Last Updated on September 9, 2022 by Nellie Huang
In the dark indigo waters of the Aegean Sea, just north of the famous Santorini island, lies the tiny but flamboyant Mykonos Island. The glamor island is often associated with beach parties, upscale whitewashed resorts, and well-heeled jet-setters. But Mykonos is much more than that.
The Greek island also has a colorful kaleidoscope of indie boutiques, rocking bars, traditional windmills, and hidden churches all set against a brilliant blue backdrop. With over 65 beaches, there’s a beach for every kind of traveler on this island, from secret rocky coves to sugar-powdered strands. And it’s not just the water that sparkles in the sun on Mykonos, but also the white marble streets and buildings that characterize the island’s architecture.
One of the things I love about Mykonos is that it’s so small that you can easily explore the island on a moped (scooter) and in day or two. But definitely plan to stay a few more days, because Mykonos is one of the most beautiful Greek islands for good reason. Here’s my recommended list of the best things to do in Mykonos.
Table of Contents
- Things to Do in Mykonos
- Greece Travel Restrictions
- 3. Explore the Windmills
- 4. Learn about Local History at Mykonos Archaeological Museum
- 5. Stop by the Aegean Maritime Museum
- 6. Admire Paraportiani Orthodox Church
- 7. Visit the Folklore Museum
- 8. Take a Wander around Ano Mera Village
- 9. Catch Sunset at Armenistis Lighthouse
- 10. Do a Day Trip to Delos and Rhenia islands
- 11. Swim at Psarou Beach
- 12. Chill at the Laidback Ftelia Beach
- 13. Hang out at Paraga Beach
- 14. Go the Beach Club at Kalafatis Beach
- 15. See the Agios Ioannis Chapel on the Beach
- 16. Try Local Food
- 17. Go Wine Tasting
- 18. Scuba Dive in the Aegean Sea
- 19. Kitesurf along Korfos Bay
- 20. Party at Cavo Paradiso Club
- Mykonos Travel Guide
Things to Do in Mykonos
1. Wander around Chora
As soon as you arrive in Mykonos, the capital and largest town on the island, Chora, welcomes you with its whimsical setting. Lose yourself for hours in the maze of narrow pedestrian streets bedecked with bougainvillea and lined with tiny churches, tavernas, cafes and boutiques. Morning hours are ideal for a walk around, when the crowds are thin and temperature is pleasant. And it’s gloriously traffic free as motorized traffic is prohibited in Chora.
2. Have a Drink at Little Venice
Little Venice is the most distinctive part of Mykonos Town. The waves of the Aegean reach the waterfront Cycladic houses with their colorful wooden balconies, creating a photogenic seascape with a romantic atmosphere. You can even stay in one of the houses and have exclusive access to Mykonos’ most poetic sunsets.
Tip: One of the best things to do in Mykonos is to watch sunset at Little Venice, with a drink in hand. It’s worth noting that if you want to drink at one of the seafront bars, you should reserve a table ahead of time. The legendary Caprice Bar is my favorite!
3. Explore the Windmills
Mykonos windmills are one of the most famous landmarks of Greece, reminding us of the island’s history. The impressive white windmills can be found between the settlement of Little Venice and the Neochori neighborhood.
During the 17th and 18th centuries, the island had over 20 windmills that contributed to wheat production, which was an important product of the island’s economic development. Seven of them are currently in good condition and it’s definitely worth visiting them.
4. Learn about Local History at Mykonos Archaeological Museum
The tiny Archaeological Museum of Mykonos is close to the port in the heart of the island. It is famous for its extensive collection of vases, some of which date back over 2,000 years, as well as its one-of-a-kind sculptures, ceramics, and jewels. The museum is open from 8.30 a.m. to 3 p.m. daily, and closed on Mondays.
5. Stop by the Aegean Maritime Museum
The Aegean Maritime Museum located in Tria Pigadia village is a non-profit organization founded in 1983 with the goal of preserving and promoting Greek maritime history and traditions.
Admire replicas of rowing and sailing ships dating from prehistoric times to the present. It also hosts a large collection of maps, ancient coins and sculptures, reminding the glorious Greek maritime life. It is open to the public daily from April to October, from 10.30 a.m. to 1 p.m. and from 6.30 p.m. to 9 p.m.
6. Admire Paraportiani Orthodox Church
Despite being a small island, Mykonos is home to more than 70 Greek Orthodox churches. Most of them were built after the Byzantine period by local wealthy families as a way to thank God or honor a relative.
The Paraportiani church actually consists of five different churches, the oldest of which dates back to the 14th century! The intriguing orthodox church is easily accessible by bus from the main town, as well as by rental car.
7. Visit the Folklore Museum
After exploring the Paraportiani Church, duck into the nearby Folklore Museum, located in the quiet and less visited Kastro neighborhood. The Folklore Museum pays homage to the island’s history, displaying both traditional and historically significant pieces of Mykonos history.
It covers a lot of ground displaying everything from photographs to ancient tools. The museum has split hours meaning it is closed in the afternoon for the Greek siesta. It is open from 10:30 am until 2:00 pm and from 5:30pm to 8:30pm. Entrance is by donation.
8. Take a Wander around Ano Mera Village
Considering that Ano Mera is one of the oldest villages on the entire island, we were surprised to find it empty during our visit. Most travelers stop by to take photos at Paleokastro Monastery, but move on without stepping foot in this quaint rural village. It’s worth taking time to wander around the village, admire the quirky, colorful houses, and enjoy some peace and quiet. Visiting Ano Mera is definitely one of the best things to do in Mykonos if you want to get away from the crowds.
9. Catch Sunset at Armenistis Lighthouse
One of the most iconic landmarks of Mykonos is the Armenistis Lighthouse. This lighthouse pays tribute to the rich maritime history of the island. After a ship sank off the coast — 11 people lost their lives more than 100 years ago, the lighthouse was built as a safety beacon.
Coincidentally, the lighthouse is located at the best spot on the island to watch sunset: in the northwestern part of the island, and around 4 miles (6.4km) outside of Mykonos Town. From the lighthouse, you can see the silhouette of nearby Tinos island.
10. Do a Day Trip to Delos and Rhenia islands
One of the absolute best things to do in Mykonos is a daytrip to the nearby island of Delos. This island is an archaeological treasure, with some of the best historical sites in Greece. It is said to be the birthplace of the twin gods Apollo and Artemis. Here you’ll get to walk among the ruins of temples, houses, statues and sculptures, the majority of which date from the 6th century. Most day tours also take you to nearby Rhenia island for snorkeling and a refreshing swim.
11. Swim at Psarou Beach
When it comes to the best beaches in Mykonos, it’s difficult to choose one, but Psarou – just 2.5 miles (4km) from Hora – gets my vote. It attracts celebrities because of its fine sand, clear blue water, and beach bars known for their epic parties. There are several restaurants nearby that provide VIP service and a gourmet menu, as well as boutique shops that sell Greek and international brands.
12. Chill at the Laidback Ftelia Beach
Mykonos’ most bohemian beach is about a 4.3-mile (7km) drive north of Mykonos Town. Windsurfers love it, but almost everyone else avoids it because of the strong winds. As a result, it is never crowded, and sun beds are only available in a small section near the bar. Going up the steps to the bar for a view of the beach is worthwhile.
13. Hang out at Paraga Beach
Paraga beach is located between Psarou and Paradise and can be easily added to any list of the best beaches in Mykonos. You’ll love the restaurant and beach club scene here as well – it’s stylish, sophisticated and it blends in perfectly with the landscape. The water is shallow and the bay is shielded from the summer winds.
14. Go the Beach Club at Kalafatis Beach
This small, sandy bay named Kalafatis is one of the more exotic settings on Mykonos’ southeastern coast, just besides the picturesque Divounia Bay. Those who know Mykonos well say it’s their favorite swimming spot, with perfectly blended loungers and a restaurant serving fresh seafood and other delicacies. There is also a beach club open from early morning until late at night, as well as a scuba diving school on the beach.
15. See the Agios Ioannis Chapel on the Beach
Agios Ioannis is a sandy and shallow beach with a spectacular view to Delos Island. The beach was named after the Agios Ioannis Diakoftis chapel, located at the end of the beach. It’s ideal for a tranquil swim while still providing all the amenities you would expect, including traditional tavernas.
16. Try Local Food
Mykonos island has a lot of great restaurants and signature dishes that you have to try. My advice is to find a restaurant that merges local delicacies with incredible views of the Aegean, but be prepared to burn a hole in your pocket.
When on Mykonos, you have to try local favorites like louza, thinly sliced spicy pork, kopanisti, a wonderfully refreshing spicy cheese spread, and ksinotiti, the islands famous sour cheese. I recommend heading to Lalala for a simple but fresh brunch. If you’re celebrating something special, Noa Greek Restaurant is one of the island’s best fine-dining venue. For those who plan to drive around the island, my favorite spot is Kiki’s Tavern on the north coast. It’s a relaxed and authentic little grill that has views over the sea.
17. Go Wine Tasting
Not many people know this, but Mykonos actually produces its own wine. The island’s dry soil, windy nature and mild winters allow grapes to flourish, producing excellent and flavorful wines. Don’t miss the chance to visit a winery and taste their local wines along with some olives and snacks. We went on this wine tasting tour and absolutely loved the experience.
18. Scuba Dive in the Aegean Sea
Scuba diving is one of the coolest things to do in Mykonos for underwater explorers. If you love the Aegean waters, take it a step further and explore the seabed and underwater ecosystem by going scuba diving. The Mykonos Diving Center has been operating for all sea enthusiasts since 1978.
The experienced personnel and diving instructors ensure that the underwater experiences are enjoyable, safe, and exciting. Following marine safety protocols, the center provides all necessary equipment and safety instructions, while actively attempting to fulfill every guest’s desire.
19. Kitesurf along Korfos Bay
Mykonos, known as the “Island of the Winds”, has developed as a kitesurfing destination in recent decades. This fascinating sport is held at the magnificent Korfos bay, which is popular for being a kitesurfing hotspot.
The bay is only 1.5 miles (2.5 km) from Chora, making it accessible to everyone. You don’t have to have kitesurfing experience to try the sport: Kite Mykonos welcomes anyone interested in participating in this water sport activity. The experienced tutors ensure that each participant is provided with all safety measures before beginning their session.
20. Party at Cavo Paradiso Club
Cavo Paradiso club in Mykonos is an internationally famous party hub where everyone goes for an unforgettable experience. The club, which is located on a hill above Paradise Beach, is well-known for its distinctive aesthetics and architecture. The main attraction on the property is its specially shaped swimming pool, where all of the partying takes place. With world-famous DJs performing at the club, the legendary parties at Cavo Paradiso can easily attract over 3000 people.
Mykonos Travel Guide
How to Get to Mykonos
Despite its small size, Mykonos has an international airport: Mykonos Airport (JMK) is just 2.5 miles (4km) from town. There are direct flights to Mykonos from many European capitals, including Rome, Paris, Dublin, London, and Amsterdam.
Otherwise, you can easily fly to Mykonos from Athens for around US$100 return. Both Olympic Air and Aegean Airlines have around 7 flights from Athens to Mykonos every day during high season. If you choose Olympic Air, expect to fly with a Dash 8 prop plane of no more than 70 passengers while Aegean Air provides bigger planes (Airbus 320) for nearly 170 passengers.
In the summer months, you can also catch a ferry to Mykonos from the Piraeus or Rafina port in Athens. Fares range from 20 to 40 euros each way. It is a journey that can take between 2 and 5 hours, depending on which passenger/car ferry line you choose. Search for ferries to Mykonos here.
- Blue Star Ferry – Cheapest ferry that takes 5 hours, stopping in Syros and Tinos islands.
- Hellenic Seaways – Highspeed car ferry that takes over 3 hours.
- SeaJets – Fastest ferry that takes 2.5 hours with stops in Naxos and Santorini.
How to Get around Mykonos
The best way to get around Mykonos is by bus – the island has an efficient system that connects many towns and attractions. Chora banned motor vehicles, so everyone walks or rides a bike through town.
These now classic, carefree scooters are great for speeding around for whisking around the island. Hopping onto the moped and exploring new corners was my favorite thing to do in Mykonos. Unfortunately, bumpy, swerving island roads can be a little scary for inexperienced drivers. If you do wish to try one, you can rent a moped at several shops in Chora.
We don’t recommend renting a car – they’re expensive to rent, and parking is a pain. But families with young children or senior citizens might find it much more practical to hire a car. DiscoverCars.com has consistently given me the best rates and best customer service. Check out the best deals.
Best Time to Visit Mykonos
Mykonos experiences a typical Mediterranean winter: with temperatures soaring to 80°F (27°C) in summer and dipping to 51°F (10°C) in winter months. It’s best to avoid June, July and August, when the island is at its busiest and there are nonstop parties and pricey hotel rates.
The best time to visit Mykonos is during the shoulder season: March-May and September-October. This is when the large crowds have left, the water remains warm and the hotel rates descend back into a reasonable range. The winter months (late November to March) can deliver unpredictable weather, and it can feel surprisingly cold considering the wind. (After all, Mykonos is nicknamed “The Windy Island.”) Many restaurants and hotels will also shut during this period.
Where to Stay in Mykonos
Accommodation in Mykonos run the gamut from quaint hilltop escapes to waterfront bungalows and town-central historical homes. Mykonos villas may be pricey, but they’re so unique and tastefully designed that staying there is an experience on its own. Superb views, crystal clear infinity pools and an amazing culinary scene are just a few of the amenities available to guests.
The best area to stay in Mykonos depends on what kind of traveler you are: if you’re here to party, then book yourself into a boutique hotel in Mykonos Town; families will love Ornos and Platis Gialos; while those here for their honeymoon should stay in Agios Ioannis or Psarou.
Here are my recommendations for the best places to stay in Mykonos:
Ultra Luxury: Villa Polynices
The stunning 2-bedroom Villa Polynices is the perfect antidote for families and groups of friends to escape from it all. The view of the famous beach of Ftelia (only 2min drive) is spectacular. Its modern simplicity reflects the contemporary vibe of Mykonos, and there’s plenty of space for everyone. Check rates here.
Luxury: Cavo Tagoo
Only 10 minutes away from the beach and still in the center of Mykonos Town, Cavo Tagoo is one of the best hotels in Mykonos boasting cave rooms and superb panorama. It has an award-winning pool, plus a 130-foot aquarium bar and a fully-equipped spa. Every room is complimented with lush sea views. Check rates here.
Mid Range: Pelagos Studios
Conveniently located just steps from Plati Yalos Beach, Pelagos Studios enjoy a view of the beach and has easy access to most southern beaches of Mykonos. Their studios are modern and spacious and open to a patio or balcony with Aegean Sea view. Check rates here.
Budget: Sourmeli Garden
It’s a 12-minute walk from this Cycladic-style hotel to the nearest beach, Megali Ammos. But it offers great value for money with its traditional rooms with patios, spacious rooms, and free parking. Check rates here.
Disclaimer: This post contains affiliate links i.e. if you can book something through my links, I’ll get a small % of commission, AT NOT EXTRA COST TO YOU. I only recommend products and work with companies I trust.
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