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Is Mykonos really that bad? Would 18 year olds enjoy it?

Hi all! Our daughter graduates HS this year and we have long promised her a trip abroad with a friend + us. She really wants to go to Greece, and Mykonos is on the top of her list. I personally don't have a lot of interest in Mykonos, especially reading comments about it. However, my question is - would 2 typical 18 year old women enjoy it? I could probably talk her out of wanting to go, but at the same time, it's her trip and I'm fully aware that she and her friend have a completely different idea of what they'd want out of a trip than me. I have to imagine Instagram and TikTok are likely behind her desire to see Mykonos... Is she the perfect kind of traveler to enjoy it? I don't want her to be disappointed by her time there.

I've thought about letting them pop over to Mykonos for a night on their own, but the friend she's bringing hasn't been abroad before, so I'm not sure we're comfortable with that. Would just a day trip be better than an overnight? I assume since Mykonos is known for partying they would probably want to see at least a little nightlife. Her dad and I will be with them, but we plan to let the girls do their own thing.

I spent about 3 weeks in Greece in May 22 and did go to Santorini, so I have an idea of the level of tourism there,. We had a great time by booking a great place to stay that felt like a real retreat from the crowds, but I know June/July will be busier.

For added context, we'll be in Greece for 10-11 days and likely plan to do 1-2 nights in Santorini, maybe 1 night in Mykonos, and 4-5 nights on a much less touristy island before 2 nights in Athens, so I think they will get a good glimpse of other areas of Greece.

Posted by
2345 posts

The challenge is that what you enjoy is probably much different than what 18 year olds would enjoy. If this is “her” trip and she wants to go to Mykonos, I would go to Mykonos. If they spend their time doing the Instagram/Tik tok spots, so be it. They’ll probably have a blast.

Posted by
73 posts

Thanks, travel4fun! It truly is "her" trip. My husband and I have no problem figuring something out that we'd enjoy while they run around taking photos. Mykonos is the place she's most excited about, so I just don't want her to be disappointed by it. I feel better about Santorini because I've been there so have a sense of what we're getting into--one of our favorite things in Santorini was sitting on our balcony and watching the incredibly elaborate photo shoots that happened every night at sunset :)

Posted by
2091 posts

It’s where she wants to go so go and don’t worry if she is disappointed. Life is full of disappointments. I’m sure she’d get over it.

Posted by
7637 posts

20 years ago when I went? Yeah, she would have loved it. Beach Clubs, Night Clubs/Dancing, along with some great scenery, and if she is interested, some history (Delos).

I have heard that things have really changed, some clubs way overpriced and very exclusive, beach chairs going for hundreds, even thousands a day. I imagine there are still lots of affordable options, it might be a good lesson in balancing what you want vs what you can afford.

An Edit: Of course, remember that she will be of legal drinking age there, also that the island does have a somewhat "hedonistic" reputation, topless and even full nudity at beaches is not unusual. Also, one night does not work, you will need to consider the Ferry schedule, two nights would be the minimum, three if you want to see Delos.

Posted by
1939 posts

Same opinion, if they want to go to Mykonos, let them go to Mykonos !

But warn your daughter, there are press articles like this one every year about Mykonos:

https://liveandletsfly.com/dk-oyster-scam/

For the record, we met an American from New Jersey on the island of Kimolos 3 years ago. He had come to Greece because his daughter was getting married in Mykonos (to a Greek). After the ceremony he couldn't bear to stay in Mykonos because of the atmosphere and the crowds (it was in September).

He told us about his adventures in Mykonos because we spent a few hours with him in restaurants and bars in Kimolos after having saved him from a hike he had started on the island and during which he had gotten lost... .(long story).

If you want to do like him:

4-5 nights on a much less touristy island before 2 nights in Athens,

Kimolos:

https://photos.app.goo.gl/HwixaJqPAU9B7Gn36

Then we recommended Sifnos to him. He went there and made lots of friends!

Sifnos, with other unexpected encounters at the end of the video... :-))

https://photos.app.goo.gl/4sW5tWyewVwA2FP96

Posted by
7637 posts

About your itinerary...

While the term "island hopping" is often used, it is not as quick and easy as that implies.

From Athens to Santorini, your best option is to fly, otherwise you are looking at a long ferry, all day or overnight. Ferries run sometimes daily, sometime every other day or even twice, or once a week to some islands, and they run a regular route, like a bus. Sometimes, you can see the island you want to go to on the horizon, but no practical way to get there, and it may require going all the way back to Piraeus/Athens, to catch the correct ferry.

You really have to figure, for islands serviced with daily ferries, that you need two nights. I have done one night a couple times, but that was more a layover, to wait to catch another ferry. To see anything requires a full day, the travel day is mostly just travel.

For your itinerary, figure two nights on Santorini, two nights on Mykonos, and you other island should be on a ferry route that includes those two islands, and back to Athens. Naxos and Paros would be good choices, Tinos as well. The third island might end up being between Santorini and Mykonos as well.

Posted by
4976 posts

...could probably talk her out of wanting to go, but...it's her trip...probably want to see at least a little nightlife. Her dad and I will be with them...

I don't mean to sound snarky, I really don't, but you might have answered your own question about going to Mykonos.

With regard to the night life, being with them (even though they might not like it) is a very good idea. No matter how mature they are, 18 year olds are still somewhat naive. At the risk of sounding like Debbie Downer, I can't help but think of Natalee Holloway in Aruba.

Posted by
777 posts

EDM had peaked by 2017 is quite an American perspective to be honest. Electronic music in its various forms has traditionally been much more ingrained in European popular culture than it is in the US and continues to be so.

I haven't been to Ibiza for many years, but as far as I can gather, it is still Ibiza, just a more corporate and expensive version. Even though Tony Pike has passed, Pike's Hotel is still there and the place to go for middle aged ravers who long for "the good old days".

I do find it quite amusing when the subject of young people going to Greek resorts comes up on here. I think there's some cultural differences in how folks the other side of the pond see it. Mykonos maybe isn't the best example, but these places are full of Europeans in the 18-21 range having a good time without being chaperoned by their parents and living to tell the tale. I couldn't understand the OP saying it was their young person's trip, but only allotting one night in the place they wanted to go!

Posted by
3290 posts

If I were the OP, I would take the young women to Mykonos for a day trip, or maybe spend the night - but not just the girls without the actual grown ups. Give them the wonderful gift of anticipation.

Posted by
862 posts

Allowing two 18 year old girls to "pop over to Mykonos for a night on their own". Two young women in a foreign country, on an island known for partying? What could possibly go wrong? Repeating a previous comment...think Natalee Holloway.

Posted by
1102 posts

It is really quite safe on the Greek Islands. The biggest risk is from getting drunk and either falling off a balcony or into the water at night, rather than from any external dangers. Thousands of young people go every summer from all over Europe. It’s not something that would be considered extreme or unusual to do so I wouldn’t be overly worried about it.

Posted by
777 posts

I had to Google Natalee Holloway. Christ on a bike! Is that really the first thing that people think of when suggesting that young people be allowed a little autonomy?

Further to the "EDM" post above. It's not EDM music, which is itself a term invented around 2010 to sell electronic music to Midwestern rock fans. The issue described is one of people who run commercial enterprise chasing the "straight Euro" (or dollar) after building their business through the gay community. [small edit: point on businesses selling out the gay community which sounded a bit mean on re-reading]

Gay people (and Europeans in general) have been dancing to electronic dance music (no caps) for a long time before Scary Monsters and Nice Sprites.

I've never been to Mykonos so I can't comment on what it used to be like compared to how it is today.

Posted by
4976 posts

...Natalee Holloway...Is that really the first thing that people think of...

No. Not the first, just one of many things. Spring Break season, and graduation parties in Florida and other U.S. places, are well known for overindulgence in alcohol by high school and college students. The combination of being on one's own, too much drinking, too much "autonomy" and natural biological urges often lead to less than good outcomes. Not always of course, but often enought that serious thought should be given to allowing 18 year olds to be too independent in certain situations.

Posted by
73 posts

Well, lots of interesting commentary here...but not sure I've gotten any closer to an answer to my question (lol). I think I might have given too many details that distracted from my core question. I've read all the pros/cons of Mykonos, and was hoping for some more personal feedback on whether it's an enjoyable experience for young adults. I'm more than happy to work it into the itinerary if so, it's just really hard to tell from anti-Mykonos commentary if Mykonos really is just not enjoyable, or if it's just not enjoyable for people seeking a more lowkey or less touristy experience (or just really way too expensive!). A lot of people go there...so does everyone hate it, or are there certain populations that really love it?

My daughter hasn't mentioned night life as a draw--I'm actually the one who assumes once we are there she and her friend will to want to go out at night. Most of the things she's mentioned wanting to do can be done in lots of places in Greece (beaches, boat tours, sunsets, hiking, shopping).

I suspect Mykonos is on her list because she's heard of it and seen it on social media. I think it's common to be initially drawn to the big name places someone's heard of, but often have much better experiences in the smaller, less-known locations. Santorini and Athens are also all on her list, so it's not as if Mykonos is the ONLY place she wants to go, but it does feel like the place she seems the most excited about. She loved Mamma Mia! when she was younger, so I think that's probably part of her desire to go to Greece and I know Mykonos is not going to give her quaint (idealized movie) Greek village...

The research continues :)

Posted by
777 posts

serious thought should be given to allowing 18 year olds to be too independent in certain situations.

Well... `yes and no. I just thought jumping straight to the most horrific thing that could possibly happen to a person was quite an extreme reaction. I think I said somewhere above, there's possibly cultural differences in how an 18 year old is perceived. Attitudes to alcohol too. I'd been out in Spanish resorts with my parents since around age 9 or 10, so I knew what to expect when I went on vacation with friends at 18. I was spending my own money doing what I wanted to do by then. Many European kids have come into contact with alcohol much younger than 18, and have already experienced the perils of drinking too much. Maybe not so much in the US where the legal drinking age precludes that, and a pronounced puritanical / calvinistic element to popular culture is more prevalent.

momo516 said:

The research continues

OP, my comments have probably been no use whatsoever :)

Giving the young folks some say in driving the itinerary for their own reasons, whatever they may be, is a good thing I think.

Posted by
5344 posts

I have to agree with Gerry, I spent my late teens and early twenties holidaying in Ibiza and Greece with my mates long before 2017 and the label EDM had been invented. Ibiza has been a place for partying for decades and dance music was popularised there from the acid house days. Ibiza is still a popular island for partying, things change slightly but the atmosphere remains the same.

It's almost a rite of passage for teenagers to go partying with their mates in the Mediterranean during the summer much as it is for Americans to go somewhere warm and sunny for Spring Break. Two 18 year old girls are going to find themselves surrounded by like minded teenagers all out for a good time. I certainly wouldn't have any qualms if it was my daughter and her friend and I wouldn't even consider accompanying them. The most I'd worry about them going to Mykonos is how much they'd spend, it's become a very expensive island.

Posted by
265 posts

For the much less touristy island, consider Sifnos. It has been a few years ago but we found it to be authentic with nice beaches, beautiful sights, friendly people and good food. Your daughter might find her Mamma Mia! vibe there.