Latest posts by Caroline Rangel (see all)
- Exploring Mykonos: Things To See and To Do - August 23, 2016
- The Surreal Lençóis Maranhenses National Park - June 16, 2016
- Heart of Palm Creamy Pie (Torta Cremosa de Palmito) - June 16, 2016
Mykonos is a tiny island where the sun shines 300 days a year. The island is Worldwide famous for its amazing beaches, clubs and windmills. But for me – it’s a place to remember!
I got lost in Mykonos town, ate a lot of feta cheese and gyros, met a crazy hotel owner, drank a lot of Greek wine, got a great tan, rode a bike, went to incredible beaches, and learned the meaning of life. Okay, the last one is a lie.
I’m not exactly the party type, but I really wanted to visit the island. So, what does Mykonos has to offer besides the party scene? I quickly discovered that there is a lot actually!
Stroll Around the Streets of Chora
Mykonos Town or Chora is the island’s capital. There you will find a bunch of restaurants, bars, grocery stores, shops, bakeries (they have great bakeries), cafes and rental offices, travel agencies, etc.
Greeks have this passion for frappé coffee, I tried to blend in, but cold coffee it’s not my thing.
If you’re a map freak like me, forget it – you will get lost in the maze streets of Chora, but it will be a very pleasant experience, since the place is charming: filled with white houses, blue windows, stone paved streets, and beautiful flowers…
Try to memorize some reference points, then you won’t waste a lot of time walking in circles. I was able to find the way back to my hotel due to a pair of pink pants for sale in a store. Every time I passed by the pink pants, I knew I was somewhere close to my hotel.
If you like a particular restaurant or a shop – go for it, otherwise if you save it for later you might not find it again. I lost a bakery and a restaurant just like that.
At night Chora is even more charming! I have never seen so many attractive people concentrated in one, small place.
You might want to go to the Old Port to have some ice cream, while watching the stars and the yachts.
Take a Picture in Little Venice
It’s very easy to get to Little Venice, a set of houses built over the sea. Some of the houses have been converted into cafes, bars and tiny shops.
Little Venice is a beautiful place to take some pictures and nothing more. Since unfortunately, it can be too crowded and touristy. Plus, prices are too high and people bump into you while you are sitting at a table, because the pathway is too narrow… Just take a picture and continue on with your exploration.
The iconic windmills are very close to Little Venice. They stand in a row on a hill overlooking the sea, don’t miss the sunset there – it represents the idyllic scenery of a Greek Summer.
The whole area around Little Venice, the Castle region and the windmills offer plenty of spots to sit and enjoy the sunset. Buy a bottle of white wine and watch as day turns into night.
There’s a local celebrity that likes to hang out in this part of town: Petrus. Petrus is the island’s official mascot, a huge Pelican – you will probably meet him. Actually, he’s Petrus II, or III. The original Petrus passed away a few years ago and is now stuffed in the Folk Museum. The island’s population quickly replaced him with another one.
Ride a Bike in Ano Mera
The village of Ano Mera is one of the oldest and most important ones on the island. If you want a place to escape the busy Chora, this is it!
There are many churches and nice restaurants around the main square, but the best thing to do in Ano Mera is to book a bike tour with Yummy Pedals run by the lovely Dimitra!
I booked a 3 hour bike tour plus a snack (thus explaining the “yummy” in Yummy Pedals) for €50. The tour fee includes: the bike rental, helmet, water, insurance, and a guided tour as well as a delicious snack: freshly squeezed lemonade and homemade muffins.
My ride started close to Ano Mera village, we rode across farms and hills, and some stunning views along the way.
First stop: Lia beach for swimming.
Second stop: a semi-private beach for snacks.
The bike ride ended at a vineyard owned by Dimitra’s family (known as Vioma Farm). My group joined the wine tasting with some snacks made of local cheeses, olives and salads. Lovely people and wonderful food. And, for the dessert – figs straight from a tree! It was my best day in Mykonos!
Dimitra was an amazing guide, she showed me a different side of Mykonos from the perspective of a local and it was very interesting to discover the rural and traditional sights. She also gave me some great insider tips about the best beaches.
Visit the Ancient Site of Delos
Take a boat trip to the island of Delos, the place is an open air museum. It’s a really short trip, there are boats leaving for Delos on a daily basis. You can buy your ticket close to the Old Port.
Delos was a famous political and religious centre in Antiquity. The island is a UNESCO Heritage Site and one of the most well-known archaeological sites in all of Greece. I love ancient history, and there is no way I was going to miss it.
According to the Greek mythology, Delos is the birthplace of two of the most important ancient Greek gods, Apollo and Artemis. In respect for the Gods, no child could be born on the island – all pregnant women who lived there went to a nearby island to give birth.
Today, all that is left are ruins of a once well organized city – one with market places, public squares and structures, temples and ancient homes.
The highlights are:
- The terrace of the Naxos Lions from the 7th century BC
- The remains of the Temple of Apollo
- The sanctuary of Artemis
- The dolphin mosaic
- The big amphitheatre from the 8th century BC
- A small museum built in 1904 full of statues and relics
Don’t forget to bring water and snacks, there is a coffee shop across the museum, but it’s a bit far from the main ruins. A hat is essential, there is no shadow in Delos, and during Summer the sun is way too hot.
One interesting fact: according to the Greek mythology – Mykonos is Apollo’s son or grandson, God of Light and the Sun.
Grab a Gyro (A traditional Greek kebab)
A gyro or gyros is a Greek dish made of meat, usually lamb or beef, cooked on a vertical rotisserie, served wrapped in a pita bread as a cone, with cucumber, tomato, onion, Greek yogurt or tzatziki sauce, and sometimes fries.
It tastes really good, it’s a quick snack and it doesn’t cost much! It’s the Greek version of fast food. I really miss the gyro, I tried to recreate it at home, but it was not as good as the original one.
Take a Bus
The transportation is a real problem in Mykonos. Forget taxis – they are too few and too expensive and if you are considering to rent a car, well then, you shouldn’t drink.
During a high season the buses are completely full – I’ve been there in August. I know what I’m talking about. But they are still the best option to get around.
Make sure to memorize a correct schedule, arrive at the bus stop 10-15 min before and buy a return ticket in advance, as it will save you time in queue lines, at the end of the day.
If you buy a return ticket, don’t let the driver rip it, otherwise it’s invalid. Drivers also tend to charge a higher fare for tourists, which is the night fare. Be aware of that. On the first bus that I took the driver charged me a higher fare during the day. I learned my lesson: don’t trust the driver.
Choose Your Favorite Beach
In Mykonos there are plenty of beaches, one for every style: party beaches, family beaches, romantic beaches, quiet beaches, nudist beaches, beaches to practice water sports in…
The Southern beaches are the ones with the best views, the best sand and are also protected from strong winds that passes through the island. While the Northern beaches do not lose in beauty, they have less structure and tend to be more peaceful.
If you have an opportunity, visit as many different beaches as you can. I spent 4 days on the island and I’ve been to 5 different beaches, and here is my review:
This is one of the most famous beaches of Mykonos, and not only for its natural beauty, but also for the famous beach clubs. If you are looking for a place to party, Paradise Beach is the place – the party starts at midday and it just goes on…
The hottest clubs on the island are all located on Paradise Beach, including: the Tropicana Club and Cavo Paradiso. During the Summer season – they are both packed.
Paradise Beach has chairs and umbrellas scattered along the beach, and, despite its name, is not as idyllic as the name implies – it’s too crowded, with lots of people and chairs. There are more beautiful beaches on the island, such as its sister – Super Paradise.
Super Paradise Beach
Super Paradise is known as the “gay” beach of Mykonos, but it’s not totally true, there is definitely a mixed crowd. Super Paradise is, in my opinion, the most beautiful beach in Mykonos – it’s water is crystal clear and the scenery is unique. It’s a great place for sunbathing.
By 11am all good spots at the front are gone. So make sure to get here early.
Though the beach is crowded all Summer long, and it’s hard to find a free sombrero or even a space to put your towel on the sand on certain days, so be aware!
This beach has two of the busiest nightclubs of Mykonos – JackieO ‘Beach Club (they have a drag queen show every night) and Super Paradise.
Please note: Super Paradise Beach is a nudist bathing area. I haven’t seen anyone naked, just some girls going topless.
Lia Beach is quiet and charming, it’s my favourite beach to go and relax. With crystal clear waters and golden thin sand, the sea is like a swimming pool.
Lia has a more relaxed atmosphere, though it can also get crowded, which is not a problem, since the beach is wide. There is enough space to put your towel on the sand or find an umbrella (for a fee of course).
It certainly is the place to get away from the crowd.
Kalo Livadi Beach
Kalo Livadi features abundant umbrellas, lounge chairs and beach bars. All the best spots go away fast, be sure to arrive early to secure your place on the sand. (It seems to be the golden rule everywhere during the Summer).
It’s like if you were diving in a swimming pool, no waves and turquoise blue water. I really liked Kalo Livadi: a large strip of sand, spacious, there are some trees providing natural shadow, and a calm sea waters!
Sol-Y-Mar, the bar/restaurant at the left side of the beach is one of the best beach bars on the island, the only one which I really enjoyed the music at!
Please note: if you are seeking relaxation – explore the right side of the beach.
Agios Ioannis Beach
Agios Ioannis is one of the South beaches and a paradise for snorkelers. The water is crystal clear for swimming and shallow so children can enjoy it too. The island in the background is Delos.
The beach is divided into two segments – one for families and another one for noisy beach bars. There are a couple of beach bars that provide sun beds + umbrellas + wifi.
Agios Ioannis is a nice beach, but it’s not on my top 3. I must admit the sunset is quite charming, though.
Do you have other tips on Mykonos? Let us know!