Mykonos or Santorini – Choosing Between Two Cycladic Crown Jewels

If you have come to the point where you must choose between Mykonos or Santorini for your summer holidays, then you are probably in a tough spot. Both Cycladic islands can send chills up and down your spine with their irresistible allure and natural beauties. So, how do you select which one to visit his year (if you only need to pick one)? Well, it depends on the type of island experience you seek. Here are some pointers to help you make that (admittedly, difficult) decision, based on the main characteristics of each island. 

Where to go to enjoy the beach 

In both Mykonos and Santorini, the waters are crystalline and absolutely inviting. However, if you are after long stretches of golden sand and well-organized shores with the most impressive range of tourist facilities, Mykonos is ideal. Santorini also has strong contenders with its Perissa Beach (aka Black Beach) and the Red Beach, but they fall a bit short compared to the sugary Mykonos beaches with the turquoise waters. That aside, Mykonos has more options for gay and nudism lovers. 

Mykonos Shopping

Where to go for shopping 

Being a remarkably cosmopolitan island, Mykonos is home to designer shops and high-end boutiques offering prominent labels, the likes of Gucci and Louis Vuitton. You will also find a plethora of jewellery stores with exquisite collections, fine art, handmade products (i.e., bags), and so many more high-end items. Santorini, on the other hand, provides a different shopping adventure that is more on the low-key, with locally-owned boutiques and artisanal craft stores. So, once again, it all has to do with the shopping taste you want to get from your visit. 

Where to go for staggering sunset views 

Sunsets are heart-warming no matter where in the world you are. However, Santorini tends to be more linked with romantic sunset vistas than Mykonos, which could be attributed to the unique morphology and the impressive volcanic landscape. Nevertheless, there are plenty of vantage points all across Mykonos as well (e.g., the Windmills, Little Venice, Armenistis Lighthouse, Castle Panigirakis, etc.), giving you the chance to soak up idyllic views of the descending sun. Guess this one is a draw! 

Santorini View
Photo by Yu Siang Teo on Unsplash

Where to go for sightseeing 

The Pompeii-like island of Santorini dazzles with its volcanic sights, including the ancient city of Thira and, of course, the famous Caldera and the islet of Thirassia, where you can see the volcano still murmuring. Mykonos, on the flip side, can steal your heart with the Windmills (now turned into museums or private residences), the Armenistis Lighthouse, the Castle of Panigirakis, the Archaeological Museum, and the Rarity Gallery, among others. Not to mention neighbouring Delos island that can fascinate every history buff. So, the choice is yours! 

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Mykonos History

Where to go for vibrant nightlife 

This one is quite easy. Mykonos is a renowned party mecca and hosts some of the craziest parties in the Mediterranean Sea. Plus, the XLSIOR Gay Festival every year. Here, parties start in mid-day (see, for example, the beach bars and clubs at Paradise and Super Paradise Beach) and end in the wee morning hours. Santorini also hosts several bars where you could enjoy your drink or evening cocktail but no clubs that will provide DJ events and the likes after midnight. 

Villa Fabrizia Agios Lazaros Mykonos

Where to go for luxury accommodation 

Both islands offer exceptional hospitality and luxury villas, suites, mansions, and resorts to enjoy a VIP stay. However, Mykonos has a slightly more diverse range of options, given that you can choose the privacy level you desire. This means that you will not only find exclusive villas in the island capital, which is the case with Santorini. Instead, you may choose between hillside mansions, beachfront properties, and more remote elegant residences that serve your needs for privacy, comfort, convenience, and royal holidays. 

Mykonos Nightlife
Photo by Natalie Sym on Unsplash

Final Thoughts – The Verdict

No matter where to decide to spend your summer vacations or off-season getaways, both Aegean Sea islands will probably please you. How can they not? Whitewashed houses filled with flowers, blue-domed churches, cobbled streets, cobalt waters, pristine beaches, top gastronomy, friendly locals, romantic sunsets, impressive sights, luxury accommodation, and a vivid night scene await. But, yes, we can’t hide it. We love Mykonos just a tad more! 


Featured image by Ryan Christodoulou on Unsplash.

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