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. [Editor’s update: Christo’s is now Pili Restaurant.} 




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.

As for the beach: it’s nicer than I had expected, though it does feel much smaller and narrower than most of the island’s other major beaches. I would go back if travelling in May, early June or September, but would probably avoid it during peak season since it looked like it could get crowded quickly. (When we were there, it was incredibly serene — perfect for relaxing.) And it’s really not as out of the way as I had thought — only about 4 km. The bus runs regularly (it made seven return trips per day in May) and cost only €1.60 each way. We’d actually like to stay in Ag. Ioannis on a future visit since it was such a quiet area. Maybe next year … 

Keep scrolling to view a series of photos we shot on our walk to Agios Ioannis, as well as the beachfront itself.  More photos from our hike can be viewed in the Mykonos 2011: Agios Ioannis album on the mygreecetravelblog.com Facebook page.


Agios Ioannis bay on Mykonos

Approaching Agios Ioannis bay on Mykonos from a road atop a nearby hillside


cactus on the hillside above Agios Ioannis bay Mykonos

Cactus on the hillside above Agios Ioannis bay


Agios Ioannis Bay on Mykonos

Overlooking the bay and Delos Island from the road to Ag. Ioannis


a blue domed church at Agios Ioannis Mykonos

A blue-domed church on the hillside above Agios Ioannis Bay


sign along the road to Agios Ioannis beach on Mykonos

Vegetation obscures most of this sign next to the road above the beach …

  Shirley Valentine sign above Agios Ioannis beach Mykonos

… but a closer look confirms we’ve nearly reached “the Shirley Valentine beach”


sign for Ag Ioannis beach on Mykonos

A sign on the roadside points the way to the beach and Hippie Fish …


Agios Ioannis beach Mykonos

… which are at the bottom of the road that forks to the left


Agios Ioannis beach Mykonos

The beach road has views of Delos island and the turquoise waters in the bay


Agios Ioannis beach Mykonos

The road ends at a parking lot right next to the beach

  road to Ag Ioannis beach on Mykonos

A look back up the long road that leads down the hillside

  the long road down the hill to Ag Ioannis beach on Mykonos

There’s a tall stone wall on one side of the road, and hotels on the other …


Manoulas Beach Hotel at Ag Ioannis beach on Mykonos

… including Manoulas Beach Hotel, the resort where some of the scenes from “Shirley Valentine” were filmed


Manoulas Beach Hotel at Ag Ioannis beach on Mykonos

One of the buildings at Manoulas Beach Hotel


Agios Ioannis beach on Mykonos

The parking lot next to Agios Ioannis beach

  Agios Ioannis beach on Mykonos

Beach umbrellas, turquoise water, and views of Delos island

  Agios Ioannis beach on Mykonos

Umbrellas casting shadows on the sandy beach

  Agios Ioannis beach on Mykonos

Looking to the right from the beach entrance beside the parking area


Christos taverna at Agios Ioannis beach Mykonos

The entrance to Christo’s taverna, which overlooks the beach. {Editor’s note: Since this visit, Christo’s has closed and Pili Restaurant has occupied the location.]

  Waves washing ashore at Agios Ioannis beach Mykonos

Waves washing ashore;  Ag. Ioannis is a mix of soft sand and pebbles


Agios Ioannis beach Mykonos

Looking towards Delos island from a sandy section of the beach


Agios Ioannis beach Mykonos

Waves sparkle under the bright afternoon sun


Agios Ioannis beach Mykonos

Two red-domed churches and a fishing boat at the far right end of the bay


Two churches at  Agios Ioannis beach on Mykonos

A closer view of the two churches next to the bay


Agios Ioannis beach Mykonos

Looking to the left from the beach entrance near the parking lot




Hippie Fish taverna at Agios Ioannis beach on Mykonos

Lounge chairs and umbrellas in front of Hippie Fish restaurant


Hippie Fish restaurant and bar at Agios Ioannis beach Mykonos

“Shirley Valentine” sign at the Hippie Fish entrance


Hippie Fish taverna at Agios Ioannis beach Mykonos

Lounge chairs and umbrellas on the beach below Hippie Fish


Hippie Fish restaurant and bar at Agios Ioannis beach on Mykonos

Part of the view from our table on the Hippie Fish terrace

  Agios Ioannis beach on Mykonos

Hippie Fish offers food & beverage service  on the beach


Hippie Fish bar + taverna at Ag Ioannis beach Mykonos

A group sitting area on the shaded beachview terrace at Hippie Fish; that’s the top-rated Mykonos Grand luxury hotel on the hillside in the background


Hippie Fish Mykonos

A stretch of soft sand  below the Hippie Fish terrace


Hippie Fish Mykonos

Another view of the open-air terrace (the restaurant has an indoor section, too)


Donny B at Agios Ioannis beach Mykonos

Taking one last look at Agios Ioannis beach before catching the bus to town


hotel at Agios Ioannis Mykonos

The bus to Mykonos Town stops across the road from Panthea Residence (above), which offers studio accommodations overlooking Ag. Ioannis Bay


Ag Ioannis Mykonos bus stop

Bus service times are posted on a stone wall along the main road at the top of the hill above Ag. Ioannis beach. In mid-May, there were seven return buses per day.


  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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