Best Things to do in Mykonos
What do you picture when you hear the word Mykonos? Turquoise blue waters? Whitewashed stucco buildings? Deep azure skies? Well, you’d be right. It’s all those things, and it’s absolutely gorgeous.
Despite its small size, there is a lot to do, and sometimes it can be hard to narrow it down. But you’re in luck, I’ve done it for you. Read on to find out the best things to do in Mykonos.
My Mykonos to do list is perfect if you only have a few days. But will keep you busy for longer if you have more time.
Blast from my past
Let me start from the beginning. It’s not the first time I’ve been to Mykonos. After I graduated college with a degree in anthropology, I had no idea what I was going to do with my life. I was 21 and clueless.
So what the hell does a jobless anthropology major do? Volunteer, that’s what. I volunteered at two archeological digs: one on a small farm in France and one in Mykonos.
I remember being so excited. Not only was it my first solo trip, but I also had a career plan. This was going to be my life; traveling the world as an archeologist, digging in exotic places. It was going to be so thrilling.
And then I got to Mykonos and began to work. I spent all my days digging… and digging…and digging. It was so. damn. tedious.
The whole process, everything about it, bored me to tears. We were digging on a beach and lo and behold; we found some fish bones. The chief archaeologist lost his mind with excitement as if we had just uncovered an ancient tomb. Fishbones…on a beach, so what–amiright?
Anywhoo, flash forward 24 years, and I was pretty excited to go back as an adult. To see it with different eyes, but also to see if the current reality lived up to my memories.
So enough about my past, let’s get to it.
Here are the best things to do in Mykonos.
Wander around Little Venice…
it’s a must-do in Mykonos. This is where you’ll find some of the best Instagram spots in Mykonos.
The area around the old harbor resembles Venice, Italy, hence the name. The early ship captains settled here and built spectacular homes just a few yards above the sea. Most of those have been revived into cool restaurants, bars, and shops.
Eat lunch with the waves practically lapping at your feet. Get lost in the maze of streets. Stop for a sunset drink but be sure to do it when the cruise ships aren’t in town, or the sunset will be blocked.
Treat yo’ self
It’s no surprise that shopping in Mykonos is five stars. It’s one of the most famous Greek Islands, and a playground for the rich and famous, the shopping has to be up to snuff. There are high-end brands like Hermes and Bvlgari. And even a Louis Vuitton Mykonos.
Obviously, it isn’t cheap, but not everything is high-end. There are tons of charming boutiques loaded with quirky home décor, chic clothing, and stunning jewelry. Head over to Mykonos town and wander, you can’t miss the boutiques. They are everywhere.
Party ’til the sun comes up
Mykonos is known for its epic party scene. When I was young, I spent most of my nights dancing until my feet hurt, and the sun came up. The party scene is still alive and well, just a bit more scandalous. There is a larger than life gay scene in Mykonos which make it even more vivacious.
There is so much nightlife in Mykonos; you’ll have your pick of hangouts. It’s considered one of the best Greek party islands. During the summer, there are celebrity sightings, and the whole island is shimmering in all its glitz and glam.
If you’re into DJs and crowds, check out Cavo Paradiso, where famous DJs spin in an open-air setting hanging on a cliff’s edge.
Head to Jackie O for drag shows and sunsets.
One of the best cocktail bars in Little Venice is Galleraki; it’s perched right above the sea, so the views are outstanding.
Find your dream beach
Mykonos is known for its light golden sands and clear turquoise seas. There are beaches for everyone’s taste, and so many to choose from, it just depends on your beach style.
If you’re after a quiet beach, head to Fokos or Agios Sostis. A party beach? Try Paradise and Super Paradise. For your family? Try Lia and Ornos. And if you want to spot a celeb, Psarous is for you.
Visit the windmills
There are 16 in total, and they date back to the 16th century when they used wind power to grind grain. They are the first things you’ll see when you are on the ferry, making your way into the island. Their grandeur might not completely wow you, but they are iconic and provide fantastic views and photo ops. They’ve become a symbol of the island.
Take a day trip from Mykonos to Delos
Spend a day exploring one of the most sacred, historical, mythological, and archaeological places in Greece. The island is a UNESCO world heritage site and is uninhabited except for the archeologists working on the island.
It’s only a 20-minute boat ride from Mykonos to Delos. In its heyday, when it was buzzing with 30,000 people, it was a major religious center and port for the Cyclades. It’s where Apollo and Artemis were born, so it is a sacred island. No mortals were allowed to give birth or to die there; they were transported to the neighboring Rhenia Island for that kind of stuff.
It’s easy to spend a few hours wandering from the temples, to the market, to the amphitheater, to the houses with mosaics. But save time for the Archaeological Museum of Delos which displays statues that were excavated and some of the original mosaics.
I strongly suggest getting a Delos guide before you get to the island. The island is pretty spread out, and it would be easy to wander and think you are looking at any old pile of rubble. We made the mistake of assuming there would be guides to hire once we got there. Nope, but you can get a guide when you buy your tickets.
Delos isn’t just an archeological site; the entire island is history.
Find Petros the Pelican
In 1958, a wounded pelican was found off the coast of the island. The local fisherman took him in and nursed him to health. He got used to the good life on Mykonos and never left and was affectionately named Petros.
Since then, three more pelicans have taken up residence on the island. You can usually find him waddling around the old harbor but can be seen wandering the backstreets of town.
Just the facts
Best time to visit Mykonos
We went in late April–early May, and it was pretty busy. Not as busy as it is in high season, which was nice. However, the sea wasn’t warm yet so I didn’t get to swim. If beaches are important to you, wait until September. The water will be warm, and the crowds won’t be there. If you go in July or August, prepare for the masses.
How to get to Mykonos
By air: There are flights from Athens and Thessaloniki to Mykonos. We were coming from Syros, so it was super-fast only 45 minutes. If you are coming from Athens, it is about 3-5 hours depending on the stops.
By Ferry: Since Mykonos is one of the Greek islands near Athens the ferries are fast and cheaper than planes. We used Blue Star Ferries and were delighted. The best site we found for booking was Ferries in Greece
Where to stay on Mykonos
I would recommend spending 2-3 nights on the island. You’ll need the time to go and explore all the best things to do in Mykonos.
There is accommodation for every price point in Mykonos. We stayed in a two bedroom Airbnb in the middle of the Mykonos town pedestrian area. The location was fabulous, and the place was adorable.
We had just come from the US, where we stocked up on all the vitamins and toiletries that we can’t find in Penang. We had about 50lbs each, ok maybe more, and what we didn’t think about was dragging those big fat pigs through the quaint corners of town. Plus it’s totally embarrassing when hauling it over cobblestones and passed the cute little Yia-Yia’s shaking their heads at us. Total rookie move on our part!
There may or may not have been some swearing. Ok, there def was. I sounded like a sailor. Not my proudest moment but a funny one to look back on.
So, here’s a little tip for wherever you stay, don’t overpack, it’s a nightmare, and you look like an ass!
If you want to know more about our Airbnb, shoot me an email or comment below. Or read more about where to stay around the island.
How to get around Mykonos
My favorite way to get around and discover a new place is always by scooter. There are hire locations all over the island and loads by the port. But if you aren’t familiar with motos, Mykonos isn’t the place to learn. There are a lot of windy roads with twists and turns so better off sticking to something with four wheels.
KTEL buses are the cheapest way to get around the island. They go pretty much everywhere, but there are fewer routes during the low season. Check the schedule here.
Hop on a sea taxi and escape the high-season traffic. Plus it’s just cool to do, and you feel like a rockstar pulling up in a boat. Check the schedule here.
There are taxis, but they are hard to come by, especially in high season. You have to call ahead.
How to stay connected
We bought Cosmote and Vodaphone sim cards, and they both worked perfectly. They operate everywhere within the EU so keep that in mind if you are traveling on from Greece.
Want to know what kind of food to eat in Mykonos? Check out my food guide to Greece.
And in case you’re wondering, I never found anything besides fish bones in Mykonos. But we did find some cloister walls in France. It was a little more exciting than finding fish on a beach, but I still hated the digs.
In France, as a bonus, the locals tried to marry me off to a young farmhand, who happened to be missing his hand from a tractor accident and most of his teeth, from I don’t know what. Good times.
What to wear
Pretty much anything goes in Mykonos! It’s a place where you can wear heels and limp along the cobblestones or chic flats and still go to the hottest club. Some of the clubs have dress codes so check them out before you head over. But for the rest of the island, it’s a place to dress nicely while keeping cool. Think pretty sundresses and wide-leg linens over cut-offs and bikini tops.
If you’re heading to the other islands and wondering what to wear in Greece, this Ultimate Greek Packing List will sort you right out.
So did Mykonos live up to my memories? Well to be honest, not entirely, but does it ever? As a more seasoned traveler, partying isn’t the only reason for me to go to an island. Yes, I love a good bash, especially on the beach, but where Mykonos excels in its party atmosphere, it lacks authenticity.
But then again, not every island has to have a deep and meaningful culture. So go and check it out for yourself. You’ve got the list of the best things to do in Mykonos. Whatcha waiting for? Get packing!
Have you been to Mykonos? What do you think are the best things to do?