For my 21st birthday last June, I decided to spend all my savings and spend my special week in the Greek Islands with one of my closest friends. 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 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 from Manchester, since $400 is such a bargain to explore more of that side of the world. 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 Greece islands, take a detour with two flights for only $700. BAM! Much savings.
We arrived 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. My friend’s also recommend Mama’s Pension for another awesome hostel.
My friend and I decided to rent a quad bike (Four-wheeler) for 15 euros a day by 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.
To travel to the other greek Islands (Santorini, Crete, etc.), then travel by 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 beaches 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 nudiest 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 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 tamer with a more mature crowd and quieter.
The sand was a little bit more rougher, and felt like unnatural sand. However, it was still a great place to rest and relax. Afterwards, we checked out the beaches on the other side of the island. We were recommended to check out Panormos and I’m glad we stopped, because it was my favourite beach of them all. Loud music and partying is 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 don’t think).
Honestly, because we both wanted to save money on food, my friend and I either bought food from the grocery stores, or ate the most delicious gyros I have ever eat for like 3 euros (lunch & dinner – they were that good).
On the other hand, there’s also amazing Greek Salads or fresh seafood from a variety of restaurants by the waterfront.
However, just keep in mind in your budget as most of a traveller’s money goes towards expensive tastes and alcohol.
One of my personal highlights of Mykonos was their shopping district that was open from early afternoon until 2am 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 many drunk people would want to buy things intoxicated, and probably have regrets the next morning with that hangover and visa bill for those Louis Vuitton shoes that don’t actually fit you. So be careful if you do plan to drink. Don’t shop when you are intoxicated.
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. Therefore, if you get those 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.