The Greek Islands: Things to Do in Mykonos

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No matter the weather or temperature, there always seems to be a strong breeze whipping over the water on its way to Mykonos. There's a reason, after all, that Mykonos is often referred to as “the island of the winds.”

But the wind, of course, is not the only thing Mykonos is known for. It's also known for its string of windmills, its trendy beaches, its white-washed Chora, and its gay-friendly vibe. And of course its thumping nightlife that draws backpackers and celebrities alike.

Mykonos

I won't lie — Mykonos was not the island I was most looking forward to visiting in the Greek Islands. I had heard that this popular Greek Island was expensive, and usually overrun with cruise ship passengers. And, sure enough, three huge ships were tendered in Mykonos' port the first morning I woke up there. And it WAS more expensive than any of the other Cycladic islands that I visited.

But you know what? I'm still glad I went. Mykonos is definitely worth visiting, especially if you go towards the end of the tourist season like I did. You just have to know what to see and do and when.

Mykonos

Places to go in Mykonos

Mykonos town

Mykonos' Chora (“Town”) is probably the biggest must-see on the island. Here you'll find the string of windmills the island is known for, plenty of shopping in a pedestrian-friendly zone, and some nice restaurants in an area known as “Little Venice.” Book a walking tour of the old town in order to see all the highlights.

My biggest tip? Go into town in the afternoon or evening when the cruise ship passengers are off on shore excursions or heading back to their ships to have the best chance of traversing the maze-like streets of the Chora without having to dodge elbows. And be sure to keep an eye out for Mykonos' mascot, Petros the Pelican, here!

Mykonos "Little Venice"
Mykonos' “Little Venice”

Mykonos town

Mykonos

Mykonos "Little Venice"

Mykonos' windmills

From the Chora, climb the hill to visit Mykonos' windmills — the icons of the island. They sadly don't actually function anymore, but they're still very pretty and the views out over the town from here are scenic. I would guess that this would be a great spot to watch the sun set from.

Mykonos Windmill

Mykonos windmill

Delos

From Mykonos, you can easily catch a ferry over to the small island of Delos for the afternoon. Delos is said to be the birthplace of Greek god Apollo, and its ruins are interesting to explore. (Read all about my visit to Delos, or book your own tour to Delos here.)

Apollo's birthplace on Delos

Beaches on Mykonos

Mykonos is known for its nightlife — much of which actually takes place on its beaches. But if you actually want to go to a beach on Mykonos to swim and work on your tan, check out:

Ornos

This family-friendly beach is popular with tourists and easily reachable from Mykonos town (by bus, taxi, bike, or even on foot if you don't mind walking a little while). You can rent a sun bed on the sand here (around 6 Euro for 2 beds and an umbrella) or grab food/drinks from any of the nearby bars and restaurants.

This beach WAS pretty crowded, but most beaches reachable by public transport on Mykonos are.

Ornos Beach, Mykonos
Ornos Beach

Other beaches

You can also check out Platys Gialos (another sandy, family-friendly beach with frequent bus connections), Psarou (an upmarket beach), Elia (a popular gay beach), and Paradise/Super Paradise (the main party beaches).

There are plenty more beaches on Mykonos, but many are difficult to access, especially if you are only relying on public transportation to get around. It's also worth noting that many of Mykonos' beaches permit nudity. So just… be aware of that.

If you want to easily visit more of Mykonos' beaches, considering booking a full-day Mykonos beach hopping tour.

Nightlife in Mykonos

Paradise/Super Paradise beaches

The parties at these beaches usually kick of around 4 p.m., and can last well into the wee hours of the morning. Just be aware that getting to these beaches can be tricky at night. Paradise is the easier of the two to reach — buses from Mykonos town, shuttles from the Old Port, and boats from Platys Gialos will get you there, but there don't appear to be as many options to return once the party has died out. And good luck being able to catch a taxi back — there are only a handful on the island.

Super Paradise is really only reachable by boat, though. My tour group really wanted to check this nude- and gay-friendly beach out one night, but we simply couldn't figure out a way to get there at 10 p.m.

Skandinavian Bar

Thwarted by the party beaches, we decided to party in Mykonos town instead. There are plenty of options here, even at the end of the tourist season (which is when I visited). One of the clubs that everyone seems to know about is Skandinavian Bar, where the cover charge is just the price of a drink. You'll find multiple levels and places to mingle, lots of younger travelers, and a fun disco playing dance music.

Skandinavian Bar Disco, Mykonos

What Makes Mykonos Special

I was afraid that Mykonos would be just another characterless destination that's been overrun by annoying tourists and drunken backpackers. But, somehow, despite its wild reputation, Mykonos still manages to cling to its unique Greek Islands identity. And I think that's great.

The practical stuff…

WHERE TO STAY IN MYKONOS

I stayed at Hotel Madalena, which is close to the Old Port. It was my favorite Greek Islands hotel, hands-down. The rooms were lovely and air-conditioned, and fitted with some of the most comfortables beds I've ever slept in while traveling. There were also balconies, a pool, good wi-fi, a nice reception area with seating to overlook the sea, and an amazing hot breakfast (that was included!). The hotel is a bit far out from the Chora (it takes about 30 minutes to walk to the Fabrica bus station, where most of the beach buses leave from), but this didn't bother me much in the end.

Other hotels worth checking out in Mykonos include:

Mykonos

WHERE TO EAT IN MYKONOS

Check out Marco Polo (at Lakka Square) for traditional Greek food and any of the restaurants along the water in Little Venice for fresh seafood. If you're like me and have frequent cravings for big, fat, juicy burgers, go to Black Bull right next to the Fabrika bus station, where the burgers are both tasty and affordable. Then head around the corner (back towards the windmills) for some gelato.

GETTING AROUND ON MYKONOS

Mykonos is a bit tricky when it comes to transport. Renting a car is not ideal because the Chora is closed to cars, and many beaches are unreachable by vehicle anyway. Many people choose to rent bikes, scooters, or quad bikes (ATVs), or just use their feet most of the time.

There are buses, too, but you'll only find two main bus stops in Mykonos town (one near the Old Port, and the other on the opposite side of town past the windmills). For bus times, check at the stations since the services change based on season and even time of day. You can expect to pay about 2 Euro per bus ride. Ferries are an option, too, during high season to reach many of the beaches, and there are a handful of taxis on the island that charge set prices based on where you're going (Mykonos to Ornos Beach was about 6 Euro).

So Mykonos — would you skip it or visit it?

 

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Things to do in Mykonos, Greece

 

*Note: I received a complimentary Greek Islands tour from Intrepid Travel through my partnership with them. All opinions, though, as always are entirely my own.

"It's a dangerous business, going out your door. You step onto the road, and, if you don't keep your feet, there's no telling where you might get swept off to." - JRR Tolkien

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28 Comments on “The Greek Islands: Things to Do in Mykonos

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  1. I’m looking forward to the day when we visit Greece. With our B&B we are only able to break away during the winter months, so we will have to wait for the day when we can visit Greece in the spring. In the meantime I enjoy reading about others visits and your photos are so pretty, very colorful and sharp images. Glad you enjoyed Mykonos. Have you ever seen the classic film, “Moon Spinners” with Haley Mills? It was filmed on Mykonos and the windmills are a key part of the movie.

      I hope you’re able to get away sometime to see Greece for yourself! And no, I haven’t seen that movie – but I may have to check it out now!

    It sure looks gorgeous, no matter how overrun by tourists it might be. Love the new ‘Practical stuff’ box, btw! Makes it super easy to find all relevant information 🙂

      It was VERY pretty. Though, just wait til you see my Santorini post!!

      (And I’m glad you like the new info box! I definitely want to start using them more.)

    I love the colours of Greece, I’d love to get there one day. You’d think they’d make it easier to access the party beaches at night… it would be a good way to cash in on those tourist dollars.

      I agree, Shaz! I was really surprised that there weren’t more shuttles/buses going to the party beaches at night. Then again, I WAS there in September, which is the end of the season. Things may have been different in July and August.

    Omg, it looks so beautiful there! Whenever I see photos from Greek islands I melt inside… They look so amazing! I love the white houses with the round roof… So characteristic! Sounds like a great island. Will put it on the bucket list 🙂

      Yes, Mykonos just screams “Greek Islands”! Very pretty indeed.

    Ahhh…eye gasm happening O.o there is an intense and minimalistic beauty of Mykonos. Just the white roads and buildings with the bright blue roof. Like it is frozen in time.

      It DOES kind of have that feel to it, Ryan. I was actually a bit surprised – I didn’t expect it to have a whole lot of character now that it’s mostly known as a party island. But it totally does!

    I went to Super Paradise Beach this past September. At 4pm, I could not find a taxi back to my cruise ship. The beach is too far for the limited taxi drivers to want to make the ride over there. You are better off renting your own car.

      Ah, bummer! Yeah, like I said, that beach seems tricky to get to. And, if you’re going to drink, I certainly wouldn’t recommend driving there yourself!

    […] — Believe it or not, food on Santorini is actually affordable — less expensive than on Mykonos, in fact! Some Santorini specialties include cherry tomatoes and white eggplant, along with fresh […]

    great little tour guide! I never got to that island but I did want to!

      Next time, for sure! (And glad you liked the guide – I tried to include all the things I look for in a quick guide!)

    I can’t wait to hear about Santorini 🙂 ! She’s winning at the moment

      I’ve posted about Santorini, Phoebe! Look for the post on the homepage of my site!

    As I’ve said a bunch of times before — can’t get enough of your blog 🙂 So jealous.
    I’m thinking of traveling to Italy and Greece in March 2015. I’ve read your posts on both and I’m really trying to figure out what to see in 4-5 days in Greece and which parts to skip. Also, what is the best way you recommend to get to the islands? I’ve heard the boats can be really really rough. Thanks as always for all your advice

      Hmm, 4-5 days really isn’t a very long time! I would say maybe spend some time on the mainland (if Athens is of interest to you), and then pick an island and pop over there for a couple nights. I’m not sure what most of them will be like in March – probably pretty quiet. Maybe consider Santorini?

      As for transportation, some of the islands DO have small airports. You could look into flying from Athens. But I’m not sure if that would be cost-effective or not. I took ferries between the islands and had no issues. They have super fast ferries that you can pay more for that would get you there in half the time – maybe look into those!

    I’d definitely recommend Mykonos. I shared the same worries that it may be an expensive, over-developed tourist destination. But despite all that, Mykonos maintained its unique identity. Other than the famous trio of tourist magnet (Kato Mili, Panagia Paraportiani, Little Venice), I’d really recommend climbing up the town to Boni’s Mill. Not only that the view from up there is amazing, but going through the small alleys on the way there is quite an experience too!

    Are there any clubs open in mid November In Mykonos on Fridays?

      I have no idea, to be honest. I was there in mid-September, and a lot of things were already closed down for the season. You might find something open in November, but I’m really not sure!

    Probably September and November are the best seasons for Greek islands to avoid all this cosmopolitan noise and still have enough sun to tan. Also hotel prices are down to half.

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