A visit to Agios Ioannis, the beach where the “Shirley Valentine” movie was filmed


Agios Ioannis beach at Mykonos

A girl plays in the sand at Agios Ioannis beach on Mykonos,  better known to many as the “Shirley Valentine beach.” Delos (left) and Rinia (right) are the two islands across the channel.


Shirley was here: Like millions of other people, I first “saw” Agios Ioannis beach on Mykonos in the 1989 “Shirley Valentine” movie starring Oscar-nominated actress Pauline Collins. It only took me 22 years, but in May I finally got to see “the Shirley Valentine beach” with my own eyes (and camera). On previous visits to Mykonos I had seen almost all of the island’s major beaches, but just never managed to get over to Ag. Ioannis. It’s a bit out of the way, for one thing, and several people had told me it wasn’t worth a special trip (they said the beach was small, wasn’t very scenic, and didn’t have much to offer apart from several pricey hotels and a couple of tavernas). But after renting the “Shirley Valentine” DVD during the winter, I decided it was time to finally check it out this year. It is, after all, one of the most famous beaches on Mykonos.

My partner and I walked there from Mykonos Town (with a stop to check out Ornos beach along the way) on May 17, a sunny and breezy warm day. Surprisingly, hardly anybody was at Ag. Ioannis, even though the weather was great. I could count on two hands the total number of people on the entire beach that afternoon, though there were probably twice as many gazing at the sand, the sea and nearby Delos and Rinia islands from shaded patio terraces at two of the beachside tavernas — Christo’s and Hippie Fish.

After our very long (and mainly uphill) hike from Ornos we needed a break from the hot sun, too, so after taking a few photos of the beach and surrounding area, we beelined for a shaded table at Hippie Fish. It just happens to be the very taverna where Shirley Valentine got a job in the movie, and there’s a sign right out front that boasts: “As seen in the movie ‘Shirley Valentine.'” Well, not quite. The place was called Sunset Taverna back in those days, and looked like a typical rustic Greek taverna. Now, as Hippie Fish, it sports a sophisticated white colour palette that gives the restaurant/bar a bright contemporary look and feel. Hippie Fish still serves dishes “inspired” by traditional Greek and Myconian cuisine, but in keeping with the times (and more likely the particular demands of international travellers staying at some of the expensive luxury hotels on the surrounding hillsides), it has added a sushi lounge. We only dropped in for a drink so I can’t tell you if the food is good (we didn’t look at a menu, so I can’t even say if the prices are reasonable), but we did enjoy relaxing on their patio, looking at the islands across the bay and watching waves wash against the sandy beach just a few meters below our table.



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  1. For already 30 years I am coming to Mykonos every year in June and I have never visited Agios Ioannis. I have just returned from Mykonos two weeks ago, but your report and pictures have made me promise myself to visit Agios Ioannis next year for a day.

  2. Angela Glaser

    May 25, 2013 at 12:10 pm

    We are staying at the Mykonos Grand hotel & we are going to Hippiefish for dinner this evening. I can highly recommend this wonderful taverna on Ag Ioannis. I am sitting on the terrace of the hotel which overlooks this wonderful beach & the view of Delos is amazing. Well worth visiting this Shirley Valentine beach!!!!

  3. have been to mykonos twice in 3 years. and never even heard of agios ioannis beach. we are returning to mykonos again this sept. loved the movie,so this time we will go to shirley valentine beach. mykonos is our favorite greek island. greek in the blood ???

  4. Thank you for posting!! My fiance and I will be honeymooning in one of the Agios Ioannis resorts (Lithos By Spyros & Flora) this September and I was so worried we’d made a mistake staying a bit out of the way (especially since up until now I couldn’t find too many photos of what the beach and surroundings looked like). This post could not have proved me to be any more incorrect! Beautiful, tranquil, and sunny is exactly what we were hoping for! This entire blog is completely fantastic! Thanks again!

    • We have just returned from the Hotel Lithos by Spiros and Flora. You will Have the time of your lives. Marios and Marina are fabulous hosts and the views from the hotel are spectacular. The resort is peaceful and beautiful and a short journey to lively resorts. Have an amazing honeymoon.

  5. fantastic blog…thankyou

  6. Bob& Joyce Williams.

    August 11, 2014 at 11:43 am

    Thanks for all the interesting information on Shirley Valentine beach & taverna; we are visiting Mykonos in August 2014,and as a big movie location fan we will try and get to this one. Thanks Again.

  7. Nice blog! Been binge watching Shirley Valentine since its arrival on Netflix (at last) and decided to google the filming locations. Looks absolutely beautiful!

  8. Great blog. Love Greece and already visited twice this year. Have booked to visit Mykynos for my 40th,and I was tempted after watching Shirley Valentine(many times!!)
    Will defo visit this beach and it was great to be able to get an insight before we go in October

  9. I was in Mykonos in 1992 and found the tavern and hotel used in Shirley Valentine after much searching. It was March and they weren’t open then but at that time the tavern looked just like it did in the movie. Now I’m here again 23 years later and will go look at it again. Thanks for reminding me where it is.

  10. Hello! “Shirley Valentine” is my all-time favorite movie so I was thrilled to read your blog. Being a beach-goer and occasional surfer I do watch the ocean’s movements as a matter of course and I am curious about one thing: is the ocean there dangerous?

    • admin

      August 31, 2019 at 11:54 am

      I have never heard sea conditions at the beaches being described as “dangerous,” but of course there can be big waves and rough surf on windy days, especially during August when the infamous Meltemi winds are at their fiercest. I am aware of water sports-related accidents; however, those have all involved boats or other motorized vehicles. Drownings do occur at Greek beaches, but I’m sure many of the incidents involved people who were either swimming alone or who, unlike you, didn’t pay attention to the sea conditions.

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