You may not have been to Mykonos but you’ve probably seen this gorgeous Greek Island somewhere. If you’ve seen a picture of small white, flat-topped buildings constructed on hillsides that slope into the rich blue waters, it just might have been a photograph of Mykonos sitting pretty in the Aegean Sea.
Lying southeast of Athens, Mykonos is a coming together of natural and manmade beauty. The blue-green seawater ebbing into its golden beaches in some parts, & white-washed topography in others, has been inviting tourists from all over the globe for over five decades now. Over the years this place has licensed many restaurants, bars and cafes on its hillsides & beaches and has taken on the title of ‘the party island of Greece.’
Here are the top 10 things to do in Mykonos to make the most of a holiday on Greece’s party island.
1. First of all, go beach-hopping!
Mykonos is an island. And that, means there’s plenty of beaches here. But then again, all of these beaches are very different. Mykonos’ beaches can be classified into party beaches, beaches with activities like scuba diving and windsurfing, family-friendly beaches, the quiet(er) beaches and the beaches that allow you to go nude/do some skinny dipping in its waters.
The beaches in the south and southwest seem to be the ones where most of the action is. Paraga, Psarrou, Ornos, Paradise and Super Paradise are some of the most popular beaches on the island. Paradise and Super Paradise are the beaches to dash to if you are here to party. If quieter beaches are your thing, go for Agios Ioannis and Agios Sostis. If you are visiting with kids and seniors, Paraga and Ornos are known to be the most family-friendly beaches. Lia Beach is also perfect for kids to play on. Psarrou Beach is where the rich and famous hang out.
2. Go to Paradise or Super Paradise and party like there’s no tomorrow
The beaches that most stand out are the party beaches. Paradise Beach and Super Paradise Beach are known world-over for their partying ways. These beaches turn into vibrant locales in the late afternoon and the partying goes on until daybreak. A large part of the tourists to this island come for the music, booze & good times on the beach.
3. Walk the lanes of Mykonos Town
Mykonos Town aka The Town aka Chora is the capital of Mykonos and is one of the most-visited neighborhoods on the island. It is made up of shops, houses, restaurants, bars and a couple of churches, all united in color. A stroll through the cobblestoned lanes of the town is pretty much like walking through a white maze often accented with pops of blue or red on doors, railings or domes.
One of tourists’ favorite things to do in Mykonos is to delight in shopping and window shopping in this pedestrian-friendly town. While you are in Chora, you might also want to go see Boni’s Windmill or visit the Folklore Museum or Lena’s House (which also showcases the interiors of a traditional Greek home).
The harbor is another attraction here in the town of Chora. And beside it is a small beach.
4. Chill out at Little Venice
Little Venice is another picturesque neighborhood of Mykonos. The area is known for its waterfront buildings that are literally on the edge of the western part of the island. The multi-story buildings here were once homes of wealthy islanders. Today, many of them are restaurants that also treat tourists to the sights and sounds of the turquoise waters that surround the island.
Another iconic view to catch while you are here are the windmills that stand tall to the south of the area.
5. See the windmills up-close
The windmills of Mykonos are unmissable. Also painted in the signature white of the Cyclades, and fitted with conical thatched roofs, these structures once ground wheat using the strong winds that these parts are blessed with.
Whether you want to take back some postcard-perfect pictures from Mykonos or some selfies for your Instagram, these windmills now serve as imposing backgrounds and one of the best things to do in Mykonos. It is also a great place to be for sunset views.
Five of these windmills —collectively called Kato Miloi — are located near Little Venice. There is also one close to Mykonos Town — Boni’s Windmill which is now a museum. If you are visiting during peak season you will get to go inside and see the mill and how the building was put to use back in the day.
6. Venture into Ano Mera
Located towards the middle of the island is the village of Ano Mera. It’s not as busy as the coast but still has some things to show visitors to Mykonos. The main attractions here are ruins and views of the northern coast.
It’s one of oldest neighborhoods in the island and has its own share of windmills, too. While you are here you might want to go see the ruins of the Gyzi Castle and what is left of an ancient market. Apart from that, there are a few churches and monasteries here in Ano Mera.
7. Try out the wind and water activities
Mykonos is known as ‘the island of winds.’ As such, windsurfing and kitesurfing are popular activities that let you take advantage of the wind that blows from the north. Several beaches around the island have offer these fun sports.
The Aegean Sea also promises you rewarding experiences if you choose to go swimming, scuba diving or snorkeling here. If you don’t mind leaving the Mykonos Coast, you could also go check out the sea caves, rocks and marine life at Dragonisi, just off the eastern part of the island.
8. Explore the villages
After having seen Choro, Little Venice and Ano Mera, if you have the time and would like to see more of this Cycladic island, you could go see what the other villages of Mykonos have in store. Tourlos, Agios Ioannis, Ornos, Psarrou, Platys Gialos, Kalafati, Ftelia and Agios Stefanos are the villages to pick from.
9. See what the museums tell you about the Mykonos’ past
For history junkies and nerds, the museums of Mykonos are great to take a look into Mykonos’ past. The Archeological Museum, Folk Museum, Lena’s House and the Aegean Maritime Museum & Lighthouse are some of the things to do in Mykonos to learn more about the olden days of Mykonos.
10. Look out for Mykonos’s pet pelicans
The party island of Greece also has a relationship with pelicans. The stories of the land talk about a wounded pelican that chose to make Mykonos home. It’s said that the pelican was found by a fisherman and was nursed back to life but refused to leave even after it was well. The residents of the island called him Petros and were very fond of it. They even went into mourning when it died.
Later a couple other pelicans were gifted to the island to take the place of Peter-the-Pelican. Yet another pelican is also said to have been found wounded and adopted by the people of Mykonos. Keep an eye out for them while on the island!