Dream up an island paradise fit for a fairy tale, and it will probably look something like Mykonos. A Greek island located in the endless Aegean Sea is whitewashed heaven in the heart of the Cyclades. With its charming villages, tiny blue and red domed churches and also crystal clear turquoise waters, it’s easy to understand why pictures from Mykonos cover many travel guides.
Glitzy and glamorous by night, once a poor fishing island is now perhaps best known for its summer party atmosphere. Famous dance clubs with world-known DJs are a playground for mega-rich and famous. However, the vibrant nightlife is not the only reasons to visit Mykonos. Dig deeper, and you will discover the other side of the island. Iconic windmills, beautiful beaches and also spectacular scenery make this stunning island look like a watercolour painting come to life. With traditional Greek tavernas serving anything from tasty souvlaki to delicious Gyros, it is impossible not to fall in love with Mykonos. And now you will be forgiven for thinking there is no reason why to visit “the party animal of the Cycladic islands”.
We’ve picked up 13 of very best things to do in Mykonos. Get ready for your Mykonos itinerary with hidden ruins and delicious treats. You will find here everything. Now you need to start putting your unforgettable adventures together. Ready?
THINGS TO DO IN MYKONOS:
1. MYKONOS TOWN (CHORA)
Mykonos town may be busy during the day, but it draws the crowds for a reason. Nearly every visitor will begin their journey in the island’s capital town, also known as Chora.
It may be small, but it is certainly one of the best examples of traditional Cycladic architecture. Mykonos town is genuinely gorgeous and is undoubtedly worth spending a half-day. The picturesque place with endless small streets is also home to several churches and other monuments. Those interested in history should visit the Archaeological Museum. A good option is also Aegean Maritime Museum and the Folk Museum.
2. EXPLORE THE STREETS OF CHORA
Chora is Mykonos how you imagine it. The beating heart of the island with a maze of narrow whitewashed lanes with colourful windows and doors is a popular attraction for visitors in Mykonos. Wander the streets of Chora with colourful bougainvillaea trees and discover many hidden churches.
3. LITTLE VENICE
Alefkantra is another charming neighbourhood that your trip to Mykonos would not be complete without visiting. An elegant housing district named “Little Venice” has got its name due to similarity with Italy’s Venice. A scenic area on the western part of the town has a row of buildings with colourful balconies directly on the Aegean Sea edge. Alefkantra is surely one of the most romantic places in Mykonos. Besides, it is one of the best places to watch spectacular sunsets.
Watch the sun going down in one of the gorgeous old houses that have been converted into café and restaurants with balconies perched over the sea or admire the famous windmills standing on the hillside above.
GOOD TO KNOW:
Little Venice is home to many trendy bars and also cafes which can be very noisy at night.
4. KATO MILI WINDMILLS
Little Venice may be among the most famous spots in Mykonos town, but there is another attraction you should not skip. Stroll through Little Venice to nearby windmills and enjoy relaxing walk with magnificent views of one of the most Instagrammable places of Mykonos.
There used to be 28 windmills around the island, but only 16 remain today (7 of them can be found on the western side of Chora).
Built by the Venetians in the 16th century, the whitewashed Kato Mili windmills have become a symbol of Mykonos. Nowadays they are one of the most recognizable landmarks of the island.
The Kato Mili Windmills are another excellent place to watch the sun to go down. Take a short hike to the famous windmills and watch nature’s magical show. You won’t regret it!
5. PANAGIA PARAPORTIANI
At the heart of Mykonos town, a striking example of Greek architecture can be found. The Panagia Paraportiani is certainly one of the most photographed churches in Mykonos. What’s more, it is a perfect example of Cycladic architecture. A two-storey whitewashed building consisting of five joined churches is surely notable for its asymmetrical shape. Four different architectural styles and the absence of external decoration are just some of the reasons why this impressive church is an unmissable attraction in Mykonos Island.
The churches were built during centuries; the most iconic Panagia Paraportiani is dating back to the 15 century.
6. OLD HARBOUR
While staying in Chora, make sure you take time to visit the old harbour. Located just around the corner from Little Venice, the old port is a place where you can spot Petros the Pelican. It’s the official mascot of Mykonos. Enjoy a quiet walk in the old harbour and watch moored yachts and cruise ships in the distance. The charming restaurants and souvenir shops can also be found here.
GOOD TO KNOW:
Due to its close proximity to the cruise ship terminal, the old harbour can get very busy. Daily ships to Delos Island are leaving from the harbour. Hence, swimming is also not recommended here.
7. TRY DELICIOUS GREEK FOOD
When you are done with exploring the beautiful alleys of Mykonos town, visit one of many traditional tavernas and try delicious Greek cuisine. Keep your energy up and order plenty of food in one of the fine restaurants. Alternatively, keep it real with meals from the local tavernas. You can’t go wrong!
Dip into delicious Greek dishes such as souvlaki at “Souvlaki Story” taverna in Chora (Mykonos Town). With a couple of small tables outside of this taverna, you will be forgiven for thinking this was a tourist trap. But actually, it is a perfect place to enjoy lunch on a beautiful summer day.
8. WATCH THE SUNSET IN MYKONOS
Greece is well known for its beautiful sunsets, and those in Mykonos are certainly not an exception. Watching the sunset in Mykonos is more of a ritual. However, some of the viewing spots are better than others, for some of the best sunset experience, head to a unique 180° Sunset Bar. Perched on a hill overlooking Mykonos town, 180° Sunset Bar provides breath-taking panoramic views of the old harbour. A chic outdoor bar with a series of terraces is located in a beautiful setting offers legendary views as the sun sets over the Aegean. Sipping delicious cocktails and listening to lounge music during the magical hour of the day is undoubtedly an experience not to be missed when in Mykonos.
180° Sunset bar surrounded by nature
GOOD TO KNOW:
180° Sunset Bar is a part of the Mykonos Castle Panigirakis. The best way to reach 180° Sunset Bar is by foot, but be prepared – the road leading to the hidden bar is quite steep. If walking isn’t your thing, you can also drive a car (or also ATV). However, the single-lane road is narrow, and you might struggle to find a parking space.
Once you get there, be prepared to splash some cash – specific tables are available only with a reservation and a minimum spend amount. Don’t forget to bring a very fat wallet – drinks are priced around € 15 per drink. Arrive early to get the best possible location to watch the sunset.
Sunsets in Mykonos
Besides the famous 180° Sunset bar, there are tons of other places to witness the sunset in Mykonos. For uninterrupted views of the descending sun, head to charming Little Venice or famous windmills.
9. CINE MANTO
Need a break from the busy touristy streets of Mykonos? Visit Cine Manto, located in a tranquil setting in botanical gardens in the heart of Mykonos town. Watching a movie under the stars in an open-air cinema is a perfect way how to finish a day and definitely one of the best things to do in Mykonos.
GOOD TO KNOW:
There are two movies daily every night during the summer (1st June – end of September) at 9 PM and 11 PM with the possibility to grab a meal in a restaurant. The movies are in original version with Greek subtitles.
10. MYKONOS BEACHES
With 25 golden sandy beaches and crystal clear waters, Mykonos beaches are a magnet for visitors during the summer months. With super clubs such as Cavo Paradiso, Paradise Club and Super Paradise, regular busses run around the island to bring party souls to the fabulous beach parties.
The best Mykonos beaches are Psarou (the island trendiest beach), Elia (the largest beach on the island, gay-friendly, nudism friendly), Paradise (the famous party beach), Super Paradise (the party beach, gay-friendly), Panormos (gay and nudism friendly), Paraga (the alternative to the Paradise beach, nudism friendly), Ornos (the beach ideal for families), Agios Ioanni (the secluded beach ideal for snorkelling and swimming), Agios Stefanos (families, water sports), Agios Sostis, Kalafatis (popular among families and windsurfers).
Ornos, a small fishing village located just 2 km southwest of busy Mykonos towns, strikes the perfect balance between the urban hip and Cycladic charm. Visitors flock to Ornos for its crystal clear turquoise waters with almost no waves and soft white sand, but Ornos offers much more. Take time to visit flea markets and charming tavernas, walk around and admire the picturesque Mykonian architecture that makes Ornos unique.
Known for its authentic taste and beautiful scenery, the village is a popular destination and can get very crowded during the high season.
The outdoor enthusiast can try sea-skiing or windsurfing on nearby Korfos beach. With regular bus connections, Ornos is an ideal getaway for couples and families looking for a memorable holiday.
GOOD TO KNOW:
Boats run to the island of Delos and to the nearby beaches from this small village.
If history is what you are after, take a day trip to the neighbouring island of Delos. A small inhabited island is just a 30 minutes ferry ride from cosmopolitan Mykonos (depending on the weather and sea conditions). This ancient island is one of the most important historical sites in Greece. Delos Island, the birthplace of Apollo and Artemis is a World Heritage Site. Therefore, it is protected by UNESCO.
13. MYKONOS NIGHTLIFE
Once you have done sightseeing; why not visit one of many bars and clubs in the evening? Widely known for the vibrant nightlife, Mykonos is one of the most popular destinations for young people in Europe. Mecca for celebrities and party-loving souls, Mykonos is home to many chic nightspots across the island. The best out of the town’s clubs are located in Paradise, Super Paradise Beach, Kalo Livadi, Paraga beach and Psarrou beach.
With vibrant beach and night clubs with famous DJ’s, there is no doubt that Mykonos is a world-famous party island. Grab some cocktails and watch the sun to go down in a renowned 180 Degrees Sunset Bar. Alternatively, enjoy one of many cocktails in a romantic Caprice cocktail bar, located in Little Venice in Chora. For some of the wildest parties where you can party all long night head to Cavo Paradiso, the Scandinavian Bar or to Paradise Club.
Mykonos island, a world-famous party Greek island, boasts the best party scene in the Cyclades.
Greece’s ultimate party island, also known as “the party animal of the Cycladic islands” is also famous for being a gay-friendly destination. Two big bars Babylon and JackieO, both located near Paraportiani church in Mykonos Town, are trendy gay spots attracting queers travellers from around the world.
EXTRA NOTES ON MYKONOS: PRACTICAL INFORMATION
HOW TO GET TO MYKONOS:
- GO INDEPENDENT:
BA flies direct from London Heathrow to Mykonos and Easyjet offers services from London Gatwick, Luton and Manchester. Flying time from London to Mykonos is about 4 hours. Alternatively, take a ferry from Athens to Mykonos island (you can do some island-hopping too).
GOOD TO KNOW:
During the summer months, direct flights are easier to find. If you book in advance and with a little research, you can find some bargains (consider visiting the island before or after the busy summer season).
- GO PACKAGED:
GETTING AROUND MYKONOS:
Getting around Mykonos isn`t tricky. Ecologically minded travellers and those who are after clubbing should consider using the buses connecting Mykonos town with the other parts of the island. With one of the best bus systems in Greece, the buses run frequently, and the cost of travel is cheap. The bus schedule is in English, and they are available in many hotels.
GOOD TO KNOW:
Two bus stations can be found in Chora (Mykonos Town): the southern bus station is known as “Fabrika” and “Remezzo” the northern station.
The buses from Fabrika leave every hour during the winter (or every half an hour during the summer months). The bus ticket costs usually between €1 and €2 for a single journey (paid by cash) with routes to beaches such as Paradise Beach, Paraga etc.
Remezzo station located behind the Archeological Museum serves the eastern villages and beaches (Kalafati, Elia, Kalo Livadi and Ano Meral). The buses run every 2-3 hours.
Taxis might be the most convenient mean of transport; however, it is the most expensive way of travelling (rates are fixed with no meters). The average price from Ornos village should be around €10.
The other option is a car – public car parks can be found around the ports, and the bus stands (however you might struggle during the peak season). With plenty of opportunities to rent vehicles (cars, scooters and quad bikes), it is a perfect way how to explore the island.
Drivers coming from outside of the EU need to have an international driver`s permit.
The last option of how to get around Mykonos is to take a water taxi boat. “Mykonos Cruises” handles trips from Platys Gialos beach.
WHERE TO STAY IN MYKONOS:
If you need a break from the hustle and bustle of Mykonos town, the OSOM Resort situated in the popular village Ornos could be an excellent choice for you. A gorgeous island-chic lifestyle resort, located just a few minutes’ drives away from busy Mykonos town, is the perfect getaway for a relaxed holiday. The contemporary spacious rooms with breath-taking views suit both families and couples alike. A minimalistic designed boutique hotel near Ornos and Korfos beach keeps you away from the crowds during the peak season, while it is just a stone’s throw away from restaurants and bars.
BEST TIME TO VISIT MYKONOS
With beautiful sandy beaches, crystal clear waters and picturesque Mykonos town, it is easy to understand why Mykonos has become one of the most famous Greek islands. Visitors flock to Mykonos in millions, hence make plans upon your personal preferences.
For those who are after good weather in Mykonos, the best time to visit the island is during July and August. With the lowest rainfall and the warmest weather, it is also a perfect time for swimming. As a result, the island is packed with visitors, and the prices skyrocket. Make sure you pre-book in advance.
For those who would like to save some money, the best time to visit Mykonos is in the low season (April, May and October). With no crowds, sunny weather and more space on the beaches, it is an ideal time for exploring the island. Morning swims are refreshing, and hotel rates are lower. Be aware that some bars and restaurants might be closed. It is the best time to grab a bargain.
For those who are after the wildest nightlife, the best time to visit Mykonos is during the summer months. The best time for clubbing is late June until the middle of September, with the busiest time in late July and also August. The famous clubs and beach parties with DJ are drawing the crowds to the island. Days are warm, however, expect hordes of tourists.
Mykonos, one of the most popular Greek Islands, is certainly also one of the most expensive islands (along with Santorini).
MONEY SAVING TIPS IN MYKONOS
- travel during the off-season (June, September and also October)
- don’t stay in Mykonos Town: the further you go from Chora, the cheaper it gets
- use public buses – it is the most affordable way around the island, and the buses will save you the hassle (there is not enough parking space on the island)
If travelling to Mykonos by ferry, booking in advance can save up to 25 % of the price. The overnight ferry can save you a lot of money too.
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