Mykonos is one of the most iconic gay destinations in the world, on par with similar summer party hotspots like Gran Canaria, Sitges, or Tel Aviv. Every summer, this Greek island becomes a gay paradise, welcoming hot gay guys by the thousands who come to enjoy sun, sea, drinks, dance, and – of course – other hot gay guys.
But Mykonos not all about the partying. The island is stunningly beautiful, ticking every box of beautiful Greek island cliches: think whitewashed houses covered in bright pink flowers, clear blue seas lapping onto golden shores, and breathtaking sunsets. As one of Greece’s most popular destinations, it is both incredibly touristy and incredibly convenient, with all the shopping, eating, and drinking you could possibly want condensed into one easy-to-travel island.
Like much of Greece, Mykonos comes alive in the summer. During the scorching hot months of July and August, it fills up with not only gay guys, but families, couples, and groups of friends looking for some fun in the sun. However, in August, the island hosts XLSIOR festival, a gay celebration during which you may feel that the gays do actually outnumber everyone else – after all, there’s about 30,000 of them.
All accommodation in Mykonos is gay-friendly, as the island is one of the world’s hottest gay destinations. That said, there are a couple of gay-only hotels and resorts in Mykonos. Elysium just south of the main town is a beautiful and modern option, which also has a stunning sunset terrace bar – a popular gay spot in itself.
Most gay travelers opt to stay in Chora, the island’s main town and home to most of Mykonos’s gay nightlife. For real beach hotspots, Elia Beach and Super Paradise Beach are also very popular with gay visitors.
Greece is a relatively progressive country when it comes to LGBT rights. Discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation is illegal, as is any form of hate speech and hate crime. However, as a traditionally religious and conservative country, it does lag behind the rest of Europe in terms of social acceptance of homosexuality and visibility of gay issues.
In most places in Greece, it would be advisable for you to be careful and discreet to avoid any hassle. However, Mykonos is internationally known for its gay culture and hedonistic party scene, so it is the exception. Gay people on the island will not raise any eyebrows, and you can generally feel comfortable and safe here.
Gay visitors come from everywhere to enjoy Mykonos’ gay bars and clubs, so you will never be short of places to visit on your night out. Most of these are concentrated in Mykonos town, especially around the old port, although there are also a few beach bars throughout the island.
Jackie O is one of the island’s most beloved gay bars, located just below the famous Paraportiani church in Chora (which is also a popular cruising spot). It has two floors, plenty of room for dancing, and a large terrace with ocean views, making it a great place to spend an evening. Next door, Babylon has a very similar vibe, with another excellent seafront terrace.
Kastro’s and Katerina’s are both a stone’s throw away, and both known for their excellent cocktails and sea views. Katerina’s also serves great seafood, although both are great places to relax with some food and a few drinks. Further down the seafront in Little Venice, Montparnasse (also known as “The Piano Bar”) has live cabaret shows every night which are particularly popular with Mykonos’ gay clientele. Within the town but away from the seaside, Porta Bar and LOLA are two other lively gay bars that offer a good mix of dance, drinks, and good vibes.
Most of these bars act as clubs later on in the night, meaning there are few dedicated dance clubs. The main gay club in Mykonos is At54 (also in Mykonos town), which hosts large weekly parties during peak season frequented by the hottest and trendiest gay crowd.
Outside of Mykonos town, the most popular gay spots are the Jackie O Beach Club in Super Paradise beach and the Sunset Bar at the gay Elysium hotel, both of which are trendy and slightly upscale. Both are great places to have a few cocktails, meet some new people, and enjoy some great views. Bars and restaurants in other popular gay areas like Elia beach are not really gay bars, but do naturally get quite a lot of gay clientele.
During peak season, the party is more or less constant in gay Mykonos. Most people spend the day relaxing at a beach or pool (or exploring the island’s towns and villages) before heading to a bar in the afternoon. You can find people drinking and partying from quite early on, and most clubs stay open well into the early morning.
Most of the bars and clubs in gay Mykonos open only during the summer season. If you are visiting during another time of year, there will still be a few bars and some nightlife, but it will be considerably quieter and more low-key. By far the best time to visit for partying is during the August XLSIOR Festival, one of the world’s biggest and wildest gay festivals, which brings non-stop parties to gay Mykonos for one decadent week a year.
For such a famous gay destination, Mykonos doesn’t have any dedicated gay beaches. Instead, there are a few beaches which are particularly popular with gay visitors and which have become “unofficially” gay. These often have specific areas where gay visitors group in, as they remain mostly mixed.
The most popular gay Mykonos beach is Elia beach, whose eastern half is almost entirely gay and mostly nudist. No visit to gay Mykonos is complete without a day spent sunbathing, drinking, and mingling at Elia. Super Paradise is very similar, with the recent addition of a gay beach club making it a strong competitor for Mykonos’ top gay beach.
Both of these beaches are extremely fun, but can be very crowded during peak season and are not particularly relaxing – think loud music from the bars and elbow-to-elbow sun loungers. For a more laid-back experience, gay visitors should head to Agrari, which is a short walk from Elia but is significantly emptier and more chilled-out.
Public healthcare in Greece can be overcrowded and inefficient, so most tourists use private clinics. These can be quite expensive, so you may want to could consider waiting until you reach somewhere where free tests are available. If this is not an option, Mykonos Medical is a highly rated private clinic on the island which offers HIV and other STD tests.
UNAIDS estimates that 12.7% of men who have sex with men in Greece have HIV. The country overall has quite low rates for European standards, but they have been rising in past years. Despite its reputation, Mykonos has not been particularly noted for outbreaks of HIV for many years. That said, you should make sure you are practicing safe sex during all your encounters on the island.
Mykonos is centered around its main town, also called Chora – which is simply the Greek word for an island’s main town. Several beaches line the shores, most of them on the southern side of the island. Some of these are part of small towns and villages, while others are developed around resorts and some are just small isolated patches of sand.
Chora (Mykonos Town) – Since most gay visitors come to Mykonos for the nightlife, it makes sense for most of them to base themselves in and around Mykonos Town. This is where the main concentration of gay bars and clubs is. It also contains most of the island’s tourist attractions, such as the Katom Milli windmills and the Church of Paraportiani. The island’s old port, in which most boats and ferries are based, is here, as are the two bus terminals.
Elia Beach – Though not a gay beach in itself, Elia beach is one of the main gay hotspots in Mykonos. The far right side of the beach is the main gay area, and is crowded with guys from all over the world during the summer. It is a wide, long, pleasant beach with a few restaurants and bars, but not so many that it feels over-developed. There is a smaller nudist beach on the far end, which is also popular with gays.
Super Paradise Beach – This used to be the island’s only gay-exclusive beach, but nowadays it is open to all. It remains extremely gay however, with a lively party vibe. The Jackie O Beach Club is the beach location of one of the most popular gay bars in town, strengthening Super Paradise’s position as one of Mykonos’ prime gay beaches. It also makes Super Paradise beach the best place on gay Mykonos for transitioning straight from sunbathing to partying.
Agrari Beach – A small beach next to Elia, Agrari gets the spillover of gay guys from the larger, more famous beach. It’s more secluded and isolated, with a more relaxed atmosphere. It is also a popular spot for nudist sunbathing.
Platys Gialos – Mykonos’ most popular resort beach, Platys Gialos is lined with sun loungers, hotels, bars, and restaurants. There are plenty of accommodation options here, from luxury villas to budget-friendly resorts, although the vibe is very family-focused in many of them. Staying here is a good option since it is also where most of the taxi boats on the island depart from, giving you easy access to most of the beaches (including the gay Mykonos beaches of Elia, Super Paradise, and Agrari).
Kalafatis Beach – A beach on the eastern side of the island, popular with gays but still very much mixed. Its distance from the main beaches is its main appeal, as fewer people make the trip to this part of the island. Expect smaller crowds and a more chilled-out vibe.
Lia Beach – A pleasant, isolated beach with a particularly beautiful natural setting between two hills. There are a couple of restaurants and bars and some sun loungers, but it is otherwise pretty underdeveloped and perfect for spending a few hours away from the Mykonos madness. It slightly further east than Kalafatis, about a half-hour drive from Mykonos town.
Paranga Beach – A small beach near Platys Gialos that offers a more secluded, grown-up atmosphere compared to the tourist hub next door. It has a mixed crowd, but with quite a few gays, which go here for its skinny dipping and popular cruising spot.
Tourlos – A town a few kilometers north of Mykonos that is generally quieter but still very touristy. It is where the New Port is, which where most large cruise ships dock, meaning it regularly fills up with large waves of tourists visiting for the day throughout the summer season. It is less wild than Mykonos Town, making it a good place to stay, but it does position you slightly further away from the main gay Mykonos beaches in the south.
Ano Mera – A town in the middle of the island which is one of the few places on Mykonos that feels relatively local. It is a charming collection of small settlements that is well worth a visit for a pleasant afternoon stroll. Staying here can be a good idea if you have your own car or motorbike, since the central location means you are close to most places on the island. However, the lack of a beach and limited public transport makes it less appealing for some travelers.
Ornos – This quiet and picturesque fisherman’s village is possibly the furthest away you can get from the island’s wild reputation. There is a gay presence here, but it is mostly for older, mature gays who are looking for a more low-key experience. However, the beach itself can be extremely crowded during the summer, especially with families with young children, so it’s not a place to come to relax if you are visiting in July-August.
Mykonos is geared towards tourists, so transport is generally plentiful and cheap during peak summer season (it becomes much more limited outside of this time). The island itself is not very big, and you can cross the length of it in a little over a half-hour.
From Mykonos Airport – A bus to the southern station in Mykonos Town is a €1.60 while a taxi into town costs €10-15. If you are staying anywhere else on the island, you will need to plan your transfer. Some resorts and hotels offer free airport transfers, while others can arrange one for a fee (usually about €5-7).
From Old Port or New Port – Most ferry services from other Greek islands arrive at the old port in Mykonos town, while cruises and high-speed boats tend to arrive at the new port in Tourlos. The old port is very close to the northern bus station and about a 10-minute walk from the southern station (see connections for both stations below), as well as being generally a short walk for most places in town. The new port has a bus service to the southern station in Mykonos town and also a Sea Bus to the old port. Most hotels and resorts offer a transfer service, free or otherwise, and taxis are available from both ports but could come with a long wait during peak season.
Boat – A sea-taxi service runs from Platys Gialos to Ornos, Paraga, Paradise, Super Paradise, Agrari and Elia beaches. This costs between €5 and €8. It is a very scenic way of getting around and is particularly convenient if you are staying in Platys Gialos. There is also a Sea Bus service that runs from the new port to Mykonos town.
Bus – Mykonos’ bus network is centered around two bus stations in the main town, each serving different areas of the island. During peak summer season, these are very frequent, but they become rare at other times of the year. The rate varies between €1 and €2.
The northern bus station, located behind the OTE office near the old port, connects to Tourlos, Ano Mera, Kalo Livadi Beach, Kalafatis Beach, Elia Beach, and Agios Stefanos. The southern bus station, which is a short walk away, serves Ornos, Agios Ioannis Beach, Platys Gialos, Paraga and Super Paradise. These are run by KTEL and you can find out more details on their website.
Taxi – Taxi ranks are available from Manto Mavrogenous square (known locally as Taxi Square) in Mykonos town, as well as from the ports and bus stations. They are all metered and the minimum fare is €3.50. You may have to wait a long time for a taxi in the summer, since the number of taxis is very limited for the number of visitors.
Car & Motorcycle Rental – Renting your own vehicle is a good option for anyone who wants the freedom to explore the island on their own schedule without having to deal with crowded buses or wait for ages for a taxi. It is also the best way to visit some of the more secluded and hard-to-access beaches, and to get around if you decide to visit outside the peak summer season.
There are various agencies in Mykonos town, especially around the bus stations and ports. The cost of renting a car is about €45 per day in summer and €30 in low season. Scooters and quad bikes are generally €20-40 for peak season and €15-30 during the rest of the year.
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