Luxury Mykonos or Santorini – which is better? vacations

Mykonos or Santorini – which is better?

The Out Of Office guide to island hopping between Mykonos and Santorini

Greece has around 6000 islands, and just over 200 of them are inhabited. Among them, Mykonos and Santorini stand out as the most popular destinations for luxury travel in the Greek islands. Combining these two with a couple of nights in Athens makes for a great luxury vacation itinerary. Choosing which one to favor – Santorini or Mykonos – can be tricky, as they both have different charms that cater to different kinds of luxury travelers.

So, what’s it going to be, Mykonos or Santorini? Is Santorini better than Mykonos, or does Mykonos have the edge for your luxury vacation in Greece?

Psarou BeachBeaches

If you’re looking to unwind on the beach, then Mykonos has the edge for a luxury vacation. There are more than 20 beaches with soft golden sands. As a volcanic island, Santorini’s beaches are full of volcanic pebbles. They are beautiful to look at but coarser than the beaches in Mykonos. Beach-lovers who are debating Santorini or Mykonos for their Greek islands luxury vacation should definitely keep that in mind.

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The famous blues of the Aegean surround both islands. In Santorini, you’ll find yourself up a cliff often, and so the sea often feels far away. The beaches are much easier to access in Mykonos. However, Santorini boasts superior views than Mykonos – when you arrive, you’ll take a donkey or a cable car up the cliff and you’ll be greeted with stunning surroundings wherever you look, particularly if you can see the caldera.

Mykonos is home to the famous Psarou Beach and the Kensho Psarou Hotel, a must-visit destination for luxury travel in Mykonos. Paris Hilton opened the Kensho in 2018. Just footsteps away from the hotel, Psarou Beach has become a natural habitat for the rich and famous, making it a prime spot for luxury travel in Mykonos. You’ll see many grand yachts bobbing in the harbour and lots of glamorous people unwinding on sun loungers and dining at Nammos restaurant.


Both Mykonos and Santorini are home to many world-class hotels that epitomize luxury travel in the Greek islands. The signature Cycladic style combines whitewashed walls and understated elegance. Minimalism is at the heart of the aesthetic – don’t tell Donatella Versace!

You’ll see many blue-domed churches, cubic houses, and winding cobblestone streets. Some people visit Mykonos or Santorini with social media kudos at the forefront of their minds. You can take pictures with dreamy backdrops and flawless Mediterranean light. No influencer’s Instagram is complete without a shot of the blue domes of Santorini or the windmills of Mykonos.

Our most popular hotels in Mykonos are those that make up the Myconian Collection, such as Myconian Korali and Myconian Utopia. The properties are effortlessly chic. They’re perfect if you’re opting for a gay honeymoon in Mykonos.

Santorini, known for its romantic ambiance, is home to some of the most romantic hotels in the world. It’s a top honeymoon destination for a reason. Some of our favorite hotels in Santorini are the cave hotels. Carved into the cliffside like caves – hence the name – these hotels are chic, understated, and atmospheric. Our top choices would be Perivolas and Iconic Santorini – also ideal for a gay or lesbian honeymoon in Santorini.

If you’re planning a romantic trip to the Greek islands, Santorini takes the lead over Mykonos. Waking up in a cave hotel overlooking a volcano is a pretty unforgettable experience and a highlight of any luxury Greek islands travel itinerary.

View Our Top Luxury Greek Hotels

Culture And History

The Archaeological Museum of Delos is an unmissable cultural attraction if you’re in Mykonos, and it isn’t even in Mykonos. It’s just a short boat ride to Delos – the ferry should take no longer than 30-minutes. Delos is packed with ruins from antiquity. So much so that this island could be seen as the living embodiment of history. It’s the birthplace of Apollo and Artemis. You can join a guided tour of the ruins and catch a glimpse of the distant past. Delos offers a compelling reason to choose Mykonos for your Greek islands luxury vacation.

Over in Santorini, you’ll find numerous historical sites without having to leave the island, enhancing its appeal for a luxury vacation in Santorini. Chief among them is the prehistoric site of Akrotiri, a time capsule of the Bronze Age. To find out more check out our Santorini island guide.

It wouldn’t be a Greek islands vacation without delicious traditional food and wine. Both Santorini and Mykonos produce their own exquisite wines, so make sure to enjoy a glass with dinner during your trip to either Greek destination. Both islands have a great selection of restaurants serving traditional Greek food – some with stunning views of the sea, adding to the charm of a luxury vacation in Mykonos or Santorini.

Culturally, we’d say Santorini takes a clear lead over Mykonos. In terms of nightlife, quite the reverse.


Weddings & Honeymoons

Both Santorini and Mykonos are unbeatable destinations for luxury weddings and honeymoons. You can combine both on the same trip. Santorini is heavily geared towards romance. By some measures, it’s the most popular honeymoon destination in Europe. So many wedding and honeymoon photos feature the blue domes of Santorini in the background. Meanwhile Mykonos provides a more lively atmosphere, ideal for couples who prefer a blend of relaxation and entertainment during their luxury vacation.

You can have a symbolic gay wedding in Greece, and since the legalization of LGBTQ+ marriage in 2024, you can have a legal one too. That being said, getting the legal bit out of the way back home gives you more options when you’re in Greece. You can have a symbolic ceremony – many hotels have wedding planners on hand to organize it for you – and of course, when you work with Out Of Office, you know the hotels are inclusive and welcoming to LGBTQ+ people.

We’ve planned many weddings and honeymoons in both Mykonos and Santorini. Choosing the right hotel and visiting at the right time of year is key to making your trip a success. We have great relationships with the best and most inclusive hotels on both islands so we can direct you to the right one. You will certainly have the best wedding and honeymoon photos if you choose one of these islands.

View Our Top Greek Weddings

Gay Scene

If you’re looking for gay nightlife then Mykonos is the undisputed king in Europe. It’s the most gay-popular island in Europe, and clubs like the iconic Jackie O’ Beach Club at Super Paradise Beach make it an LGBTQ+ nightlife hotspot, drawing the international gay jet set who have claimed it as their own. Many gay travelers visit Mykonos every year. You’ll see same-sex couples all over the place – especially on the beaches.

The rainbow flag will guide you to the gay section of Elia Beach. Just beyond the flag near a rocky outcrop is a smaller gay nudist beach where you can enjoy the freedom of stripping off and enjoying the sunshine with likeminded people. Over on Super Paradise Beach is a mixed but considerably gay crowd. On the right-hand side of the beach, you’ll find the famous Jackie O’ Beach Club.


Is Mykonos just a party island?

Mykonos is certainly the place to be if you want to party in style. It’s the party island of choice for the jet-setting party animals of the world. Influencers flock to Mykonos and Santorini, as do the Kardashians. Even Lindsey Lohan opened a beach club in Mykonos and made a rather eye-catching TV show about it.

XLSIOR is the biggest gay party in Mykonos – it takes place annually, and is always very well attended. However, there’s more to Mykonos than endless parties. You can make your trip one big party if you want – but you can also have a relaxing or romantic getaway, enjoy the beaches, and luxuriate in your hotel. Mykonos is a very versatile destination. The parties tend to be confined to Mykonos Town, so you won’t feel like you need to escape the island to get some peace and quiet.


Which Is More Expensive – Mykonos Or Santorini?

It’s a tie. Both islands are big draws for luxury travelers, and the prices reflect this, rising substantially in high season. The high season in Santorini runs from April to August. By September it will still be buzzing, but less crowded. The high season in Mykonos however, runs from July to August. It will still be busy up until late October. If you travel to either island in the low season it will be cheaper but many businesses will be closed, and the weather won’t be as good. We never recommend visiting Greece out of season – it can really put a dampener on the whole experience.

Vista Grand Suites With Panoramic Sea View And Plunge Pool

How Many Days Do I Need In Mykonos Or Santorini?

Embarking on a luxury travel adventure in the Greek islands, you can easily experience both Mykonos and Santorini in a single trip. Given the abundance of sights and experiences in Santorini, it’s advisable to allocate a bit more time there, especially if you’re seeking romantic vistas and cultural treasures. On the other hand, if vibrant nightlife and exploring the gay scene are your priorities, then extending your stay in Mykonos is ideal, followed by a few days in Santorini for some serene recovery time.

The ferry journey between Mykonos and Santorini, lasting about three hours, offers a seamless transition between these iconic destinations, making a combined luxury Santorini Mykonos vacation highly feasible and appealing. Additionally, a night’s stay in Athens at the start and end of your trip ensures a stress-free transfer from the capital to the Cyclades and back – and also lets you see some of the ancient Greek sites based in Athens – enhancing the overall luxury travel experience in the Greek islands.

If faced with the choice of selecting just one island for your luxury Greek islands vacation, the decision hinges on your preferences. For those seeking a romantic and picturesque escape, Santorini is unparalleled. In contrast, Mykonos stands out as the ultimate destination for those looking to indulge in lively parties and a vibrant social scene, a highlight of luxury travel in Mykonos.


What About Greek Island Hopping?

Adding more islands can be very tempting but it brings logistical challenges: transferring from island to island and checking in and out of multiple hotels. If you’d like to add multiple islands to your trip, we can organize all your transfers and hotels for you. You’ll just have to show up and enjoy the ride.

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