Mykonos is one of the most popular islands to visit in Greece. This island is famous for shopping, beach parties, and the very photogenic Mykonos town. Whether you visit Mykonos to party, to go shopping, or just to see what this island is all about, here are the best things to do in Mykonos, with suggestions on how to plan your visit here.
Fun Facts about Mykonos
According to Greek mythology, the island is named after Mykonos, the grandson of Apollo.
Also according to Greek Mythology, Mykonos was formed when Hercules defeated the Giants. The petrified bodies of the Giants became the rocks that formed Mykonos island.
Mykonos is called “The Island of the Winds,” since it tends to be breezy on a daily basis.
Mykonos is located in the Cyclades, an archipelago that also includes Naxos, Santorini, Delos, Ios, and Milos, just to name a few (there are over 200 islands in the Cyclades, but many of these are tiny and uninhabited).
Petros the Pelican was a famous celebrity in Mykonos town. This pelican was the official mascot of Mykonos for 60 years. Now, another pelican roams the town of Mykonos. Peter the Pelican is a large, coral pink pelican that wanders the restaurants and waterfront. We briefly saw him before he ducked into a restaurant at the harbor of Mykonos. Keep your eye out for Peter!
Map of Mykonos
Best Things to do in Mykonos
Explore Mykonos Town
Mykonos town is fantasyland of whitewashed buildings, narrow streets, colorful doorways, upscale shops, and small blue and red domed churches. Exploring this maze of walkways is one of the best things to do in Mykonos.
Mykonos town is also called the Chora, which is Greek for the town. On the Greek islands, its common practice for the main town to share the name with the island.
Mykonos town is small and it doesn’t take much time to walk from one end to the other. However, this literally is a maze of narrow streets that all look the same. I read that this was done on purpose, in order to confuse pirates who would come to Mykonos and raid the town. The labyrinth of streets and the dead-ends were one way the town could protect itself against these invaders.
Matogianni Street, located near the center of the Mykonos town, is one of the picturesque parts of town.
Paraportiani Church, also known as the Church of Our Lady, is one of the most photographed churches in Greece (so I have read). It sits at the entrance into the Kastro neighborhood and it is actually five churches built on top of each other.
Little Venice is a row of fishing houses with balconies that jut out over the water. Built in the 18th century, these houses were used by merchants since they could have direct access to the sea. Now, some of these houses have been converted into cafes and restaurants.
Little Venice is another popular photo spot in Myknonos. Get here in the early evening, grab a seat at a café, and watch the sunset.
The Kato Mili Windmills
If you venture out beyond Mykonos town, you will see windmills all over the island. However, the most famous windmills sit right next to Little Venice.
Taking advantage of the island’s windy conditions, the windmills were used by the Venetians for grinding grain. Now, the windmills have been converted into homes, storage facilities, and accommodations for travelers.
From the windmills you get a very nice view over Little Venice. This is another great spot to watch the sunset (or the crazy line of storms that pounded the island during our visit).
Explore the Old Harbor
Just around the corner from Little Venice is the old harbor of Mykonos. Restaurants line the beach, a tiny church sits at the entrance to the main dock, daily cruises to Delos leave from here, and colorful fishing boats bob in the water.
Take a Day Trip to Delos
Delos is a small island in Cyclades and it is one of the most important archeological and mythical sites in Greece. The island is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Stone huts that date back 5,000 years have been found here. The island is literally filled with ancient archeological sites.
According to Greek mythology, this island is the birthplace of Apollo and Artemis.
Delos is uninhabited but it is a very popular day trip destination from Mykonos. From Mykonos, it takes roughly 30 minutes by ferry to get to Delos. Once on the island, you can take a self-guided tour that lasts 90 minutes or longer, depending on your interest level. Return to Myknonos by ferry.
You can book your ferry tickets at the small ticket booth in the harbor at Mykonos town. Ferries sale roughly about every hour, starting at 9 am. A round trip ferry ticket costs €20. Entrance tickets to Delos are €12. You can visit Delos on a daily basis from 8 am to 8 pm from mid-April through the end of October. Learn more here.
You can also tour Delos with a guide. Viator and Get Your Guide both offer guided tours of Delos from Mykonos.
We did not visit Delos although it sounds amazing. Kara got seasick on our ferry ride from Athens to Mykonos, so the last thing we wanted to do was to put her through the misery of two more ferry rides the same day. Delos is on our to-do list on a future visit to Greece.
Paradise and Super Paradise Beaches
Paradise and Super Paradise Beaches are Mykonos’ famous party spots. These small stretches of beach are lined with restaurants and clubs. From the afternoon into the early morning hours, this is the most lively spot on Mykonos.
During our visit in mid-April, Paradise Beach was rather tranquil. The bars and restaurants were open, but there were only a handful of people here, curious people like ourselves. Not big into the party scene, we weren’t disappointed that we didn’t get to see Paradise Beach filled with bikini clad beachgoers and the craziness that makes this spot so famous. However, between the months of June through August, Paradise Beach has a much different vibe from what we witnessed.
Go Beach Hopping
If you are not into the beach party scene, there are a bunch of quieter beaches where you can relax and soak up the sun. We visited several of these beaches, getting around by car, but with only one day on the island, could not visit all of them.
Kapari Beach is a tiny beach located about 15 minutes away from Mykonos town. Since the last stretch of road to get here is a very narrow, rough dirt road, you will have to park in Agios Ioannis and walk the last little bit (or get here by ATV).
Road to Kapari Beach
Other beaches to try include Agia Anna Beach, Elia Beach, Fokos Beach, Agrari Beach, and Lia Beach.
Agios Ioannis and its small beach
Agia Anna Beach
View from the lighthouse
The lady who ran our hotel recommended the Armenistis Lighthouse as a spot to get a great view over the island of Mykonos. To get here, is a winding, narrow road, and once here, the views are rather mediocre, in my opinion. However, during the drive back towards Mykonos town, the views opened up and this is what we saw.
Driving to the lighthouse is only worth it if you have a rental car, time to spare, and don’t mind driving on narrow, rough, winding roads.
About Our Experience
We visited Mykonos in mid-April. During our stay in Greece, whether we were in Mykonos, Naxos, or in Athens, we kept hearing that the weather this year was unusually wet, chilly, and windy.
On the day that we visited Mykonos, four thunderstorms rolled through, each one stronger than the one before it. The final storm of the day was strong enough to briefly knock out the power to Mykonos town.
The weather added a lot of drama to our day, and to our photos. Despite stormy conditions, we still got to do everything we wanted to do, so the weather had very little impact on our experience, other than occasionally soaking our clothes and shoes.
In April, Mykonos is just coming out of hibernation mode. Restaurants are just beginning to open their doors and work is still being done to open up hotels. Our visit coincided with the Easter holiday week, so even though it was the off-season, there were more people than you would expect for this time of year. Even so, Mykonos felt rather empty (which was wonderful!).
To be completely honest, Mykonos did not live up to our expectations. Yes, it’s gorgeous, especially the town of Mykonos and the beaches that dot the shores of the island. But for all of the hype it receives, it failed to “wow” us. We enjoyed our visit and I’m glad we saw it, but this was not the island that stole our hearts (out of the three islands we visited, Naxos was by far the family favorite).
Getting to Mykonos
Blue Star, Seajet, and Hellenic Seaways all operate ferries to Mykonos.
From Athens, it takes 3 to 5 hours by ferry to get to Mykonos. Seajet offers the quickest ride on their smaller catamarans, but these are also the bumpiest ride, since the ferries are smaller.
We used Seajet, leaving Athens at 7 am and arriving in Mykonos at 10 am. Kara got seasick on this journey. If you tend to get seasick, consider using Blue Star or Hellenic Seaways. Their boats are bigger and more stable in the water but the journey will take longer (5 hours vs. 3 hours).
To book our ferry tickets, we used Ferryhopper.com. Their website is easy to use and there is no additional fee for using their service. You will need to pick up a printed ticket before you board the ferry, and you can do this at the port in Athens or at the Ferry Hopper office in Athens.
Whether or not you book your tickets through Ferry Hopper or directly with the ferry company, you will have to pick up your tickets. However, if your order your tickets far enough in advance, you can have them mailed to you, for an additional fee. Maybe things are different with Hellenic Seaways or Blue Star, but Seajet (and Ferry Hopper) does not offer electronic tickets.
To check schedules and learn about your options for getting to and from Mykonos by ferry, check out the Ferry Hopper website. You can get information on all of the companies that run routes to and from Mykonos.
During the summer months, there are daily flights between Athens and Mykonos. Flight time averages 25 minutes.
Getting Around Mykonos
You can get around Mykonos by car, bus, taxi, water taxi, ATV, scooter, and by foot.
We rented a car for a few hours to explore the island. We were rather shocked at the condition of the roads. The roads are pockmarked with tons of potholes and the roads that lead to the beaches are either dirt roads or narrow, paved roughs in rough condition.
The view while driving in Mykonos
When in doubt, just follow the street signs.
Despite the condition of the roads, we loved having the freedom to explore the island on our own. We rented our car from Avis, located right next to the old harbor.
Our experience with Avis was not great. On their website, they list their hours of operation from 9 am to 10 pm. When we picked up the car, they told us that they are only open until 8 pm, but today, they were closing at 6:30 pm. I think it’s just because they felt like it. When we returned the car at our agreed upon time, no one was at the office. Tim called them and the agent was at the beach. We had to wait 10 minutes for the agent to arrive so we could complete the rental.
To learn more about the different ways to get around Mykonos, here is an article that does a great job explaining your options.
When to go to Mykonos
June through August is peak season. Expect hot temperatures and large crowds. May and September are your best bets for decent weather and a less crowded experience. Despite the crazy weather conditions we experienced during our visit, mid to late April is a great time to visit Mykonos to see it relatively crowd free. It will still be a little bit too chilly to swim at the beaches, but it’s worth it if you like to avoid the crowds. From November through March, expect chilly, sometimes wet weather and there will be fewer restaurants and hotels open for business.
How Much Time Should You Spend in Mykonos?
One full day and one night gives you just enough time to wander Mykonos town and spend some time at the beach or day trip to Delos. If you want to go beach hopping or explore the island outside of Mykonos town, you can add another day or two.
For us, one day was enough time. Knowing what I know now, I would have rather spent our afternoon at Delos than beach hopping and driving up to the lighthouse, but then again, we didn’t want to put Kara on another boat.
Where to Eat
Unfortunately, most of the restaurants I had on my list were still closed for the winter season. If you want Italian, the place to go is D’Angelo Mykonos, located right in Mykonos town. We had a wonderful experience at Raya Restaurant for dinner, a Mediterranean seafood restaurant. Other great restaurants in Mykonos town include Captain’s, M-Eating, and Caesar’s.
Blue Myth Restaurant and Avli Tou Thodori are highly-rated restaurants located in Platys Gialos which is a small, beachfront town on the southern part of the island.
If you plan to visit Mykonos during the busy summer months, make your dinner reservations in advance.
Where to Stay
LUXURY: Myconian Korali Relais & Chateaux. This 5-star hotel is located just outside of Mykonos town. Some rooms offer a private plunge pool and terraces with views over Mykonos town. If you are looking to splurge, check out the Era Junior Suite with private pool.
UPSCALE: Boho Suites. This is where we stayed. Rooms are large and come with a small living area and kitchenette. On the terrace is another seating area and private hot tub. There is not much of a view from the terraces at this property. We stayed in suites #1 and #2, which are on the lowest level. We had no view but loved having access to a hot tub. From Boho Suites, it takes just 5 minutes to walk to the Old Harbor.
MID-RANGE: Chill Out Studio. This property offers studio rooms and apartments, so if you want some extra space or the ability to cook your own meals, this makes a nice option. Chill Out Studio is located within walking distance of Little Venice and it offers a terrace with a small pool.
MID-RANGE: Aeolos Hotel. Located within walking distance of Mykonos town, this property offers modernly decorated rooms, a large outdoor swimming pool, and free airport and ferry port transfers.
BUDGET: MyCocoon Hostel. Located just a few steps from the harbor, dorm rooms have a creative layout where the beds are tucked away into “cocoons,” giving you some privacy even though you are in a large dorm room. They also offer several private rooms as well.
Are you planning a visit to Mykonos? Comment below if you have any questions or feel free to share your experience.
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