Santorini or Mykonos? – The 2017 Guide

Updated: October 21, 2016

See Also

Mykonos or Santorini – Where To Go?

  • Both are incredibly beautiful islands. It’s easy to visit both on the same trip. A ferry from one to the other takes about 3 hours.
  • Go to Mykonos for beaches and nightlife. Go to Santorini for scenery, wineries, tours, and hikes.
  • Both are great for a honeymoon (depending on your interests, of course) but Santorini has a slightly more romantic feel.
  • Santorini tourist season: April to early November. Mykonos tourist season: June to September. (Santorini has far more to see and do in the winter, off-season months.)
  • Tip: If you do visit both fly into one and fly out of the other so you don’t have to retrace your steps back to the first island to catch your flight home.

Santorini vs Mykonos: The Differences

Restaurants with a view of the sea in Little Venice, Mykonos.

Mykonos: The sea is always nearby in Mykonos.

A view of the caldera from the cliffs of Santorini.

Santorini: The sea is often far below in Santorini.

Paradise beach on Mykonos.

Mykonos: Paradise beach on Mykonos. Mykonos has better beaches.

Red Beach in Santorini.

Santorini: The red volcanic rock at Red Beach on Santorini. Santorini has more memorable and truly unique beaches.

A restaurant in Mykonos Town.

Mykonos: A restaurant in the Little Venice section of Mykonos Town.

Tourists eating dinner in Fira with a view of the volcano.

Santorini: The restaurants of Fira looking out into the caldera.

Windmills in Mykonos.

Mykonos: A windmill perched above Mykonos Town.

Boats and cliffs in Santorini.

Santorini: Amoudi Bay below Oia.

A beach party on Mykonos.

Mykonos: The parties can get a little crazy at some of the Mykonos beaches. Though there are many quieter family-friendly beaches too.

Tourists watching the sunset in Oia, Santorini.

Santorini: Every night people gather around Oia for a view of the sunset. It’s busy, touristy, and tons of fun.

Ancient attractions on the island of Delos.

Mykonos: The ancient island of Delos is an easy day trip from Mykonos.

The historical site of Akrotiri.

Santorini: The ancient site of Akrotiri on Santorini.

A pelican in Mykonos Town.

Mykonos: Pelicans wander the streets of Mykonos.

Donkeys in Santorini.

Santorini: Donkeys wander the streets of Santorini.

Santa Marina Resort in Mykonos.
Mykonos: The best hotels are all about being close to the sea on Mykonos. (Santa Marina Resort)

The best hotel in Santorini: Katikies in Oia.
Santorini: The best hotels have amazing views on Santorini. (Katikies Hotel in Oia.)

Where to go: Santorini or Mykonos?

Mykonos is a fun island that has a great buzz. Mykonos Town is as enchanting as any town in the Greek islands. Santorini is a stunning island that you’ll never forget. The views and the setting are among the most impressive anywhere.

So my short answer would be: if you have 5 days or less then go to Santorini.

If you have 6 days or more then visit both islands but with 2/3 of your time in Santorini.

My longer answer would be: It depends what you’re interests are and how you want to spend your time. They are very different islands and complement each other nicely – thus a trip that takes in both islands makes a lot of sense.

Go to Santorini if you’re interested in:
Scenery, natural beauty, sunsets, romance, fine dining, wineries, boutique hotels, boat tours of nearby islands, and, uhm, volcanoes.

Go to Mykonos if you’re interested in:
Beaches, nightclubs, dancing, and partying.

That said, Mykonos has many wonderful places to eat and Santorini has some pretty cool beaches and no shortage of places to party.

Santorini vs Mykonos

  • The scenery, views, sunsets, and natural beauty of Santorini are unrivaled by Mykonos or any other Greek island. Mykonos is not without its beautiful spots but for scenes that are truly jaw-dropping Santorini wins hands-down.
  • Santorini is more romantic and much better suited to a honeymoon or couples vacation.
  • Mykonos has great beaches with beautiful sand and turquoise water. Santorini does not have the typical white or golden sandy beaches that Greece is known for. The beaches on Santorini are made of volcanic rock. Most are composed of a mix of sand and pebbles with a red or black color. Since the sand is darker it gets very hot through the day – aqua socks or sandals are close to a necessity at mid-day. But…some visitors love the beaches of Santorini and treasure their uniqueness. “I’ve seen sandy beaches many times but where else can I walk into the Mediterranean on red volcanic sand.”
  • Mykonos has more of a club scene and party vibe. You won’t have any shortage of places to drink and party on Santorini but if you’re in Greece to hit the clubs and dance then Mykonos is your island.
  • Mykonos Town has an enchanting maze of narrow lanes and alleyways that are fun to explore. Shops and restaurants are tucked into the classic white stone buildings that the Greek islands are famous for. At night, when visitors flock to the clubs the lanes are jammed with partiers. It’s a fun vibe and never too crazy but it can be overwhelming for some.
  • Santorini handles the peak summer crowds a little better than Mykonos. The streets and walkways of Fira and Oia are wider and roomier than Mykonos town so never feel quite as crowded.
  • Both Santorini and Mykonos are very gay friendly. Not to stereotype but Santorini might be called the wine drinking gay scene. Mykonos the club-going gay scene.
  • Santorini has more sightseeing and activities: excavation sites to explore, day trips around the island, winery tours, and boat tours around the volcano. Mykonos has some fine scenery, beautiful walks, and picturesque windmills but in general, Santorini just has more to see and more to do. Mykonos does have the nearby island of Delos (one of the most important mythological, historical, and archaeological sites in the Greek islands) to explore by day trip.
  • Both islands are very quiet in winter. The beach towns shutdown and even in the main towns many hotels and restaurants close. That said, Santorini gets more off-season visitors and is never as quiet. Plus, without the beach and party scene Mykonos doesn’t offer much to do. On Santorini, the cliffs, views, and caldera don’t go away in the slow season.
  • Both Santorini and Mykonos have airports which only a handful of Greek islands have. Both islands have direct flights from Athens and northern and western Europe – they’re the only islands in the Cyclades that have international flights.
  • Mykonos is a couple of hours closer to Athens when traveling by ferry. Ferry from Athens to Mykonos takes 3.5 hours (high speed ferry) or 5.5 hours (cheaper car ferry). Ferry from Athens to Santorini takes 5 hours (high speed) and 8 hours (car ferry).

The weather in Santorini and Mykonos

There is no appreciable difference in climate between Santorini and Mykonos. The best weather for both islands is from late May to early October. Since Santorini is more of a sight-seeing island than Mykonos it allows for visits in spring and fall that still offer lots to see and do (the views don’t go away with the hot weather). Since most people go to Mykonos for the beaches a visit outside of the warmest months has less to offer. The tourist season on Santorini is from April to early November. On Mykonos it’s from late May to early October.

Visiting Both Santorini and Mykonos

Santorini and Mykonos are so different that visiting both is a great choice. The two islands complement each other very well. They are 3 hours apart by ferry so getting between Mykonos and Santorini is fairly easy.

There is one direct flight a day from Mykonos to Santorini on Olympic Air. For the summer of 2014 it’s available from June 21 to September 20. It takes 30 minutes, costs between €30 and €80, and departs Mykonos in the evening. There are many more flights (that run throughout the year) via Athens but these cost 3 times as much and take 2 to 5 hours.

The most popular way to get between Santorini and Mykonos is by ferry.

In summer, there are 2 daily high speed ferries that run from Santorini to Mykonos and then return Mykonos to Santorini. The ferries leave Santorini (for Mykonos) about noon and leave Mykonos (for Santorini) in the mid-afternoon. The trip takes 2.5 hours and the ferry stops in Paros and Ios in between and in both directions.

You can buy ferry tickets for the route between Mykonos and Santorini – but you will rarely need advance tickets outside of July and August. If you’re already in Greece you can buy tickets from any travel agency a few days in advance of your ferry trip.

Day Trip to Santorini or Mykonos

I do not recommend doing a day trip from Mykonos to Santorini or Santorini to Mykonos. Depending on the ferry schedule, some years in July and August it’s just possible to get 5 to 7 hours of time at the destination island. But this is after spending 3 hours each way on a high speed ferry. The high speed ferries can be rough and unpleasant rides on windy days – so you could find yourself “recovering” from a bumpy journey for the better part of your visit. Only to have to get on it again in a few hours for the ride back.

If you’re interested in seeing both islands then you should visit both islands for at least a few nights. Visiting either island for a few hours in the afternoon is not a good way to appreciate each island’s highlights.

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106 Questions and Comments

  1. Athens, Mykonos, Santorini, Crete in late April, early May

    Hey Dave,
    Fabulous website this!
    We’re getting married around mid April and are planning our honey moon in Greece from 22nd April (landing in Athens) to 6th May. We’d like to do Athens, Mykonos, Santorini, Crete. Would this be a good time to enjoy the beaches? Or is it wiser to do Spain during this time period and come back to Greece when the weather is more agreeable? We were looking forward to leisure by the beaches during the day and partying/romantic dinners through the evenings.
    Ajay Deoskar

    1. Santorini DaveSantorini Dave

      The weather will be nice but beach weather is uncertain until about mid-May. Crete is warmer than the others so with a bit of luck you could get some warm/hot days at the end of your trip. Southern Spain is a little warmer than Greece but not by much. You won’t be finding any true hot summer days anywhere in Europe that early in the season.

  2. 5 Week Trip to Greece

    Hi Dave – planning a 5 week trip to Greece from Australia – arriving in Athens on May 22nd and flying home on June 24th. At this stage my plan is:
    Athens (4 nights)
    Classical Greece tour (Olympia/Delphi/Meteoro) (3 nights)
    Athens (overnight)
    Syros (4 nights)
    Mykonos (3 nights)
    Naxos (5 nights)
    Santorini (4 nights)
    Milos (4 nights)
    Sifnos (4 nights)
    Athens (overnight) – then fly home
    Do you think is an easy-paced and worthwhile itinerary for a late 60s couple?


  3. Itinerary for Greece

    Hi Dave!

    Thanks so much for this. Incredibly helpful. A girlfriend and I are going to Greece in late September – flying into Athens and out of Thessaloniki. We’re both 26, interested in culture (would be great to meet locals), history, scenery, food and drink, some partying and meeting other tourists. We’re not too keen on shopping or anything. We want to see and do a variety of things, but it seems like our itinerary is beach heavy… if that’s proportionate to what Greece has offer, then we’re happy with it – but aren’t sure if there’s more we’re missing. Accordingly, this is the itinerary we’ve come up with:

    09/23/2016 ATHENS (Acropolis, parthenon, Ancient Agora; Tours: Delphi, Sparta, Epidaurus Theater)
    09/24/2016 ATHENS (Acropolis, parthenon, Ancient Agora; Tours: Delphi, Sparta, Epidaurus Theater)
    09/25/2016 MYKONOS (Beaches, ATV-ing, meeting other people + some partying)
    09/26/2016 RHODES (Culture + History, beaches)
    09/27/2016 CRETE (History/ruins, beaches, Samaria Gorge?)
    09/28/2016 SANTORINI (Sunset, volcano?, beaches, meeting other people + some partying)
    09/29/2016 SANTORINI (Beaches, meeting other people + some partying)
    09/30/2016 CORFU (Beaches, meeting other people + some partying)
    10/01/2016 METEORA (Hiking tour of Meteora)
    10/02/2016 METEORA (Maybe another hiking tour of Meteora)
    10/03/2016 NOT SURE
    10/04/2016 THESSALONOKI (Not sure)

    What do you think? Is our plan too ambitious? Are we going to the islands outside of peak season? Are we missing anything really impressive? We would also like to figure out how to go to the Melissani Caves.


    1. Santorini DaveSantorini Dave

      I don’t want to be rude but this is an insane itinerary. Rhodes to Crete, for example, is a 5 hour flight via Athens or a 14 hour ferry. With some luck you would have time for finding your hotel and getting dinner in Heraklion – then you plan to leave for Santorini the next morning? But before that you want to go to some ruins, a beach, and do the Samaria Gorge? Huh? If you cut Rhodes, Crete, and Corfu from this itinerary you have a decent shot of seeing the highlights of Mykonos, Santorini, and the Meteora. You could maybe add one more small island (e.g. Paros, Naxos, or Ios) that is in between Mykonos and Santorini, if you really wanted to see something more.

  4. Athens, Santorini, and Mykonos

    Hi Dave,

    Your site is very helpful. My friend and I will be spending 6 days in Greece. We will arrive midday in Athens on Sunday. We are early 30 something women and are interested in relaxing, site seeing, beaches and some partying. Our plan right now is Athens half day Sunday and Monday. Late night flight Monday to Santorini. Santorini Tuesday and Wednesday, leaving by ferry to Mykonos Wed afternoon. Mykonos Thursday and Friday, leave for Athens Friday afternoon. We fly out at 6am from Athens on Saturday. Will this be enough time for us to appreciate each area? I don’t want to regret leaving Santorini too early, but we want to experience Mykonos and it’s scene as well. I know this is a short trip but it’s all we can get the time off for! Thank you in advance!


    1. Santorini DaveSantorini Dave

      Since you’re already at the airport, I’d fly straight to Santorini on Sunday. Stay there until Wednesday then Mykonos until Thursday night or Friday morning. If you catch the early morning ferry to Rafina (on Friday) you’ll be in downtown Athens by 1pm. Even with just half a day you’d be able to hit 3 or 4 different sites (most are open until 8pm).

  5. Santorini/Amalfi Coast

    Hi Dave,

    Would love to have your input on our itinerary for our trip next month. We (hubby, son (18), niece (15) and I) are flying into Rome then catching a flight to Athens for 2 nights then off to Santorini for 4 nights. We then plan on flying back to Rome and heading to the Amalfi Coast (Sorrento) for 5 nights and fly back home from Rome. Now, I thought this was a nice selection (we were in Italy two years ago and started in Rome and headed north to Lake Como, stopping at Florence and Venice along the way but skipping the Amalfi coast) but a friend mentioned that 4 nights in Santorini would be too much. But what I read above, it sounds like the perfect amount of time. Do you agree or maybe add another day/night in Athens/Italy? Also, I have been looking at the hotels/suites in Santorini, do you think it best to stay in Oia or Fira? Thanks!!!

    1. Santorini DaveSantorini Dave

      That sounds perfect to me. 4 nights in Santorini is far from too many. Most people would probably prefer Oia slightly over Fira but both are great. With 4 nights it’s reasonable to spend 2 in Fira and 2 in Oia.

  6. Yoga and Culture in Greece

    Hi Dave,
    This site is awesome, thanks for all the good advice. I am a younger (30s) single woman traveling by myself May 17th – June 11th. My only plan is a yoga retreat/training in Crete from May 21st – 29th at Daois Cove (some fancy luxury 5 star resort, so I would like to be a little more economical for the rest of the trip). I also own a yoga studio and teach retreats and yoga teacher trainings in Hawaii and hope to “scout” some locations in Greece for my own retreats and trainings next year. I’m not into partying at all, but I love good food and music, beautiful beaches, hiking, culture and crave a relaxing more “yogic” experience during my time in this beautiful country. I also don’t love super HOT weather, unless constant access to water. Since I will be traveling alone for the first time in Europe and I don’t speak the language, I want to be safe, smart and set myself up for an awesome, non-stressful trip. I was thinking Athens May 17th – 20th (not sure where or what..not a huge fan of cities but of course want to see the amazing sites) Crete 21st – 29th at Resort, then head to other side of island until the 31st of May. Then split the rest of my time between Mykonos and Santorini until 6/10 and then back to Athens. However the Peloponnese are speaking to me as well because seems like a more mellow vibe? Living in Hawaii, I appreciate a mellow vibe, rich with culture and without so many tourists (I live in rural Hawaii) and not that I want to get the same thing but I also don’t want to be with a bunch of crowds like in Waikiki! This is probably too much information, but your site spoke to me, so I figured why not. Suggestions for the recently single yogini on a the trip of a lifetime? Think, “Eat, Pray, Love” 🙂 Oh and one last question…I surf, is there any surf in Greece, where is it?
    Mahalo & Namaste,
    Molly from Hawaii

    1. Santorini DaveSantorini Dave

      The Daios Cove sounds like an excellent treat and is in one of Crete’s most beautiful corners. You’ll have a relaxing ball – a bit more bling than ‘spirit’ perhaps, but a great way to kick off a journey to Greece. Considering your interests – food, music, beaches, and yoga – I think you should consider the magical, mystical island of Skyros – a lonely looking, idiosyncratic, stand-alone isle of stark rock and gentle meadows in the north Aegean sea.

      Skyros is one of the Sporades Islands, the other three being made up of Alonisos, Skopelos, and Skiathos – the latter two being where much of the movie Mamma Mia was shot. All four islands are quite distinctly different from their cousins in the bleaker, burned-rock archipelago of the south Aegean. They are greener, milder more introspective (though Skiathos can get a bit wild) and Skyros is the most spiritually present of them all. Only accessible by air from Athens and by local ferry from the port of Kymi on Evvia, Skyros has a delightfully quaint Chora – or main village – with houses that boast the most elaborately decorated interiors you will see anywhere in Greece (comparable perhaps only to Olymbos on the island of Karpathos).

      Skyros is also home to the yoga and meditation mecca of The Skyros Centre a place to unwind, sing, eat, do your yoga and convene with likeminded souls from across the world. As the Centre itself writes it “Skyros attracts mostly solo holidaymakers from all over the world. Although all ages are represented, from 5 to 85, approximately 70 per cent of all participants are aged 40 – 60. During school holidays families are also part of the mix. Participants are overwhelmingly professionals – from teachers and university lecturers to IT experts, managers and entrepreneurs.” What does being ‘in your 30s’ mean when you have an environment like this? Maybe a good spot to scout for a later trip.

      Big cities are big cities and have their ups and downs. Athens is a good big city in many ways as most of the fun stuff is concentrated in the centre. Unless you are totally averse to bustle and excitement, then just plunge in and get with the buzz. Mykonos and/or Santorini – popular spots of course, but not really for the budget minded (and you did mention being ‘a little more economical for the rest of the trip’).

      For a spiritual destination, consider Patmos. The Book of Revelation was composed here – the Apocalypse. The island carries a tangible light air and will reveal itself to you if give it time. Go read up and when you’ve finished, look across the water to the ‘blue spot’ island of Ikaria the land where people live for ever, the isle where Icarus dropped his wings. You can get there from Patmos by fast catamaran. You won’t need to look for the spirit, it will find you here. You will find neither crowds nor tourists on either of these two islands, but fellow travellers looking for a saner stay in a place where time is more flexible.

      Now to the Island of Pelops (that’s what the Peoponnese means in Greek) and it technically is an island, separate from the mainland by virtue of the narrow Corinth Canal. Epidaurus, Mycenae, Tiryns, Olympia, Arcadia … names redolent of its rich mythical past, names that do indeed ‘speak’ to you. Here’s the final tip for the day. Monemvasia (it means only one entry in Greek and there is only one way into Manomvasia): a rocky peninsula off the southern coast of the Peloponnese. Come find your soul in a sequestered fortress far away from hedgerow bustles and other stairways to Nirvanah and perhaps seek out some Soma Yoga.

      Surfing in Greece? O’ahu, Maui, or the Big Island Greece is not. So no, surf-(boarding) is not up in the Aegean, but wind surfing and parasailing are very popular sports. Naxos and Paros are good islands for parasailing but there are many great choices.

  7. Italy, Greece, and Where To Go

    Hi Dave,
    We are planning a graduation trip/family vacation for this summer and I came across your blogs. We are considering allocating about 17 days in total and would be departing from Dallas, TX. As you can see from our list below it is quite a wish list! Can you please take a look at what our daughter’s wish list is and let us know your thoughts regarding which of these places to visit is worth it, how much time you would suggest we spend at each and if there are nearby places we should consider when visiting other sites please?

    The priorities for Greece, approximately 5 days:
    1. Athens
    2. Mt Olympus
    3. Santorini
    4. Mykonos
    5. Crete

    The priorities for Italy, approximately 5 days:
    1. Rome
    2. Venice
    3. Florence/Pisa
    4. Milan
    5. Verona

    Monaco would be nice if we had time and if it’s worth it

    France/Paris, approximately 2 days.

    London, was hoping to catch a Wimbledon game but if we don’t have time because there are much more attractive/interesting sites in the above lists we can eliminate London since we’ve been here before.

    Any help you (or any of the other readers) may provide would be greatly appreciated!

    Thank you very much from Texas!

    1. Santorini DaveSantorini Dave

      With only 17 days and a big wish list some compromises are in order. You mention 13 different places so clearly everywhere is not possible. Mt Olympus is great but a long ways from Athens. Monaco and Verona are the 2 other candidates to cross off since they’re a little out of the way. I’d recommend something like: Start with your 2 days in Paris and then fly to Athens. If you can arrive in Athens before noon you can hit the highlights with a busy half day (most attractions in Athens are open until 8pm in summer so this helps). Get an early morning ferry the following day to Mykonos. Then to Santorini after a few days. Then you have to choose between a ferry to Crete or a direct flight to Rome. If you do go to Crete look for flights to Rome from Chania in the west part of the island to save yourself the trip back to Heraklion (where you’ll arrive from Santorini by ferry). In Italy, take the train to Florence and then choose between Venice and Milan and from there fly home.

  8. Greece in Early April – Where To Go?

    Hi Dave

    I have got 8 days. My dates are Arrive in to Athens April 1 and depart April 9. I am looking into visiting Athens, Santorini, and Mykonos. What is your recommended number of days for each place with the given time? And how about the weather? Is Mykonos worth visiting in early April?

    Thank you


    1. Santorini DaveSantorini Dave

      I would go to Paros or Naxos (or even Crete, though it’s not the best choice for only a few days) before I’d go to Mykonos in early April. Mykonos is very quiet and doesn’t offer as much to do as other islands during non-summer weather. I would do 2 or 3 nights on Paros or Naxos, 3 or 4 nights on Santorini, and 1 or 2 nights in Athens. Or even 2 nights on Paros, 2 nights on Naxos, 3 nights on Santorini, and 1 in Athens. Leave Athens to the end so that you have some spare days in case ferries are cancelled (so you won’t miss your flight home).

  9. Gay Parties in Greece


    I am gay and I am going to Mykonos, Santorini, and Athens for 9 days in August. So please tell me about gay parties or the best days to have fun over there.

    Thank you!


    1. Santorini DaveSantorini Dave

      Mykonos will have the most gay/gay-friendly parties. They’re well advertised and easy to find once you arrive.

  10. Mykonos Town or Platys Gialos Beach?

    My family and i will be in Santorini and Mykonos for 10 days. We will be in Mykonos from May 28 to June 2. We are six adults, my wife and I and our 4 kids (ages 18-23 years old). I am currently booked at the Myconian Ambassador in Plays Gialos but was wondering if it would be better to stay in town. Our option in town is the Semeli Hotel. Do you have any suggestions on which would be the better choice? Thank you!

    Peter Ferraro

    1. Santorini DaveSantorini Dave

      Both are great hotels so can’t go wrong there. I slightly prefer staying in town to be close to the evening energy and atmosphere (so much fun). But it’s an easy commute from the Myconian to town (5 minute walk and then 10 minute bus ride) so staying at Platys Gialos certainly wouldn’t prevent you from enjoying the town in the evening. Buses should be running late into the night by late May (at least midnight) and after that it’s taxis (which can be tricky to hunt down). The beach will be on slow side in late May/early June so expect to make the journey into town on most nights.

  11. Getting Around Santorini / Safe Hotel in Athens

    Great website — I’ve utilized this site a lot over the last several weeks, so thank you for having such a comprehensive website! Quick question: I’ve booked my flight(s) to Greece and have the following lined up:

    Athens: July 1st – July 4th
    Santorini: July 4th – July 8th
    Mykonos: July 8th – July 12th
    Venice: July 12th – July 15th
    Istanbul: July 15th – July 19th

    What is the best way to travel in Santorini? We will be staying in Oia, but I’d like to visit the Red Sand beach and a few other places. Is it worth it to rent a car/vehicle, or should public transportation be enough to see the main points of interest? In addition, I’ll be staying (solo) at the Attalos Hotel in Psirri. I’ve read mixed reviews of Psirri neighborhood at night. I tend to like to explore solo, and just wanted to make sure that this area would be okay for me to wander around in at night.


    1. Santorini DaveSantorini Dave

      Renting a car (at least for a day or two) is a great way to see a lot of Santorini in a short period of time. It’s especially helpful if you’re staying in Oia, as getting from Oia to the south of the island requires a change of bus in Fira, and this makes seeing more than one destination in one day much more demanding. Attalos Hotel in Athens is in a convenient and safe area. It’s not really Psirri, sort of on the border of Psirri and Monastiraki, and situated on a busy street. It’s not a beautiful area by any means but not unsafe.

  12. How Long in Santorini and Mykonos

    Website has been great in planning our anniversary trip in July. Wanted your opinion… 6 days to split between Santorini and Mykonos, should we do 3 and 3, or 4 in Santorini and 2 in Mykonos? Already doing 5 at Domes of Elounda on Crete (free stay with Marriott points). Thanks!

  13. Mykonos for Kids

    Hi from Canada, Dave!

    Awesome site for first timers to the Islands.

    I am planning a trip for this summer and am thinking we will spend time in Mykonos, Paros and the mainland (Nafplio). In my research I am having a difficult time determining if Mykonos is a good choice for our family of 3 that includes an 8 year old. We love adventure but obviously are not seeking out the party scene. Can Mykonos be family friendly or do you think I am better off to swap out the island in favour of another?

    Renee Mckenzie

    1. Santorini DaveSantorini Dave

      I think Naxos is a better island for families but Mykonos is certainly still a great destination with kids. Platys Gialos is a wonderful (though busy) beach town for families.

  14. Mykonos or Santorini from Athens

    Dear Dave,

    Superb website. Just a quick question for you. I am planning a 10 day trip to Greece visiting Athens, Santorini and Mykonos. I am planning to spend three nights in each starting from Athens –> Santorini –> Mykonos –> home. Is there a difference of travelling to either Santorini or Mykonos first from Athens?

    Thanks for your help in advance.

  15. Santorini Weather in mid-March

    Hi Dave!

    I read through all of your amazing answers which have been super helpful and had one quick question. My boyfriend and I are traveling to Athens for about 5 days (March 10-16, 2016) and were planning to visit Hydra. I have decided that I would really love to visit Santorini as well while in Greece and wanted to get your opinion if it would be worth it to visit during this time as well as the best way to get to the island. We want to make best use of our time as well as get the most out of our trip so your input would be greatly appreciated. Any suggestions like if you think the weather won’t be great (I know it will be chillier) or if it will be super rainy that time of year would influence our decision!

    Thanks in advance for any advice!


    1. Santorini DaveSantorini Dave

      The weather could be anything but if I had to guess I’d predict clear sunny days that are coolish but don’t require more than a light jacket. March is often a great time to visit.

  16. Mykonos for Older Travelers

    Dear Dave,

    My husband (86 and with a bad knee) and I are looking for a warmish place to stop to rest up on our trip to Israel from Los Angeles. Our kids have all been to and raved about Mykonos. From your description, I see that there are many stairs in Santorini, which sounds better suited for us, but not possible. So, my question is whether Mykonos is feasible for us in early March. And if so, where would you recommend that we stay?

    Thanks, Harriet Glaser

    1. Santorini DaveSantorini Dave

      Mykonos is great. It will be quiet in March but there will still be enough open to have choices for where to eat and drink. Definitely stay in Mykonos Town – it’s the easiest to get around and is relatively flat as long as you don’t stay up on the surrounding hills. Make sure it’s a hotel in town. For example, Matogianni Hotel is a reasonably priced hotel right in the center of the town and an easy walk to shops and restaurants.

      1. Mykonos at Christmas

        Hello, is Mykonos good for to spend Xmas?…. I’m going there this December 22th to December 26th…. Is it good time? … No party?

        1. Santorini DaveSantorini Dave

          It will be very quiet. There will be a few bars open and a handful of restaurants but no parties, for sure.

  17. Villas on Mykonos or Santorini

    Hi Dave,

    This has been extremely helpful, so grateful to you! I have a big group of about 10/12 friends including myself, who are planning to visit Greece in August 2016. We normally would rent villas/houses when we vacation, but we want to visit both Mykonos and Santorini. We initially were thinking to find a villa in Mykonos – since the beaches are better/nightlife is more lively and were planning to take a day trip to Santorini, but after reading, you don’t recommend just spending a day in Santorini. Do you think one night/day and a half would be enough to explore and enjoy Santorini? Or should we look into getting houses in both locations and split the time between the two?

    1. Santorini DaveSantorini Dave

      I love Santorini (much prefer it to Mykonos) so I’m of course going to say you should split your time (at least) between the two. But, tastes vary. You could see a fair bit on a 1 night/2 day trip but I suspect you’ll just be left with the feeling, “We should have spent more time on Santorini!”

  18. Flights between Santorini and Mykonos in 2016

    Hi Dave,

    Thanks for the great site. One question for you – we are looking at visiting in July 2016. There are currently no scheduled direct flights showing anywhere between Santorini and Mykonos (or vice versa). Are there always direct flights in the summer season and it is just too early to see schedules? I want to lock in hotels but it is hard when you don’t know airline schedules.

    1. Santorini DaveSantorini Dave

      There are often direct flights but it’s not guaranteed. There are always plenty of ferries though. And – worse case scenario – you can always fly via Athens (the best connections take 2.5 hours).

  19. How Long in Athens, Mykonos, and Santorini

    Hi Dave! My husband and I want to a 10 day trip to Greece. We want to hit Athens, Santorini and Mykonos. How long do you think we should spend at each place?

  20. 5 Days in Greece

    Hi Dave,

    My husband and I are planning to visit Greece in May 2016, and flying in from Rome. Would 5 days be enough to see Athens and Santorini? Thanks!

    1. Santorini DaveSantorini Dave

      Yes, Athens can be covered pretty well in one full busy day. Four days in Santorini is perfect.

  21. Oia for Single Women

    Santorini sounds wonderful for a 7 day escape. I am a solo female looking to relax, unwind, swim, hike and enjoy some good seafood. I am not looking for night life but want to be near restaurants and shops easy distance from a hotel. Oia sounds perfect but concerned I will stand out being “solo”…Thoughts?

    1. Santorini DaveSantorini Dave

      It would be easier to blend-in while in Fira. But I don’t think it will be an issue, many different types of travelers in Oia and Santorini.

  22. Mykonos to Delos

    Dear Dave,

    Do you know if there are operating boats to Delos at that time of the year?
    And what about 2 nights in Syros after Mykonos at Ethrion hotel? Is it worth it – is there anything to see for 2 days or 1 is just enough?

    After island trip we think to go to Corinth Channel and Epidavrus – do you have any suggestions when we can stay overnight?
    Your answer will be greatly appreciated! 🙂


    1. Santorini DaveSantorini Dave

      Not sure when “that time of year” is but tours to Delos usually run from mid-April to late October, but check to be sure.
      Syros is wonderful. Lots to see. That said, one full busy day would give you a good overview so 2 days is not absolutely necessary.
      When can you stay overnight at Corinth and Epidaurus? Anytime is fine.

  23. Large Suite for Family

    Great site Dave.
    We are planning on visiting Santorini for 2 weeks in August. We are a family of 4 (kids 16 and 10). Want to either stay in a villa or an apartment with at least 2 bedrooms. Could be private or part of a hotel but must have a nice pool and lovely views. Not worried about being near a beach but would like to be able to walk to a good selection of restaurants. Which resort and hotel/ complex would you recommend?
    Louisa Mundy

    1. Santorini DaveSantorini Dave

      Some good options for a family:

      – La Boheme or Carmen Suites at Aria Suites in Fira (nice pool, steps from many great restaurants, nightlife)

      – Grand Cave Villa at Galaxy Suites (huge luxury villa with 3 bed/3 bath and hot tub, several great restaurants within 5 minutes)

      – Maisonette at Ampelonas (nice pool, views to both the sunset and sunrise, several great restaurants within 5 minutes)

  24. Santorini During Easter

    G’day Dave. Brilliant site mate! Very informative.

    Just a question. My wife is a teacher in the UK and we can only afford an Easter 2016 break (summer is too expensive).
    I’ve found a lovely deal in Santorini over Easter (essentially late March 2016) but will shops / restaurants / bars be open during that period?


    1. Santorini DaveSantorini Dave

      It will be quiet but not dead. Most shops and restaurants will be open. Some bars open but not all. It can be a great time to visit. I’d go for it.

  25. Santorini in Late May / Early April

    Hi Dave,

    I am thinking of going to Crete and Santorini next year from 26 April 2016 to 3 May 2016 for our honeymoon. I know this isn’t the ideal time to do this in terms of weather but this is when we are getting married and we want to do our honeymoon straight afterwards.

    Do you think it is worthwhile going to the islands at this time of year in terms of weather and the joy you would get from the islands?
    Dimicke Le Masson

    1. Santorini DaveSantorini Dave

      This is a great time to visit – with the caveat that you likely won’t be swimming at the beach. But for sightseeing, exploring, and walking the paths and lanes around Santorini it’s a great time. (Though pack for the possibility of cool rainy weather.)

  26. Direct Flights to Santorini and Mykonos

    Hi Dave,
    We are traveling to Mykonos from Paris on May 16th and from Santorini to Venice on May 25th…we were under the impression that we would have a limited choice of direct flights on these dates, but as of now that is not the case. Should we go ahead and book connecting flights via Aegan Air (a price we are comfortable with) or should we wait a little longer for more flight schedules to come out? Thank you so much, your site has been a great help in planning!

    1. Santorini DaveSantorini Dave

      Yes, there should be direct flights but schedules won’t be out for likely a few more months. I’d wait, personally, but there is some risk other flights could sell out in the mean time and no direct flights become available. I know there were direct flights between Paris and Mykonos and Santorini, and between Venice and Mykonos this year but can’t say for sure whether there were Venice/Santorini flights. Though that’s no rule for next year, in any case.

  27. Athens to Santorini in November

    Hi Dave,
    My partner and I found a great deal from the US to Athens and Turkey in late November. We would like to visit Santorini on November 21-22 but having a challenge finding the best ferry options during this time … maybe we should consider flying? Recommendations would be greatly appreciated – even if we cannot get to Santorini – anywhere closer to Athens?
    Scott D

    1. Santorini DaveSantorini Dave

      There will be ferries from Athens to Santorini in November (the schedule is not out yet). One leaves Athens in the early morning, gets there in the early afternoon, and returns. But you don’t have a lot of time so I would definitely recommend flying. It’s less than an hour from Athens.

  28. Christmas in Athens and Santorini

    hello Dave,
    I was wondeing if you could help me decide whether its worth to spend my christmas holidays in Greece…Athens/Santorini? Would you say that it would be somethig fascinating/romantic or should I stick with visiting Western Europe instead?

    1. Santorini DaveSantorini Dave

      Athens is wonderful at Christmas time. No tourist crowds, local celebrations, lights, decorations, great time (weather dependent) to visit the main Athens’ sights. Santorini is quiet at Christmas. If you got decent weather it would still be nice to explore, walk, and see the sights – but weather can be grey, gloomy, and wet. So, not the best time maybe. Then again, Western Europe can be cold and gloomy and Greece can be seem comparatively wonderful – warmish, sunny weather is not impossible. Just be prepared for any type of weather.

    2. Karen

      Yes yes yes! Single or a couple … Greece is just amazing … and it is especially nice in the winter. The Greeks say it is the best time! Everything blooms then and the Islands turn green … so much to do, see and experience! Very casual and relaxing!


  29. Istanbul, Athens, Mykonos in November

    Would it be worth visiting Athens and Mykonos from 22nd November for about 5 days? We are visiting Istanbul for a conference and have never been to Greece.

    1. Santorini DaveSantorini Dave

      Athens and Santorini, yes. Much better to do Santorini than Mykonos in November. Busier (though still quiet) and more to see in Santorini than Mykonos in the off season.

  30. Santorini or Mykonos in February

    Dear Dave,

    Thanks for the article. We are planning to go to Greece for our honeymoon in Feb 2016 for 7 nights. Would you recommend visiting Mykonos or Santorini during these months?

    1. Santorini DaveSantorini Dave

      Definitely Santorini. This is low season for both islands but while Santorini will be quiet, Mykonos will be completely dead. There will be much more open on Santorini than on Mykonos. And the highlights of Santorini (namely, the views) are still easy to enjoy even in the off season.

  31. 10 Days or 2 Weeks in Greece

    Hi Dave!

    My husband and I have 10 days for travel and we have our hearts set on Greece. Will 10 days feel like too much time in Santorini and Mykonos? If we are able to make it a full 2 week trip instead, would that, in your opinion, give adequate time to enjoy Santorini, Mykonos, and Italy? And lastly, is the weather reasonable to visit Greece in March/April?

    Thank you!

    1. Santorini DaveSantorini Dave

      10 days is good, 2 weeks would be better. If you had 2 weeks I would not try to do Italy – much better to add a 3rd or 4th island to your itinerary than burn through time getting to Italy. Weather in March and April is good for sightseeing and walks but you won’t be sunbathing or swimming as it’s still too cold.

  32. Mykonos to Santorini in Early October

    Hi dave,

    We’re headed to Mykonos for 10 days (already booked for ages) but the sights of Santorini are very appealing! We would like to catch a ferry from mykonos early October to Santorini to stay over a night.

    Would you suggest booking this now or waiting to see what the weather would be like? Does the ferry still run every day around 4th/5th oct/6th

    Any help is very much appreciated!


    1. Santorini DaveSantorini Dave

      Yes, there are 2 ferries daily from Mykonos to Santorini in early October. One in the morning, the other in the afternoon. Book now (online) or when you get to Mykonos – either way is fine.

  33. Weather in October on Santorini

    Hi, Dave- thanks for all the helpful hints! My question: I’m meeting up with a friend in Santorini in mid October and was wondering if I should try to go early October instead… tickets haven’t been purchased yet so I think it’s possible but I wanted your opinion… is there a difference between early and mid October when visiting the islands? I’m not interested in the night life, just good weather. Thanks!!
    Leyla Brenneman

    1. Santorini DaveSantorini Dave

      There are no guarantees, but on average you’ll get better weather in early October than in mid October. Every week from early September on it gets just a little cooler but there are always upticks here and there so it’s not consistent.

  34. Greek Islands in Late November for Honeymoon

    Hi dave, I am planning on booking Athens, Mykonos and Santorini for my honeymoon during 15th to 3rd December. I am looking for party scenes? Is it open? Or any other fun stuff to do?

    1. Santorini DaveSantorini Dave

      The islands will be very quiet and cool. You might have rain but you can get lucky with some clear days. There will be no party scene. Athens will be very lively and have lots to do.

  35. Athens to Mykonos to Santorini to Athens in April

    Hi Dave! Planning to travel to Greece this October. Was thinking this for our itinerary:
    October 11- fly into Athens, catch the ferry to Mykonos and arrive around 10pm
    October 12- Mykonos
    October 13- ferry to Santorini
    October 14- Santorini
    October 15- ferry back to Athens

    What do you think of the itinerary? And how will the weather and town be around those dates? Very worried about it not being that sunny or warm enough for beaches and the town being dead.

    1. Santorini DaveSantorini Dave

      Looks good. Weather can go either way, hot and beach weather, or cool and sweater weather. Be prepared for anything.

  36. Santorini in Early November

    Hi Dave,

    Thinking of Santorini the first week of November. Your thoughts? Thanks.

    Bruce Zivan

    1. Santorini DaveSantorini Dave

      It can be a great time to visit if you get lucky with the weather. In early November the weather can be anything from warm clear days with cool enjoyable nights to rainy and cloudy. It will be quiet but there will be plenty open to eat, shop, and sleep. If I had to guess I’d say you’ll have a great trip but there are no guarantees. Hotels are a bargain in early November.

  37. Hotel near Beach


    Can you please recommend a nice hotel near the beach for first week of November?
    Bruce Zivan

    1. Santorini DaveSantorini Dave

      Not sure whether you’re asking about Santorini or Mykonos but in any case I would not recommend staying at the beach in early November. Even if you could find a hotel that was open (unlikely on Mykonos, possible on Santorini) the beach towns would be dead. Much better to stay in Mykonos Town (on Mykonos) and Fira or Oia (on Santorini).

  38. Kalamata

    Hi I know this is mainly about the islands, but I was wondering if you know anything about Kalamata? It is where my father (who is deceased) is from and I would like to see it, but not sure if it is worth spending a day there when we have only a small amount of time in Greece ( arrive in Athens 1130am on Friday from the USA and leave the following friday morning for Rome). Would like to also go to Santorini and possibly Mykonos also spend at least one day in Athens. Trying to pack a lot into a small amount of time! Thanks!

    1. Santorini DaveSantorini Dave

      Kalamata has some appeal and but is far from a highlight of the Peloponnese. Beyond the personal reasons for visiting it’s a long way to go. There are flights direct from Athens so you’d probably have to fly there one day, back the next, and then head for the ferries. Not sure if that’s worth it.

  39. Mykonos in Late September

    We are going to Mykonos on September 20 for a week. Will the island restaurants etc still be all open or does it start to shut down? Thanks, Sandra wilson.

    1. Santorini DaveSantorini Dave

      The island will be slowing down but yes, everything will still be open in late September.

  40. Which Island for Travelers in Their 20's

    Hey Dave,

    We are heading to Germany for Oktoberfest but have September 28th – October 1 open currently. We have a group of 7 singles (3 men 4 women) aged between 21 – early 30s. For our open days we are planning on flying into Athens and then heading to either Santorini or Mykonos. Based upon the article it would seem to me that Mykonos would be better than Santorini given our groups composition. In one of the comments above you mention that Mykonos starts to slow down in mid-September, so given our timing, do you think it still makes sense, or would Santorini be the better option? Also, considering VRBO or AirBnb for lodging. Any thoughts as to what parts of the islands would be best for our group to look?


    1. Santorini DaveSantorini Dave

      Yes, I would go with Santorini. Mykonos has more going on through the summer but by late September and early October Mykonos has gotten quite slow while Santorini retains a fair bit of life (and nightlife). Stay somewhere in Fira or the nearby towns of Firostefani (15 minute walk) or Imerovigli (30 minute walk).

  41. Is Santorini Good for Family Vacation?


    We plan to visit Greece next August for a week, for our yearly family vacation, aunts, cousins, etc from the US. Is Santorini best for the family dynamics, older parents, mid thirties the rest of us and some younger teens?

    Also, we wanted to rent a house for all us, how early would you recommend I start doing research or even booking a place? I know that’s a busy time of year.

    Thanks in advance.

    1. Santorini DaveSantorini Dave

      Santorini is my favorite Greek island and yes, I think it would be great for a family gathering. Two caveats: Santorini has lots of stairs and steps (which can be hard for older family members) and most beaches are pebbly or a combination of sand and pebbles (great for swimming but some people like the sandy beaches that are found on Mykonos, Ios, or Naxos).

  42. Mykonos, Santorini, Zakynthos

    Hi Dave!

    Like everyone else has been commenting, your website is wonderful. Helping everyone like this is so thoughtful and kind.

    My partner and I are doing 33 days in Europe, but only have 6 days in Greece. We were thinking of:
    Sep 1 – 3: Mykonos (fly in)
    Sep 3 – 5: Santorini (ferry)
    Sep 5 – 7: Zakynthos (fly from Santorini – Athens – Zakynthos in same day)
    Sep 8: Athens (fly)
    Sep 2 – 5: Zakynthos (fly to Athens – Zakynthos)
    Sep 5 – 6: Athens (fly)
    Sep 6 – 9: Santorini (fly)

    I am having a really hard time trying to decide. I love the look of having dinner right beside the ocean in Mykonos. Although we are not the biggest partyers, I love dancing (dance like no one is watching, right?!), and thought how cool would it be to do that in Greece! Are there places to dance in Santorini?

    Out of the itineraries above, is the first one too ambitious?

    How is flying in Greece? Do you have to show up 2 hours ahead of time? Is there a lot of waiting around, where you lose lots of time?

    Thank you SO much! I am literally at a stand-still with planning because I just cannot decide!

    Rhea & James

    1. Santorini DaveSantorini Dave

      I would drop Zakynthos from your plans. That’s a lot of effort to get to an island when many others that are just as nice are a 50 minute ferry ride away. Or add more time to Santorini and Mykonos. The Koo Club is the place to go to dance in Santorini.

  43. Mykonos in Mid-October

    Hi Dave

    I’m planing to go to Mykonos on 14th of October and I’m wondering is it a good time to go to Mykonos in the middle of October for partying and nightclubs?

    Thank you, Adam

    1. Santorini DaveSantorini Dave

      By October Mykonos gets pretty quiet and there is very little nightlife beyond a few places in Mykonos Town to get drinks. Some of those bars might get moderately busy throughout early October but it definitely is not the big parties you would see throughout the summer and through mid-September.

  44. Italy and Greece


    I’m planning a trip between Greece and Italy for about 12 full days. The 2 main islands i plan to visit will be Santorini and some time in Athens, thereafter to Rome, Sorrento, Positano, etc.

    I’m in quite a dilemma here as to whether i should cancel the italy leg of my trip because there seems to be so much to do on the islands itself!

    I’m coming from quite a distance, hence it would be ideal to cover as much as possible in my trip. But i also dont want to have to rush around places.

    In need of some advice here! Appreciate it 🙂

    D S

    1. Santorini DaveSantorini Dave

      Yes, with only 12 days I would limit myself to just Greece as there is plenty do to there to keep you very busy for 12 days. I love Italy too but you’re best to choose one country or the other for that amount of time.

  45. Italy to Santorini and Mykonos

    Hi Dave,

    Echoing everyone else, your site is incredibly helpful so, thank you! I was hoping to visit both Santorini and Mykonos. We will be coming from Catania, Sicily, which looks close on the map, but I’m starting to realize travel time is a bit longer than I had planned. The max we have is a week, but most likely will only have 4 nights/5 days. Would you recommend doing 3 in Santorini, and 1 or 2 in Mykonos? If not, I think we will likely just stick with Santorini. Either way, can you recommend the fastest way to get there from Catania?

    Thanks again for taking the time to help us all out!

    1. Santorini DaveSantorini Dave

      From Catania the fast way to Santorini is to fly through Rome. If you’re flying in July and August there are direct flights from Rome to Santorini and the entire trip from Sicily take about 6 hours – which isn’t bad. Yes, I would do 3 nights in Santorini and 1 or 2 in Mykonos.

    2. Andrew

      Are you going on a holiday or a marathon? Spend no less than 5 days in either and just relax and absorb the sun and the culture. You can always visit the other island another year.

  46. Greek Island for Disabled Person

    Hi Dave, All your comments and suggestions are excellent, is there an island that is friendly or less stressful for some one who is disabled? Thanks,

    1. Santorini DaveSantorini Dave

      Between Mykonos and Santorini, Mykonos is more friendly for a disabled traveler owing to its relative flatness. Of any island in the Cyclades, Paros (and the main town of Parikia) is probably the best.

  47. Hills in Santorini for Pregnant Woman

    Are there a lot of hills to climb in Santorini when sightseeing? I ask because we are planning to head there but I am pregnant so wondering we should go to Mykonos instead.

    1. Santorini DaveSantorini Dave

      Yes, there are hills everywhere and most hotels (at least the ones with views of the caldera) have plenty of steps. Mykonos has far fewer hills.

  48. Santorini and Mykonos on the Weekend

    Planning to visit both Santorini and Mykonos over a week. Which place is best for weekend and weekday? Or are both are weekend destinations i.e. Friday Saturday Sundays?

    1. Santorini DaveSantorini Dave

      You won’t notice a huge difference (especially in high season when it’s always busy) but Mykonos does see a slightly bigger jump on the weekend. It’s a little closer to Athens and is more of a destination for big weekend parties.

  49. How Long in Mykonos and Santorini

    We have the option of spending 4 nights in Santorini and 1 night in Mykonos or 3 nights in Santorini and 2 nights in Mykonos. Would you recommend staying in Santorini longer? Is it possible to do Mykonos for one night? Thank you!

    1. Santorini DaveSantorini Dave

      2 nights is nice because you get a full day to explore the island. If you stay only one night, after you arrive by ferry and find your hotel you really only have the evening and then the next morning you get a few hours but have to start thinking about catching your flight or ferry. Having a full day makes all the difference. So while 4 nights on Santorini would be ideal I think 3 and 2 is better over all.

  50. Evening Temperatures in Santorini and Mykonos

    Are the evenings cool in Santorini and Mykonos in July?

      1. Rome to Mykonos or Santorini

        Hi Dave, Sorry another question:
        * From Rome – would you recommend going to Mykonos or Santorini first? My return flight is from Athens.

        Thank you,

        1. Santorini DaveSantorini Dave

          Check and go wherever has a direct flight on your day of travel (most likely Santorini, as it has more flights). If both have flights then go to Santorini first.

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