Rocky, riverless, arid and, outside of fertile springtime, barren Mykonos might not initially sound like the most alluring island in the Cyclades. But that’s before you get to the coast and the beaches along it. Below, we’ve rounded up the best for you.
For such a compact destination, the beaches on this Greek island are diverse and delightful – from secret coves to broad, busy sweeps, where DJs play and the Mojitos pack a dizzying punch. And behold those waters, which range from clear and aquamarine to shades of squid ink. Life is best lived, literally, on the edge of these beaches – the best Mykonos has to offer.
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This is the all-time favourite of so many Mykonos fans. Fishing boats hover on a luminous turquoise bay, backed by a frill of boxy whitewashed Cycladic buildings. Amply cushioned sun loungers spread across sands as pale as a banana milkshake, some belonging to chic beachfront hotels, where you can base yourself full-time. Branco Mykonos is the real it-crowd hangout, with a great restaurant and beach club for day visitors; Kosmoplaz is a more affordable, stylish option, while Petinos Beach Hotel has a rooftop pool with a radiant view of the bay.
This long stretch of pristine blonde sand in the south of the island is one of the easiest beaches to access from Mykonos Town. Hedonists take the bargain bus here to lounge, drink and party. With two beach clubs as well as a restaurant on the sands, it’s less of a chill spot and more of a people-watching curiosity to be savoured with a cocktail; the music ramps up after 6pm. Enjoy a mellow swim before lunch, but beware you’ll have to splash €20 (£17) or so on a lounger plus parasol, as there’s hardly any natural shade.
More than one A-lister has been spied on this idyllic scoop of a bay with sands so sun-bleached they could be in the Caribbean. Since Psarou Beach is smaller than some of the other beaches close to Mykonos Town, the bars here do get lively, but it’s fabulous if you want to party like a Kardashian – ie, expensively and away from the masses on the broader beaches. Expect plenty of Instagrammers snapping pics in the crystalline shallows or popping corks at Nammos beach club.
Protected by hulking, knobbly grey cliffs is a low-key sunbathing spot that feels lodged in an era before Mykonos went mainstream. In-the-know folks staying close to Mykonos Town seek it out for a paddle between walks and sightseeing; a scattering of loungers is on hand if you want to make a day of it, but it’s largely unbothered by beach clubs. Come here for sunset after a day in the main port – yours to watch either from the sands or from the charming Limnios Tavern above the beach.
Slightly off the beaten track, this shingly golden beach has a few rows of loungers for hire, but no beach touts selling tat and no big facilities in the way of shops or watersports. Expect simply a calm day out – as the hours tick by, you’ll hear little more than the lazy lap of the shallows. The glamorous yachty types who summer on Mykonos favour this beach for a dip before lunch or dinner at the effortlessly modish Spilia restaurant. Avoid the high-end lounger-hire prices by bringing a towel and walking to the eastern end of the sands, left clear for non-beach-clubbers.
The neat rectangle of Lia Beach stands out like a slice of opal set in gold, hugged by rugged ochre slopes on either side. Twenty-somethings gravitate here for a break from Mykonos beach-club mayhem, swimming in peace and lunching at the sole, shady restaurant on the sands. It’s quite a journey from the main tourist areas – hence the sense of spellbound calm – but absolutely worth it if that’s the vibe you want. Bring a mask, and snorkel to explore some of the clearest waters on the island.
Go outside of the high season, and you might have this largely undeveloped beach to yourself. Even in peak summer, southeastern Kalafati still feels relaxed, and, because it’s so much bigger than most Myconian bays, there’s more lounger-free space. Swimmers love the transparent bay, watching fish dart past their toes. Kalafati strikes a good balance between a dearth of facilities and an abundance of personal space. Linger until late in the afternoon to see the sunset between thatched parasols.
If you have a hired car, finally clapping eyes on this tiny crescent of sand could be the best moment you’ll have on Mykonos. It’s quite a drive, followed by a short hike down a dirt track, and it’s not really near anywhere on the tourist trail, but this northeastern spot rewards you with meditative, quiet, wild, unspoilt shores and one tiny, delicious taverna. There are no shops, public toilets or beach bars to mar the magical setting, so bring plenty of water and any sunbathing kit you need.
Still unsure if Mykonos is the right fit for you? Check out our guide Mykonos or Santorini: Which Greek Island Is For You? to help with your decision. If you do come here, plan your itinerary with our list of amazing things to do and see on the island. After all that exploring, unwind with a drink or two at the best bars on Mykonos, and rest your head at one of the best luxury or boutique hotels from our handy listicles.
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