Which is Better: Santorini or Mykonos?

Which is Better: Santorini or Mykonos?

The Greek islands are known to be some of the most fascinating travel destinations on the planet. Greece itself is home to over 6,000 isles and islands, with stretching golden shorelines, ancient ruins, party towns, and beautiful inland landscapes. The very diversity of the Greek islands is what draws keen travelers from across the globe to their waters, who are looking to uncover the many mysteries and surprises that they have in store. 

Over the centuries, there are some Greek islands that have stood out from the crowd more than the rest, with thriving communities that have helped these islands flourish into what we know and love them to be today. Two destinations, in particular, are the likes of Mykonos and Santorini, the former of which is best known for its electric party atmosphere, and the latter for its natural wonders and picture-perfect settlements. 

But, when it comes down to it, is Santorini or Mykonos better? In this article, our experts at Unforgettable Greece aim to answer this very question, delving into what makes these islands what they are and why they’re so loved by travelers across the globe, to help you make a decision.

Where are Santorini and Mykonos Located?

Santorini, Greece
Mykonos, Greece

But, firstly, it may be helpful to know where these two island destinations are if you’re considering visiting them on your travels. 

Santorini is set around 120 miles southeast of Greece’s mainland. It is one of the country’s smaller islands but its size has never put travelers off, as it consistently tops the list as one of the most popular locations in Greece, up there with the likes of Rhodes and Crete, two of the biggest islands. 

Mykonos, on the other hand, is situated 93 miles east of the Greek mainland. Mykonos is fractionally bigger than Santorini, but both locations are roughly the same size. 

Both islands are very different, in atmosphere, spirit, and within their landscapes, so it’s difficult to compare the two. But this just means that there is always something unique and wondrous on either island to catch your attention during your next Greek adventure.

Mykonos vs Santorini: Beaches

Red Beach, Santorini
Super Paradise Beach, Mykonos


Greece has developed a reputation for holding a selection of the most spectacular beaches in Europe, and the world. From golden swathes of shoreline to hidden coves, and even moon-like landscapes, there’s no limit to the choice of beach destinations during your next visit here.


And on both Santorini and Mykonos, you can expect an array of seafront splendors with glistening waters where you can feel the heat of the Mediterranean sunshine beating against your skin, which we’ve detailed below.


Due to Santorini being a volcanic landscape, its beaches are volcanic in nature meaning that they are truly diverse, geographically unique, and, therefore, intriguing. 

As opposed to the quintessential swathes of sandy shores bordered by bright blue waters, Santorini is how to spectacular rock formations, pebbly shores, and colorful craggy coves due to its volcanic activity. 

Red Beach is one of Santorini’s most famous beaches and is certainly the most eye-catching. As its name suggests, Red Beach is a striking red shoreline cut into Santorini’s coastal cliffs, with fine coarse red sands and black pebbles. Situated only a 20-minute drive from Fira in Akrotiri village, it’s on the list of Greece’s most photogenic beaches and it makes for a memorable day out. 


Offering the real sun, sea, and sand experience to its beach-loving visitors, Mykonos is home to beaches by the bucket load, with some of the best on offer in the country found here. Most of Mykonos’ beaches are what most would envisage them to be – golden sands, tranquil blue waters, and parasols lining the shore, which makes it ideal for any and all people in search of the real deal when it comes to beach days out. 

Super Paradise is one of Mykonos’ most famed, and favorite, beaches. Located only 7 kilometers south of Mykonos Town, it is slightly more difficult to reach compared to other Mykonos beaches, such as Paradise Beach but trust us, it is well worth the effort. 

Bordered by a curving rocky coastline, its pale golden sands are lined with rows of parasols that overlook the glistening Adriatic waters. It’s a popular spot that, in peak season, can be particularly busy, and we’re not surprised given its picture-perfect setting. It is also renowned for its luxury beach bars and clubs, which, as the evening draws closer, you can gradually see coming to life with music beginning to blare for those looking for a fun start to any evening. 

And if watersports and activities are on your list of things to do during your Greek vacation, Mykonos is one of the elite locations in Greece to do this. The beaches offer prime conditions for water sports, such as wakeboarding, jet skiing, and snorkeling, ticking this off you’re list if any of these take your fancy on a vacation.

Mykonos vs Santorini: Nightlife

nightlife santorini
Clubbing Mykonos

From colorful beach clubs to vibrant settlements that spring to life come nightfall, party lovers from across the globe flock to Greece to spend a vacation filled with memorable nightlife experiences. And Mykonos and Santorini, in particular, have much to give partygoers in search of the typical party island getaway.


Whilst Santorini’s reputation has been primarily developed for being a romantic haven for couples, the island adopts a different persona by night when it turns into a party lovers’ paradise. 

As the largest settlement, and capital, of Santorini, Fira has an array of bars, clubs, and lounges that offer visitors a true taste of the island’s nightlife. As a particularly cosmopolitan city, you can expect the nightlife here to be a cut above the rest, offering modern cocktail bars, an electric club scene, and classy entertainment for a more up-market nightlife experience. 


Mykonos takes the title of Greece’s most popular party destination and, when choosing Mykonos or Santorini for partying, it’s unquestionable that this Greek island is the one that offers an authentic night out. 

Its reputation has meant that, across the islands, locals have had to keep up with the growing demand for nightlife locations and establishments, and they have really lived up to the task. Dotted across its inland and coastal settings are a selection of living clubs, vibrant beach bars, discos, and more which attract hundreds to thousands of people weekly to party and socialize until the early hours. 

Mykonos Town, or Chora, is Mykonos’ main nightlife hub. It is the capital of the island, and its labyrinth of streets at nighttime erupts with illuminated signs and the buzz of visitors seeking a memorable night out. Whether you weave into one of the many cocktail bars or want to get your feet moving in an electric club, there’s never something far from you in Mykonos Town.

Mykonos vs Santorini: Romance

Couple Santorini
Windmills Mykonos

In stark contrast to the party atmosphere that you can find across its islands, Greece is also well-known for oozing romance. For this reason alone, it draws couples from all over in search of an idyllic atmosphere. 

And for those beginning their next adventure in wedded bliss, Greece is an exceptional destination for honeymoons, with endless options to have romantic experiences that mark the beginning of the rest of your lives together. But, when it comes to romance, do you visit Mykonos or Santorini? 


Santorini has best developed a reputation for being romantic. Renowned as one of the top romantic locations on the planet, anyone who’s looking to feel the love with their significant other, surrounded by tranquil regions and awe-inspiring natural landscapes, shouldn’t miss out on visiting this island. 

When it comes to romantic destinations in Santorini, Oia is one of the best. This capital’s white-washed buildings with colorful rooftops lining its clifftops are the ideal location to watch the sunset for a romantic end to any evening. 

Equally, one of the most romantic activities in Santorini is going wine tasting. The island is home to a number of wineries to sample the very best of local Greek wines sourced and produced on the island itself. There’s nothing quite as romantic as roaming through the vines and sipping a crisp, fresh glass of wine with your significant other, and Santorini is the ideal place to do so.

So, when having to choose between Santorini or Mykonos for honeymoon getaways, Santorini is a difficult destination to beat.


Mykonos is a breathtaking island location, with whitewashed settlements, picturesque beaches, and natural beauty that will simply take your breath away. For these reasons alone, it’s easy to get lost in Mykonos on a honeymoon getaway or couples retreat with your loved one. And there are some areas of the island we’d recommend more than others to those looking to experience the romantic atmosphere here. 

As one of the symbols of Mykonos, it’s probably not surprising that the windmills are one of the most romantic places to visit on the island. Offering breathtaking views outwards to sea, particularly at sunset, visiting the windmills can make for an intimate trip with your loved one, as you admire the views below.

Mykonos vs Santorini: Cuisine

Greek Cuisine
Cuisine Mykonos, Little Venice

From moussaka to papoutsakia, gyros, and pastitsio, Greek cuisine is a medley of dishes blending the traditions and heritage of the Mediterranean region that Greece is within.

And over thousands of years, Greece has crafted some of the best dishes in Europe, and its islands are some of the best destinations to sample this. Becoming their own self-sufficient scapes, you can expect something unique on every island you visit, with Santorini and Mykonos both having much to offer in their individual food scenes.


Santorini’s unique, volcanic landscape makes the crop that it grows totally different from that of Greece’s other island destinations. For this reason, the gastronomic delights that grow in its farmlands produce some of the most delicious dishes, and may even surprise some of the most serious of gastronomes due to their uniqueness. 

The island is particularly famous for its fava, made from yellow split peas native to the island, alongside tomato fritters, known as tomato keftedes. And one of the best places to sample the best of this local cuisine is in Pyrgos. Known for being a Santorini hidden gem, you are guaranteed authentic eats in this perfectly-preserved, white-washed village, making for a picturesque setting to sample the cuisine in any one of the quality eateries located here.


Mykonos lives and breathes traditional Greek gastronomy, which is exactly why foodies will feel as if they’ve died and gone to heaven when they visit the island and sample what’s in store.

Mykonos is well known for its seafood which, in many restaurants, is picked fresh from the sea on the day that you eat there. Mykonos’ own specialties include its kopanisti cheese and sausages with black-eyed beans, both of which are simply exquisite.

The island has an assortment of traditional tavernas, modern restaurants, and seafront eateries that serve a selection of delicacies and dishes to taste the flavors of Mykonos. Little Venice is one of the best places to sample the island’s food, offering not only delicious dishes but beautiful views from its old fishing houses where visitors can pull up a chair and tuck in – food for the mouth and the eyes!


So, is Mykonos or Santorini better? Well, that’s a question that you’ll have to answer for yourself. Whether you’re in search of breathtaking beaches, vibrant nightlife, a romantic retreat, or a foodie’s paradise, both islands offer their own unique characteristics and charms that you’ll just have to take the leap to explore for yourself. 

If you’re looking to indulge in both islands, our Exclusive Cyclades Getaway visits both Mykonos and Santorini, as well as Athens, for a true Cycladic adventure. Highlights include a jeep safari tour of Mykonos, visiting famed beaches, exploring Oia on Santorini, and setting sail on a sunset experience. 

Are either Santorini or Mykonos on your list of Greek islands to visit? Why not get in touch with a member of our team today who will be happy to help you choose the best island for you, based on your wants and needs, to give you the quintessential Greek experience?

You may be interested in

You may be interested in