This one is pretty obvious. You definitely want to go to Mykonos for parties and nightlife adventures. The island is full of bars and clubs of all preferences and there are even places that host daytime parties which may last till morning. Santorini, in comparison, is more low-key and peaceful, although there are few bars on the island that you can visit but, overall the place is not as active after midnight as Mykonos.
Mykonos vs Santorini on Shopping: Winner – Both
Quick Comparison: Both islands offer many luxury or standard shops, and will give you access to the best brands worldwide (Gucci, Prada, Louis Vuitton, Boss, Dolce Gabbana etc).
Details on Shopping in Mykonos
Mykonos has numerous fancy beaches and clubs, and so the demand for shopping is also high. There are many luxury boutiques, such as Louis Vuitton, Gucci, and other leading labels.
Most of the shopping takes place in Mykonos town and the most expensive shops are in the area of “Matoyanni” in Mykonos town.
However, there are some new shopping areas next to the beach clubs, such as the Nammos village.
One of the new entries in shopping in Mykonos is the Nammos Village and you can have a look at its brands at https://www.nammosvillage.com/search . They include Chloe, Chanel, Bvlgari, Fendi, Gucci, Oscar de la Renta and other famous designers.
Other Shopping spots in Mykonos include:
– The Jar of Brands – http://www.thejarsofbrands.com/
– Luxury Toys (Second-hand luxury brands’ items) – http://www.luxurytoys.gr/
– ChrisP – http://www.chrisp.com.gr/
– Makris – http://www.makriscollection.com/
– Cavo Paradiso Boutique – http://www.cavoparadiso.gr/
Details on Shopping in Santorini
Santorini also offers wonderful shopping experience but it is based on more independent brands with handmade craft stores and local boutiques.
The capital of Santorini, Fira (or Thira), has the most shops in the island, followed by Oia. If you are staying in Perissa, or Perivolos, you will not find the luxury brands.
Mykonos vs Santorini on Sightseeing: Winner – Both (given that you travel to Delos)
Although Mykonos has several incredibly interesting places to visit, such as the Archeological museum, the small Cycladic villages, etc., the main tourist sightseeing spot is the neighboring island of Delos, which is literally an open-air museum. Built in the year 1904, Delos has a rare archeological and historical value and is absolutely worth visiting.
Santorini attracts tourists with its ancient city of Akrotiri, which is a Minoan Bronze Age settlement and was destroyed by a volcanic eruption. Tourists also enjoy the wine tasting tours in Santorini and a boat trip to the small islet of Therasia that fascinates visitors with its smoke fumes rising from the volcano.
Mykonos vs Santorini on Scenery: Winner – Both
Regarding the scenery, it actually depends on your taste, as both islands have absolutely fascinating nature and charming places that you will enjoy during your visit. Santorini has magnificent cliff-top villages, breathtaking sunsets and beautiful beaches that make the island one of the most visited places of Cyclades. Mykonos easily rivals with Santorini with its famous nightlife locations, elegant main town with marble maze streets and Little Venice, which is one of the most iconic and picturesque places of the island.
Mykonos vs Santorini on Off-season visits: Winner – Santorini
If you are visiting the Cyclades outside the high season, you should consider that both islands are very quiet, hence many hotels, restaurants, beach towns, and bars are closed. And since the beaches are not the main reason to visit Santorini, you can easily find other things to entertain yourself with, especially in April, May, and October, when the prices are very low. Mykonos, on the other hand, is much quieter from late October to April.
Mykonos vs Santorini on Prices: Is Mykonos more expensive than Santorini?
Yes, Mykonos is more expensive than Santorini, even though both islands are very expensive during the peak season of July and August. Let us explain to you why. During August, you cannot find a hotel or a room to let in Mykonos for less than 150 euros per night. In Santorini, during August, you can find budget rooms in Perivolos and Perissa villages for less than 100 euros.
For your information, here is a list of the prices of the best 5-star hotels in Mykonos, during the summer:
|Bill & Coo
During the high season (July, August), the daily budget you should plan for a day in Mykonos would be:
- Hotel Budget: a minimum of 170 euros/night for a decent double room, with free breakfast included
- Beachtime Budget: 40 euros for two sunbeds and an umbrella. Two cold coffees will be 10 euros and if you get some waters and a couple of beers, you will need another 20 euros. A total of 70 euros for spending 4-5 hours on the beach, without eating anything.
- Lunch: 50 euros for two persons
- RentACar: 40 euros per day
- Dinner: 70 euros for a two-persons dinner
- Drinks in a bar in the evening: a minimum of 10 to 15 euros per person for a drink or cocktail. This can go much higher obviously, depending on your drinking habits.
So, a conservative total budget per day for a couple, is around 450 euros per day in Mykonos, during the high season. Have a look also at our blogpost “Is Mykonos Expensive“?
Moreover, Santorini has more budget restaurants outside of the main town of Fira, where you can eat for 20 euros per person. Mykonos has almost no budget restaurant – we don’t count the “souvlaki places” where you get a pita with souvlaki for 3 euros. Having said that, you have to know that both Mykonos and Santorini are the two most expensive Greek islands.
The prices of hotels in Santorini are very expensive if you book a hotel with a caldera view (e.g. in Fira, Imerovigli, Oia) and much lower if you book a hotel in Perissa and Perivolos, which offer no particular views. Expect to pay at least 100 euros for a very basic room and north of 300 euros per day for a 4-star hotel in Santorini. Prices can get much higher, even up to 1000 euros per night if you book a cave hotel room, in the caldera.
Mykonos vs Santorini on Ease of Access (and Easier to Reach from Athens): Winner – Mykonos
- Athens to Mykonos Flight Time: 25 minutes
- Athens to Santorini Flight Time: 30 minutes
- Athens to Mykonos with the Fastest Ferry: 2h and 20min
- Athens to Santorini with the Fastest Ferry: 5hours
Is Mykonos or Santorini more easy to get to? Both islands have an airport, so if you are flying to Mykonos or Santorini, it’s the same thing for you.
Flying from Athens to Mykonos takes 25 minutes and flying from Athens to Santorini takes 30 minutes.
However, if you get the ferry from any one of the two Athens main ports (Piraeus port or Rafina port), you will get faster to Mykonos than to Santorini, as Mykonos is closer to the mainland of Athens than Santorini.
The fast ferry from Rafina will get you to Mykonos in 2 hours and 20 minutes, while you will need around 5 hours to get to Santorini with the fast ferry (SuperRunner is the name fo the fast ferry and it costs 45 euros per person). The slower ferry will get you from Rafina port to Santorini in 8 hours and 35 minutes and costs 35 euros per person. Both islands have daily ferry routes and many flights every day from Athens, during the summer.
Mykonos vs Santorini on Island Hopping: Winner – Mykonos
Here are some examples of island hopping routes from Mykonos and Santorini, to three of the most popular islands (Paros, Naxos, and Koufonissia):
Santorini to Paros with the Fast Ferry: 2 hours. 29 euros per person.
Santorini to Paros with the Slow Ferry: 3 hours and 15 minutes. 23 euros per person.
Mykonos to Paros with the Fast Ferry: 40 minutes. 36 euros per person.
Mykonos to Paros with the Slow Ferry: 1 hour 35 minutes. 23 euros per person.
Santorini to Naxos with the Fast Ferry: 1 hour 25 minutes. 43 euros per person.
Santorini to Naxos with the Slow Ferry: 2 hours 15 minutes. 22 euros per person.
Mykonos to Naxos with the Fast Ferry: 35 minutes. 38 euros per person.
Mykonos to Naxos with the Slow Ferry: 1hour 40 minutes. 29 euros per person.
Santorini to Koufonissia with the Fast Ferry: 2 hours 25 minutes. 47 euros per person.
Mykonos to Koufonissia with the Fast Ferry: 1 hour 24 minutes. 56 euros per person.
If you want to do some island hopping and travel to nearby islands from Mykonos or Santorini, then Mykonos is a better base for your island-hopping vacation. Mykonos has many nearby islands to visit, such as Tinos, Paros, Antiparos, Naxos, Koufonisia and the small Cyclades islands (Schoinoussa, Irakleia, Donoussa).
On the other hand, Santorini is close to Folegandros, which is a beautiful volcanic style island but all the rest islands are more difficult to reach. Of course, you can always combine Mykonos with Santorini in one trip.
Mykonos vs Santorini on Weather: Winner – Santorini
When comparing Mykonos versus Santorini regarding the weather, you have to know that it is pretty similar to both islands, as the temperatures are almost the same. Moreover, you will not find rain during July and August in Mykonos or Santorini.
The reason that we selected Santorini as a winner in the weather section, is that Mykonos has very strong winds for some days during August. If the wind starts to blow, it might blow continuously for a couple of days. The good news is that usually, the wind comes from the north, and the best beaches of Mykonos are on the south part of the island, which means that they are protected from the strong winds. Also, Mykonos town is like a labyrinth and when you stroll around inside the beautiful roads of Mykonos, the houses form “a fortress” which protects you from the strong winds.
Santorini has also windy days but less than Mykonos. It’s not random that Mykonos is called “the island of winds” in Greece.
Mykonos vs Santorini on Visits from Rich and Famous Visits: Winner – Mykonos
Quick Comparison: Mykonos has been the most cosmopolitan island of Greece since the 1950’s, when Onasis and Maria Kallas started to visit the island and introduced their rich and famous friends to Mykonos.
If you love people watching, both islands will satisfy you. Mykonos is the clear winner, as it is the place that all rich and famous visit during the summer. D Squared as an example, come to Psarrou beach in Mykonos every summer with their luxurious boat, and you will see them partying in Nammos beach bar in Psarrou. They usually throw a “Gods of Hedonism party”; just search for it on the web to have some fun.
Mykonos vs Santorini on Quality of Service: Winner – Mykonos
Mykonos is the clear winner here, as it is the island with the best quality of service in all Greece. The hoteliers,
Mykonos vs Santorini on Crowds: Winner – Mykonos
Both Mykonos and Santorini are famous throughout the world, so they attract many visitors every year. However, Santorini is more visited (and it has more rooms and hotels than Mykonos), so it gets by far more crowded during the peak months of July and August. During June, September, May and October, both islands are pretty much ok, and not overloaded with crowds.
How Crowded is Santorini in July and August (Peak Season)?
Santorini, can be really crowded in some days during the peak season of July and August. It will be almost impossible to find a parking, or even stroll around in the beautiful Fira, without pushing people away all the time.
Here is a table that shows the number of visitors at Santorini’s airport, in the past three years. It doesn’t count the number of visitors from cruise ships and ferries.
July is the busiest month in Santorini, with almost 115k people arriving at the small airport of Santorini. This is around 4.000 visitors per day, arriving at the airport!
Moreover, Santorini has around 800k visitors from cruise ships every year. Yes, you read right… 800k tourists just from cruise ships.
Have a look below at the crowds of Santorini, during the peak season.
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