Mykonos is the most famous, glamorous and, probably, expensive island in Greece so it’s always a good idea to keep a list of the best Mykonos budget tips handy.
For many years we have been avoiding to plan a trip to Mykonos because we (mistakenly) thought that the island was all about celebrity parties and fancy lifestyle. Moreover, we were kind of terrified of the notoriously high Mykonos prices. However, in a moment of bravery and determination, we decided that it was time we saw Mykonos with our own eyes. And, so, we went.
Who hasn’t heard stories about sunbeds that cost thousands of euros and bottles of water that cost a couple hundred in Mykonos? True or not, we wouldn’t know because we made sure we kept clear of trendy beach clubs, high-end restaurants and everything else that felt likely to break the bank. In doing so, we didn’t feel we missed out on anything. On the contrary, we spent an amazing time in Mykonos, getting to know with the real island and its charms.
In the spirit of always finding the perfect balance between budget and splurge, we created this list of Mykonos budget tips, which is life-saving for anyone planning a vacation on the island.
Here it goes! Our complete guide on how to enjoy Mykonos on a budget!
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Table of contents
- Our Mykonos Budget Secret
- How To Survive Mykonos On a Budget: The Ultimate Guide
- Best Time To Visit Mykonos Island
- Where is Mykonos
- How To Get To Mykonos
- Where To Stay in Mykonos
- How To Get Around Mykonos
- Where To Eat in Mykonos on a Budget
- Mykonos Nightlife
- Best Free Things To Do in Mykonos
- Best Free Beaches in Mykonos
- Best Time To Visit Mykonos Island
- So, Does Mykonos on a Budget Sound Like a Real Thing Now Or What?
Our Mykonos Budget Secret
So, if you are scared that you have to pay a fortune in order to enjoy a vacation on Mykonos Island, don’t be. As I said, that’s what we thought too. Yet it all comes down to tackling the WH- Questions: WHEN to go, HOW to go, HOW to get around, WHERE to stay and eat and WHAT to do.
Don’t know where to start? We’ve got you covered.
How To Survive Mykonos On a Budget: The Ultimate Guide
Best Time To Visit Mykonos Island
First of all, for an affordable vacation in Mykonos, you need to avoid peak season like the plague. Forget about July and August, that is. Not only do these two months bring about ridiculously high prices in accommodation, they are also the worst months to enjoy the island itself because of the crowds. By far the best time to visit Mykonos is June or September.
If you can brace low sea temperatures, then you should also consider April and May. With the exception of the Greek Easter holidays, Mykonos is beautiful and quite calm in spring. Similarly, October is also a very good time to visit in terms of prices and crowds but daylight time is far less than in spring.
Where is Mykonos
Mykonos is an island of the Cyclades, the complex that occupies the central area of the Aegean Sea in Greece. Mykonos’ location at the very heart of the Cyclades and on the route to the North Aegean Islands, such as Ikaria and Samos, makes it the ideal hub for island hopping. However, its very location has earned Mykonos its nickname as The Island of The Winds so don’t forget to pack your motion sickness meds, just in case.
How To Get To Mykonos
Mykonos International Airport connects the island to, literally, the entire world. Many airlines, including the most popular low-cost ones like Ryanair, Easyjet, Volotea and Vueling, operate frequent flights to and from Mykonos in the summer months, while Aegean Airlines flies to Mykonos all year long. There are also many charter flights to Mykonos during high and peak seasons.
The airport lies just 3km from Chora (the island’s main town) which means that you can get there in 10-minute’s time by car or after a 40-minute walk. There is also public bus service that connects the airport to Chora. During summer months, the airport bus can take you to other locations on the island as well.
Before welcoming low-cost airlines into our lives, the ferry was the only sane option to travel to the Aegean Islands for us Greeks, especially those living in Athens. Ever since we were kids, summer to us was all about the sea, the sun and… the ferry! There is nothing quite like the sea breeze blowing in your hair and the taste of salt in your mouth. All this feeling brings a vacation to the Greek Islands to a whole new level.
Ferries to Mykonos depart from two different ports in Athens: Piraeus and Rafina. Piraeus is the main port of Athens and the largest port in Greece. It is near downtown Athens and accessible by means of public transport, such as metro and bus. As far as Rafina is concerned, there is frequent coach service that connects downtown Athens to the port.
Journey times differ, depending on which of the two ports you choose. From Piraeus, it takes more than 5 hours by regular ferry and about 2,5 hours by high-speed vessels to get to Mykonos. From Rafina to Mykonos, it’s a 4-hour journey on the regular ferry and about 2-2,5 hours by high-speed vessel.
The cheapest way to get to Mykonos
If you MUST fly straight to Mykonos, make sure you book your flights way in advance so as to buy your tickets at reasonable prices. Also, check out the websites of your favourite airlines regularly for deals and promotions.
That said, if you are already in Athens, it’s really not worth flying to Mykonos. The ferry is the most affordable option for a number of reasons. First and foremost, if you know your dates in advance, you can buy your ferry tickets for a discount. That said, even if your trip to Mykonos is a last-minute call, contrary to what happens with flights, ferry tickets won’t get more expensive. There are standard fares that can only go down (e.g. discounts, promotional codes etc) but never up.
Furthermore, it will only cost you 1,4€ or 2,5€ to get to Piraeus or Rafina respectively. On the contrary, you need 6€ (airport bus), 10€ (metro/suburban railway) or 38€-54€ (taxi) to get from downtown Athens to the airport and vice versa.
Regarding ferries now, if you really want to stay on a budget, you should forget about the high-speed options altogether as tickets cost twice as much as the regular ferry ones. Not to mention that high-speed vessels are a huge no-no if you tend to get seasick.
The most affordable and comfortable way to get from Athens to Mykonos is by regular ferry from Rafina Port. The latter costs less than the ferry from Piraeus and journey time is less by at least one hour. Fast Ferries are our top choice for our frequent trips to Andros as well as other islands in the Cyclades. We used Fast Ferries for our trip to Mykonos and we couldn’t have made a better choice. The ferry was super clean, comfortable and the staff super kind, as always.
Where To Stay in Mykonos
Believe it or not, Mykonos budget accommodation exists. There are so many hotels, B&Bs and villas on offer that you will most definitely be able to find a reasonably priced one on your dates. Keep in mind that the best value-for-money accommodation options are scattered across the island’s countryside rather than Mykonos Town. Also, don’t forget that the earlier you book on sites like Booking.com, the better deals you are likely to find.
How to experience a luxury stay in Mykonos on a budget
But what if you, like us, want to experience a luxury stay on what is considered the most cosmopolitan island in Greece without breaking the bank? You must think it’s impossible. Yet it’s not. But there’s a trick.
If you want to live the experience of staying in a gorgeous traditional villa in Mykonos, all you have to do is travel to the island with as many of your friends and/or family as possible. No, we’re not joking, we’re dead serious. You see, most villas feature many bedrooms, each of which may even have its own bathroom, as well as common areas, such as kitchen, dining area, swimming pool etc.
Therefore, if you are a party of, say, 8 people and you rent a 4-bedroom villa, this may eventually cost per night almost as much as renting 4 individual double rooms at a hotel. Furthermore, staying at such a stunning, homelike place, will help you save on other expenses as well since you will most probably want to dine or have drinks in the comfort of your own luxurious villa.
How To Get Around Mykonos
Public transport is by far the most budget-friendly way to get around Mykonos Island. The bus can take you from Chora and many other towns to and from the airport or port as well as to many of the island’s beaches. However, if you really want to explore Mykonos and see its off-the-beaten-path treasures, the bus isn’t for you.
The obvious choice if you want to explore the island at your own pace is renting a car. That said, driving in Mykonos is nothing like driving on other islands. Traffic can get really crazy and parking space is scarce in Chora and around. So, that’s not exactly what you’d describe as a relaxing vacation, is it? However, if, regardless of our warnings, you insist on renting a car, make sure you do it way in advance otherwise that too can mess up your budget.
On a final note, don’t rely on taxis in Mykonos. They are very expensive and it’s just not worth it.
The best way to get around Mykonos on a budget
The best way to have the best of two, or even three, worlds is renting a scooter. That will save you time, money and it can take you to all of the island’s hidden gems. One word of caution though: only rent a scooter if you indeed have a motorcycle driver’s license and you are used to riding a motorbike. Otherwise it can be extremely dangerous. And there’s no reason why you should risk getting even the most minor of scratches. You’re there to have fun and relax, remember?
Where To Eat in Mykonos on a Budget
Now, that’s where it starts to get tricky. Food in Mykonos is indeed expensive and, oftentimes, with no apparent reason. So, when it comes to food, here’s our top Mykonos budget tip: embrace fast food, namely souvlaki and pizza. Even so, expect that their prices will be a lot higher than anywhere else in Greece.
For instance, one souvlaki in Athens may cost anywhere between 2€ to 3€ but in Mykonos this price can be double. Still, even if you have to pay 12€ for two souvlakis (it sounds outrageous, we know), it’s definitely cheaper than having a proper meal at a restaurant. Some of the best souvlaki restaurants in Mykonos are Jimmy’s Gyros, Souvlaki Story and Kalammmakia Ano Mera. Similarly, don’t be surprised if a pizza costs about 20€, which is quite expensive. For an authentic Italian pizza try Na’Verace.
During our 3-day trip to Mykonos, we mostly relied on fast-food. With one exception. If there is one restaurant that is really worth eating at, this is Kiki’s Tavern in Agios Sostis Beach. We couldn’t miss the opportunity to have lunch at this legendary traditional restaurant which serves food until sunset because it operates without electricity. If nothing else, it’s a unique experience not to be missed.
If Mykonos was a book, its nightlife would be a huge chapter. Historically, Mykonos has been a popular partying destination for decades and many people wish to visit the island for this reason alone. But not us. During our trip to Mykonos, we focused more on its natural treasures and architectural wonders. Therefore we can’t give feedback as to whether there is such thing as Mykonos budget nightlife or not.
What we do know for sure is that having a drink at one of the bars in Little Venice, the indisputably most gorgeous spot on the island, is not impossible. Yes, a cocktail may cost anywhere between 10€ to 15€, but this is the standardish price for cocktails anywhere else in Greece anyway. That said, you can always grab a beer from the super market and sit on the sand. Both you and the guys at the table next to you will be watching the same sunset after all.
Best Free Things To Do in Mykonos
Mykonos is not all fancy parties and expensive activities. There are many things to do in Mykonos which don’t cost a single cent. Here are a few of them:
- Watch the sunset at Little Venice.
- Hike from Agios Stefanos Beach to Armenistis Lighthouse.
- Wander around the quaint streets of Chora.
- People watch at the picturesque windmills.
- Stroll around Ano Mera Village.
- Swim in the waters of the most pristine free beaches in Mykonos.
Best Free Beaches in Mykonos
Before actually going to Mykonos, we thought that most, if not all, of the island’s beaches would be occupied by trendy beach bars which would require an astronomical entrance fee. Although this is true for a couple of super popular party-oriented beaches near Chora (e.g. Super Paradise Beach), we couldn’t have been more wrong as far as the rest of the island’s beaches are concerned.
Mykonos Island is home to some of the most spectacular beaches in Greece. The best part is that the vast majority of those pieces of heaven are very easily accessible. Even the most remote ones. We’ve compiled a list of the best free beaches in Mykonos. Some of them are free for their most part but also feature a (usually reasonably priced by Mykonos standards) beach bar or two while others are absolutely unspoilt and free.
- Agios Sostis Beach: Perhaps the most pristine of all Mykonos beaches, long and sandy. No sunbeds/umbrellas. Accessible only by private means of transport.
- Ftelia Beach: Beautiful sandy beach which can get quite windy. Sunbeds/umbrellas for a fee. Accessible only by private means of transport.
- Kalo Livadi Beach: Beautiful long and sandy beach, perhaps the most cosmopolitan on our list but also, surprisingly, calm and unspoilt. Sunbeds/umbrellas for a fee and home to one of the most popular beach bars in Mykonos. Accessible by public transport.
- Lia Beach: One of the smallest beaches in Mykonos with crystal clear waters. Sunbeds/umbrellas for a fee. Accessible only by private means of transport.
- Fokos Beach: The most remote and unspoilt beach on our list. Amazingly crystal clear emerald waters in an absolutely calm setting. No sunbeds/umbrellas. Accessible only by private means of transport (you need to drive on a dirt road for a while, but it’s in excellent condition).
- Agios Stefanos Beach: The closest beach to Chora on this list. Long, sandy beach with views to the Old Town and the ferries that come and go to the nearby New Port. Sunbeds/umbrellas for a fee as well as a quaint tavern on the beach. Accessible by public transport and on foot from Chora.
So, Does Mykonos on a Budget Sound Like a Real Thing Now Or What?
You’ve made it this far on this Mykonos Travel Guide so, hopefully, you now know that a vacation in Mykonos doesn’t have to be the most expensive thing you’ve ever done. Like with many other destinations which are super popular, touristy and expensive, there are indeed ways to visit Mykonos and have a blast without breaking the bank. At the end of the day, it’s all a matter of careful planning, research and, most of all, ridding ourselves of all stereotypes.
Disclosure: Fast Ferries kindly offered us complimentary tickets to and from Mykonos. However, as always, we express nothing but our very own and honest opinion about the experience we had.