Modern-day Mykonos is photogenic and touristy. The landscapes, the bright blue of the Aegean Sea surrounding it & its party vibes have put this Greek Island on the international tourist map. However, Mykonos was not always the party island of Greece! It has a long history behind it as the excavations, and the artifacts in its museums will tell you just that. Read on for a complete Mykonos travel guide.
Mykonos’ history dates back to the 11th century when the Ionians moved from Athens and made this Cycladic Island home. And Mykonos’s main town, Chora was where the leadership chose to live and rule from.
Over the years this island seems to have been ruled by many ancient powers like the Romans, Venetians & Turks. Several leaderships and a war later the local people took back ownership and the place went through its own struggles.
It was in the later half of the 20th century that the seeds of present-day Mykonos were sown. Over the decades, the island attracted artists, hippies and the wealthy to its shores and Mykonos began to embrace tourism.
Mykonos and Greek Mythology
Seemingly named after the grandson of Apollo, this island in the Aegean Sea also finds mention in Greek Mythology. Some stories talk of Mykonos as the place were Hercules fought a war against an army of Giants and turned them into rocks. Others mention it as the island that was formed when the defeated giants were petrified in the Aegean.
The island of Mykonos does have a lot of rocks adding drama to the already stunning water and golden sand around it.
What to see and do in Mykonos
People from all over the world fly or sail to Mykonos to drink, dance and have a blast at the party beaches and clubs on the island. As much as it is a place for trips with friends and girls trips, honeymooners and families have tons to do on the island.
Several beaches facilitate sporting activities like windsurfing and kitesurfing. The wind here makes it an ideal place for activities like this. It’s a great spot for scuba diving and snorkeling, as well.
There are also quieter beaches where tourists to Mykonos can relax and watch the sun go down.
Read my list of Top 10 Things to do in Mykonos for even more than is included in my Mykonos travel guide.
This island to the southeast of Athens caters to tourists from all over the world, so it has several world-famous restaurants and beach bars offering some the best food and drink you can find.
There’s a lot of Mediterranean food here. You’ll find everything from simple Greek cooking to super-fine food. You’ll find European cuisine, as well as Asian.
And I must add that the island also specializes in seafood, not to mention wine and cocktails!
Check out my list of Best Restaurants in Mykonos when you plan your Mykonos holiday to get some specific options that aren’t included in my Mykonos travel guide. And make sure you book your tables/sunbeds months before your trip.
Mykonos is quite an awesome place for an avid shopper. Even though it’s a small island, it has a lot to offer in terms of shopping.
Chora is the main place to go shopping. Everything from clothes to accessories are housed in the small white buildings of the town, often spilling into the cobblestoned narrow lanes between them. As such, window shopping and exploring Chora easily go hand-in-hand.
Along the touristy lanes of Mykonos Town you’ll even find big labels. Some of the popular restaurants on the island also have stores selling dresses, jewelry and other goodies.
The island of Mykonos lies in the Aegean Sea and is one of the islands of the Greek archipelago that’s known as the Cyclades. Like most of its neighboring islands, it is painted primarily in white to beat the heat of the warm summers of the Mediterranean Climate.
Another thing that needs to be mentioned are the winds that blow here. Mykonos gets a lot of wind blowing in from the north gifting it the nickname, ‘the island of the winds.’
The beaches in the north seem to receive the most wind. That might be why the most happening-beaches are towards the south of the island.
The wind that Mykonos receives is also used for several sporting activities around the island. In the early days, Mykonians tapped the wind energy and used it to grind grains that were brought in from neighboring areas. The windmills in several parts of the island are testimony to that.
Best time to visit Mykonos
What would a Mykonos travel guide be without including when to visit? Mykonos doesn’t exactly have severe weather, so anytime is a good time to visit Mykonos if you are looking for a pleasant holiday in the Cycladic islands. It does rains in the winter as ‘Mediterranean’ is the climate here.
If you are traveling in the off-season you won’t have to deal with the large crowds that Mykonos is known for. However, some of the popular restaurants might be closed when it is not tourist season. But, say you want to experience first-hand the vibrance of the island & party into the morning hours, summer is the time to go. The peak season is from June to the end of August.
It is 5 hours away from Athens if you choose the more popular water route. There are also some air carriers that fly into Mykonos in the summer. A lot of people also visit the island on cruises.
Once on the island, you can take buses, taxis or water taxis to get around the island or go beach hopping/club hopping. You could also opt for jeep rides or rent cars or ATVs.
If you are visiting during peak season, you will have many places to choose from as far as your accommodation is concerned. Being a popular tourist place, Mykonos has everything from luxurious hotel rooms with great views and private pools to a few hostel rooms available for comparatively inexpensive stays. You’ll find a host of budget hotels and vacation homes, also. Some of the beaches in Mykonos allow you to camp, too.
You might want to make your choices based on whether you would like to stay where all the action is or in one of the quieter places and whether you would like views of the sea or of Mykonos Town.
Make sure to make your reservations well in advance. During peak season, Mykonos can fill up. And if you are traveling during the off-season, you will find that several hotels are restaurants are closed.
Lying in the Cyclades, Mykonos neighbors many of the islands of the archipelago, so despite this being a Mykonos travel guide, other spots must be included! That makes it easy to fit in a day-trip or two to the islands around it.
One of the most popularly done day-trips is to Delos. Delos is an uninhabited island, a half-hour-ferry-ride away from Mykonos. It is mainly an archeological island showcasing several structures & ruins from the ancient days. It is also mythologically important. Delos is said to have been the birthplace of Apollo and his twin, Artemis.
Other places you could travel to from the party island include Naxos (an hour and a half), Paros (around 3 hours from Naxos), Tinos (2 hours) & Siros (around 2 hours).