Crete vs. Mykonos

When it comes to choosing between a trip to Crete or Mykonos, you might find yourself in a bit of a pickle. Crete, the largest island in Greece, is a treasure trove of archaeological riches, mythological tales, and charming old villages. On the other hand, Mykonos, a gem of the Cyclades, is renowned for its stunning architecture, vibrant arts scene, and captivating folklore. Have you ever wondered which Greek island would suit your travel style better?
Crete vs. Mykonos

Table of Contents

In this guide, you will uncover the distinctive charm and allure that both Crete and Mykonos hold. Each island is a world unto itself, teeming with unique experiences and adventures waiting for you to explore. So, why wait? Dive in and discover what these Greek islands have in store for you!

History & Culture

Crete and Mykonos are two of the most popular islands in Greece, attracting millions of visitors every year. But beyond their stunning beaches and vibrant nightlife, these islands have a rich and fascinating history and culture that dates back to ancient times.
When you immerse yourself in the history and culture of Crete, you are stepping into a world of ancient civilizations and mythological tales.

This island is the birthplace of the Minoan civilization, one of the oldest in Europe. From the Palace of Knossos to the charming old villages, Crete’s past is still very much alive and well. The island’s culture is steeped in tradition, with local music, dance, and festivals that celebrate its rich heritage.

On the flip side, Mykonos offers a different take on Greek history and culture. This island is known for its Cycladic architecture – white-washed buildings with blue domes that are as beautiful as they are iconic.

Mykonos also has a vibrant arts scene, with numerous galleries showcasing local and international artists. The island’s history is intertwined with Greek mythology, with legends that say it was formed from the bodies of giants killed by Hercules.

Despite their differences, both Crete and Mykonos hold a deep respect for their past. In Crete, you will find a more traditional and rustic feel, with its Minoan ruins and folklore. Mykonos, with its cosmopolitan vibe and thriving arts scene, offers a modern take on Greek culture while still preserving its historical roots.

Choosing between Crete and Mykonos depends on what you seek in terms of history and culture. If you are fascinated by ancient civilizations and prefer a more traditional atmosphere, Crete may be the island for you. However, if you love architecture, art, and mythology, then Mykonos might be your ideal destination.

In conclusion, whether it’s the ancient allure of Crete or the artistic charm of Mykonos, both islands offer a unique dive into Greek history and culture. It’s up to you to decide which one calls out to your inner historian and cultural aficionado.

Attractions & Activities

Unraveling the attractions and activities of Crete and Mykonos can feel like opening a treasure chest of adventures. Each island, unique in its offerings, promises a whirlwind of experiences to fill your travel itinerary.

Crete, the larger of the two, boasts an array of attractions that echo its vast history. Imagine yourself exploring the ancient ruins of the Minoan Palace of Knossos, or wandering through the Historical Museum of Crete.

Outdoor enthusiasts can trek the Samaria Gorge, a majestic canyon that promises breathtaking views. Plus, don’t forget to pay a visit to the old town of Rethymnon, where the narrow streets whisper tales from the past.

Mykonos, though smaller, is no less exciting. Picture yourself strolling through the narrow alleys of Mykonos Town, charmed by its quintessential Cycladic architecture. For history buffs, the Archaeological Museum of Mykonos houses artifacts dating back to the Prehistoric era.

And if you’re up for a boat ride, the nearby island of Delos, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, awaits with its archaeological wonders.

In essence, Crete’s attractions offer a deep dive into ancient history and nature’s wonders, while Mykonos combines history with the allure of a quaint and picturesque town. You’ll find that both islands provide a rich menu of activities, each catering to a variety of interests.

So, your choice hinges on your personal preference. If your heart beats faster at the thought of ancient ruins and nature trails, Crete will serve as your playground. But if you’re charmed by picture-perfect towns and historical treasures, Mykonos could be your dream destination.


Now, let’s talk about beaches, the crowning glory of any island getaway. Both Crete and Mykonos shine in this department, each offering a unique seaside experience.

Crete, with its extensive coastline, has an impressive array of beaches. Imagine yourself at Elafonisi, a beach with pink sand and clear, shallow waters. It’s about 75 miles (120 kilometers) from Crete’s capital, Heraklion. Or you might prefer Balos, a lagoon-like beach with turquoise waters, located approximately 37 miles (60 kilometers) from Chania.

In contrast, Mykonos, though smaller, doesn’t lag behind. The island is famous for its golden sandy beaches and crystal clear waters. Picture yourself at Paradise Beach, a favorite among visitors, only about 3.7 miles (6 kilometers) from Mykonos town. Or, for something more peaceful, Agios Sostis is a secluded beach about 4.3 miles (7 kilometers) from the town.

While Crete’s beaches are more spread out and diverse, Mykonos offers convenience with its stunning beaches closer to the main town. It all depends on what you’re looking for – if you love exploring different beach landscapes, Crete could be your ideal choice. However, if you prefer easy access and convenience, Mykonos might be more appealing.

In conclusion, whether you’re drawn to the varied and expansive beaches of Crete or the convenient and picturesque seaside spots of Mykonos, you’ll find a beach experience that’s just right for you.

Eating, Drinking & Nightlife

Diving into the culinary scene and nightlife of Crete and Mykonos, you’ll discover distinct flavors and atmospheres. Both islands offer memorable experiences, though they differ in their approach to food, drink, and after-dark entertainment.

In Crete, you’ll find a rich culinary tradition. Imagine sitting in a seaside tavern, savoring local dishes like “dakos” (a Cretan rusk with tomato and feta cheese) or “gamopilafo” (a risotto-like wedding dish). The island’s cuisine is rooted in fresh, local produce, and many consider it the heart of the Mediterranean diet.

Mykonos, on the other hand, offers a diverse culinary landscape. Picture yourself tasting traditional Greek dishes or exploring international cuisines, all available on this cosmopolitan island. From gourmet restaurants to traditional taverns, the options for food lovers are plentiful.

When it comes to drinking, Crete boasts a long history of winemaking. You might find yourself sipping on a glass of Vidiano or Liatiko, local wine varieties. Mykonos offers a variety of beach bars and cocktail lounges where you can enjoy your favorite drink, often accompanied by stunning views.

As for nightlife, Crete offers a mix of relaxed taverns and lively music venues. However, Mykonos is famous for its vibrant nightlife. Imagine dancing the night away at a beach party or enjoying a cocktail in a stylish bar in Mykonos town.

In summary, your food and drink experiences in Crete will be heavily influenced by the island’s traditions and local produce. Mykonos, however, offers a blend of local and international culinary experiences, coupled with a lively nightlife. Your preferences for dining, drinking, and evening entertainment will guide your choice between these two unique destinations.


When it comes to shopping, both Crete and Mykonos offer unique experiences. These islands, though part of the same country, showcase different aspects of Greek culture through their local markets and shops.

Crete, with its rich history and culture, offers a variety of local products. Picture yourself browsing through shops in Heraklion, where you might find traditional Cretan ceramics, leather goods, or locally produced olive oil. The island’s markets are a haven for those who love to discover local crafts and produce.

On the other hand, Mykonos is renowned for its chic boutiques and high-end fashion. Imagine strolling through the narrow streets of Mykonos Town, discovering a blend of local designers and international brands. Jewelry shops, art galleries, and trendy clothing stores are dotted around the town, offering a unique shopping experience.

In conclusion, if you’re seeking traditional crafts and local produce, you’ll find Crete’s markets and shops captivating. However, if you enjoy high-end fashion and chic boutiques, Mykonos could be your shopping paradise. Whether you’re a lover of all things traditional or a seeker of luxury items, both islands cater to your shopping desires.


Your stay in Crete or Mykonos, as you might imagine, can be as unique as the islands themselves. Both offer a range of accommodations, from luxury resorts to cozy guesthouses. Yet, each presents its own distinctive touch.

In Crete, you can find accommodations that range from rustic village houses to luxurious beachfront resorts. Imagine waking up in a traditional stone house in a quaint Cretan village, or sipping coffee on the balcony of a five-star hotel overlooking the azure sea. Crete’s accommodations often reflect the island’s rich history and natural beauty.

Mykonos, in contrast, is famous for its chic hotels and stylish villas. Picture yourself lounging by a private pool at a luxury villa, or enjoying the modern comfort of a boutique hotel in Mykonos Town. The accommodations here tend to mirror the island’s cosmopolitan vibe.

In conclusion, whether you prefer a traditional village house steeped in history or a luxurious resort offering all modern amenities, both Crete and Mykonos have you covered. The choice depends on whether you desire the rustic charm and natural ambiance of Crete or the stylish elegance of Mykonos.

Family-Friendliness & Children’s Activities

When it comes to family holidays, both Crete and Mykonos offer delightful experiences. However, the nature of children’s activities and the overall family-friendliness can differ between the two.

Crete, with its rich history and diverse landscapes, offers numerous family-friendly activities. Picture your family exploring ancient ruins, visiting fascinating museums, or joining in fun-filled water parks. Moreover, the warm hospitality of the locals makes families feel at home.

On the other hand, Mykonos, while known for its nightlife, also offers enjoyable experiences for families. Imagine your kids building sandcastles at one of the island’s many beautiful beaches, or your whole family taking a boat trip to the nearby uninhabited island of Delos.

In summary, Crete and Mykonos both make for a fantastic family holiday destination. Crete’s wide range of educational and fun activities, coupled with Mykonos’s beach life and family-friendly outings, ensure memorable experiences for you and your children.

Getting There & Getting Around

Traveling to and around Crete and Mykonos can be an adventure in itself. Both islands are well-connected and offer various modes of transportation, but there are differences worth considering.

Reaching Crete, the largest Greek island, can be done by air or sea. You might find yourself on a short flight from Athens, or on a ferry ride, enjoying the sea breeze. Once on the island, you could hire a car to explore Crete’s vast landscapes at your own pace, or you could use the local bus service.

Mykonos, in contrast, is smaller and well-served by frequent flights from Athens and other European cities. Alternatively, a high-speed ferry from Athens could land you on this cosmopolitan island. Once there, local buses, taxis, and rental vehicles are at your disposal for getting around.

In conclusion, whether you prefer the freedom of a self-drive holiday in Crete, or the convenience of public transportation in Mykonos, both islands cater to your travel preferences. The choice comes down to whether you enjoy long scenic drives of Crete or the shorter trips within Mykonos.


It’s time to talk about weather, your companion during your stay in either Crete or Mykonos. Both islands have a typical Mediterranean climate, but let’s dive a bit deeper.

Crete, due to its size and mountainous terrain, experiences diverse weather. In summer, the temperature often rises to a warm 86°F (30°C), perfect for beach visits. Winters are mild and slightly rainy, with temperatures around 59°F (15°C).

Mykonos, on the other hand, has a slightly cooler but more consistent climate. Summers see an average high of 82°F (28°C), while winters are cool and wet, with average temperatures around 54°F (12°C).

To sum it up, both Crete and Mykonos offer warm, sunny summers ideal for beach holidays. If you prefer a slightly cooler summer, Mykonos might be your pick. However, if you enjoy the heat and diverse weather patterns, you might find Crete more interesting.


Safety, an essential factor for any traveler, is well taken care of in both Crete and Mykonos. Both destinations are generally safe, but there are a few points to consider.

Crete, being a larger island with a diverse population, has a very safe environment. It’s perfect for solo travelers and families alike. But remember, it’s always good to be cautious, especially in crowded areas.

Mykonos, despite its reputation as a party island, is also quite safe. The locals are friendly, and the island’s size makes it easy to navigate. However, it’s good to stay alert during the busy nightlife.

One unique safety aspect of both islands is the sea. Always heed local advice about swimming conditions, as the sea can be unpredictable.

In summary, both Crete and Mykonos are safe destinations. Whether you’re a solo traveler or with a family, you can enjoy these islands with peace of mind, provided you take common-sense precautions.


Let’s talk costs, shall we? Crete and Mykonos, while both being Greek islands, can offer quite different experiences when it comes to your travel budget.

Crete, being a larger and less touristy island, generally offers more affordable options. You can find good meals for around 10 Euros ($11), and reasonable accommodations for less than 50 Euros ($55) per night.

Mykonos, known for its glamour and nightlife, tends to be a bit pricier. Dining out can cost about 25 Euros ($28), and accommodations can range upwards of 100 Euros ($110) per night.

So, if you’re on a tight budget, Crete might be more your speed. But if you don’t mind splurging a bit for the dazzling Mykonos experience, it could be worth every penny.

In conclusion, both Crete and Mykonos can offer delightful vacations, regardless of your budget. Whether you prefer the more affordable charm of Crete or the high-end allure of Mykonos, you’re in for an unforgettable Greek island experience.

Which Is Better – Crete or Mykonos?

After exploring various aspects of Crete and Mykonos, it’s time to decide which Greek island is the perfect fit for your next vacation.

When it comes to history and culture, Crete stands out with its rich past and diverse heritage. Its large size and varied landscapes offer countless archaeological sites and museums to explore. Mykonos, while historically significant, doesn’t have the same depth and variety as Crete. If history and culture are top priorities for your trip, Crete is the clear choice.

In terms of attractions and activities, both islands have their unique appeal. Crete offers more diverse experiences, ranging from hiking to visiting ancient ruins, while Mykonos is renowned for its picturesque windmills and vibrant party scene. Your preference for either destination will depend on your interests and the type of activities you want to indulge in during your stay.

For beach lovers, both Crete and Mykonos boast beautiful coastlines with stunning beaches. Crete’s vast shoreline caters to various tastes, from lively to secluded spots, while Mykonos is famous for its golden sands and crystal-clear waters. Your ideal beach destination will depend on whether you prefer a bustling atmosphere or a more tranquil setting.

When it comes to eating, drinking, and nightlife, Mykonos has a reputation for being a lively, glamorous destination with trendy bars and clubs. Crete, on the other hand, offers a more laid-back dining scene with authentic tavernas and local dishes.

If you’re after a vibrant nightlife and upscale dining, Mykonos is the winner. However, if you prefer a more relaxed, traditional experience, Crete will not disappoint.

Family-friendliness and children’s activities are well-catered for on both islands. Crete’s larger size and diversity offer more options for families, while Mykonos provides a compact, easy-to-navigate environment. Your choice between the two will depend on your family’s preferences and the type of activities you enjoy doing together.

In terms of costs, Crete is generally more affordable than Mykonos, making it a better choice for budget-conscious travelers. Mykonos, with its high-end allure, is more suited for those willing to spend a little extra on their vacation.

In conclusion, both Crete and Mykonos offer unique experiences, catering to different preferences and budgets. If you’re looking for a rich historical and cultural experience with diverse attractions and a more budget-friendly option, Crete is the ideal choice. On the other hand, if you prefer a glamorous, lively atmosphere with stunning beaches and upscale dining and nightlife, Mykonos is your go-to destination. Ultimately, your choice between Crete and Mykonos will depend on your personal preferences and the type of vacation you’re seeking.