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11 hours in Mykonos or 7 hours in Santorini

Hello all,

We are planning to take an East Mediterranean cruise next year and have shortlisted 2 cruises. One of them covers Mykonos with 11 hours stopover as one of the ports and other covers Santorini with 7 hours stopover.
Read a lot of posts and overall Santorini seems to be the one to choose (as an island to visit) over Mykonos.
My question is, if we do not plan to take the ship excursion then would 11 hours in Mykonos make more sense or is 7 hours in Santorini worth the views? Santorini is something we have wanted to visit but the timing and the crowds is making us question this choice.
Thanks in advance

Posted by
7693 posts

Seven hours is enough for Santorini. Go to Oia to see the iconic views and then travel quickly to Akrotiri to see the island's ancient site.
If you were staying overnight , I would say Mykonos as it is a nice experience..

Posted by
21717 posts

I agree with Suki. Santorini is far more interesting while Mykonos is more relaxing. There are also a number of bus tours you can take and are described in Steve's guidebook. Take the gondola to the top and turn left to a travel office for the tours.

Posted by
4 posts

Mykonos is one of the most relaxed places you'll ever visit. We spent a lot of time cycling around villages and eating spicy Kopanisti cheese and pork sausage. Amazing place! Not made it to Santorini yet but heard that it's a bit more 'bling' - so if that's your thing go for it.

Posted by
2934 posts

The reality is that the 7 hours you've been informed you'll have to explore Santorini will shrink to more like 4 because of the time lost in travel between the tender dock-SKALA- and the cable car building at the top of the cliff, both arriving and departing. (There is no road down to the cruise ship tender dock.) If your plans are for any time during the peak season you will have to stand in a long line to wait your turn for the cable car ride. Sometimes it takes as long as 1.5 hours waiting for your turn when there are several cruise ships' passengers in port at the same time wanting to get up the cliff. If you sign up for one of the ship's tours you won't have to deal with all that. You will be tendered ashore to the ferry port-ATHINIOS- instead, where there will be buses waiting to take you on a tour of the island depending on the tour you choose. If you prefer to do it on your own you can save some time by taking the water taxi from the tender dock to Amoudi Bay below Oia followed by a shuttle van up the cliff road into Oia. The price of that water taxi fare includes a bus ticket back to Fira. But there is no return water taxi back to the tender dock. You have to take a bus or taxi. The bus takes about 25 minutes but if it's a busy day you might have to wait for awhile before you get on a bus that has room for you. It's a bit tricky. Taxis are also available in the Oia bus square.

Posted by
989 posts

Listen to Lee he knows what he is talking about and he is not exaggerating. Santorini is the place you will want to take the ships excursion.

Perhaps you might want to find a cruise that stops in both islands. Its a pretty common itinerary.

For Mykonos you will want to take in Delos. Its one of the best ancient sites around It is not necessary to take a ship excursion. There are ferries from Mykonos harbour to Delos. Normally they give you three hours on Delos before returning. That gives you the rest of the afternoon to wander Mykonos old town and take in the sites.

Day trip Delos and Mykonos

Posted by
1117 posts

Since you are taking a cruise, I assume that you are looking for as many spectacular views as you can get within a very short time. In that case, Santorini is your choice.

The question of crowds shouldn't be the deciding one for you, simply because you will hardly be able to avoid them anyway. Whenever you leave the cruise ship, you'll automatically be in a huge crowd, for the simple reason that everyone is leaving the ship at the same time with you, everyone has exactly the same time on land as you, and everyone has exactly the same destinations you have. What you can try to do is get out of the radius of your fellow cruise ship travellers: take an excursion, or simply walk faster than everyone else. :-)

I am not kidding about this. In Santorini, we found the restaurants and shops within easy cruise ship radius to be a complete rip off. Get outside of that radius, and you'll immediately get much better quality food at a lower price.

You might also want to be aware that Mykonos is a pretty crowded place too. It's nice, but it's not like you are going to find solitude and quaint lonely island atmosphere within a stay of only a couple of hours.

Posted by
11450 posts

Well... I think a lot depends on what you want to actually do.. I personally would choose Santorini for the spectacular views..

I also find it interesting that you cant find a cruise that stops at both as that is far more common.

Posted by
49 posts

Thanks all for the quick replies! helps a lot ... I can see that Santorini still is the top choice and from the suggestions seems doable. We can follow Lee's advice.

I know there are a lot of cruises offering both, but we have a preference in other ports like we want a 7 day cruise from/to Venice and also definitely want to do Athens and one of Croatia's port. If we choose the one with Mykonos and Santorini, then Athens seems to be left out and if we do 3 of Greece no ports of Croatia is included.

Thanks again.

Posted by
21717 posts

Solution to that is a 14 day cruise. We are not big fans of 7 day cruises so we try for at least 14 days. I know you time maybe limited but maybe a 10 day cruise?

Posted by
5465 posts

It's worth noting that high winds prevented our Windstar ship from docking as scheduled at Mykonos. We did make the stop the next day at Santorini. All cruise port schedules are "provisional".

Although I don't have to worry about the dollars, I find that short port stops are more relaxing when you take the ship's excursions. Yes, you have to get on a bus with old and unadventurous people. The penalty for missing the departure when on your own is too high. Although we regularly travel independently, some travelers may have an inflated opinion of their "control" over local traffic and transportation. You are not parking your SUV at a mall for Santa photos. Note that there's a big time difference between the top of the hill in Santorini and the port. Do you really want to depend on meeting the last tender trip?

Posted by
106 posts

Hours... this is exactly the reason why I'm not very fond of cruises. I've done it once and wanted to stay in every place longer. I'd say 7 hours in Santorini are enough if you just want to enjoy your coffee an take some pics but Santorini is worth your visit for at least 2 days. I think it would be better to combine an island-hopping experience that would include both islands giving more time on each one. Mykonos is fun, I've been 3 times, not really my type of an island. I would rather spend a night in Santorini than in Mykonos, too wild for my taste. I'm more of a romantic. To get the best experience of these islands it is better to avoid the crowds, the best months to do so are June and September ;)

Posted by
3620 posts

We've been to both and Lee is spot on about the time "lost" when tendering at Santorini and it is definitely a place you will want to take the ship's excursion. The views are spectacular and worth the time it takes to get to the top of the crater.

If you choose the cruise that goes to Mykonos you will definitely want to go to Delos. Excellent ruins and it's not necessary to take a ship excursion. There are ferries from Mykonos harbor to Delos. You should have plenty of time to roam around Mykonos afterward.

We were able to visit both ports on the same cruise, so perhaps you can find a longer cruise that stops at both.