Today: Top 10 best things to see & do on the Greek island of Mykonos
Mykonos is the second most visited island in Greece, after Santorini. Every summer, it receives millions of tourists from all over the world, while it is frequently mentioned among the top destinations to visit in the world. According to mythology, Greece’s most famous cosmopolitan island was formed from the petrified bodies of giants killed by Hercules and took its name from Apollo’s grandson, Mykonos. With its traditional whitewashed villages and iconic windmills, Mykonos is mainly known for its incredible party lifestyle, its LGBTQ+ welcoming ambience, and its many beautiful beaches. Here’s my selection of the 10 best things to see and do on Mykonos (below, you can also watch my 4K YouTube video which features the top sights on the island).
10. VISIT DELOS ISLAND
A UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1990, the small island of Delos is one of the most important archaeology sites in Greece. In the ancient times, the myth of god Apollo, god of light, and goddess Artemis having been born there rendered the island sacred. Today, the island bears traces of the succeeding civilizations in the Aegean world, from the 3rd millennium B.C. to the palaeochristian era. Just over 2,000 years ago, around 30,000 Greeks occupied what are now the relatively well-preserved ruins of theatres, temples, and homes. It takes about 30 minutes to reach Delos from Mykonos, with crowded ferries making several trips daily during summer. If you’d prefer a more exclusive experience, you can charter a yacht to the island, but expect to pay a steep price.
9. GO ON A SHOPPING SPREE
Mykonos is a shopaholic’s wonderland, with trendy stores and boutiques galore. Different type of shops are found all over the island, although most of them are gathered in the narrow cobblestone paved streets of the capital Chora (where it’s easy to get lost). Of course, there are plenty of souvenir shops as you find on every tourist destination in the world, but shopping in Mykonos Town is (perhaps, a bit surprisingly) also a high-end affair, with multiple upscale boutiques selling all manner of items from brand-name clothing to jewelry to Swarowsky-encrusted shoes. Art-lovers will surely enjoy the galleries and design stores displaying (and often selling) works by both local and internationally renowned artists. The shops in Mykonos Town are open all day, from morning until late after midnight, and most of them have a good delivery service either to your home address or your hotel on the island.
8. TASTE DELICIOUS CUISINE
Mykonos offers one of the best and most sophisticated culinary experiences in Greece. Its dining scene ranges from souvlaki shacks and Greek taverns to world-class fine-dining establishments and pop-up restaurants by the world’s most famous chefs. The whitewashed alley of its capital, Chora, are crammed with places to eat to suit every budget, but there are also plenty of eateries around the island’s smaller villages, from low-key and traditional, to high-end and experimental. One constant is the classic Greek salad, which you’ll find adorning almost every menu, never deviating far from its basic ingredients of ripe, juicy tomatoes, thinly sliced red onion, firm chunks of cucumber and glossy, black Kalamata olives, garnished with a slab of crumbly, oregano-dusted feta cheese. The best restaurants on Mykonos island that you should definitely not miss are Noa Greek Restaurant, M-eating, Bakalo, D’Angelo Mykonos, Hippie Fish, To Maereio, Kastros, Kalita and Nikolas tavern.
7. SPEND A DAY AT SCORPIOS
Known as the Ibiza of Greece, Mykonos is popular amongst millennial travelers for its vibrant party culture, exciting nightlife, and dazzling beach clubs. Located on a tiny peninsula on the island’s southern shores, Scorpios is by far the most famous beach club on the island and also one of the hottest beach clubs in the world. Fusing the design of a Moroccan fortresses with an ancient Greek temple, Scorpios’ clubhouse overlooks the private beach where you can find a shady canopy under which to enjoy a few drinks during the day. During the famous Sunset Rituals, the vibe becomes truly intoxicating with acclaimed DJs playing music from deep ethnic to upbeat tunes. Scorpios is also home to an excellent restaurant, but make sure to reserve a table well in advance (as even celebrities stand in line to get in).
6. TAKE A KITE SURF LESSON
With constant strong winds – called Meltemi -blowing from the north during the summer months of July and August, Mykonos offers some of the best kite surfing conditions in the world. The best place for kite surfers on the island is Korfos, a beautiful crescent shaped bay with shallow waters only a ten minute drive from Mykonos Town. This lovely spot used to be a dump site, but the onsite kite center – Kite Mykonos – spent almost a decade cleaning the beach and turning it into the famous kite surfers paradise that it is today. The kite center has a great team of experienced, certified instructors and offers top notch equipment, making is an excellent place for both beginners and advanced riders. For those travelers who want to indulge themselves after a fun day of kite surfing, the cosmopolitan and wind-free Ornos Beach is just a 10 minute stroll away.
5. WATCH THE SUNSET
When visiting Mykonos, there are plenty of beautiful sights to take in, but if there’s one thing you simply can’t miss during your holiday on the island, then it’s watching the unforgettable sunsets. The sunsets in the Cyladic Islands – and Mykonos and Santorini in particular – are known as some of the most spectacular in the entire world. There are several great spots on Mykonos from where to watch the sunset, but the best place of all is on the hill which is home to Mykonos’ iconic windmills. Located on the outskirts of Chora, the famous Kato windmills offer panoramic views of Mykonos Town and the entire western shore of the island. Another idyllic location from where to watch the sunset with your loved ones is the beach near Little Venice, a neighborhood in Mykonos Town where colorful 18th-century fishing houses rise from the sea’s deepblue water.
4. STAY AT A LUXURY HOTEL
Since Brigitte Bardot, Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis, and Grace Kelly visited Mykonos in the 1960s and 1970s, the island has gained a reputation a favored holiday spot for the rich and famous. Today, the island remains known around the world for its upscale ambiance, posh lifestyle and luxurious accommodations with hip new establishments opening each year. The top hotels in Mykonos set high standards when it comes to providing their discerning guests with the best service they could ask for. Ticking off the boxes for ambiance, wow factor, and design, Mykonos’ most fabulous hotels offers great sea views, stunning infinity pools, superb spas, Instagrammable spots, and a world-class gastronomic scene. For a selection of my 10 favorite luxury hotels in Mykonos, click here.
3. EXPLORE CHORA (MYKONOS TOWN)
Chora (also known as Hora and Mykonos Town) is the largest, busiest and most famous village on the island. The settlement’s hillside jumble of whitewashed houses and blue-domed churches is one of the best and most picturesque examples of Cycladic architecture. The town’s narrow stone-paved alleys and its Little Venice neighborhood are a photographer’s paradise, but be prepared for throngs of tourists. I advise to explore the town in the morning, so you can get a sense of local life without the crowds and buy seafood delights at bargain prices at the lively fish market near the Old Port. Also, if you just want to enjoy the scenery, taste some local amuse-gueules and sip a glass of Greek Chardonnay by the waterfront – most restaurants have plenty of available seats during the day.
2. RELAX ON MYKONOS’ FAMOUS BEACHES
Mykonos is famous for its many sandy beaches, which rank among the most beautiful in the Mediterranean Sea. Scattered across the island, the beaches cater to all types of travelers, with dozens of hard-partying massive beach clubs, several nudist beaches, many family friendly stretches of sand, as well as more quiet and idyllic sandy coves, some of them refreshingly unspoiled. Most beaches feature golden sand and crystal clear waters that are perfect for swimming. The best beaches are located on the southern coast of the island, as they’re the most protected from the winds, althoug they tend to get extremely overcrowded during peak season (e.g. Ornos, Psarou, Paradise, Super Paradise, and Elias). However, those in the north are also beautiful, and are usually less crowded since they are more exposed to the wind and with less tourist facilities.
1. GO ISLAND HOPPING
Mykonos is ideally located as a starting or end point for island hopping in the spectacularly beautiful Cyclades islands. There are ferries from Mykonos to all the popular Cyclades islands, including Santorini, Ios, Naxos, Paros, Milos, Tinos, and Syros. Each island in the Cyclades has its own unique character and appeal, but all of them share a special charm unique to this area. Scattered like pearls across the shimmering Aegean Sea, the islands rise from the sea’s blue vastness like proud, rocky monuments. All islands feature those typical white-washed buildings, narrow paved pathways, blue-domed churches and stunning bougainvillaea flowers. One island in particular that should be on your itinerary in the Greek Cyclades is Ios, as it’s home to Calilo, one of the most fabulous and unique resorts I’ve ever visited (watch my YouTube video below).