What’s the Best Greek Island: Santorini vs Mykonos vs Crete

Santorini vs Mykonos vs Crete – the famous Greek trio of fabulous islands everyone wants to visit. But which one to choose if you have just a few days of vacation available? This can be really challenging, considering the fact all three islands have so much to offer. We’ll try to make this choice easier for you by going through some of the most important facts you should consider before making a final decision.

Santorini vs Mykonos vs Crete – It Won’t Be Easy to Make a Decision Because Every Island Offers Amazing Hotels and Beaches

Guessing you are already aware that the Mykonos vs Santorini vs Crete trilemma isn’t an easy one, and you need to think this through carefully, we’re about to go through some main differences and similarities between them. For example, Mykonos and Santorini both belong to a group of islands called the Cyclades, so they are relatively close to each other. If you travel to one of them, it will be easy to visit the other one even for a day trip.

They are both small in size, so it will be easier to plan a day tour and check out the most important sightseeing spots in a short time. On the other hand, Crete is almost 100 times larger in size, and it’s located far away from these two, so it might be harder to fit it into your tour, especially if you don’t have a lot of time or a limited budget.

What Each of These Islands Is Known for?

All three have an amazing historical background, which can make your choice even more difficult. Crete can be considered as the most family-friendly destination, Santorini as the honeymoon one, and Mykonos is overall known for its wild parties. But should you fall for stereotypes?

Actually, all three islands are suitable for all of the upper mentioned groups – families, couples, and party-orientated singles. Apart from the difference in size, the average prices could also make or break a deal, so that should be one of the most important factors to consider when planning your summer trip.

Golden Star ferry at the port
Catch a ferry and enjoy riding on the waves

Santorini Is Known as the Best Destination for Couples

When it comes to the scenery, Santorini offers the most beautiful landscapes and unique ambiance, and it’s definitely one of the most romantic destinations in the world. It also offers more options for luxurious accommodation than Crete, but hotels here are equally well-ranked as the ones on Mykonos. Depending on the place you’re staying, it might be harder for you to get to the beach.

Oia, which is the most famous town in Santorini, is located on volcanic cliffs and is recognizable for its breathtaking sunset views, picturesque architecture, and the old Byzantine castle. Fira is the capital town, where the cruise port is located, and you can catch the connecting buses to other parts of the islands from there. Staying in Fira might be more convenient for those planning an active vacation.

How to Get to Santorini

The easiest way to get to Santorini is to catch a plane or ferry. You can find direct flights, but also connecting ones with a stop in Athens, the capital of Greece. The flight from Athens lasts around 50 minutes, and there are several departures per day.

If you buy a ticket in advance, it shouldn’t cost you over €100 per person, but keep in mind that the more you wait, there is the higher risk that prices will go up, especially during the busy summer season. Ferry rides from Piraeus, the main port in Athens, usually last about 6 hours, and tickets can cost anywhere from €70 to €120, depending on the company and the type of ferry you choose. The average hotel price per couple here is about €140 per night.

Santorini view
Santorini is one of the most romantic destinations, and couples usually like to spend their honeymoon in one of the best hotels here

Mykonos, Greece, Is One of the Most Exclusive Islands in the World

Mykonos, Greece, is without any doubt the best destination for people interested in partying from dusk till dawn, but at the same time, it is suitable for families and couples. Being a small island is at the same time the biggest advantage and disadvantage of this place.

The positive side of this is that you can get anywhere in no time, especially if you rent a car, and the negative aspect is that it gets overcrowded during the summer season, so accommodation prices can be sky-high. Mykonos is home to many popular nightclubs and trendy beach bars everyone loves. It also has a supreme offer of beautiful beaches, so that’s another reason so many people decide to travel here for summer.

Getting to Mykonos Isn’t Complicated, But Accommodation Prices Can Be High

When it comes to organizing your trip, your options are direct or connecting flights or a ferry ride from Piraeus port. If you book your tickets on time, a plane ride could be cheaper than a ferry since there are a few low-cost airlines flying to Mykonos airport. Ferry rides usually last about 5 hours, while the plane ride should be shorter than an hour if you’re coming from Athens.

The average price per night in a hotel located in the main town of Chora is about €260. Staying here is convenient if you want to be near the port and plan an island hopping tour and maybe visit the neighboring Santorini for a day or two. If you are coming here with a group of friends, renting a luxury villa might be a better option than staying in a hotel.

Mykonos island
Mykonos is one of the most famous islands in the world thanks to its unique ambiance and the best nightlife you have to like

Crete Is Known for Its Incredible History and Having Some of the Most Wonderful Beaches in the World

The Crete vs Mykonos vs Santorini competition is a strong one, even when it comes to beaches and history. The biggest perks of Crete are its affordability, larger offer of vacation rentals, and the fact that it is a much bigger island, so there are more things to see and do. From palm tree forests to pink sand beaches, you’ll be amazed by everything Crete has to offer.

The history of Crete is an interesting one, so if you’re into Greek mythology or history in general, make sure you visit the Knossos palace and learn all about King Minos, the son of Zeus. Crete is home to some of the most beautiful beaches in the world, so make sure you visit at least one of these:

  • Elafonissi,
  • Preveli,
  • Falassarna,
  • Voulisma,
  • Seitan Limania,
  • Vai,
  • Balos.

Crete Is One of the Most Affordable Options

The average price per night is about €130, which is one of the biggest advantages if you decide to travel here, although getting here might be more challenging. This is an isolated island in the very south of Greece. Most tourists fly either to Heraklion or Chania, depending on which side of the island they are staying.

If you travel by sea, ferry rides can last 8 to 10 hours (from Athens to Heraklion port), so it might be smart to rent a cabin with a bed and enjoy a nice sea view, which can cost between €60 and €150. Since the island is so big, even if you rent a car, driving from one side to another can take hours, so plan your itinerary carefully.

View of Balos beach on Crete
Crete is home to over 100 beautiful beaches, and it is one of the best and most attractive destinations in Greece you should visit

Crete vs Santorini vs Mykonos – You Won’t Make a Mistake, No Matter What You Choose

One thing is certain – you won’t make a mistake no matter which of these three gems you choose for your Greek summer vacation. Your final choice should depend on your personal interests and budget, but it won’t be undoable to visit all three of them during the same tour, although it will require a bigger budget, more time, and energy.