More insider guides for planning a trip to Mykonos
These are unusual times, and the state of affairs can change quickly. Please check the latest travel guidance before making your journey. Note that our writer visited pre-pandemic.
There are dozens of public beaches on the island, ranging in size from small to sweeping, with most of the more popular located on the southern coast. And where once you could just throw your towel down on the sand and seek shade under a tree, many have evolved to offer a range of slick facilities, mainly involving hiring out sun-loungers and umbrellas, with day rates varying wildly between them. Many are now also fringed with luxury hotels and villas, and feature chic beach clubs and restaurants where the action doesn’t stop just because the sun goes down. Take your pick.
This is certainly the best known, and one of the most popular, thanks to its laid-back feel and picturesque setting. Located on the island’s southern coast – which can get buffeted by its famous winds, or ‘meltemia’ – it’s a lengthy sweep of gravelly sand, fringed by clear, turquoise water. Behind the sea is a campsite, established in 1969, and other facilities include a reasonably priced cafeteria, and a couple of beach bars. Loungers and umbrellas can be hired for a fee, starting this season from €7 (£6); the amount tends to creep up every year. Set back from the beach is the Paradise Beach Club (00 30 6973 016311), which has a quieter pool bar, and a more raucous ground-level one. The music gets progressively louder as the day goes on, culminating in the live DJ whipping the crowd into a frenzy.
Getting there:You can drive, or get a bus direct from Fabrika, Chora; it takes around 15 minutes.
Super Paradise is tucked behind a headland on the opposite side to Paradise, and is traditionally known as the island’s first dedicated gay beach. Today it’s more mixed, and draws clubbers and partiers who get more involved in the dance music as the day goes on. There’s a bar that also serves light snacks, such as fruit and yogurt, and you can rent jet skis, go parasailing, or do other watersports, too. The Super Paradise Beach Club (00 30 698 591 9002) also rents out loungers and umbrellas (price varies).
Getting there: For years you could only reach this by water taxi. Now there’s a shuttle that takes you direct from Fabrika (it’s operated by the Super Paradise Beach Club).
Located on the north side of the Mykonos, Panormos was one of the island’s most unassuming and sleepy stretches of beach until just a few years ago. Today, there are still a handful of low-key apartments lining the hill above it, and two small restaurants, including Kiki’s Tavern. The game changer – bringing luxurious loungers, beehive-shaped rattan lampshades, billowing white curtains and natural, blond wood furniture – is Principote (00 30 22890 77184), a slick, glossy restaurant and beach club established a couple of years ago. They charge €50 (£45) per lounger, and as a result it’s packed with the type of punters who like to order champagne as they sunbathe. If you don’t want to pay these prices, you can spread your beach towel out on the stretches of sand to the left or right of it, including in one charming, sheltered cove known as Lovers’ Beach.
Getting there: Buses go fairly regularly from the Old Port.
This has taken over the mantle of Mykonos’ main gay beach in recent years, and nudity is permitted (and widely practiced). It’s a fairly quiet stretch of sand – the music isn’t overpowering – and you can rent loungers and umbrellas, and in some cases the price includes a cocktail, usually if you’re looking for one that’s close to the sea. You can also book loungers belonging to the stylish Elia Beach Hotel (00 30 22890 71204). Its restaurant serves beautifully presented and flavourful dishes such as grilled octopus with olive oil mash, set among tasteful, nature-inspired décor.
Getting there: Buses go from the Old Port.
Perched at the top of a little peninsula that sticks out from the bottom southwest corner of the island, this beach has got a glamorous movie pedigree: it featured in the classic film, Shirley Valentine, and the small taverna where she treats herself to a glass of wine is still there, though it’s now called Hippie Fish (Agios Ioanni; 00 30 22890 23547). It serves sushi, as well as more classic Greek dishes. This beach is more popular with families, as it’s fairly quiet, and water is calm, and crystal clear – great for swimming and snorkeling. It looks out across to the isle of Delos, the famous archaeological site.
Getting there: Buses leave from Fabrika, and stop at Ornos first.
This is one of the more developed beaches, lined with restaurants and bars, which also offer loungers. It’s also home to a hostel and campsite, which means it’s well equipped with public loos, a shop/supermarket, and a small pool packed with loungers you can use if you commit to spending a minimum €20 (£18) on food and drink per person. Otherwise, there are plenty of options for hire along the beach itself, and a large floating pier you can swim off. It’s patrolled by a lifeguard, and like most of the bigger beaches, feels safe, but is also prone to loud music. To the west as you look from the sea is hip hangout Scorpios (00 30 2289 029250), which attracts the rich and famous, with lounger and cabana prices (from €100/£90 per person) to match.
Getting there: Buses go regularly from Fabrika.
Ornos beach, which fringes a charming former fishing village of the same name, is increasingly popular with families, and as such, usually packed. It’s the closest big beach to Chora, and offers a diving school as well as places to hire windsurfers. There is also a long, low complex which stretches along most of the beach offering a range of different restaurants and bars, who hire out loungers for varying prices (most above the €10 [£9] mark). There’s a branch of the fashionable Buddha Bar (00 30 22890 26570), serving cocktails, sushi and Balearic beats, as well as other popular eating spots such as Kuzina (00 30 22890 26434), which dishes up crowd-pleasers such as fried calamari, grilled chicken skewers and lobster spaghetti.
Getting there: Buses leave from Fabrika.
Platis Yialos/Platys Gialos
This charming beach is lined with dozens of hotels, and thus an increasingly popular place to stay. There are plenty of facilities on offer, including watersports, restaurants, cafés and mini markets. You can also jump on a water taxi from here if you want to explore a nearby beach for a few hours; they go to Paradise and Super Paradise. For lunch with a cracking view, head to Eclipse (00 30 22890 26046), an Italian restaurant located on the rooftop of the Germanic-sounding Kosmoplaz Beach Hotel and Resort. Expect handmade pasta and pizza, overlooking the bluest water you’ve ever seen.
Getting there: It’s just over 10 minutes from Fabrika bus station.