Are heading to Greece? Do consider to also visit one (or both) of the two most famous Greek islands – Mykonos or Santorini.
If you need to choose only one from Mykonos or Santorini, then our guide will help you choose the best option.
Keep in mind that in July and August, the sun bathes both islands – Santorini and Mykonos – in a significant way.
That is the reason most of the photos you see online (for both islands) look like postcards!
Mykonos or Santorini? Sightseeing & Landscapes
You’ve probably seen all those pictures of white-washed houses and churches with blue domes. Both Santorini and Mykonos have them.
Mykonos town is a vivid and crowds gathering place, while Santorini Thira, Imerovigli, and Oia are the same analogies in Santorini.
They exist on both islands, and they are even prettier in real life.
Santorini is world-famous for its stunning views of the volcano, and the romantic sunsets.
When you take the boat to go across to the volcano, look up towards Santorini mainland. You will see many white-washed houses perked up on the cliff.
That is a fantastic view to remember for the rest of your life!
Mykonos, on the other hand, is also very scenic.
With its many windmills, picturesque streets, lovely white churches, and pretty villas, it’s a feast for your eyes.
Walk around the Chora (main town) and the Old Harbor, or drive around the island, and you will love it.
Verdict: Choosing between “Mykonos and Santorini” is difficult when it comes to landscapes and views, as both islands are beautiful.
You can choose according to other things you like doing during your holidays.
When it comes to Archaeology in Santorini, you can visit the archaeological site of Ancient Akrotiri. That is a bronze age Minoan settlement buried under volcanic ashes for several centuries.
If you opt for Mykonos, don’t miss a day trip to the nearby island of Delos, a UNESCO heritage site.
Apart from the sites, there are archaeology museums on both islands – make sure you check opening times, as they change often.
Wineries: Other than the sunsets, Santorini is very famous for its wines.
Check out grape varieties like Assyrtiko, Nikteri, and Vinsanto.
You can also take a guided or self-guided winery tour – make sure you have a designated driver.
More recently, Santorini craft beer has also found its place on the map. Mykonos also has wineries and a brewery, but they are nowhere near as famous.
Nightlife / partying: If partying is your thing, Mykonos is the place to go. It has a solid reputation for being a party island – and for a good reason.
Weddings Destination: Santorini is a top-notch weddings destination for couples from all over the world. The island receives thousands of requests for weddings every year and for some venues, there is a 2-year waiting list. Read what it takes to do your wedding in Santorini atour weddings in Santorini post.
Mykonos has world-famous clubs and a crowd to match. You can spend a few days dancing and socializing like there’s no tomorrow.
That is not to say that Santorini hasn’t got its fair share of clubs and bars. If nightlife is a factor that will determine whether you will go to Mykonos or Santorini, we suggest going to Mykonos.
Outdoors: There are other Greek islands, far better for outdoors people. However, there’s plenty to do on both Santorini and Mykonos.
Both islands offer the usual water activities – kayak, SUP, snorkeling, etc.
Santorini offers a stunning 10km (6 miles) hike from Fira to Oia. Do that early in the morning so to avoid the summer scorching sun. You can stop at Oia for snacks, coffee, brunch, and to admire the splendid view.
Mykonos, on the other hand, has several hiking paths to choose from, but they are not well sign-posted.
Beaches: You read on various websites about the amazingly beautiful beaches in Santorini, like the Red Beach, Perissa and Perivolos.
While those are not too bad, they are not up to the standards of the sandy beaches in Mykonos.
Crowded and also famous beaches in Mykonos are Super Paradise, Psarrou, Ornos, Elia and Paraga.
The less busy ones are Fokos, Platis Gialos, Agios Sostis, Loulos, Kapari or Merhias. Read the post for best beaches of Mykonos.
Both Santorini and Mykonos attract thousands of tourists every year, and there are plenty of options for accommodation.
Many of those hotels and villas are on the high-end/luxury category, with unparalleled views and fantastic service. Here is a guide on where to stay in Santorini (for all budgets and preferences).
People from all over the world choose to visit Santorini for their honeymoon. Santorini is one of the few places in the world where you can have your private balcony along with a view of a volcano.
As for where to stay in Mykonos, there are lots of luxury villas to choose from.
Both islands have several award-winning restaurants, like Bill & Coo, Matsuhisa, and Kensho in Mykonos. The equal popular in Santorini are Santoro, Koukoumavlos, and Selini.
That is not to say that more basic restaurants do not exist – quite the contrary. And in any case, it’s difficult to go wrong with Greek food!
Which island is easiest to get? Mykonos or Santorini?
Both islands are popular and as such, you can get to them in many ways. These include both ferries and airplanes.
On top of that, there are plenty of ferries between and towards both of these Cycladic islands. As such, you can spend some days in one and some in the other.
You can even go to both from Crete.
If you are planning to visit Mykonos or Santorini in high season, make sure you book very early to avoid disappointment. Booking early for the appropriate ferry is also crucial.
Ferry from Athens to Santorini
A popular way to get to Santorini is by ferry from Athens, if you land in Athens first and you should do! There are quite a few ferry routes to choose from.
Here are the instructions to help you out getting the Athens to Santorini ferry tickets options.
As with ferries, there are more than four available ferries every day that travels from Athens to Santorini; that is in the summer alone. Read the complete post.
Click to read the extended post on all things to know for Athens to Santorini ferry tickets, ferry schedules, and companies.
Both islands are trendy, and booking six or more months in advance is recommended.
Ferry from Athens to Mykonos
An Athens to Mykonos ferry is one of the best ways to experience your vacation in Greece this is because you will get to witness some of the great scenery when you are also traveling.
Having said that, it is advisable not to take some of the slowest and biggest ferries to Mykonos and at the same time if you can please avoid the fast and smaller ferries as well.
The reason behind all these is that the small ferries are faster but there are very high chances of one getting seasickness as well as a bumpy ride which might not be a pleasant experience. We have been there and know what we are talking about.
Read the post with all the details for Athens to Mykonos ferry and flights.
Traveling Using the Crete to Santorini Ferry
That is the most fancied mode of transportation from Crete to Santorini and runs two times daily. The overall trip to by ferry takes around 2 hours 30mins that is if you fancy using the Heraklion- Santorini route.
You will realize that almost all ferries dock as Athinios Port. There are available buses to shuttle the passengers to their favorite destinations on the island.
Read about the Crete to Santorini Ferry options.
Mykonos or Santorini? It depends on what you are after, and what time of the year you are planning to visit.
To use popular stereotypes, Mykonos is “a party island,” while Santorini is “an island to watch the sunset from.” But as you have seen, there is a lot more to do on both islands.
So, whether you are going to Mykonos or Santorini, get ready for a blast!
As you realize, both islands can get very busy in summer. You might find prices a little too high and lovely photos impossible to get.
Are you a budget-conscious traveler? Do you prefer less busy places? Then we recommend visiting those islands off-season (October – March).
During May, the weather is hot enough to take a swim, and enjoy the magnificent landscapes without the summer crowds.