Rhodes or Mykonos: Which Greek Island is Better?

rhodes or mykonos

If it’s come to a decision between Rhodes and Mykonos as your next holiday destination, then the choice isn’t easy. On one side there is the diverse, history-rich Rhodes which enjoys some of the best weather conditions of the Greek isles. On the other, there is beautiful Mykonos with its whitewashed towns, windmills, and super-famous nightlife scene.

Rhodes, the largest of the Dodecanese, has been a popular destination for decades. The crystal-clear waters, beautiful beaches, and historical towns are the things that lure masses of visitors here every year. Mykonos, meanwhile, is mainly known for its vibrant bars and clubs, beautiful beaches, and picturesque capital.

We’ll explore the most important aspects of traveling to these two destinations. From things to do, beaches, and nightlife to prices and ease of travel, we will help you decide which Greek island is a better holiday destination this season.

Rhodes or Mykonos: Getting there

Mykonos cobbled streets
Photo by Dimitris Kiriakakis on Unsplash

Both Rhodes and Mykonos are amongst the most popular of the Greek islands and neither of the two will be hard to get two. That said, although the whitewashed towns and vibrant nightlife of Mykonos attract masses of tourists, it is Rhodes that hosts more visitors every year. 

Getting to Rhodes isn’t hard during the peak season that lasts from May to October but can be somewhat trickier in the winter months. You can reach this sun-soaked Greek island either by boat, cruise ship, or plane. The island’s only airport is located on the west coast, around 14km from Rhodes Town. And with many direct connections to European cities, there will be lots of options to fly there in the high season. To get to Rhodes by boat, you can catch a ferry from Piraeus, Kos, Symi, Tilos, and even Turkey.

But Mykonos is also one of the most visited of the Greek isles and that means there are many ways to arrive. The island lays in the middle of the Aegean Sea and is a part of the Cyclades group. The central location of Mykonos means that there are many boat connections with other Greek islands, as well as the major port of Piraeus. It is also a popular cruise stopover for many Greek island tours. Mykonos Airport is located close to the main town and has many routes to European cities and some middle eastern hubs. Just like Rhodes, most flights are seasonal.

Winner: Rhodes, but just.

Rhodes or Mykonos: Beaches

Rhodes beach
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Rhodes enjoys around 300 sunny days a year, so it’s no surprise that the island attracts masses of beach lovers. Most beaches on the island are gravel rather than sand, which makes the waters clearer and more turquoise. The southern side of the island is where most resorts are located. The north coast is the less developed and the more tranquil area overall. The best beaches on Rhodes include:

  • Prasonisi Beach – A beautiful sand strip that connects the southeastern side of the island with the Prasonisi Peninsula. It resembles Crete’s Balos Lagoon and is where the Aegean meets the Mediterranean. On one side the windy conditions are perfect for wind and kite surfing. On the other, there are calm waters that are perfect for swimming.
  • Traganou Beach – A pebbly beach south of Faliraki with some of the clearest waters on the island. There are lots of rock formations with caves around the place.
  • Tsambika Beach –A pristine sandy beach on the eastern coast of the island. Located below an impressive monastery, it’s considered to be one of the most beautiful beaches on Rhodes.  
  • Anthony Quinn Bay – A spotless turquoise bay named after a famous actor, located 3km from the popular Faliraki party town. The bay is enclosed by rocky hills and green conifer trees. It can get pretty crowded.
  • Agia Agathi Beach – A lovely sandy beach with warm, shallow waters on the eastern coast of the island.

Mykonos’s south coast is where the most popular beaches are located. It’s less windy and more swim-friendly than the north side of the island. That said, the north coast is quieter and more picturesque, but you might have to put up with strong winds blowing down from the mainland. Some of our favorite beaches on Mykonos include:

  • Platis Gialos Beach – From golden sands and crystal-clear waters to whitewashed Cycladic buildings in the background, this beach has a lot going for it. There are plenty of luxury, beach-front hotels, and cafes by this beautiful, southerly beach.
  • Psarou Beach – A sandy cove with aqua so blue that it could be confused with the Caribbean. It’s just a few kilometers south of Mykonos town. Be prepared to pay extra for everything there. From sunbeds and drinks to accommodation, the whole area is generally very pricey.
  • Kalafati Beach – A long stretch of golden sands and pristine shallow waters are what you can expect from this stunning beach. It’s located on the quieter, eastern side of the south coast.
  • Paradise Beach – A popular resort buzzing with life. If partying is what you’re after, then this is the beach for you. You can expect crowds and plenty of beach-front bars and cafes.
  • Fokos Beach – A tranquil, unspoiled bay on the northern coast of Mykonos. Hidden away from the hustles and bustles of Mykonos’s party resorts.

Winner: Rhodes.

Rhodes or Mykonos: Prices

Mykonos town
Photo by Johnny Chen on Unsplash

Rhodes and Mykonos are both far from Greece’s hidden secrets and their popularity comes at a price. You can expect to pay a premium on both islands, but Mykonos is one of the priciest islands out there, so get your dollars ready!

From accommodation to transport, Rhodes isn’t the most budget-friendly island in the country. You should be prepared to pay at least $40 for the most budget hotels and more than $400 for the most luxurious stays. That can go even higher if you choose to stay in the glitziest, beach-front resorts. On average, one person usually spends no less than $125 on things from accommodation, and food to transport each day.

Mykonos, on the other hand, has a reputation for being one of the priciest islands in the country – and the whole Med! Fancy restaurants, cocktails served to your sunbed, and sleek beach-front venues come at a price. It’s also a celeb hotspot, which pushes rates higher again. Of course, it doesn’t mean that you can’t travel to Mykonos on a budget. You could save some dollars on accommodation if you choose to stay in hostels that cost around $30 a night. The average daily budget for one person is around $150.

Winner: Rhodes.

Rhodes or Mykonos: Nightlife

nightlife in Greece
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If you’re after a good night out, then you won’t be disappointed with what Rhodes has to offer. From loud discos pumping with music, and cocktail venues to casual pubs and beach bars, there are plenty of places on Rhodes for those after some nighttime fun. Whether you’re part of the 18-30s crowd or something more mature, there are options for everyone. Some of the best nightlife areas in Rhodes include:

  • Rhodes Town – From crazy parties and drinking till dawn to casual beers in laid-back bars, the nightlife in Rhodes Town varies. For nightclubs and late-night parties with international crowds, head to Orfanidou Street. For a more romantic and relaxed atmosphere, try some places in the historic center.
  • Faliraki – A beach resort renowned for its beautiful coastline and wild nightlife. It’s the best place on the island for all-night drinking and bar hopping. There are nightclubs with DJs playing sets until the sunrise and laid-back bars with live music alike.  
  • Lindos – This small village comes to life after the sun sets. Places are a little more sophisticated and you won’t see any super-clubs like those in Faliraki. You can also expect to pay a little more than in other parts of Rhodes.

But it’s Mykonos that is known by many as the party capital of Greece. From bustling super-clubs manned by famous DJs to glitzy cocktail bars, there are always things going on here. Mykonos isn’t the cheapest, though, so you can expect to spend your dollars if you want to experience the vibrant nightlife of this Cycladic Island. Some of the most popular areas to party in Mykonos are:

  • Mykonos Town – It’s the hub of the nightlife on the island. After spending the day on the beaches people head back to the island’s capital to enjoy the amazing nighttime entertainment. Little Venice is the center of the action, while Scandinavian Bar is one of the hottest spots in town.
  • Super Paradise beach – This is one of two main Mykonos party beaches. Check out Super Paradise Beach Club and Jackie O’ Beach Club. They are both legends.
  • Paradise Beach ­– A beach resort known by many as party central on Mykonos for the international crowds. The two famous clubs Tropicana and Paradise Beach Club attract lots of youngsters hungry for all night raves. Parties start around 5pm and don’t end until the sunrise.

Winner: Mykonos.

Rhodes or Mykonos: Things to do

Rhodes Lindos
Photo by Dimitris Kiriakakis on Unsplash

Rhodes is thought to be the most historic of the Greek islands, or at least one of the most historic. People who step off the boat in Rhodes Town are instantly greeted with a World Heritage Site, and one of the top things to do is to explore the place. There are big walls that date back more than 1,300 years at the Palace of Grand Master, along with cobbled streets that were laid down by the Byzantines. More history is on offer down the coast in Lindos, where an ancient acropolis showcases ruined temples from the Hellenistic period.

But there are lots that can balance out the culture and history. Faliraki is a mega party town with its own strip for those who want to dance and drink. Lindos Beach and the south coast offer loads of sunbathing and snorkeling. Adventure seekers can break out to the trails of Attavyros and the central mountains.

Mykonos probably doesn’t have quite the same range of activities. It’s widely seen as a place to chill and unwind and party, then do it all again the next day. There is one very important historical site, but it’s on the neighboring island of Delos. Day trips there are a must for any culture buffs, because you’ll get to see an old religious center and one of the most important ancient sanctuaries in the Aegean.

Back on the Mykonos mainland and the main thing to do is lay down the towel and soak up the sun. The hotspots for that are the coastline to the south of the main town, from Psarrou to Paradise Beach. And don’t forget the partying. At night, Mykonos’s Little Venice is transformed into a vibrant arena of cocktail bars and discos, while the bigger DJ parties happen on the south-coast beaches.

Winner: Rhodes.

Rhodes or Mykonos: The conclusion

Rhodes coast
Photo by Antonio Magrì on Unsplash

There are many similarities and differences between these two popular Greek Islands.

Both Rhodes and Mykonos are known for their vibrant and diverse nightlife and their interesting towns. The whitewashed buildings, cobbled streets, and party beaches attract many people to Mykonos. The beautiful weather, crystal-clear waters, and historical village are the reasons why many people choose Rhodes. Mykonos is the livelier island when it comes to nightlife, but also the more expensive one. Rhodes is a bit more diversified and offers a lot more activities for holidaymakers of all sorts.

Reece Toth

Reece is the creator and editor of Travel Snippet. He has visited more than 38 countries over a 10-year period. His travels have taken him through the majestic mountains of Italy, into the cities of central Europe, across the islands of Indonesia, and to the beaches of Thailand, where he is currently living. He is passionate about travel and shares his expertise by providing the best travel tips and tricks to help you plan your next adventure.

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