Social media does a really good job of showing the fun, luxurious and adventurous side of traveling. What you don't see much of is the hiccups along the way and getting used to a new environment.
Don't get me wrong, that is one of my favorite parts of traveling! Nothing compares to arriving at a new place and feeling completely independent as you explore and learn the culture. It is the quickest way to feel like a local and get the most authentic experience.
That being said, if you are looking for a more smooth-sailing experience, I really think you should tune in a little longer and have a read...
Here is what I wish I knew before arriving to Mykonos…
Where To Stay:
For some reason I was under the assumption that the entire island was filled with white washed buildings and cobblestone roads... man was I wrong. The only area that actually looked like that on the entire island was Chora. Everything else looks pretty much like a desert with scattered run down buildings (don't get me wrong, it was still beautiful in its own way nonetheless).
Now, when choosing a place to stay, I definitely look for the best location possible so I don't spend too much time on the road. When I look back at where the best area to stay is, its hard to say with Mykonos.
Mykonos is a pretty small island, yet everything is pretty scattered.
I would say Chora is great because it is the main shopping center area and is where all the nightlife is. That said, it can get very noisy at night, so if you plan on being out late every night then it should be fine, but if you are looking for a good, quiet night’s sleep, I would recommend somewhere a bit more inactive.
My boyfriend and I stayed at an amazing hotel called Alexandros Mykonos, which in my opinion was a GREAT location. It was in the center of everything we wanted to do. I loved this spot because it was right by a main round-about that made it super easy to navigate where we were. It was also right next to a grocery store, several restaurants, car/ATV rentals, the port, a gas station, etc. It was also affordable yet comfortable. I didn’t want to be indoors much (obviously), so all I felt I needed was something basic. There were also a lot of young people there which was nice.
In my opinion, anywhere in between Chora and Super Paradise beach is the best area to be.
How Much Will I Spend?
Well I guess it really depends on the experience you are looking for. If money is not much of an object and you have a big budget for party experiences and luxurious hotels, you definitely can find yourself spending quite a bit in Mykonos. If you are on a budget or just don't feel the need to travel super luxuriously, then that is totally do-able too and you can come out saving more than you think!
Hotel: I found great prices on places to stay through airbnb.com and bookings.com. I was able to find hotels under $120 per night – and that was pretty last minute and during peak season. If you plan ahead, you can get way better deals for even nicer places.
Food: I noticed most restaurants are a lot like U.S prices... and I don't mean New York or LA prices... I mean normal U.S. prices - for the most part. You can even go REALLY cheap if you want. I found a restaurant right down the street from Alexandros Mykonos that had 2.50 euro gyros! They were SO good! I had one for almost every meal *guilty as charged*.
Alcohol: I found that many of the beach day clubs allow you to bring your own alcohol – so that saves a lot. However, if you plan on going to clubs at night, they don't allow drinks in but entry fee often includes a free drink.
BRING YOUR OWN SUNSCREEN! You will find sunscreen priced at over 20 euros for a small tube. Sunscreen is a hot commodity in Mykonos.
Transportation: I found ATV’s to be the best way to get around. ATV’s are the easiest to find parking for and that alone is a huge consideration. We rented one for as little as 34 euros a day, and I'm sure we could have found it somewhere else for even cheaper. The rental cars aren't much more expensive.
One note! Many of the ATV rental shops rent out ATV’s with bad brakes, worn out tires, etc. Have a look at these things and don’t skimp just because it’s cheaper – safety first!
YOU WILL OVER PAY AT BOUTIQUES.
*Story time* So I found this bag that I REALLY loved in Mykonos. It was 135 euros. I almost bought it because I really, really loved it and it seemed super worth it to me… but eventually I was like, “Nahh I'll wait it out.”. Then I went to Santorini and found the SAME EXACT bag for 80 euros! I was thinking this was so awesome and I was totally going to buy it. I didn't end up buying it, but then went to Crete and again saw the SAME EXACT bag... It was 30 euros, so I bought it finally at a boutique shop in Crete. Later that day, I ran into the actual shop of the brand of bag I just bought from the boutique, and they were selling it for 15 euros... unbelievable! And it was like this for a good majority of the items that I saw in the boutique shops. You will definitely spend more at boutiques in Mykonos and Santorini, so if you plan on going to another (less touristy) island, then I definitely suggest waiting out the purchase if you don't want to spend top dollar.
What To Expect:
When people say Mykonos is a party island, they aren't kidding. I figured we'd go explore most of the days and hit up a day party here and there, and maybe a club one night.... no. That is not how I would do Mykonos a second time around.
Now that I have been, this would be my ideal situation for the first two days:
Day 1: Spend the day exploring the entire island just to see what it has to offer and familiarize yourself with where everything is.
Day 2: I wouldn't start my day till mid day because hardly anyone is awake before 12. I would go get brunch, shop around Chora for a bit, then around the afternoon I would head to a beach party and spend a few hours there. I would then go to dinner followed by a nap (lol I am such a grandma), then go out to night clubs (they kick off around 12am), then after the night club, I would go grab another dinner (you can get dinner pretty much any time in Chora).
One thing I do recommend is that you wake up for the Windmills of Chora. If you are looking to take photos it gets packed, so best go around 8-9:00am to beat the crowd.
How Many Days Should I Stay?
We were there for 3 days and that felt long enough for me because we were travelling to other islands as well. I would recommend at least 3-5 days in Mykonos.
Super Paradise Beach
Any club in Chora town area.
Must Try Restaurants:
Casa Di Giorgio
Bake It (bakery)
*** I got a lot of direct messages in regards to where I found this broken down bus where we took some photos. I wish I had better directions to give, but we just found it on our way to Super Paradise Beach. It was down one of the long dirt roads closest to Super Paradise Beach. You will see it from the road, but you will need to drive down or park and walk down to the bus.