Last updated on March 1, 2023 by Wandering our World
Greece is known as the land of the Gods for a reason, but nowadays it’s not just whimsical mythology that’s captured the imaginations of many around the world.
The country is synonymous with a paradise on earth, surrounded by an archipelago of islands spanning the coastline from the Ionian to the Aegean Sea – and Corfu and Mykonos are two of the best.
But trying to compare Greek islands is like comparing chalk and cheese. Each is unique and might as well be a completely different country on its own, but they all have something to offer when it comes to holiday destinations.
Mykonos and Corfu, for example, are both are gorgeous islands, but they have their own unique vibes that make them very different getaways for tourists….
For example, Mykonos is known for its vibrant nightlife and luxury. It’s a celebrity haven teeming with party-goers, high-enders, and couples. It’s the perfect place for tanning in the afternoon and partying until late in the evening.
Corfu, however, is far more laid back. It’s bigger, has more nature-based activities and offers a picturesque reprieve for families and romantics looking for a good all-rounder for their vacation.
Of course that’s barely the start when it comes to how Corfu and Mykonos differ!
That’s why below we show you which is better for beaches, families, honeymoons, nature, culture and even more. All so you can make the right vacation decision!
- A Brief History & Overview
- Which Has The Better Beaches
- Which Is Better For Nature Lovers?
- Which Is Better For Nightlife?
- Which is Better for Couples & Honeymoons?
- Which is Better For Families?
- Which Is Cheaper?
- Where To Stay According To Your Budget
- Which Has A Better Cultural Scene?
- Which Is The Better Choice?
A Brief History & Overview
Corfu is a Greek island with a long and diverse history.
It has been inhabited by numerous civilizations that have directly influenced the island’s culture as it’s known today.
Settlements on the island date back as far as 8 BC, but one of the most notable influences on Corfu’s history came under the rule of the Venetians, who changed the island’s architecture and culture immensely. To this day, many of the main cities show remnants of this past.
It was once an important trading centre, with a strategic location making it easily accessible to early travellers and traders.
Today, Corfu is a popular tourist destination with beautiful beaches, historic architecture, and a rich cultural heritage. It’s especially popular with families, and is known for being one of the more affordable Greek islands.
Mykonos has a long and varied history that dates back to 3000 BC!
In its early years, the island became a centre of trade and commerce, known for its sailors and fishermen, then in the 16th century, Mykonos became part of the Ottoman Empire and remained under Ottoman rule until the Greek War of Independence in the 19th century.
But this was not the last war Mykonos would suffer. As World War II raged, it was occupied by allied forces, making it a target for German troops.
Once the war ended, the island entered a state of peace and began to attract artists and intellectuals. The ’60s is when it saw a significant boom in tourism.
The island has flourished ever since, and is now known as one of Greece’s most notable tourist destinations with a thriving cultural and cosmopolitan scene that attracts thousands of tourists all year round. It’s especially known for it’s luxury resorts which attract the rich and famous.
Which Has The Better Beaches?
Corfu: The Beaches
Corfu’s beaches are lined with lush greenery, and depending on where you’re staying, the beaches can look like they’ve come from completely different worlds.
The island’s western half is home to soft, sandy beaches and long stretches that offer a perfect place for lovers to enjoy an evening stroll.
Most of these beaches see flocks of tourists who want to enjoy the bright summer seasons and catch a tan next to picture-perfect waters.
The eastern half is known for pebble beaches and crystalline waters. This part of the coastline often feels wild and untamed, perfect for nature lovers who want somewhere quiet and peaceful. In that sense, these beaches differ from the tourist-packed, lively coastline of Mykonos.
However, in the same breath, you can still find some happening tavernas and cocktail bars in the coastal villages in the east.
If you are looking for recommendations of where to go, here are a few of our favourites:
- Barbati is a tourist hub during the busy season. This pebble beach is known for its crystal-clear waters and amenities, including a few swanky cocktail bars to keep the vibe going.
- Acharavi is a sandy beach with shallow waters, ideal for families with children, with plenty of beachfront activities and tavernas to visit!
- Kalamaki, accessible by boat, is a thriving beach perfect for families or tourists just looking to soak up some sun!
Mykonos: The Beaches
Similar to Corfu, the beaches on Mykonos show a good amount of diversity, at least as far as aesthetics are concerned.
Depending on where you’re staying, you can find white, sandy beaches and pebbly shorelines, all of which share the same crystalline waters that make Mykonos a hub for snorkellers and scuba divers.
However you might find yourself a bit hard-pressed to find a quiet and relaxing beach on this island. It’s not impossible, but Mykonos is famous for its wild beach parties, so families with young kids may not find the beaches as family-friendly as the ones in Corfu.
Depending on the beach you’re looking for, here are a few of our recommendations:
- Paradise and Super Paradise beaches are where the party’s at. The vibrant scene is packed with DJs, Clubs, and Bars where the music is always pumping, and the beaches are always crammed with tourists.
- Agios Loannis is a better option for families. The shallow waters and sandy shores are perfect for relaxing the day away and keeping your distance from the party mobs.
- Korfos is a small beach that’s known for its optimal watersports conditions. It’s often busy with adventure seekers and kite surfers, not to mention the laidback but vibey atmosphere.
Ultimately, both islands provide something for everyone, regardless of whether you’re in the party mood, seeking thrills through water sports, or simply want to enjoy a peaceful day listening to the waves.
Unfortunately, picking which island is better for you when it comes to beaches is tricky, so we’ll put it down to two factors: Tranquility vs. Commotion.
Families and couples generally prefer more tranquil settings, so Corfu would be your best bet in that case. Students and groups might prefer busier beaches and the opportunity to mingle with strangers, so if that’s the case you can’t go wrong with Mykonos.
Which Is Better For Nature Lovers?
Corfu: The Nature
Corfu offers a diverse and lush landscape, and is renowned for its awe-inspiring beauty and scenery. The island, located in the Ionian sea, experiences a temperate climate with good rainfall, which in turn, kept the natural environment blossoming throughout the year.
The island is home to over 30 species of Orchids, 150 species of birds, and plenty of illusive mammals like the Stone Marten, which is often spotted near Corfu’s many picturesque lakes. That has made Corfu a good place to spot wildlife, as we’ve written about before.
With its mountains, craters, cliff faces, and more, the island offers idyllic scenery and plenty of quiet hidden gems to soothe any wild soul.
However it also has a range of outdoor activities, including hiking, horseback riding, and ATV adventures. And in that sense, there’s definitely more nature activities going on in Corfu than Mykonos.
The trails around the island range from beginner-friendly to advanced, so everyone can enjoy the picturesque landscapes. The most notable trails to try out are the Vlacherna Trail and, if you’re feeling energetic, Mount Pantokrator.
Mykonos: The Nature
On the other hand, Mykonos is known for many things, but nature isn’t really one of them.
Nature lovers can still find some beautiful untouched spots on the island, but the truth is that it’s far more urbanized than Corfu, and better for people who enjoy the bustle of cities rather than the calm of nature.
You may still be lucky enough to glimpse Mykonos’ natural residents, including endangered Monk Seals and an extensive amount of bird life.
But the true untouched wilderness of the region lies in the waters of the crystal clear sea, which is why it’s such a popular destination for scuba divers and snorkelers.
The area is also dry and not as lush and green as Corfu, with a warmer climate, meaning the island can seem a bit bare at times if you’re not in one of the picturesque towns.
Ultimately, Corfu is the better choice for those seeking outdoor adventure and to revel in all the beauty that nature provides.
Which Island Has Better Nightlife?
This is really no competition! The reality is Mykonos has earned itself the title of the “Ibiza of Greece” for good reason, and we all know the reputation that Ibiza carries.
The island is a year-round party destination that has attracted hundreds of thousands of eager students, party animals, and celebrities to its shores with the promise of hip-swaying music, thrilling beach parties, and music festivals.
In fact, they’ve seen the likes of David Guetta, Armin Van Buuren, Tiësto, and more grace their region and perform sets at famous nightclubs like Cavo Paradiso. So in our eyes, Mykonos is a clear winner.
But that doesn’t mean Corfu is out for the count, either.
Corfu still has a vibrant and thriving night scene that just adds to the island’s charm, and the town of Korfos is the place to be if you want to explore Corfu’s rich nightlife.
However, you can just as easily escape lively nightlife in Corfu too, if you want quiet evenings.
The reality is you can’t throw a stone in Mykonos without it landing at a beach party or club, but in Corfu, you can still find many towns that keep their evening scene far more laid-back.
Which Is Better For Couples & Honeymoons?
What a tough comparison this one is! Both islands have an air of romance that makes them both scenic honeymoon and anniversary destinations, but the ultimate decision is up to what type of couple you are.
Mykonos: Couples & Honeymoons
Mykonos is breathtakingly beautiful, with a diverse and bubbly social and cultural scene that could even see you and your partner brushing shoulders with Kim K. So if you like sunbathing, partying with each other and celebrity spotting, this island can’t be beat.
It’s picturesque too, and the gorgeous towns in Mykonos bleed into the ocean, with cobblestone streets and postcard-worthy scenery that just make it feel like a scene from your favourite chick flick.
On top of that the resorts and hotels in Mykonos are luxurious and classy – making them perfect for a honeymoon – and most offer plenty of privacy that’s just perfect for basking in your undying love for one another, if you know what we mean.
You can treat each other to spa days, classy dinners, and cheeky sundowners at the beach clubs. And you can even steal away to quieter parts of the island if you and your partner enjoy a bit more isolation.
Corfu: Couples & Honeymoons
But when it comes to Corfu, we can’t think of a better place to spend a romantic getaway. The island offers more privacy than Mykonos could ever give.
And let’s face it, when you’re on honeymoon, as much as the destination is always important, you want to spend bonding, intimate moments with your partner too.
The coastline stretches over 200km, so you can easily find a gorgeous shoreline to enjoy a romantic sunset stroll. The quiet villages also have peaceful tavernas, cocktail bars, scenic oceanic views, and diverse restaurants to cater to your candlelight dinner needs.
While Corfu isn’t known for its luxury resorts like Mykonos, you can still find plenty of accommodation here from luxury resorts to secluded villas nestled close to historic towns.
The island is no stranger to romance either, and the diversity of environments along its shores means that every kind of couple can make their stay here perfect if they know what they’re looking for.
So while both islands have their nuances that make them an ideal romantic getaway, the ultimate choice here lies with you and your partner to decide.
Which Island Is Better For Families?
We’ll admit that family vacations are often the hardest to plan. The youngsters need somewhere that’ll keep them busy, your angsty teenagers need somewhere with enough freedom to brood, and you and your partner obviously want somewhere that offers you a moment to relax.
Luckily, one of these two islands is the perfect match for you and your kids!
And that place is Corfu! This island is well-known for its family-friendly atmosphere. The friendly and welcoming locals have created an environment that offers a relaxing getaway for parents and kids, with plenty of activities to keep the little ones busy!
The beaches offer diversity, so you can pick the perfect spot for your family to enjoy their time in the sun. Most have shallow, clear waters that provide that added sense of security, especially for parents with small kids.
You can also keep the kids preoccupied with seemingly endless activities, ranging from hiking around the natural settings to enjoying glass-bottomed boat rides over the calm waters of the Ionian sea.
And if you’re not an outdoor adventure sort of family, you might really benefit from the diverse cultural and historical scene!
The towns in Corfu are bursting with fun activities that both you and the kids would enjoy, including the Old Town Hiking Trails, Hydropolis Waterpark and numerous museums and educational tours that are both interesting and enjoyable!
Unfortunately, this is where Mykonos faces a shortfall.
Mykonos is a beautiful island, but the atmosphere doesn’t entirely scream family-friendly. It’s luxurious and high-end, and the endless parties don’t necessarily make it a stellar choice for child-friendly activities.
The tourism industry in Mykonos is also more aimed at high-class celebrity types, influencers, and young adults who thrive off 3 hours of sleep a night.
Plus it doesn’t offer much diversity or many activities that’ll interest your kids, aside from the beach of course. And we all know that eventually, they’ll get bored of building sand castles and want to try something different.
We’re not saying that Mykonos is a poor choice for families, just that Corfu offers more.
Which Island Is Cheaper?
Travel is pricey, no matter which way you look, but that doesn’t mean you can’t get around on a shoestring budget. But obviously, it helps to know what you’re getting into beforehand so you can budget accordingly.
So let’s discuss the key differences between the two islands that could make or break your budget.
Mykonos is where the rich come to play, and the tourism industry is aimed at affluent business people, influencers and celebrities. It draws them in with VIP treatments, high-end dining and designer boutiques. Obviously, this drives the price tag up quite a fair amount.
On average, people visiting Mykonos can spend between £100 to £300 a day, including accommodation, food and activities. But obviously, the more you plan on experiencing, the more you’ll spend.
Not to mention the issue of travelling around Mykonos while you’re there. While the island has a well-established public transport system, most find that hiring a vehicle tends to be better.
Plus, if you’re here to party, you’ll be spending a pretty penny on libations, the average cost of which could be £10 per beverage.
Corfu, on the other hand, is far more accommodating of lower budgets. The island is larger and has many options in terms of budget accommodation and tourist destinations. There’s a very good reason Corfu is popular amongst backpackers. It’s hugely affordable on a budget.
The average spend of a person in Corfu per day sits at under £100, including accommodation, food and activities.
It’s also an easy-to-navigate island with an excellent public transport system which throws the need for a rental out the window.
Most towns are easy to walk around; and if that’s too tiring, just grab a taxi. But, of course, you can also travel in style along the coast on a boat!
Simply put, Corfu offers more for less, which bodes well for honeymooners who really want to stretch their budget, as well as students, backpackers and families who’d prefer to enjoy their holiday without breaking the bank.
Where To Stay According To Your Budget
Budget: If you want to be based in the heart of the action rather than by the beach, then staying at New York Luxury Suites in Old Corfu Town could be perfect. The suites themselves are tastefully done, sit in a superb location, and come at a great price. See photos and rates here!
Luxury: With gorgeous sea views, fantastic amenities and a massive infinity pool perfect for photos and utter relaxation, staying at the five-star Angsana Resort & Spa is one of those things we should all do at least once in our lifetime. Luckily this is luxury at a price many can afford. See photos and rates here!
Budget: Finding a gorgeous hotel complete with pool and seaviews on a budget is hard in Mykonos, but that’s exactly what Hotel Tagoo is. Not only that, it’s situated in a great location too. See photos and rates!
Luxury: With a huge infinity pool overlooking the sea, rooms with hot tubs and private pools, and world-class service, the five-star Anax Resort & Spa is the perfect resort for someone looking to holiday in style. See photos and rates!
Which Has A Better Cultural Scene?
Corfu: The Culture
Corfu has a rich cultural heritage that is reflected in its art, music, architecture, and cuisine. The island’s history as a crossroads of different civilizations has influenced its cultural scene, resulting in a unique blend of Greek, Italian, French, and British influences.
The island’s capital, Corfu Town, is a UNESCO World Heritage Site known for its historic architecture, including the Old Fortress, the New Fortress, and the Venetian-style buildings in the Old Town.
Corfu Town also has numerous museums and art galleries, including the Museum of Asian Art, the Municipal Art Gallery, and the Byzantine Museum.
Music is an integral part of Corfu’s cultural scene, and the island has a strong folk music tradition with influences from Greece, Italy, and the Balkans.
The island’s most famous musical event is the Corfu Jazz World Festival, which takes place every August and attracts jazz musicians worldwide.
And the food? Well, we can’t explain enough how much we love Greek cuisine. With the variety of influences that founded Corfu’s culture as it’s known today, you can expect authentic dishes with a Corfu twist unlike anything else you’ll find in the Greek archipelago. All of which makes it a great place for foodies.
Mykonos: The Culture
As for Mykonos, it’s cosmopolitan and modern, but that doesn’t mean it’s forgotten its history. The island is littered with old Mykonian architecture, especially the maze-like town of Chora.
Mykonos’ contemporary culture today is essentially a result of the island’s popularity among international visitors, particularly in the 1960s and 1970s.
Attracted by the island’s natural beauty, relaxed atmosphere, and lively nightlife, visitors from around the world began to flock to Mykonos. This influx of visitors brought a diverse mix of cultures and traditions, shaping the island’s contemporary cultural scene.
But the best way to experience Mykonos’ true culture isn’t through the vibrant nightlife and luxurious tourism.
It has a rich culinary tradition too, with a wide variety of dishes that are made from fresh, locally-sourced ingredients. The island’s most famous dishes include kopanisti (a spicy cheese spread), Souza (a cured pork dish), and capers.
Art is an important part of Mykonos’ cultural scene as well, with several art galleries and exhibitions showcasing the works of local and international artists.
The island is also home to the Mykonos Biennale, a contemporary art festival that takes place every two years with global contributors and audiences.
Ultimately, both islands display diverse and unique cultures that differ in so many aspects that picking which is best is almost impossible.
Corfu is better for an older and more authentic culture that pays homage to its exciting history. In contrast, Mykonos has changed its culture and has far more Western influence, dulling tradition to make it more appealing to tourists.
Corfu vs Mykonos: Which Is The Better Choice?
Both Corfu and Mykonos are gorgeous holiday destinations offering a world of adventures for wanderlust travellers.
But, if we had to weigh up the pros and cons, Corfu simply offers more than Mykonos. It’s the perfect destination for couples, families and budget travellers. The beaches are versatile, the culture is dynamic and the experiences and activities are beyond comparison.
Mykonos is beautiful and has an incredible nightlife scene, but ultimately, the island has its limitations.