Mykonos is one of the most popular islands in Greece. A whitewashed paradise made of stunning Cycladic views, breathtaking beaches, and endless things to do. If this is your first time on the island, check this guide for first-time visitors to discover what to do in Mykonos.
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- Here’s the reading challenge!
- Preparing the Travel and Reading list
- 1. Gabriel García Márquez, One Hundred Years of Solitude
- 2. Jorge Luis Borges, The Aleph
- 3. J.R. R. Tolkien, The Lord of the Rings
- 4. Antoine de Saint-Exupéry, The Little Prince
- 5. Nikos Kazantzakis, Zorba the Greek
- 6. Tiziano Terzani, A Fortune-Teller Told Me
- 7. Sujata Maasey, The Sleeping Dictionary
- 8. David Lodge, Small World
- 9. Stephen King, On Writing, A Memoir of the Craft
- 10. Lonely Planet, The World: A Traveller’s Guide to the Planet
- Final words… (and here is where I cheated!)
Mykonos: First impressions
We were ecstatic to set off on our very first visit to Greece, a trip that would include island hopping between some of the most stunning Cyclades isles, including gorgeous Mykonos. If I’m completely honest, we were in fact a tad bit apprehensive to include an island known for its party atmosphere and for drawing in streams of tourists annually due to its popularity.
But we were pleasantly surprised. Not only is the island absolutely beautiful, both in its architecture and natural beauty, but it also offered up so much to see, do and explore, meaning we were busy for the full four days we spent on Mykonos.
As such, I’ve decided to share with you all my experiences, tips and tricks to help you plan the perfect visit to this quintessential Greek Island. This is not even to mention the food as well as the incredible hospitality, the latter of which was the best we came across throughout our trip.
How to Get to Mykonos
Getting to Mykonos from Athens and many of the other larger islands shouldn’t be a hassle at all.
Although you can catch a flight from Athens to Mykonos on Aegean Air, with a flight time of around 40-minutes, we opted to travel by ferry from the Piraeus port in Athens. Depending on the ferry you book, the trip could last anywhere between 2.5-hours to just over 5 hours on the much slower services.
Especially during the busier summer months, ferry operators do offer more regular, scheduled departures compared the quieter “non-touristy” months.
Tip: Consider making use of a comparative site such as Ferryhopper or Letsferry. These sites will show you the various ferry operators, their departure times, and prices based on your search criteria. You are then also able to book your ferry ticket directly through these sites too, saving you the time and hassle of jumping between the individual operator websites.
When to visit Mykonos
It is safe to say that the absolute peak season in Greece, especially the islands, is during the much warmer summer months of July and August. Usually, during these periods the islands may be overcrowded and for this reason, I would steer clear of these months.
We visited at the end of May into early June and found this time of year perfect. The weather was warm and the island wasn’t too overrun with visitors. Similarly, the months of September and October are also a great time to visit too.
Where to stay in Mykonos
Mykonos Town (Courtesy: Marcos Santos)
If you prefer to be based in the heart of all the action, then the Old Town of Mykonos is definitely the place to be. But, if you don’t mind being located a little way out of the town, then I’ll let you in on the best-kept secret in Mykonos.
A short 20-minute walk from the Old Town is the incredible boutique guest house, Aether Boutique Stay, that we checked into for our stay in Mykonos and undoubtedly the best hospitality we have ever experienced.
Athena and her husband were incredibly attentive, spent time at check-in to explain and walk us through all the island has to offer. Together with all the other personal touches and recommendations, it is still one of the best places we’ve stayed at.
Conveniently located right next to the guest house you will also find a bus stop, with regular bus services also running into town as well as to the beaches too.
How to get around in Mykonos
Since we decided to stay quite central, we were able to easily get around on foot or by making use of the bus service as mentioned.
To get to and from the most popular beaches we also opted to make use of a water-taxi, which was a fun experience in itself.
Of course, if you want to explore more far-flung areas of the island then renting a car would be the best option. There are also plenty of ATV rental stations in the old, which is yet another very popular mode of transport on the island.
SUPER SMAR TIP: It’s a great idea to hire transfer services in advance when visiting Mykonos, this way you’ll avoid waiting in line for the bus or a taxi at the port (or airport) during the peak hours, or when a cruise arrives at the island!
5 Top Things to do in Mykonos
With so much to see and do on the Island, here are my top 5 things to do whilst visiting Mykonos.
1. Visit the beaches of Mykonos
Elia Beach, Mykonos. (Credits: Marcos Santos).
The beaches in Mykonos are simply out of this world and any beach-lovers dream! As such, lazing on the golden sandy beaches and admiring the stunning crystal-clear waters of the Aegean Sea, is one of my top recommendations for Mykonos.
Some of the most popular beaches include Psarou Beach as well as Platis Gialos beach, both of which are easy to reach by bus. We, however, opted for the stunning beaches of Paraga beach, Paradise Beach, Super Paradise, or even Elia Beach.
You can reach these by ATV if you prefer but we took the bus to Platis Gialos beach and then hopped on the water-taxi that travels along the coast, making stops along each of these beaches that offer regularly scheduled departures throughout the day.
Most of these beaches also offer sun-loungers that you can rent for the day as well as beach bars and other facilities you’d expect to find.
Are you visiting Mykonos with the family? Check all you need to know about staying in Platys Gialos and the best things to do in Mykonos with kids.
2. Discover Chora, the old town
The Mykonos Old Town, or Chora, is the capital of Mykonos and a picturesque maze of whitewashed houses and narrow alleyways and is absolutely exquisite. Around every corner, you stumble upon a new hidden gem, an unusual and brightly colored doors or flowers that pop out against the white buildings.
Here you’ll also find a good selection of boutique stores as well as great restaurants and bars from which to enjoy the best of Greek cuisine.
Spending time and strolling through the Old Town is definitely a must-do! Whilst there, be sure to visit the famous Mykonos windmills (also known as Kato Mili), situated just on the edge of the Old Town, as well as the beautiful Paraportiani Orthodox church.
Note: During the busier months, many cruise ships stop along with Mykonos for a few hours. During this time, most cruise ship tourists do descend upon the Old Town and it’s not unusual for the narrow streets and alleyways to suddenly feel crowded and overwhelming. Thankfully though, it only lasts for a short time and early morning or later in the afternoon or early evening should be a much better time to visit.
>> Check this great tours of Mykonos!
Tip: On the recommendation of Athena from our guest house, we decided to splurge on a meal at Avra Restaurant set in a gorgeous courtyard with colourful bougainvillaea’s overhead, in the Old Town. Albeit a bit expensive, it was incredibly romantic and the food delicious. It was undoubtedly one of our most memorable dining experiences on the island and one I would gladly recommend.
3. Explore Little Venice
Another one of our favourite experiences on the Island was visiting the neighbourhood of Little Venice. Set on the water’s edge, this area boasts several smaller boutique bars and restaurants where you can enjoy a drink or grab a bite to eat.
This spot was also perfect for enjoying the breathtakingly beautiful sunsets of Mykonos.
Do be warned though, if the waters are too choppy, many restaurants will close off the seating areas on the water’s edge as the splashes of waves will no doubt have you drenched in no time!
4. Sail to the nearby island of Delos
If you plan on visiting Mykonos for a couple of days, then you have to take advantage of your time on the island to visit the nearby island of Delos on a day trip from Mykonos.
Delos is home to one of the largest and most important archaeological sites in the Greek Islands, believed to be the birthplace of Artemis and Apollo.
Most visitors who plan a trip to Delos prefer to do so as part of a half-day or full-day, guided tour from Mykonos which normally also includes an entrance to the ruins, today a UNESCO site too.
5. Mykonos Tours & Experiences
Panagia Paraportiani (Courtesy: Marcos Santos)
Whenever we visit a new destination, we always love to plan ahead and book a handful of unique tours or experiences we would likely not get to enjoy on our own, thus getting to grips with the local culture and offerings.
And Mykonos is absolutely perfect for that. With a wide selection of experiences on offer that ranges from Catamaran sailing trips to an original evening guided tour to Delos Island to Traditional Cooking Classes there are a tour and experience to suit all preferences and budgets too.
All in all, we absolutely loved our stay in Mykonos and could have happily stayed an extra night or two. From the labyrinth of whitewashed buildings in the Old Town to the sunset from Little Venice, through to the beaches, the hospitality and food, I can confidently say that Mykonos was and still is one of my favorite Greek Islands to visit.
Are you ready to explore Greece? No matter where in Greece you choose to begin your journey, It can be the trip of your lifetime. Get in touch if you need extra help to plan your itinerary. Or check my West Crete travel guide if you’re touring the fantastic region of Chania, in Crete. You’ll find detailed info about where to go, what to see, where to eat, and more!
Coming to Greece any time soon? These are great resources to organize a hassle-free trip!
- Start by heading right to my post featuring the top places to visit in Greece if you’re still uncertain of which place you should visit. If Crete is on your radar, check also these insanely useful tips to plan a trip to the island! For those traveling with the family, this post includes the best kid-friendly places in Greece.
- Probably, you’re planning to visit some of the most famous Greek islands. This is a fantastic Santorini itinerary, while this is a popular one-day itinerary of Naxos. Mykonos can also be explored with kids, while Antiparos and Paros are two islands not to miss either.
- To have updated information about Greece, join my private group on Facebook about Crete and the Greek island, or download a copy of my West Crete Travel Guide.
Finally, make sure you’ve got everything you for a hassle-free trip!
- I never travel around the Greek islands without my Osprey backpack, it’s the most loyal travel partner and it’s super comfortable to travel by ferry, queue at the port, or use public transport. To visit the old towns or the amazing archaeological sites, but also to go out for dinner or simply for a walk, I always carry this little crossbody bag.
- My Nikon D7200 together with my favorite compact travel tripod are always part of my luggage. In summer, three are the things I always pack: a good sunscreen lotion, high UV factor lip balm, and a simple, light, and practical beach bag (this guide helps you pack a practical beach bag).
- Greece, and especially the islands off the beaten path, are fairly safe destinations, however, I’m sure you know that it’s always better to travel with an insurance policy for complete peace of mind. My favorite? World Nomads. And what if you already left home? Now you can buy your travel insurance online!
- Always bring with you a good travel guide! The best Greece Travel Guide I’ve found so far is the one published by Lonely Planet. It has all the information you need.
- Airfares to Greece can vary immensely from one airline to the other, make sure you always compare ticket prices with a powerful search engine. Getting to Crete can be really comfortable with an airplane, but nothing beats the romantic experience of traveling by sea. I always choose Let’s Ferry to visit the Greek islands or to travel directly to Crete from Athens. Its search engine is great to get the right ticket you need!
- If I need to book accommodation, I personally use Booking.com. Their Genius Loyalty Programme allows me to find better fees. As they say, the more you stay with them, the more rewards you get.
- Road trips in Greece are a rewarding way to explore. Find the cheapest rental car using a good car rental search engine. Discover Cars searches over 500 trusted rental companies for you to find the best deal. Compare prices for rental cars here.
- Sometimes, the best way to get to know a place better and make the most of your time in Greece is to join an organized tour. GetYourGuide has a great selection of proposals that help you save time and money. From cooking lessons to archaeological site tours, skip-the-line attractions, and even airport transfer!
Do you have everything you need? Then you just have to get ready to discover the beauty of Greece!
- Further reading
If you’re curious about traveling the Greek islands, check the most amazing places to visit in Greece. Crete is my favorite island of all, and these 50 unmissable things to do in Crete is a great article from where to start planning a visit. Greece is also an ideal place for scuba diving, here you can discover where to do in on the islands.
Head to this article to check the best ports for cruises in Greece. This guide, instead, shows you the best things you can do in Athens if you visit for three days. If you have less time in the capital of Greece, find inspiration in this article describing all you can do with one day in Athens.
Have you ever been to Mykonos?
Let me know in the comments below!
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About the Author
Born and raised in South Africa, Marco Santos from Travel-Boo, together with his partner moved to sunny Lisbon over 2 years ago. With an absolute love for Europe, he is on a mission to rediscover his own Portuguese heritage along the way. Marco has set out to blog and share his passion for traveling through and exploring both Portugal, Spain, and throughout Europe, through his blog Travel-Boo. You can follow him on Facebook, Pinterest, and Twitter.