Santorini or Mykonos – How to Pick the Perfect Holiday Destination

When a Greek island holiday is part of a dream for you, chances are Mykonos and Santorini are the first to pop to the mind. Indeed, the two Mediterranean destinations welcome millions of visitors every year, who rush towards the beautiful Aegean Sea islands from the corners of the earth. The challenging part of this dream fulfilment, though, is choosing whether to spend your vacation in Mykonos or Santorini. Both incredibly captivating with their unique charms and offering similar experiences, it all comes down to the kind of getaway you seek. Here is a breakdown of what to expect from each to help make your task a tad easier.

1. The beaches 

Mykonos is surrounded by sugary shores with crystalline waters, most of which are adorned with lively beach bars featuring parties that last till the wee hours. The all-day party vibe is a characteristic of the southern shores, though, with the northern part of the island providing more serene and peaceful endeavours. 

Santorini, on the other hand, impresses with the volcanic beaches and kilometre-long white, black, or red sand coast. Fringed by dramatic reddish cliffs, the south shores (see Red Beach) have a more cosmopolitan atmosphere while those in the north lay the table for more private adventures. 

So, there is no winner in this category unless you feel drawn to more unusual beaches. In this case, Santorini is a step ahead. 

2. Water sports

If enriching your holidays with water-related activities is a must for you, then Mykonos pleases with the many water sports facilities. It offers opportunities to enjoy water skiing, windsurfing, scuba diving, diving, and other similar sports with the glitz and lux Mykonos is known for.

Santorini follows put. However, the volcanic landscape continues underwater, which means that you get to see a submarine cosmos not easily seen elsewhere, such as shipwrecks and aquatic volcanic caves. So, scuba diving and diving outings have a different flair in Santorini, evoking feelings of awe and amazement. 

3. Nightlife

This is a category where Mykonos probably dominates, especially if you are looking for absolutely wild parties at high-end bars. Admittedly, Mykonos offers all sorts of entertainment, from ritzy drag shows to international DJs events. 

Santorini’s part scene is almost nonexistent, compared to the intensity of Mykonos. Nevertheless, you can find several bars in the island’s capital and other popular areas that can colour your night up until around midnight. 

To put it simply, Mykonos is ideal if you appreciate vibrancy and parties where showering with champagne is part of the fun. Santorini, on the flip side, is tied to a more relaxed lifestyle wrapped around more peaceful and romantic experiences. 

4. Romance & Honeymoon Holidays

Santorini is known the world over for its absolutely heart-stopping sunsets. Indeed, the sun-kissed whitewashed houses with the pink bougainvillea blooms, the milky-white chapels with the blue domes, and the cobbled streets of Fira comprise a superb backdrop against the cloudless sky and the endless blue of the archipelago. Plus, the views you get from towns perched along the Caldera, such as Imerovigli (no wonder the most luxurious Santorini hotels are found there), are simply jaw-dropping. So, Santorini is rightfully a hugely popular destination for weddings and honeymoon trips. 

Mykonos also has a romance factor attached to it, which makes sense given that it’s a Cyclades island with all the typical characteristics of one. However, its evergreen bohemian appeal and natural allure fall a bit short compared to Santorini’s romance potential. That’s probably because Mykonos has created a reputation as a party mecca rather than an idyllic dot in the Mediterranean. 


5. Other Factors 

As for other considerations, such as family-friendly holidays, history, architectural landmarks, and shopping, it all has to do with your particular requirements. For example, both islands amaze with their archaeological sites and rich history (Mykonos has Delos island, a UNESCO World Heritage Site with powerful energy, while Santorini’s prehistoric settlement of Akrotiri speaks of a civilization far more advanced than any other). Finally, the luxury aspect is the same, but Santorini offers more family-oriented activities than Mykonos. 

Irrespective of which Greek island you believe eventually meets your aspirations for dreamy holidays; you will have your wish fulfilled no matter what. Nevertheless, Santorini seems to be a small step ahead when romance, superb seascapes, and out-of-the-ordinary holidays are prerequisites.