“All that glitters is not gold.” – Proverb.
Don’t get me wrong, I absolutely ADORE this country. There are so many reasons to travel to Greece, it’s the destination I find my mind wanders to when someone is telling me an incredibly boring story.
Imagining the gorgeous beaches, crystal waters and whitewashed buildings is ridiculously easy once you’ve been there. On top of that locals are some of the friendliest I’ve ever encountered.
While Mykonos does have a few beautiful vistas and I have no regrets visiting, there are a few things I personally didn’t like about it. In fact I’d go as far to say Mykonos is overrated and things turned out to be the complete opposite to what I had envisioned – I knew I should have gone to Corfu instead!
I’ve written this to let you know things nobody seems to tell you when visiting Mykonos, Greece.
Here are 7 annoying reasons why Mykonos is overrated
If you’re planning an Athens itinerary, you may be wondering, “Is Mykonos worth visiting?” Let me put this out there: I’m not saying don’t go. On the contrary, I think you should go and not just take my word for it! In saying that, it’s important to know exactly what to expect when you go to avoid any nasty surprises.
Mykonos is undoubtedly lovely to see but it’s useful to keep these things in mind for your visit so you won’t find it as disappointing as I did. Don’t set those expectations too high and you should be sweet. Actually, let me rephrase that – I did have low expectations about these annoyances although some were far exceeded, and not in a good way!
Anyway, let’s get into the reasons why I believe Mykonos is overrated:
1. Irritating dining experiences
Incredibly narrow footpaths cluttered with dining chairs and crowds of people trying to get past don’t mix. Whoever thought this was a good idea obviously didn’t think about the challenge their customers would face simply raising a fork to their mouth to take a bite of their meal.
I witnessed tourists constantly knocking the elbows of diners and bumping into their chairs as they attempted to squeeze through these obstacle courses. It’s definitely not ideal for sunset-watching or keeping swathes of people moving efficiently.
2. The “Party Island of Greece” is always late to the party
Nightlife doesn’t actually start until the early hours of the morning. You can expect to be the only patron in a nightclub until about 11pm when a hoard of Tour Groupies on a Contiki tour will come through and make the bar feel alive… Until they head off to the next bar after 1 drink, leaving you on your lonesome once more.
Party-goers only start heading out to clubs around 1am. Call me old fashioned but I’d prefer that time to be the peak of my night so I can get at least a wink of sleep before the sun rises. Who wants to waste the entire following day nursing a hangover? Travel time is precious – once it’s gone, we can never get it back!
3. Beach access has to be bought
Having to pay €20+ for sunchairs and drink service on every beach in the morning when no one else is there (because the entire island has just gone to bed) is quite annoying. I get why that would make sense when it’s busy in the late afternoon, but come on.
I’m aware it’s like this at many beaches across Europe (and €20 is nothing in comparison to some other establishments) but as an Australian it’s a pretty strange concept when you’ve been spoilt with the luxury of throwing a towel anywhere on the sand and sitting where you like, for free.
Even though paying to sit at the beach was bothersome, I couldn’t help but think “ah well, when in Rome”. There were actually some fellow Aussies who came up beside my sunbed and complained about having to pay to go to the beach. They ended up sitting off to the side on some rocks to avoid having to pay.
4. Cacti, Desert & Donkeys
The only real picturesque area is Little Venice and the iconic windmills. Yes, some of the little alleyways with boutiques and restaurants are lovely if you can manage to navigate past without knocking someone off their chair whilst they eat lunch.
But, let’s be honest. The rest of the island can be summarised in 3 words: cacti, desert and donkeys. Believe me, my travel buddy and I hired a scooter to get around so we saw more than most. There are way more things to do in Santorini, that’s for sure!
5. Everyone runs on “Island Time”
Forget using the shuttle buses. They are meant to run every half hour from the town down to the port but they had a habit of not turning up. Yes, I’m aware some people like to run on “island time” and sometimes you just need to go with the flow.
But as a visitor, I’d rather spend that waiting time doing something I enjoy. No one likes being left in the lurch, especially late at night.
6. People prove Mykonos is overrated
There’s quite a pretentious vibe on the island. Most people are trying to “be someone” documenting their every move on their phones or video cameras. It’s as though having an Instagram or Snapchat account is a prerequisite for visiting this island.
This always makes me wonder: While people spend so much time distracted on their phones, are they really enjoying the experience and being in the moment? What’s more important than being where you are, right now?
Likes and comments, apparently. Mykonos is an Instatourist’s heaven.
Drinks at empty bars were €12 during my visit, they’re probably double that now. They should be paying me €12 for bringing some life to their establishment, seeing as no one else will be there until 1am!
Why, Mykonos, why?
7. More expensive than Athens and other islands
I’m not sure if this is because Mykonos is like a “celebrity Instagram” destination or something else, but I found eating out and drinking to be much cheaper in Athens, Rhodes, Crete and Santorini.
Heck, in Athens you can get a bottle of water for €0.50, while in Mykonos they were charging up to €4 in some places during my visit. Isn’t that just a tad ridiculous?
Maybe this is also because Mykonos is a popular cruise ship destination. Operators know floods of tourists will rush through quite quickly, without the time to shop around for lower prices before heading back to their ship. They will pay through the nose for convenience.
TIP: I always like to say: You can save time or money – usually not both!
As I’ve explained in my guide for how to be a more responsible tourist, visiting destinations on cruise ships have social and economic downsides:
- Cruise-goers don’t get to spend very long in a particular destination before shipping off to the next. This leave little time have meaningful interactions with locals, leading to a shallow experience.
- They’re rushing around to the popular spots with crowds of other tourists (both from their ship and not) all at the same time, because their time is limited. This isn’t an ideal way to see a destination.
- They’re visiting those destinations but the majority of their tourist money is going back to the cruise ship company, not the local communities. They eat, sleep and do activities mostly on the ship, not at the cities. This is a lose-lose situation for all parties except the cruise ship company.
TIP: Did you know there are solutions for visiting popular destinations without contributing to overtourism issues? Read my guide to 10 overtourism solutions for more!
Do you think Mykonos is overrated, too?
Phew! In saying all that, if you’ve been following me a little while you’re likely to know I’m a massive fan of travelling efficiently to get the most out of my precious travel time.
Unfortunately, I had no idea beforehand that Mykonos was probably not well suited to my travel style. My travel style is all about being an invisible tourist – immersing ourselves in the local culture and benefitting the communities of places we visit by using our travel money more mindfully (side note: I’ve actually written a book about to help achieve this, too!)
Waiting around for unreliable public transport, paying through the nose for drinks in a bar with no atmosphere and dealing with crowds of people weaving through confined spaces just isn’t for me. Maybe it’s not for you as well.
If you do decide to bite the bullet and go, please forget trying to dine in a narrow alleyway during the summer months and go watch the sunset atop a white-washed hillside instead!
Hate crowds (like me) but love Europe? Why not take a look at my other top tips and advice for visiting Europe you won’t hear anywhere else!
Do you think that Mykonos is overrated too? Did you happen to know these nuances about Mykonos before your visit? Let me know in the comments below! If you found this helpful, I’d also love if you’d come and join me on Facebook, follow me on Instagram, TikTok or don’t forget to pin it to Pinterest!
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