Have you ever thought of visiting Mykonos? I bet you did… I also bet that you were also surprised at the incredibly high price tag that the island features almost all year round. Well, except, of course, in winter.
Despite the weather not being at its best, and the island being rather empty, if you’re a traveler that takes good care of his finances, you’re certainly aware that a trip to Mykonos in summer can leave your bank account in a fairly unhealthy condition.
The right answer is simply to visit Mykonos during winter! You won’t only enjoy incredibly cheap prices, but you will be able to explore a lonely but magnificent side of the island that seems to remain hidden by the hordes of tourists from May to September.
Do you want to learn more? Read on to check all the great things you can do in Mykonos in winter without ending up completely broke!
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Where to Stay in Mykonos
Budget: If you’re looking for the best place to stay on a budget in Mykonos, I strongly suggest Mama’s Pension in Agios Stefanos (it’s also right next to Limnios Tavern, the best taverna on the island…). The owner, Christina, is so friendly and lovely. She picked me up at the port, sat and had coffee and a chat with me each morning, and was a wonderful resource about Mykonos.
My room was also stunning, well-equipped with everything you’d need, and super spacious with a gorgeous sunset view over the sea! It’s a 5-minute walk from the chilled out Agios Stefanos beach, you can walk to Mykonos Town in about 40 minutes, or there’s a bus a few blocks away that’ll take you to the Old Port in about 10 minutes flat. Because of their stellar reputation, they’re often booked up, so reserve your spot well in advance in the high season. Check prices, availability, and guest reviews here.
Mid-Range: For chilled-out bliss overlooking Mykonos Town and harbor with a phenomenal view, check out Bellou Suites. They have minimalist decor utilizing plenty of bright white, natural light, wood tones, and stone elements, giving everything a desert-chic vibe.
They have a variety of room types – from doubles with a balcony overlooking to sea to apartments with a kitchenette – perfect for every type of traveler. With sunset views, lovely design, and an affordable price, Bellou Suites is a great option for the stylish traveler with a mid-range budget. Check prices, availability, and guest reviews here.
Luxury: Cavo Tagoo is easily Mykonos’ most Instagrammable and stylish hotel, with every feature seemingly thought out for both comfort and photogenicity.
The insane infinity pool overlooking the Mediterranean is one of its best features, but the truly dedicated Instagrammers amongst us won’t settle for less than its cave pool suite, pictured above. Whether you get a more standard room or splurge on the cave pool suite, you won’t be disappointed with the 5* service and infinite photographability. Check prices, availability, and guest reviews here.
What is the Weather Like in Mykonos in Winter?
The weather is oftentimes unpredictable in the Aegean islands during winter, and Mykonos is no exception. However, don’t expect rigid winters as in the rest of Europe or northern Greece. Compared to colder latitudes, the climate is mild and sometimes even warm.
The sun can shine on some days, but other days are cloudy and windy. There’s usually no snow and temperatures range from 16 °C to 12 °C. The Cycladic islands see some rain in the cold months, don’t forget it when packing your bags, adding an umbrella or a raincoat is certainly not a bad idea at all.
Why you Should Visit Mykonos in Winter
Mykonos remains one of the most expensive corners in Greece for the summer holidays. Since the 70s it’s been one of the most coveted and exclusive places where the European jet-set spend their vacations, together with other destinations such as Ibiza in Spain, or Nice in France.
As a consequence, the island is rightfully known for having record high prices when it comes to accommodation, food, and shopping.
Although there is always a way around these extreme prices in Summer, such as early booking, online deals, and accommodation loyalty programs, more often than not those discounts won’t apply to the things you do in Mykonos. AKA you might find a great accommodation deal, but you’ll still end up paying a fortune for dinners, umbrellas, tours, taxis, and even car rental.
To be safe from this scenario, plan a winter holiday in Mykonos. You will not only pay less for your hotel room or your rental home, but you’re also less likely to overpay for taxi fairs, food, souvenirs, and even a pack of gum in any convenience store.
Other than lower prices, the island is virtually empty. And although some might consider this a disadvantage, especially those traveling to Mykonos to enjoy its wild party night scene, for many other travelers, this can be nothing more than a blessing.
Best Things to Do in Mykonos in Winter
The island of Mykonos is not just partying around and going to the beach from midday to sunset. Every year, hundreds of visitors reach the island and leave without even knowing there are endless interesting things to do more connected to the local history than to the latest hits on the dance floor.
Unfortunately, much of the island still remains unknown and unexplored and the colder months of the year are the best time to do so, let’s dive into the best things you can do in Mykonos during winter.
Get a Real Look at the Windmills
One of Mykonos’ most famous landmarks is the impressive white windmills that stand by the sea, close to the old port of Mykonos Town. The windmills of Mykonos have become a symbol of Greece and are one of the most iconic postcards of the Aegean islands you’ll ever come across.
In summer, lots of people wait for hours until the sun starts to set opposite the windmills to take those well-known pictures of the area. However, most of these people are unaware of the fact that these are not the only windmills that survive on the island, nor that some of them are open to the public.
The island, usually hit by the northern winds of the Aegean Sea, has always been considered windy. The landscape made of short bushes and scarce vegetation is clear proof. Those same winds have helped Mykonos survive when tourism was not a source of income for the island.
These windmills were the place where the grain would be grounded to produce flour and bread not just in Mykonos but also sold to other Greek islands.
The famous windmills by the sea were the mills producing all the flour that would be later on exported, while the local production of flour was concentrated in the windmills located far from the sea. Only a few of them still stand, and some are open to the public for a visit. That’s the case of Bonis Mill, which is also part of the local Agricultural Museum.
When you visit, it’s possible to explore the restored floors and learn about the process to grind the grain and make flour.
Walk the Deserted Alleys of Mykonos Town
Mykonos Town, also known as Mykonos Chora, is one of the most gorgeous Cycladic towns in Greece together with Oia in Santorini. The pedestrian stone alleys host hundreds of square white houses with blue or red doors and windows. There are also dozens o small white chapels, beautiful trees, and delightful decorations that add a touch of romanticism to the town.
Although packed with touristic shops in the summer, the streets get pretty deserted in the cold months. These allow for quieter strolls and peaceful moments focusing on the local architecture more than on the souvenirs typically featured in summers such as colorful sarongs or straw hats.
Visit the Famous Panagia Paraportiani
Heading to the seaside area of the old town, the colorful houses in Little Venice shelter one of Mykonos’ most iconic sites, Panagia Paraportiani. This must-see icon on the island is a complex of five different churches built together one next or on top of the other that, as a whole produces a white cake-like view of unique beauty.
During August, the super narrow streets that lead to the church are incredibly crowded by those in search of the building and those shopping for souvenirs. The area around the church is also known as Alefkandra and is famous for the many jewelry stores.
As you can imagine, getting there in summer can be a bit daunting, but in winter you can have every alley all to yourself and you won’t need to wait in line to take an unforgettable picture.
Enjoy a Meal in a Traditional Taverna
Winter is the ideal moment to get a real taste of Mykonos. Forget the touristic Greek salad and go for some of the tastiest and richest dishes of the Aegean. On the island, some of the best local tavernas remain open all year round because yes, also the locals love to eat out from time to time.
This guarantees you that you will be enjoying exclusively fresh food, full of authentic flavors, and limited but very smart menu selections. Nothing like a winter Avgolemono soup, rabbit stews with cinnamon, or the magnificent and mouthwatering Mykonos sausages.
The island is also known for the abundant use of pulses in winter salads and some of the most savory cheeses in Greece. Don’t leave the island without trying them.
Rent a Car to Explore Unknown Villages
Mykonos might not be as big as other Greek islands, but there’s a lot to explore when it comes to its raw winter landscape. Since winter transportation is somewhat limited during the cold months, the best way to set on an exploring journey is to rent a car and just drive your way around.
Yes, you might be wondering how to do so if you’re on a budget… well, you don’t need to worry. The few local rental companies often open discounted fees during winter, bargaining prices is a real possibility and on many occasions having a credit card won’t be a must.
Once in your car, explore the far beaches of Elia and Kalafati, or head to the hills to discover the lesser-known settlements where most tourists never arrive.
Ano Mera, for instance, is a picturesque village in the heart of the island. Despite being the most populated village after the Chora, it remains lonely and secluded, and most of all picturesque
Once there, discover the large public square and the maze of the cobbled streets that, in perfect Cycladic fashion, from the center of town, open to different directions.
Check the Picturesque Village of Klouvas
Nothing like a visit to the tiny settlement of Klouvas in the northern part of the island. It’s located close to Ftelia beach where you can also go for a winter walk next to the sea. This small town takes pride in the food, and rightfully so.
There are several restaurants and tavernas where you can taste stunning seafood dishes as well as traditional stews and baked pies. For those eager to give the local gastronomy a different twist, check Mykonian Spiti Centre and its cooking classes.
Visit the Folklore Museum
To have a better understanding of the real Mykonos that hides behind the postcard-perfect whitewashed landscape of the island, don’t miss a visit to the Folklore Museum of Mykonos.
Also known as Lena’s House, this small residence is right next to the Nautical Museum of the Aegean, and it’s the best way to learn how houses used to be back in the past in Greece.
This beautiful hose dates back from the 19th century and shows furniture as well as strange everyday objects that look unknown to us today but that were of common daily use in the Cycladic islands many years ago.
Check the Legend of the Three Wells
Always in the old town and just steps from Lena’s House, you will come across three mysterious black wells that occupy the center of a tiny square. Tria Pigiada, literally the three wells, have always been another iconic place to visit in Mykonos Town.
These three wells, which were once used to provide drinking water to the whole town are strictly related to a local legend. The wells were supposed to bring good luck to the young women who would fill in their buckets here. It was believed that drinking water from them was the fastest way they had to find a man and get married!
Although the island might look deserted, cold, and unattractive to many, Mykonos in winter has a unique magic that’s hard to find anywhere else in the Cyclades.
Check the empty streets, explore the lonely beaches, and enjoy a cup of Greek coffee in the traditional kafenia of Mykonos and you’ll certainly fall in love with a completely different island.
What to Bring to Mykonos
If you’re planning a trip to Greece, you’ll want to pack all the normal essentials, but here are a few things we strongly recommend bringing that may not have crossed your mind. For more packing tips, check out our complete Greece packing list.
– A physical guidebook, in paper or on Kindle. We love Lonely Planet Greece for this region and strongly recommend it to supplement blogs. Blogs are great, but a combination of a blog and a guidebook is key to having the best access to information easily at your fingertips.
– A water bottle with a filter. While often, the tap water in Greece is drinkable, there are places where it isn’t, including some popular tourist destinations like Santorini and Mykonos.
We generally recommend using a water bottle with a purifying filter to reduce your plastic consumption and ensure you won’t drink any funny-tasting water on your stomach that could make your trip unpleasant!
We recommend the GRAYL water bottle – it filters water perfectly in an instant so that you can even drink from lakes, bad taps, etc.
– Motion sickness pills. Very necessary if you’ll be taking a ferry! The ferries in the Mediterranean can be quite choppy. If you have a weak stomach as we do, save yourself and bring some non-drowsy motion sickness pills.
– Travel safety items. We think Greece is very safe to travel to, but at the same time, it never hurts to be prepared! Mykonos is rather safe but is not immune from pickpockets, so be cautious (this goes double if you plan to go to Athens – the metro is notorious for its pickpockets, and a travel blogger friend of ours got his phone stolen on it!). Some people like to carry money belts, but neither Stephanie nor I use these. Instead, we both carry the same PacSafe anti-theft backpack.
It has locking zippers, slash-proof construction with metal mesh hidden in the fabric, and tons of other smart security features — all while being cute and stylish enough to be our everyday bag. We recommend it highly for both male and female travelers, as it’s neutral enough to be unisex. We also strongly recommend travel insurance! Our recommendation is at the bottom of the post.
More Mykonos & Greece Travel Resources
Headed to Greece? We have some great travel resources to help you with your trip. First read our guide to planning a trip to Greece, which covers visas, budgets, vaccines, and much more. Next, you’ll want to read our all-season Greece packing list.
Since you’ll be on Mykonos, you’ll likely also want to visit Delos. Here’s our guide on how to do a Delos day trip easily and hassle-free! We also have our guide to Mykonos best beaches, our Mykonos Instagram guide (and some Mykonos quotes you can use as captions!), and our Mykonos itinerary.
If you are still trying to figure out your Greece itinerary, check out our guides on where to go in Greece, the best places for island hopping in Greece, and when is the best time to visit.
Many people combine a trip to Athens with a trip to Mykonos. Check out our Athens Instagram guide, the best Athens day trips, and our complete Athens hotel guide. We also have Athens safety tips so your trip can be hassle-free. We are currently working on our mega-post of things to do in Athens as well as our itineraries, so stay tuned!
We publish new content about the Balkans almost every day! For more information about traveling to Greece and the Balkans, bookmark our Greece and Balkan travel pages so you can find out what’s new before your trip.
Finally, Make Sure You Come to Greece with Travel Insurance!
I’m sure you’re aware that it’s a good idea to have travel insurance for traveling in Greece, the Balkans, or anywhere in the world!
Stephanie and I have both been paying customers of World Nomads for the last three years. We love the peace of mind it gives us in case of emergencies, accidents, illnesses, theft, or trip cancellation or disruption. While Greece is safe, there’s always a risk inherent in everyday travel like theft or injury, so it’s better to play it safe.
>> Get a travel insurance quote for your trip here <<
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Gabi Ancarola is a translator and travel journalist living in Crete. She regularly writes about the island for several magazines about travel, gastronomy, and hospitality. She has published several travel guides about Greece and runs a local gastronomy tour in Chania. She loves cooking local dishes, taking photos, and driving on the mountain roads of Crete.