When it comes to visiting Greece, the idyllic island of Mykonos is at the top of most traveler’s lists. Known for its whitewashed blue-roofed houses, this island has reached worldwide fame and has become a hotspot for jet setters, honeymooners and party-goers. There are around 200 islands in the Cyclades, with Mykonos being one of the most popular — for good reason.
There’s something for everyone on Mykonos island and (if you want) it’s definitely possible to escape the crowds and parties. In fact, on this list of things to do in Mykonos, you’ll only find one party-related item!
The villages across this Cycladic island are a labyrinth of narrow streets and alleyways, which were used as a way to confuse pirates. Its stunning coastline is perfect for sipping wines while taking in the golden sunset, and its rocky landscape and mountainous roads are great for ATV and motorbike trips.
In this guide, I’ll cover some of the top things to do in Mykonos you won’t want to miss.
1. Visit the Windmills of Kato Mili
Sitting on the coast just outside the neighborhood of Little Venice in Mykonos Town lie these white and brown windmills. Throughout history, Mykonos was known across Greece for its wheat production. During its height, there were over 20 windmills spread around the island, each one vital for its production and the island’s economy.
Today there are only seven windmills left, and these remnants of a not so distant past have transformed into one of the island’s most iconic sites. The best thing about these windmills is that they are free to visit, are great for photos, and are one of my favorite spots to watch the sunset.
2. Day Trip to Delos
This tiny island is not only scenic but also plays a vital role in Greek history and mythology. Delos is the “Delphi” of the Cycladic Islands and was a major religious spot in ancient Greece. On the island shrouded in brush, there is a large palm tree which marks the only fresh water on the island. Plus, this is where the Titan Leto gave birth to Apollo.
Today, there are ruins of various temples scattered around that cover a range of different eras. There’s also a museum that showcases a vast amount of achronological and religious finds.
Personally, my favorite thing to do is to climb to the top of the largest mountain. This short (but intense) hike gives you a spectacular view of every corner of Delos as well as a great view of the Aegean and the nearby islands.
Delos is just a 30-minute ferry ride from Mykonos. Click here to learn about the highly-rated tour which includes the ferry, entrance ticket and guide.
3. Explore Little Venice (one of the best things to do in Mykonos!)
The most famous neighborhood on Mykonos is commonly known as Little Venice. Located in the town of Mykonos, what makes little Venice so appealing (besides its beauty) is that there’s something for everyone here.
The area is perfect for taking photos, enjoying meals at small intimate restaurants (many of which are built in former sea captain’s houses), doing some souvenir shopping, and sipping on drinks at one of the bars.
This scenic section of the town of Mykonos lies along the southwest part of the harbor and is a must-visit.
4. Scuba Dive at Paradise Reef
There is much more to the island than rocky hills and white houses. One of the best things to do in Mykonos for any adventure-seeker is to head underwater at Paradise Beach and explore the wide array of plant and marine life. Divers are treated to up-close views of barracuda, octopus, starfish, sponges, and more.
Mykonos Dive Center is a good option and offers lessons that range from beginner to expert. The prices tend to vary according to the season and type of classes you want, but a fun dive costs around 50 Euro. Always do your research before choosing a dive operator.
5. Eat the Local Cusine
One aspect that gets lost in Mykonos’s beauty is the local cuisine. This island has a lot of great restaurants and signature dishes that you have to try. My advice is to find a restaurant that merges local delicacies with incredible views of the Aegean.
Food is a little more expensive in Mykonos than less touristy islands like Naxos, Chios and Kefalonia. However, you can still get a nice meal for 10 to 15 Euros. Eating is one of the top things to do in all of Greece, don’t miss the tasty local cuisine here.
A few of the island’s most essential dishes to try include things like kopanisti, a wonderfully refreshing spicy cheese spread, ksinotiti, the islands famous sour cheese, and louza, which is thinly sliced spicy pork.
I should also warn you that food the Greeks call “spicy” aren’t actually that hot. The Greek diet has very little heat. This is great news for people who can’t handle spicy foods, but no so great for those of you who crave some heat (like I do!).
Other foods to try are the refreshing salads, fresh seafood, and honey-soaked baklava for dessert. If you’re a foodie, dining will be one of your favourite things to do in Mykonos.
☞ SEE ALSO: Top 15 Things To Do in Zakynthos Greece
6. Party at Paradise Beach
For those heading to Mykonos for nightlife, the major tourist spot is Paradise beach. Spread across the towns and beaches are a variety of bars and nightclubs offering drink specials, beach parties, and music. In the summer months, certain clubs even draw the attention of world-class DJ’s. Perhaps the best-known club on Paradise Beach is Cavo Paradiso which is often packed with thousands of people during the high season.
It should be noted that because of the enormous crowds of partiers and music lovers, you should book a table in advance. This area is popular among backpackers and travelers, but don’t expect a local atmosphere or prices. Cocktails cost around 14 Euros (16 USD) while beers will set you back at least 7 Euros (9 USD).
7. Visit the Maritime Museum
For thousands of years, the Greeks have had a deep relationship with the sea. Even today the country relies heavily on massive ferries to transport goods, services, locals, and tourists around the islands.
One of the best ways to celebrate this history is at the Aegean Maritime Museum. Here you can see relics and replicas that date back to prehistoric and ancient Greece as well as today’s world. There are fun things to check out, such as maps, coins, and statues. It is worth a visit to learn more about some of the most quintessential parts of the country’s history.
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8. Go On a Bike Tour
I always think bikes are one of the best ways to explore a new area, and biking around Mykonos is no different. Mykonos is a mountainous island, so it is wise to book a tour that’s familiar with the variety of routes around the island. One company to check out is Yummy Pedals.
They have different routes that cover all skill levels, and you’ll visit some off the beaten track sites, beaches, lookouts, and churches. If you’re wondering what to do in Mykonos to get some exercise, this is a great option.
Cycling is fun for couples, families and solo travellers. Expect the tour to cost around 50 Euro.
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9. Visit the Stunning Beaches
Greek beaches are beautiful, so it’s no surprise that one of the major appeals of Mykonos is the array of diverse beaches spread around the island. Perhaps the most gorgeous beach is Paraga, which has stunning waters, soft sand, and beachside bars. Sadly, all this beauty comes at a price as it’s one of the most crowded beaches on the island.
Another famous beach is Psarou Beach, which is worth visiting for the light blue water, incredible bay, and activities such as snorkeling and scuba diving. Keep in mind that you will be sharing this beach with a lot of other locals and travelers.
Elia Beach is the longest on the island, and less crowded — although it’s popular among surfers and nudists. During the summer the beach draws DJ’s and big parties to Elia. A bonus of going to Elia is that it’s easy to get to by local bus.
If you are traveling with family, then head to Ornos Beach, which is less than two miles south of Mykonos Town. This beach caters to families and has a lot of fresh seafood taverns, and fun tours in the area.
☞ SEE ALSO: Meteora Monasteries – A Guide to Greece’s Mythical Landscape
10. Enjoy a Wine Tasting at Mykonos Vioma Organic Farm
If you are a wine lover like me and are looking for a unique place to stay, look no further than Mykonos Vioma Organic Farm. This is a haven for traditional products such as cheeses, hams, rusks, and of course, wine.
The landscape here is beautiful! Enjoy fantastic views of the hills and vineyards that surround you. Even if you decide to stay somewhere more central on the island, it’s worth traveling here for the wine tastings. This farm is an exceptional experience that will only enhance your time on Mykonos. The Vioma Organic Farm lies just outside the village of Ano Mera.
11. Day Trip to Rhenia Island
Another great way to see more of the area surrounding Mykonos is to embark on a day tour to Rhenia Island. The water here is clear and pristine, making it a great place to swim and relax. Getting here is a fun-filled day of sailing, meeting new friends, and taking in the beauty of the Cycladic islands.
There are a lot of day tours that will take you to both Delos and Rhenia, with prices generally costing around $100+. The tour typically lasts 6-7 hours. Click here to learn more.
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12. Go Shopping
Mykonos isn’t just all about beaches, nightclubs, and windmills. It is also a great shopping destination for those looking for handmade souvenirs, international brands, and art. The best place for shopping is Matagianni.
This long little alley is lined with both local and luxury shops, as well as cafes and taverns perfect for grabbing a bite to eat, and a little jolt of caffeine. While shopping is not up my alley (pun intended) I love this street because it showcases the incredible architecture of the Cycladic islands.
13. See the Church of Panagia Paraportiani
While the whitewashed houses of Mykonos are known around the world, perhaps the most notable building is the Panagia Paraportiani. This church located in the Kastro neighborhood is one of the most photographed churches in the entire world. What makes this church so popular is that it’s not just one church.
Actually, it is five small churches built almost on top of each other across several centuries. In fact, the Panagia Paraportiani isn’t even the main church but acts like a dome to the other five churches. If you are an Instagrammer, aspiring photographer, or just looking for a lovely view then this is one place on Mykonos that you simply can’t miss. This local icon is located in Chora (also known as Mykonos Town).
14. Visit the Old Port
Another area worth walking around is the old port in Mykonos Town. What I love about this area is the maze of alleys, friendly locals, and family-run shops. This area was once the major port of the island, but since the newer port has opened this section of the city has all but been forgotten.
Now the old port is only reserved for fisherman and smaller boats. It’s a great place to people watch and gives you insight into local life away from the touristy streets.
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15. Check Out The Folklore Museum
After snapping all your Instagram photos at Paraportiani Church head to the nearby Folklore museum. You will find it in the rarely visited Kastro neighborhood. The Folklore Museum is about what you would expect — it’s a tribute to the island’s history, both old and new. Inside the museum, you will find both traditional and historically significant pieces of Mykonos history.
It covers a lot of ground displaying everything from photographs to ancient tools. The museum has split hours meaning it is closed in the afternoon for the Greek siesta. It is open from 10:30 am until 2:00 pm and from 5:30pm to 8:30pm. Entrance is by donation.
16. Visit Ano Mera Village
Ano Mera is one of the oldest villages on the entire island so you might find it surprising that it is so rarely visited by other travelers (other than those stopping by to take photos at Paleokastro Monastery). It’s worth some time to walk around and explore the village, enjoy the peace and quiet, and check out the other sites in the area.
Strolling around here is one of the best things to do in Mykonos to get away from the crowds. You can reach Ano Mera by local bus or taxi.
17. Visit the Monastery of Panagia Tourliani
Another site to visit in Ano Mera is the five-hundred-year-old monastery of Panagia Tourliani. Recently restored (at least in historical terms) this monastery has an impressive design. The marble fountain sitting in the outside courtyard is also a notable site.
The inside of the monastery is equally impressive with remarkable woodwork, fire bells, vestments, and more. It’s open every day from 9:00 am to 1:00 pm and from 2:00 pm to 7:30 pm.
18. Armenistis Lighthouse
One site that pleases everyone is the Armenistis Lighthouse. As you can tell from the other items on this list of things to do in Mykonos, this island has a rich maritime history. This lighthouse pays tribute to that history. It was built over 100 years ago in response to a ship that sank off the coast — a wreck in which 11 people lost their lives.
The lighthouse is also built in the perfect sunset spot on the northwest part of the island, around 4 miles (6.4km) outside of Chora (Mykonos Town). From the lighthouse, you can gaze at Mykonos’s smaller brother, Tinos.
The lighthouse is loved by photographers, sunset seekers, couples, and solo travelers. It is a perfect spot for anyone to visit. The three ways to get to this lighthouse are by taxi, bus, or hike.
19. Kayak Around the Island
One of the more adventurous things to do in Mykonos is to get a view of the island from the water. There are some awesome kayak tours around Mykonos that take you out on the sea to experience some of the hard to reach sights. Plus, you’ll get to enjoy a different (stunning) vantage point of the island.
Mykonos Kayak offers a range of different tours and trips. They also have offices all around the island, and the glassy waters of Aegean are perfect for a beginner. Tours start at around 60 Euros.
20. Enjoy a Mykonos Sailing Tour
Another fun thing to do in Mykonos is taking a sail around the southern part of the island, from Agios Ioannis to Dragonisi Island. Enjoy a day on the water, while stopping in at pristine beaches for a swim, and dining on an onboard BBQ and fruits.
This gets you away from the crowded beaches to more remote parts of the island. Click here to learn more about this relaxing day at sea.
21. Experience Summer Festivals
If you time your visit right, you can enjoy a lot of entertainment. July and August are the prime months when Mykonos turns into a non-stop music festival. The beaches, bars, and nightclubs are pumping during these months.
The weather is hot and perfect for sipping cocktails while laying on the beach and listening to live music. The summer festivals draw DJ’s and musicians from all over the world. If partying is your thing, don’t miss the summer months in Mykonos.
The island of Mykonos offered more than I ever expected. After visiting, it’s easy to see why this small island has become so popular among travelers. I hope this list of things to do in Mykonos will help you make the most out of your time exploring this island in the Cyclades.
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The post 21 Things To Do in Mykonos: Sights, Food and Activities appeared first on Goats On The Road.