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 a whitewashed heaven in the hearth of the Cyclades. With its charming villages, tiny blue and red domed churches and crystal clear turquoise waters it is 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, 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 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”.
THINGS TO DO IN MYKONOS
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 one of the best examples of traditional Cycladic architecture. Mykonos town is truly gorgeous and is certainly worth spending a half day. The picturesque town with endless small streets is also home to a number of 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.
EXPLORE THE STREETS OF CHORA
Chora is Mykonos how you imagine it. The beating heart of Mykonos with a maze of narrow whitewashed lanes with colourful windows and doors is a popular attraction for visitors. Wander the streets of Mykonos town with colourful bougainvillea trees and discover many hidden churches.
Little Venice is another stunning 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 district on the western part of the town with a row of buildings with colourful balconies directly on the Aegean Sea edge is one of the most romantic places in Mykonos and one of the best places to watch spectacular sunsets.
TIP: 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 cafes which can be very noisy during night.
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 and the most recognizable landmark of the island.
TIP: The Kato Mili Windmills are another fine 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!
At the heart of Mykonos town, a striking example of Greek architecture can be found. The Panagia Paraportiani, one of the most photographed churches in Mykonos is a perfect example of Cycladic architecture. A two storey whitewashed building consisting of five joined churches is notable for its asymmetrical shape. Four different architectural styles and absence of external decoration are one of the reasons why this impressive church is unmissable attraction while in Mykonos Town.
The churches were built during centuries; the most iconic Panagia Paraportiani is dating back to the 15 century.
While staying in Chora, make sure you take time to visit the old harbour. Located just around the corner from Little Venice, the old harbour is a place where you can spot Petros the Pelican – 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.
TRY DELICOUS 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 or keep it real with meals from the local tavernas. You can`t go wrong!
TIP: Dip into delicous 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 perfect place to enjoy lunch on a fine summer day.
WATCH THE SUNSET IN MYKONOS
Greece is well known for its beautiful sunsets and those in Mykonos are not 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 provides legendary views as sun sets over the Aegean. Sipping delicious cocktails and listening to lounge music during the magical hour of day is 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 ATV), however single lane road is narrow and you might struggle to find a parking space.
Once you get there, be prepared to splash some cash – certain 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.
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 9PM and 11 PM with possibility to grab a meal in a restaurant. The movies are in original version with Greek subtitles.
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 famous 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 clean turquoise waters with almost no waves and soft white sand, but Ornos offers much more. Take time to visit flea markets and adorable tavernas, walk around and admire the picturesque Mykonian architecture that makes Ornos unique.
Known for its authentic taste and beautiful scenery, Ornos is a popular destination and can get very crowded during the high season.
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 Ornos.
If history is what you are after, take a day trip to the neighbouring island of Delos. A small inhabited island, just a 30 minutes ferry ride (depending on the weather and sea conditions) from cosmopolitan Mykonos is considered to be one of the most important historical sites in Greece. Delos Island, the birthplace of Apollo and Artemis has been declared a World Heritage Site and is protected by UNESCO.
One 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 towns 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 famous 180 Degrees Sunset Bar or 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 night long 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 Cyklades.
Greece`s ultimate party island, also known as “the party animal of the Cycladic islands” is also a popular 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
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).
GETTING AROUND MYKONOS
Getting around Mykonos isn`t difficult. 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 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 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 opportunities to rent vehicles (cars, scooters and quad bikes), it is a perfect way how to explore the island.
GOOD TO KNOW: Drivers coming from outside of the EU need to have an international driver`s permit.
The last option 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 of Ornos, could be a great choice for you. A gorgeous island-chic lifestyle resort located just a few minutes’ drive 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 in close proximity to Ornos and Korfos beach keeps you away from the crowds during the peak season, whilst it is just a stone`s throw away from restaurants and bars in Ornos.
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 the most popular 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 a perfect time for swimming. As the results, 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 ideal time for exploring the island. Morning swims are refreshing and hotel rates are lower. Be aware that some of 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 middle of September, with the busiest time in late July and 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 also one of the most expensive islands (along with Santorini).
MONEY SAVING TIPS IN MYKONOS
- Travel during the off season (June, September and October)
- Don`t stay in Mykonos Town: the further you go from Chora, the cheaper it gets
- Use Public Buses – it is the cheapest way around the island and the buses will save you 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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