In the summertime, Mykonos gets crowded and expensive—there’s no avoiding that fact. From June to August, hotel prices surge, reservations are required everywhere (restaurants, beach clubs, you name it), and the island’s narrow roads are packed. Luckily, Mykonos’ real draws—its whitewashed buildings, turquoise beaches, and delectable tavernas—don’t disappear once the jetsetters leave at the end of summer.
What to Expect in the Off Season
If you’re visiting Mykonos in the off season, be prepared: it’s just not a beach paradise all year round. The winter months (late November to March) can deliver unpredictable weather that can be dreary and rainy, and although it rarely plunges below the mid-50s, it can feel surprisingly cold considering the wind. (After all, Mykonos is nicknamed “The Windy Island.”)
However, the months that bookend high season are incredibly rewarding. In springtime from late March to early May, the normally parched, barren landscape can put on a surprise show with green and golden blooms, a result of heavy winter rains. In September and October, the beach-perfect weather lingers as crowds dissipate, leaving you with stretches of sand to yourself. All good reasons to consider shoulder season.
Best of all, flights and accommodation (which can easily sell out in peak season) can dip to under half of their summer prices. This can turn an at times offensively expensive island into a more affordable vacation. Plus, a recent renovation of the Mykonos International Airport will give you another reason to celebrate.
Choosing Where to Stay
Mykonos certainly doesn’t have a shortage of stunning design hotels, though you’ll find many of them closed for the winter season. Stay in the Hora, or Mykonos Town, for the most options, like the excellent Semeli and Harmony Boutique hotels. You also couldn’t go wrong with booking a chic design-forward villa from Orizon Living, who effectively slashes their rates in half after October. Expect to pay around 400 Euro for a 4-bedroom villa during off-season—a true steal.
Touring Mykonos Without the Crowds
All Cycladic islands thrive in the summertime, when hordes of tourists descend to soak up the sun and spend serious cash. In Mykonos, like other islands, the majority of beach clubs, boutiques and restaurants close from October to May. There’ll still be plenty to do and see thanks to locals who keep the island alive in the off months. Still want some ocean time? Head to the northern beaches for killer kite surfing and watersports in the winter months.
Old-School Mykonos in Ano Mera
Ano Mera is the second biggest town on the island, though it feels worlds away from the cosmopolitan Hora. Even in the high season, Ano Mera maintains the quaintness of an island village, rarely attracting tourists who tend to stay on the coast. Off-season is the perfect excuse to visit this hidden gem, and the nearby monasteries of Paleokastro and Panagia Tourliani. Family-run restaurants will be filled with locals, like Oti Apomeine, famous for their spit-roasted suckling pig, and the Italian specialties at La Cucina di Daniele.
Delos, the mythical birthplace of twin gods Apollo and Artemis, was once the most sacred island of the Cyclades. Today, it is among the best preserved Ancient Greek sites, and the most popular day trip from Mykonos. Ferries to the UNESCO World Heritage Site operate all year round, though the frequency of boats is greatly reduced during winter. While most guided tours pause during off season, you’ll be granted near solitude touring this magical place on your own in the winter.
One of Mykonos’ most famous beach clubs has a longer season than trendy options like Nammos and Scorpios. Depending on weather, Paradise Club can be open as early as April and as late as early November, compared to the May to September timeframes of most other beach clubs on the island.
The island’s famous nightlife will still be pumping
Who says Mykonos nightlife dies off come November? Your best bet is to walk around the Hora when the sun sets and follow the music. There’ll be plenty of late-night joints filled with hip Greeks cozying up at the bar. Popular joints like Scarpa, Semeli the Bar and Appaloosa are open all four seasons.
Eat like a local
Mykonos has some Greece’s best culinary options with multiple Michelin-star kitchens, though most close outside of the summer months. But who cares? The island’s best tavernas will still be cooking up fantastic Myconian specialities, mostly catered to the locals who return to the island after renting out their houses during the summer. Here are some of our favorites:
Located in the town of Agios Stefanos, husband and wife chefs Manolis and Margarita Limnios are celebrated for their grilled fish, meats and stuffed grape leaves.
Since 1962, Tasos has been serving fantastic Myconian dishes steps away from Paraga Beach on the island’s southern shore. It’s a certified institution among locals for outstanding seafood.
Kazarma, an all-day cafe, bar and restaurant with waterfront views, has been a top choice for al fresco dining in the Hora since 1977. While the seafood pasta is outrageously delicious, you won’t want to miss their slow cooked lamb in red wine sauce and seven-spice-crusted chicken.
Looking for a list of kid-friendly restaurants in Mykonos for your next family vacation? We've got you covered.