Mykonos is one of the most famous islands in the Cyclades, and rightfully so. Cosmopolitan and naturally beautiful, Mykonos is on every traveller’s radar. With idyllic beaches and those famous windmills and churches, this is the perfect island to play, sightsee and unwind on. It is often known as the party island, with beach parties going off at sunset. However, if you aren’t into the rave scene, don’t let that deter you, as Mykonos is still one of Greece’s perfect island destinations. Here is our Top 6 things to do whilst in Mykonos.
Take a Photo with a Windmill
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The Chora Windmills on Mykonos (in Mykonos Town) are iconic and a favourite for tourist pictures and ‘selfies’. Originally built by the Venetians in the 16th century, these windmills were mainly used to mill flour and formed a large part of the island’s economy from due to their proximity to the sea and the trade routes. Nowadays, they have been converted into private houses and museums. How cool would it be to live in a windmill-converted-house with these amazing views! The only downside would be the daily busloads of tourists hanging outside your home!
Visit Little Venice
Before you get carried away expecting gondolas and canals, let me stop you. There are no canals here, let alone Italian men singing arias whilst rowing their gondolas. Instead, you can expect to see colourful white-washed 18th century townhouses and mansions, perched right over the sea. Rich sea merchants used to reside here and had direct access to the sea from their balconies and basement doors. Stories of pirates using the secret underground facilities to store their loot here have made Little Venice a place of romance and intrigue.
Nowadays you don’t need to be a rich merchant or pirate to enjoy Little Venice, as the ground level rooms of the townhouses have been converted into chic bars, nightclubs, cafes and galleries open to the public. Be warned though, that whilst there may not be any pirates around in Little Venice, the price of drinks could be considered piracy! Completely photogenic, especially at sunset, Little Venice is the perfect place to take a stroll, soak up the cosmopolitan atmosphere and unwind over a drink overlooking the beautiful sea. It’s easy to see why it is one of the most photographed tourist neighbourhoods in Europe and why it is such a haunt for artists and creative types.
Hire a Quad (ATV)
One thing I have to say is, Mykonos feels huge! A quad is definitely the most popular (and fun) way to get around on the island. You will find so many places to hire quadbikes and scooters on the island, but prices and vehicle quality can vary. Always check the condition of the vehicle you hire and make sure the lights, reverse gears and breaks work. We hired a quad from Pegasus in Maouna (near Fabrika Square) and their customer service was great. We paid €25 for 24hr hire, including insurance and helmets. If you hire for longer periods, the daily rate decreases. It was a lot of fun hooning around Mykonos (gopro in hand, of course!) and the best way to see the island.
There are so many delicious places to eat in Mykonos! We absolutely loved the food and family atmosphere in Joanna’s Nikos Place Taverna (located at Megali Ammos Beach, near Mykonos Town). We stuffed ourselves with a satisfying greek salad, Mykonian cheese pie, kebab, seafood and to finish, a scrumptious honey pie (which was like baklava on steroids). Nammos Restaurant in Psarou also deserves a mention for the delicious food and spectacular views. If you want to save your lunch money for some filling meals at night, you cannot pass up a fresh gyros which can be found in various locations throughout the island. Our pick was from Jimmy’s in Chora.
Enjoy the beaches
A lot of the beaches on the Greek islands (and in Europe in general) are pebbly beaches. Coming from Australia, where we are used to feeling the fine, white sand between our toes, this was a disappointment. However, the beaches on Mykonos were quite nice and some were even sandy! Like many other European beaches, they are crowded with beach beds and sun loungers. Whilst you may want to experience the luxury of having your own four-post beach bed, be prepared to fork out for the pleasure. Many places were charging a minimum of €15 per bed. That being said, if it’s on a pebbly beach, it may be worth the price tag (unless you don’t mind having rocks and stones poking you in the back).
Check out the Party Scene
Whether or not you are into clubbing and partying, it is worthwhile visiting Paradise Beach on Mykonos simply to dip your toes into the beautiful sea and do some colourful people watching. Located on the south end of the island you will find some funky beach clubs and bars with prime location: right on the beach. Paraga and Paradise are the main areas for clubbers and party goers, with popular beach parties hitting off at 5pm and going on into the early hours of the morning. If you like sick beats, sexy dancers and a g-string clad host, Tropicana Club is definitely where it’s at. There are also hotels and campsites nearby for those who never want to stop partying. The evening we went, we felt about 15 years too old to be there, or at least far too sober. It didn’t stop us from enjoying the music and even getting a photo with the host of the evening. After a quick dance and drink, we were happy to move onto quieter parts of the island to enjoy some delicious food with breathtaking views. Like I said, you don’t have to be a fresh-faced teenager (or an alcohol-infused partier) to enjoy Paradise Beach and the party scene; in fact, you may enjoy it more, or at least remember the experience.
There are also some very cool bars and clubs back in Chora, such as the ones in Little Venice and others hidden within the quaint white-washed walls and pretty paved streets of the town’s centre.
Getting to and Around Mykonos
Mykonos is connected to the mainland and other islands via airport and ferry. There are two ports on the island (Old Port and New Port), so be sure to check which one your ferry will depart from and arrive to. Just be warned, unlike Old Port, there aren’t many shops, cafes or restaurants at New Port. We got caught out and had to walk (with our luggage) to the closest taverna to find some food. Make sure you grab your food and last-minute souvenirs prior to going to the New Port if you are catching a ferry from there.
There is a bus that connects both of these ports for less than €2 one-way. Like the ports, there are two main bus stations: one on the North Side and one on the South. The South station in Fabrika Square (Mykonos Town), is the main terminal. Buses are definitely the cheapest way to get around the island. If you arrive by plane, you can find the bus stop as you exit the airport on the right. You can find bus timetables here.
Taxis, cars, quads and scooters are also a popular choice for getting around the island. As mentioned above, you will find plenty of companies who hire out quads, scooters and cars. Always check that insurance and helmets are included in the price. Some quads won’t have reverse as a gear, so make sure you ask (as you could find yourself pushing the quad as much as you will be riding it!). It definitely is worth hiring some form of transport so you can see as much of the island as possible. The best beaches are spread out over the coastline, and a car or quad is the most convenient way to visit them by.
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Have you been to Mykonos? What are your favourite things to do on the island? Comment below!