Beach buffs don’t even have to budge from their comfy lounge chairs to get a drink – Tropicana Beach Bar staff will bring food & beverages right to them
The massive Cavo Paradiso after-hours club complex overlooks the Paradise area from its sprawling location on the hillside at the southeast end of the beach
Party central: I’ve heard the wild stories and I’ve seen the crazy videos on YouTube, so I know Paradise beach is the place to go if you’re young and looking for beach fun on Mykonos. But since I’ve only seen Paradise in May or early June, when the beach party scene is just beginning to rev up, I haven’t been able to experience any of the real craziness first-hand. And so, I’m sorry to say, I don’t have any personal tales to share about raucous and lewd booze-soaked adventures at the beach.
The times that I have been there, Paradise beach has been nicely laid-back and relaxed, an almost perfect place to chill out and enjoy the sun, sand and sea. That’s basically the polar opposite of what I have heard Paradise is really all about — and what most people would imagine one of the top party beaches in the Mediterranean to be like. But I know Paradise is a completely different place between mid-June and September. If I went back during that period, I probably wouldn’t recognize it — if I could even see through the crowds.
Early June 2004: our first visit to Paradise
Our first peek at Paradise Beach was from this coastal path at the west end of the bay, back in June 2004. Music from the beach bars carried all the way across the water, and it sounded like some major partying was in progress.
Almost there! Just a few more minutes and we’ll reach the beach
Looking toward the beach area directly in front of Freddy’s, a self-serve take-out restaurant, and the ever-popular Tropicana Club
The beach was far from crowded — dozens of people were there, but plenty of lounge chairs and umbrellas were vacant
First time: Our introduction to Paradise beach was back in 2004. It was the first week of June and the weather was terrific — sunny and hot in the late afternoon. We were staying at Platis Gialos beach, and decided to walk to Paradise along a scenic coastal path that would pass Paraga beach en route. The bars and tavernas along Paraga were packed with people, so we figured Paradise would really be hopping. When the trail turned into Paradise Bay and gave us our first glimpse of the beach in the distance, we could hear the throbbing beats of dance music booming right across the water. It sounded like a big party was in progress.
Mixed crowd enjoying a sedate beach scene
But once we reached the sandy beach, the scene was way more sedate than we were expecting. There was a mixed crowd, with an obvious gay presence at the western quarter of the beach and an apparently straight crowd everywhere else. A few naked men were laying on towels on the sand or swimming in the water near the gay end of the beach, while the straight section was far busier with dozens of sunbathers relaxing on rental lounge chairs. Only a few women were topless. Surprisingly, the music wasn’t nearly as loud as it had sounded from the other side of the bay — and there was no dancing, no shot drinking contests, and no wet T-shirt competitions anywhere. There wasn’t much partying, period, and we almost felt let down.
An hour or so later, though, some sexy bikini-clad young women began dancing at the Tropicana Club, closely watched by the single males standing at the bars or sitting nearby. Meanwhile, a small group of college-age guys started dancing and taking pictures of each other at a club with a huge outdoor terrace next to the gay end of the beach. But as the sun started going down and shade fell across the beach, the bars didn’t get any busier, and the partying didn’t get any wilder, even though the music got louder. The “crowd” gradually started to thin out as people began heading back to their hotels at Mykonos Town or other parts of the island (there isn’t much accommodation at Paradise beach besides a campground and limited number of rental rooms and studios, so most visitors stay elsewhere), so we decided to return to our hotel, too.
Mid-May 2006: Our second visit to Paradise
Overlooking Paradise from the hill at the west end of the beach in 2006
A few people were having fun in the chilly water …
… but most were either sunbathing or playing paddleball …
… or lounging with a drink at one of the bar areas on the beach
Lounge chairs and umbrellas at the east end of the beach
Looking toward the west end of the beach. If you cross up and over the hillside at left, Paraga beach is just a short walk away
Overlooking Paradise beach from the hillside next to Cavo Paradiso
Overlooking Paradise bay from the hillside next to the Cavo Paradiso complex. Paraga beach is on the other side of the peninsula in the middle of the photo, while Delos and Rinia islands are visible in the distance.
Overlooking Cavo Paradiso and Paradise beach from a parking area above the club
Looking toward the northeast from atop the hill above Cavo Paradiso. Another Mykonos party beach, Super Paradise, sits at the foot of the bay almost totally blocked from view by the mountain with the white houses on its side
Lounge vibe: The next time we went to Paradise was mid May 2006 and, though there were significantly many more people on the beach than we saw in June two years earlier, the place was considerably quieter. No dancing or partying anywhere, just dozens of people soaking up the sun while chilling out to the dreamy lounge music filling the air. You could count the number of nudists with just one hand, and there was virtually no gay presence on the beach at all.
We had a drink at one of the beach bars, then hiked up the hill where Cavo Paradiso is situated so we could check out the views. The scenery is amazing. The Mykonos coastline stretches off to the west, and Delos and Rinia islands are visible in the far distance. In the other direction, farm fields stretch toward Super Paradise bay, chest-high stone walls enclosing each property. A flock of curious sheep interrupted their grazing to watch us take photos, then scurried away when we moved closer. The only people we saw were three guys in their 20s who came walking toward us across one of the fields, each carrying a bottle of Mythos beer. They said they had been told they could easily walk to Super Paradise beach along a path that supposedly starts somewhere above Cavo Paradiso, but they turned back after 15 minutes because they got tired of climbing over stone walls and running from guard dogs without finding the trail. (We had heard Super Paradise was a short walk away, too, but we didn’t see the trail anywhere, either). We wound up walking back down to Paradise, had a drink at the beach, and headed over to Paraga instead.
Table dancing entertainment in May 2011
Looking across the bay toward Paradise beach on the coastal trail from Paraga
The beach is just below the big stone wall above the rocky point
Overlooking Paradise bay from the hillside above the west end of the beach (which is just behind the stone wall at left). The vast Cavo Paradiso entertainment venue is the collection of white and stone buildings on the hillside at upper right.
Looking towards the beach in front of Freddy’s and Tropicana Club
Looking toward the water sports section at the east end of the beach and rows of lounge chairs and umbrellas outside Tropicana Club
The beach in front of Tropicana Club
The sea was cold but a few people were brave enough to get wet
Mainly male crowd: Last year we went to Paradise on May 18. The music was thumping loudly when we approached the beach, again from the trail that winds along the coast from Paraga, but once more we found that Paradise wasn’t crowded and most people were just laying in the sun on lounge chairs. No nudists anywhere, only a few women sunbathing topless, and guys clearly outnumbered gals by a 2:1 ratio. But this was an almost totally straight crowd. In fact, the once popular gay end of Paradise was almost vacant, and the clubs and bars along that section of beach had not even opened up for the season.
Podium dancers at the Tropicana
Things were a little lively at the Tropicana Bar, where a couple of dozen people drank cocktails while watching a long-haired brunette in high heels and a black bikini strut her stuff and dance on a podium near the bar. She was joined soon after by a fellow with long brown hair who got up to show off his own moves on another podium. Then a few more people got into the action, including a woman who danced by herself, cocktail in hand, and a group of about eight young guys and gals who sang, clapped, cheered and danced on top of several tables beside the bar. That was the most excitement we’ve seen so far at Paradise. Pretty tame, I realize, but it was early season and things were bound to get steamy by the end of the month.
All-night fun at Cavo Paradiso in July & August
Cavo Paradiso, the cavernous entertainment venue on the hillside above the southeast end of the beach, wasn’t even open yet. It was still getting ready for the summer season, and threw its opening party on May 21 & 22, continuing with its “spring break series” the last weekend of May. The club can squeeze 2,000 people into its open-air facility, which typically doesn’t open its doors until shortly after midnight and keeps them open until the party dies down, usually after sunrise but sometimes as late as mid-morning. Cavo threw 11 big parties during June, and had a busier roster in July with 24 major events featuring leading DJs from around the world. The club had an event every night in August but slowed things down in September with just nine bashes, including its famous Full Moon Party on September 12. Closing party was September 16.
Down on the beach itself, the celebrations would get into higher gear by the end of May, with the Tropicana Club and the Paradise Club both packing in steadily-growing numbers of party-seeking tourists from around the world. Or so I’ve been told (I have to take other peoples’ word for it!)
In a nutshell, Paradise is a decent beach to visit in May if you’re not interested in frenzied partying and just want to relax with a drink while you listen to good music and enjoy scenic views of Paradise Bay. But if partying long and hard is your main reason for going to Mykonos, schedule your trip for sometime between June and early September so you won’t be disappointed.
Looking down on the west end of Paradise Beach. This section of beach used to be popular with gays and nudists, but that seems to have changed drastically since we first saw the beach in 2004.
Last May there were no nudists, and no obvious gay scene, at the section of beach that used to be popular with both groups of visitors
The west end of the beach didn’t have any lounge chairs or umbrellas installed yet
There was plenty of space to throw down a towel or bamboo beach mat if you didn’t want to rent a lounge chair and umbrella
Cavo Paradiso, on the hillside above the east end of the beach, didn’t open for the season until three nights after we went to Paradise beach
Every time I see it, Cavo Paradiso seems to have expanded across more of the hill
Looking across the sand toward the far west end of the beach
Lots of sunbeds are available for rent in May
The beach has views toward nearby Naxos island
Plenty of vacant sunbeds on the beach outside Tropicana Club
Freddy’s restaurant has tables on a terrace right beside the beach
A reserved table outside Freddy’s restaurant at Paradise beach
Freddy’s restaurant offers self-serve hot and cold food and beverages
Unlike other popular Mykonos beaches, Paradise isn’t surrounded by resorts and hotels. There are only a few buildings with rental rooms and studios in the area. This one on the hillside near Cavo Paradiso …
… is home to Da Stefano restaurant, which serves seafood and Mediterranean dishes. It was not yet open when we visited Paradise beach last May.
If you don’t have a rental vehicle, you can get to Paradise beach by local bus, or by taking one of the shuttle boats from Platis Gialos
By mid June, this bar will be packed with customers
A group of friends parties at the Tropicana Beach Bar
A bikini-clad podium dancer is about to get some competition from a male member of the audience at Tropicana Beach Bar
Tropicana Club sign over the exit to the Paradise beach parking area
Graffiti on the wall of a building near the Tropicana Club
To go to Paraga beach, you have to walk up this rocky path at the west end of Paradise beach and walk five minutes down the hill
This unusual round structure and a tall stone wall occupy on the hill at the west end of Paradise beach