Much loved for its water sports, beach clubs and iconic windmills, the Greek island of Mykonos is a luxurious destination that offers both relaxation and activity. Here are the best things to do in Mykonos…
Where is Mykonos?
Found in the heart of the Greek islands, Mykonos is one of the Cyclades group of islands. The island is particularly well-known for its coastline of beaches and rugged beauty, as well as its cosmopolitan glamour. In Greek mythology, Mykonos was the son of the god Apollo, and the island is said to be the spot where a mighty battle between Zeus and Titans took place.
Best things to do in Mykonos
Known as the ‘Island of the Winds’, Mykonos is a paradise for windsurfers, as well as those who love surfing and sailing. Plenty of beaches across the island offer windsurfing – experienced windsurfers prefer the quieter stretches of coastline, such as the beaches at Korfos and Kalafati. An hour of windsurfing in Mykonos costs approximately €35.
Staying in Mykonos provides the perfect opportunity to visit the small island of Delos – a UNESCO World Heritage Site – nearby. The island is said to be the birthplace of the gods Artemis and Apollo, and was also a hive of activity for trade from the 2nd century BC onwards. Nowadays, it’s a fascinating place to visit to explore multiple ruins, the museum and a handful of shops. Trips from Mykonos to Delos start from €20 per person.
Mykonos is surrounded by an underwater world filled with caves and shipwrecks, making it the ideal place to go diving. It’s also possible to go snorkelling to get a sense of the island’s beautiful underwater haven. Diving trips with Mykonos Diving Center cost from €70 per person.
Things to do in Ornos
This fine sandy beach on the edge of Ornos is visited by people across Mykonos thanks to the diversity of activities it offers. Whether you want to relax in the shade on sun loungers or embark on diving, jet skiing or windsurfing adventures, there is plenty of choice here.
View of Ornos Beach
The seafront at Ornos has a number of small shops and boutiques ideal for shopping. With original fashions and products made by local artisans – from pottery products to leather handbags – this is a great place to pick up some interesting gifts and souvenirs.
Mykonos gift shop
The easy anchorage off the coast of Ornos makes it a popular spot to embark on boat trips from. Go beach hopping in the locality or take a trip further afield to neighbouring islands for days filled with relaxation and adventure in equal measure.
Things to do in Mykonos Town
Also known as ‘Chora’ (Greek for ‘town’), Mykonos Town is known as being an incredibly well preserved ancient town. This means it’s well worth taking a walk through the oldest part of the settlement to explore it for yourself. Wander through narrow streets, discover tucked-away restaurants and soak up the atmosphere of the traditional blue and whitewashed buildings at every twist and turn. This area is also known as Little Venice and it’s easy to see why, with the waterscapes, traditional architecture and charming paths.
View of Mykonos Town
Church of Panagia Paraportiani
This church was first constructed in 1425, with various additions made to it over the following centuries. Its name means ‘Lady of the Side Gate’ because access was only available by an unassuming-looking gate at the side of the structure. The Byzantine church actually consists of five churches that are joined together, which also gives it an original look in terms of architecture. Nowadays it’s one of the most popular things to see in Mykonos thanks to its postcard-perfect quality.
Mykonos Town is home to a number of art galleries which offer the opportunity to buy the work of local artists. Rarity Gallery is a good place to start, with its changing calendar of exhibitions, while Art & Soul Gallery sells work by the finest artists from across Greece. Minima Gallery is also full of contemporary art by local and international artists.
Romantic things to do in Mykonos
An iconic sight of Mykonos is its windmills, and the most famous ones are found atop a hill on the edge of Mykonos Town. They were first built by the Venetians in the 16th century and were originally used to mill wheat. Take a walk up the hill to see the windmills in all their glory and to enjoy fabulous views over the town and the rest of the island. It’s the perfect spot to soak up a romantic sunset too.
Get out on the water to see Mykonos and the surrounding islands from another perspective. There are numerous boat operators in Mykonos offering various day trips around the island or to the local islands of Delos and Rhenia too. Make an extra romantic occasion of it by embarking on a sunset and aperitivo cruise instead. Numerous boat operators offer cruises from Mykonos, with an evening sunset cruise costing from €50 per person.
Cycle and picnic
For those who enjoy some gentle activity, there are a number of cycling tours on offer in Mykonos that showcase a different side of the island. Yummy Pedals offers a bike and picnic tour which allows you to discover some of the countryside in Mykonos before stopping for a sumptuous picnic. The bike and picnic tour by Yummy Pedals costs €85 per person.
Places to eat in Mykonos
Mykonos Vioma Organic Farm
Found in the vineyard of the old monastery in Ano Mera, this is now a place to come wine tasting and sample fresh local produce. Alongside the wines made on the property, it’s also possible to taste traditional food from Mykonos. This includes tyrovolia cheese, louza ham and kopanisti – a vibrant soft cheese seasoned with cracked pepper. Mykonos Vioma Organic Farm is open daily from 11:00 to 16:00, although bookings must be made in advance. Image courtesy of official website.
This high-end restaurant in Mykonos Town is characterised by its dishes using traditional Greek ingredients, presented with contemporary flair. Cuisines range from velvety Cycladic fish soup and traditional Mykonian pie to seafood ragout cous cous and veal ravioli. M-eating is open daily from 19:00 to 01:00. Image courtesy of official website.
To Steki Tou Proedrou
This restaurant in Ano Mera combines traditional Greek flavours with modern flair. Pavement seating and a pleasant garden makes it a perfect spot for people-watching too. To Steki Tou Proedrou is open daily from 12:00 until 01:00. Official Website.
This Mykonos Town taverna is a family-run affair that has been operating since the 1970s. Visit this low-key eatery for freshly cooked Greek favourites and a convivial atmosphere. Taverna Nikos is open daily from 11:30 to 01:30.
Shopping in Mykonos
This is a high-end shopping destination in Mykonos Town, lined with glamourous storefronts and the world’s favourite brands. Once you’ve had your fill of shopping, there are plenty of pretty pavement cafés and restaurants here too.
Mykonos is well-known for the leather sandals produced on the island, and this shop in Mykonos Town is the place to buy them. The family-run store has been operating since the 1950s and sells leather sandals in all shapes and sizes for men, women and children.
To buy traditional food products made in Mykonos and Greece, this is the best shop to visit in Mykonos Town. Another family-run store that has been operating for decades, buy everything from olive oil and honey to a variety of wines here. Image courtesy of official website.
Unique things to do in Mykonos
Mykonos Folklore Museum
This quirky museum located in three separate historical houses is one of the lesser known places to visit in Mykonos. The main museum is in the 18th century House of Kastro and contains an eclectic mixture of everything from Cycladic costumes and a restored kitchen to old photographs of the island. Lena’s House is also part of the museum and is frozen in the time of an 18th century upper class home. The Agricultural Museum near the windmills is the third of the folklore museums and gives an insight into the agricultural history of Mykonos. The three branches of the Mykonos Folklore Museum are open daily from approximately 16:30 to 21:00. Entry is free
Windmill at Folklore Museum
For those who feel like watching a film while on holiday, the open-air Cine Manto – located in a glorious garden setting – is the place to go. The cinema serves food and drinks too and has a wide variety of film genres. Cine Manto is open daily from June until September, with screenings at 21:00 and 23:00 every day. Tickets cost €9.
Petros the Pelican
The pelican became the mascot of Mykonos after a great white pelican was wounded off the coast of the island in the 1950s. The pelican was nursed back to health on the island and became a much-loved resident, who the locals called Petros. Although Petros is long gone, three new pelicans were brought in to replace him, and they can often be seen around the port area of Mykonos Town.
Petros the Pelican
Things to do in Mykonos when it rains
This 16th century monastery is located in the enchanting village of Ano Mera – actually the second largest settlement on the island – just a few miles outside of Mykonos Town. The monastery itself is an architectural wonder, while the interior is also home to a small museum filled with fascinating wood carvings and embroideries. Panagia Tourliani is open daily from 9:00 to 13:00 and 15:30 to 19:00. Admission costs €1.
Archaeological Museum of Mykonos
This small but mighty museum in Mykonos Town has a variety of captivating exhibits from Prehistoric times to the Hellenistic period. With everything from pottery to sculptures on display, this is a place to get a feeling of past times on the island. The Archaeological Museum of Mykonos is open from Tuesday to Sunday from 9:00 to 16:00, with a 20:00 closing time on Fridays and Saturdays. Entry costs €4. Official website.
One of the larger beaches in Mykonos, Elia Beach also offers the greatest diversity. There are sun loungers and beach bars, as well as a range of water sports on offer. Attracting couples and families alike, there are also quieter patches of beach for those who enjoy a little peace and quiet.
Platis Yialos Beach
This beach in the south of Mykonos is one of the most popular beaches on the island and is full of facilities. With white sand, azure waters and plenty of sun loungers, it’s easy to wend away a day here. At Platis Yialos there are also beach bars and tavernas aplenty.
Mykonos is famous for its beach clubs – but the beach club on this smaller beach surrounded by hills is ideal for those who prefer a quieter beach club experience. The beach club also has a restaurant and peaceful seating on a decked area.
This wide beach with a sweep of golden sand is especially popular among water sports lovers. Everything from windsurfing and jet skiing to snorkelling is available to do from Kalafati Beach. There are also areas of the beach to rent sun loungers and quieter sections ideal for a paddle and a stroll.
This is another beach popular with windsurfers and those who like their beaches with a little rugged beauty. the beache of Agios Ioannis is a beach with a combination of sand and stones, this is the perfect spot for a stroll and some quiet reflection.
Paradise and Super Paradise Beach
These are the two best known beaches on Mykonos, characterised by their beach clubs and music events. These are beaches for those who likely lively trips to the beach, with plenty of upscale beach bars serving cocktails and champagne too.