The first time I set foot on Mykonos was in late September 1977. Fresh out of high school, a friend and I took our sleeping bags, a change of clothes, and a few hundred drachmas each, and after about ten hours on the boat, landed on the beautiful Greek island.
We took the bus from Chora to Paradise Beach, where we went camping, each of us paying twelve drachmas per day to use the facilities and set up camp with our sleeping bags. The facilities at the time were primitive.
In the camping restaurant, a plate of gemista, or rice-stuffed peppers and tomatoes with herbs, cost five whole drachmas.
I should note here that in 1977, one dollar was equivalent to 37 drachmas.
When we went to party in Chora, a beer cost 50 drachmas, and drinks were an unbelievable – for us – 100 whole drachmas. Yet we had a great time because at 17, it’s easy to have a great time on a Greek island in the summer.
When another friend of ours arrived, we somehow put together a whopping 110 drachmas between us and splurged on a three-bedroom in Chora.
Once a traditional Greek island, Mykonos has become a luxurious, expensive travel spot
Today, Mykonos is advertised as one of the most cosmopolitan islands in the world, and it attracts the rich and famous, as we all know.
And along with the rich and famous, come hundreds of thousands of others who want to walk the same walk as those celebrities.
Of course, alternatively, they might want to simply enjoy the beauties of the island, which truly are beyond comparison.
Because stories of excess abound, many would think twice before visiting Mykonos, believing that they would have to mortgage their house to enjoy a proper holiday on the cosmopolitan island.
Only recently, an American tourist complained that he paid $600 for six plates of calamari and another $150 for six beers at a Mykonos beach restaurant.
Indeed, there are places on Mykonos with exorbitant prices. There are villas up for rent for $5,000 a day, as well as small rooms in pensions which cost $300 per night.
Yet, if one wants to have a good time on Mykonos without being involved in a show of wealth, it is still possible. You can actually go to Mykonos and enjoy what the island has to offer for a mere 50-60 euros a day.
How to enjoy Mykonos on 60 euros a day
First off, don’t even think about going to Mykonos in August. It will be chock full of visitors, and prices for accommodations are sky-high.
The months of June, July, September, and even October, on the other hand, are perfect for enjoying the island’s famous beaches without going cheek-to-jowl with other tourists.
I personally would recommend starting off your Mykonos adventure by taking the slow boat to the island. This is a four-hour trip from Piraeus during which you can sunbathe at your leisure on the deck for only about 25 euros.
If I were to choose the spot at the same camping area I stayed at 40 years ago, today it would cost me about 33-35 euros per night.
This is, of course, not bad at all if you are young or simply like to camp out and spend the night on one of the best beaches on the entire island.
You can, of course, also try to book a room through Airbnb, but you would have to do this as far in advance as possible. If you travel with friends, an Airbnb apartment would be a good deal: the more, the cheaper and the merrier. Furthermore, cook for yourself, and you’ll avoid all those additional costs.
If you don’t enjoy camping, choose your accommodation as close to Chora (downtown) as possible. This is where the nightlife, eateries, and supermarkets are located. Don’t worry about being able to walk to the beach because the island has public buses which take you to the most popular ones with a bus fare of approximately 1.50 in euros.
Eat, drink, and party on the Greek island on a budget
Go to a downtown supermarket and buy cheese and cold cuts along with some Greek yogurt and fruit.
Next, go to a bakery and buy bread to make sandwiches. You can also buy cheese pies, spinach pies, and many more pies – to your heart’s desire.
This way, you can have inexpensive, delicious, and fresh breakfasts and lunches.
As far as dinner is concerned, you can have gyros or souvlaki on pitas with french fries at one of the several gyro places in Chora. It will be cheap, nutritious,and yummy.
If you want to go to a club or bar at night, you can drink a beer or two which you have acquired beforehand at the supermarket. That is totally doable here! Alternatively, however, you can find an inexpensive bar or club where you can order a beer or cocktail and stay for as long as you like.
Waiters won’t bother you at these types of establishments if they see you nursing a drink. You can order a beer for five euros and a mixed drink for seven to ten euros at several nightspots.
When we were younger and went to Mykonos on a budget, we had a clever trick to go to a club and dance without ordering a drink.
It was simple: We would go to a club with no cover charge and walk straight to the dancefloor where we would dance until we were tired and decided to leave. Then, we would repeat this at other clubs.
I’m not suggesting that you do this, but I’m sure some of you would find it intriguing and challenging.
Beaches in Mykonos among the best in Greece
The beaches of Mykonos are among the best in Greece, so it is imperative to spend as much time there as possible.
Its iconic crystal-clear waters and the smooth, golden sand of the Cyclades are the highlights of the island. Super Paradise, Paradise, Psarou, Elia, and Kalafatis Beaches are amongst the most popular. Just don’t forget your sunblock.
Avoid renting a sunbed and umbrella because you can blow your entire budget right there. Bring your own beach umbrella from a market instead, and set it up in a free spot away from organized, commercial beach areas.
Avoid buying food or drink at any beach, too, as it will throw you off your budget before you even realize it.
On Mykonos, you truly can party all day. Beach parties begin late in the afternoon and continue throughout the night. If you stay overnight at a camping area, you can join the party and go hog wild all you want.
Stay downtown, however, and your schedule is dependent on bus routes. Yet again, one beer or drink will allow you to party as long as your heart desires.
If you are a real party animal, however, and find accommodations downtown, you can dance into the next morning and then catch the first bus to Chora.
Clearly, you can visit Mykonos on 50-60 euros a day and still have lots of fun and an extremely memorable vacation.
Just make sure to get into vacation mode and bring that positive and flexible attitude along. You don’t have to be a tycoon to explore one of the most beautiful Greek islands and actually have a great time doing so.