Mykonos is a beautiful Greek island in the Aegean Sea. As one of the closest Cyclades Islands to the Greek mainland, it is easy to take a ferry or plane from Athens to Mykonos. We opted for a plane and the flight was only 30 minutes long! This was our second visit to Mykonos. This time we stayed 3 days which seemed just about right to see and experiences the major attractions in Mykonos.
Mykonos is known as a “party island” for the young and rich. We’re not young or rich and definitely not partiers. If you’re looking for information on the best beach or bars to dance the night away, keep on looking. You won’t find that here. If you want to know how to best enjoy the beaches, food, and architecture of Mykonos, you’re in the right place!
Lodging in Mykonos
Visiting Mykonos can be very expensive, especially if you stay close to Mykonos Town (also called Old Town, Chora, and Hora) or near the “party” beaches: Paraga, Paradise, and Super Paradise. We stayed at the Yiannaki Hotel and absolutely loved it! We felt like family as soon as we arrived. We had a very early flight and got to the Yiannaki fairly early. Our room wasn’t ready so we were invited to get some breakfast then relax at the pool or the nearby (5 minute walk) Ornos Beach. They also asked if we had already arranged any tours because they would have been happy to scheduled some for us. How nice is that!
6 “Must Do” Activities in Mykonos, Greece
1. Beach Hopping
Mykonos is known for its party beaches in the south (Paraga, Paradise, and Super Paradise). However if hitting the beach at 5 p.m. and drinking until 3 a.m. aren’t your thing, not to worry! There is a beach in Mykonos for all tastes. We even visited Paraga and Paradise in the early afternoon and found them quiet and deserted.
In the North, you’ll find the quiet, gorgeous beaches, Agios Sostis and Panormos. We took an ATV to these beaches and felt a world away from the hustle and bustle of the busier beaches.
Our favorite beach was Ornos. One reason was the proximity to our hotel (we could walk to Ornos). It is also more family oriented. However, there were some topless sunbathers, so be forewarned. The sun loungers are pretty expensive at Ornos (20 euros for the day), but the water is super clear and calm. It is also lined with plenty of fabulous restaurants!
There are boat taxis that can take you beach hopping among the popular beaches from 6-7 euros one way. I also heard that you could buy an all day pass for around 20 euros, but we didn’t do that.
2. Rent an ATV or Scooter
Mykonos is a fairly small island. The bus system is pretty reliable, and taxis aren’t cheap, but reasonable. However, to truly see all that the island has to offer, rent an ATV or scooter. It is very cheap. It is easy to navigate Mykonos, but parking around beaches and Mykonos Town is limited, so an ATV or scooter is easier to park than a car. We mainly used our ATV to explore the beaches in the northern and southern ends of the island.
We rented one ATV for the 2 of us for 20 euros a day (30+ in high season) which also included a hotel pickup. We had to refill the gas tank before returning the quad bike. Next time, we’ll either get one with more horsepower or rent 2 of them. Ours had problems going up hills and one time I actually had to get off and help push! Even though we saw a lot of people not wearing helmets, to us, the chance of an accident and head trauma, wasn’t worth going without helmets. You’ll need your driver’s license so don’t leave home without it.
We weren’t able to rent a scooter because we didn’t have an EU or international driver’s license. Our hotel said that some will rent you a scooter regardless of your license, but that if you have an accident it won’t be covered by insurance and the Greek police will not be happy with you!
3. Wander Around Mykonos Town
Mykonos Town is Instagram heaven. Think narrow walkways winding between whitewashed buildings. From almost every building, vines climbed the walls with bright pops of flowers! You will get lost, but that’s part of the appeal. Some say the town was made like a maze to confuse invading pirates. One tour guide told us that the buildings were covered with a limestone plaster. The lime would kill the bacteria in the rainwater collected from the roofs. Another tour guide told us that the blue and white (colors the Greek flag) homes were a way to rebel against the Ottoman Empire during the occupation of the Greek mainland and islands. Regardless of the reason, the harmonious setting makes for great pics!
4. Take Lots of Photos
Another iconic setting for photos is the old windmills in Mykonos Town. People gather here every evening to watch the sunset. Another popular place for sunset pics is in Little Venice. Little Venice is a row of restaurants and bars right by the waterside, not far from the windmills.
My favorite thing to photograph in Mykonos was all the little chapels that dot the islands. Our tour guide told us that there were over 200, but I saw estimates ranging from 500-800 chapels! Most of these chapels are only open 1 day a year. Greek Orthodox celebrate their “name day,” not their birthday. Each day of the year has a designated saint. Each chapel is dedicated to a specific saint. On that saints day, the chapel is opened for all those celebrating their name day. At the end of the day, the chapel is locked up for another year.
So for example if your name is George, this year St. George was celebrated on April 23. On April 23, every Greek Orthodox with the name George celebrated their name day. The chapel dedicated to St. George was unlocked so all the Georges in the area could come to the chapel and pray. Then that chapel was closed until April 23, 2018 when the doors will be opened again!
5. Enjoy Fabulous Food
Food isn’t cheap in Mykonos, especially in the tourist and beach areas. However, some of our best Greek meals were in Mykonos. For our list of Greek food and drinks read What to Eat & Drink in Greece.
6. Take a Day Trip to Delos
Delos is an island 3.5 km southwest of Mykonos. It is the largest archeological site in Europe. The whole island was a holy sanctuary for more than 1,000 years before Greek mythology deemed it the birthplace of the twin gods Artemis and Apollo. This place is huge! Think Pompeii, but an entire island! Only 10 percent of the ruins have been uncovered, mainly for the protection of the ruins. This is an extremely windy area, so the less exposure to the elements, the better for the ruins.
To get to Delos (closed on Mondays), you can buy a boat ticket then hire one of the guides waiting for tourists at the site or do a self-guided tour. I highly recommend a guide. The island isn’t marked very well, and it includes a town and sanctuary area. We bought a boat transport/guide combination ticket. The trip and tour took us half a day.
There is little shade on Delos so water, a hat, and sunscreen are a must. Also, bathrooms are scarce so use the toilet on the boat or before you leave Mykonos.
Have you been or want to go to Mykonos, Greece? Please share by commenting below! Any questions? Please ask!
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