For my 21st birthday, I decided to spend all my savings and spend my special week in the beautiful gay-friendly island of Mykonos with one of my closest gay BFFs (he’s cute I promise). I want to share how we decided to spend a week in paradise on a Student/Young Adult’s Budget.
My friend from North America booked last minute tickets (like a two weeks before my birthday) and flew from Canada to Manchester, England where I met him. His flight cost $400 from Toronto (YYZ) to Manchester direct with Air Transat. This is my first tidbit of advice. Never fly directly to your vacation destination, especially when a direct flight to the Greek Islands could cost double or triple that price! Heck, make a trip to London via Manchester, since $400 is such a bargain to explore more of that side of the pond. I always suggest looking at skyscanner.com when comparing flights! You can get a flight from Manchester to Mykonos for under $300 with EasyJet.com during the summer time! So instead of forking over $1500+ to go to the Greek Islands, take a detour with two flights for only $700. BAM! Much savings. You’re welcome!
WHERE TO STAY FOR CHEAP
We arrived in early June for the best beach weather a Canadian could ever ask for. We stayed at an amazing hostel that was close to the popular spot on the island for shopping, drinking, clubbing, eating, and a beautiful water view. Our hosts at the hostel were the nicest people I have ever stayed with. I highly recommend you stay at Villa Vasilis if you choose to stay at a hostel in Mykonos. Maria and her husband will pick you up from the airport and drive you back as well. They were very accommodating and two of the sweetest people I have met. One of my other travel friends also recommended Mama’s Pension for another awesome hostel and if you’re on a budget.
My friend and I decided to rent a quad bike (Four-wheeler) for 15 euros a day at a bike shop down by the beach which was the cheapest and easiest way to get around the island. If you plan to explore the big island of Mykonos, which I highly suggest you do, then rent a quad bike from one of the many rental places and drive with complete freedom. Ideally, you’re holding onto someone cute while you explore the Island together.
To travel to the other Greek Islands (Santorini, Crete, etc.), travel by a boat cruise as this seems to be the cheapest way around the many islands. They can take up to 1-3 hours depending on what island you want to go to. And as always, it’s always cheaper to get a return ticket as oppose to one-way, unless you plan to island hop!
We spent most of our time on the many beaches of Mykonos relaxing, drinking, and basking in the sunshine overlooking the Mediterranean Sea. The two main beaches closest to our accommodation were Paradise Beach (Kalamopodi) and Super Paradise Beach (Plintri). Both beaches attract young crowds due to its 24-hour music and its day and night parties. Beware that there are parts of the beach that are nude friendly, so don’t be afraid if you start seeing young or old people laying on the beach without clothes on.
Brace yourself if you are new to the whole European “nude” experience and maybe try something you’ve never been able to experience in your home country. It can be liberating. We also rode our quad bike to Elia, which was a tamer beach with a more mature crowd and quieter. I wanted to explore more of the island and this was a great spot to stop along our cruise around the island.
The sand was a little bit rougher and felt like unnatural sand. However, it was still a great place to rest and relax. Afterward, we checked out the beaches on the other side of the island. We were recommended to check out Panormos and I’m SO glad we stopped because it was my favourite beach of them all.
Loud music and partying can be fun, but relaxing by a more secluded lake surrounded by tall landscapes made it the most relaxing beach we went too. Panormos was definitely more family-friendly as no one there was nude (at least I didn’t see anything).
Honestly, because we both wanted to save money on food, my friend and I either bought food from the local grocery stores or ate delicious gyros (seriously the best I’ve ever had for like 3 euros).
On the other hand, there’s also amazing Greek Salads or fresh seafood from a variety of restaurants by the waterfront, but you’ll be paying 10 euros or more.
If you’re on a budget, Just keep in mind most of a traveler’s money goes towards expensive tastes (food) and mostly alcohol/cover.
One of my personal highlights of Mykonos was the shopping district that was open from early afternoon (they all sleep in) until 2 am when drunk people leave the clubs.
That’s right. You heard me. Louis Vuitton is open extremely late, among other ritzy stores, in Mykonos; way past what us North Americans would consider normal store hours. Basically, many stores would still be open until the early morning when you wanted to leave a club, because so many intoxicated people would want to buy things and will probably regret the next morning with that hangover and a visa bill charge for those Louis Vuitton shoes that don’t actually fit you (I’m sure they fit when you were drunk AF). So be careful if you do plan to drink heavily.
Tip: Leave your cards at your accommodation and just bring enough cash. Also, don’t shop when you are intoxicated, but don’t tell Louis Vuitton I told you that.
The Most Beautiful Sunsets
If you are a fan of sunsets, then Mykonos will become your favourite place in the entire world. The sunsets around the Greek Islands are by far the most beautiful sunsets I have or ever will see. The Greek Islands are still my #1 Top Choice for Best Sunsets unless I get proven otherwise (let me know where your favourite sunsets are).
Therefore, if you get those special romantic feels when you are watching a sunset over the Mediterranean Sea while you are sitting on a patio drinking your favourite cold beverage, then visit Mykonos.