Amongst the already buzzing Greek Islands, Mykonos has a stellar reputation for its nightlife and party scene, and it’s often seen as the liveliest destination in the Aegean Sea.
But while the parties are thumping and the cheap drinks never stop flowing during the summer high season, there’s more to Mykonos than late-night bars and rowdy tourists. The island has long been popular because of its white-sand beaches and turquoise water, and while many are now home to famous beach clubs, others can still leave you with a sense of solitude.
Mykonos is an island that can truly offer something for everyone in this respect, and you can party the night away or you can delve into local Greek culture and history. There’s a lot to see, and to help you to plan your trip to the Greek Islands, here’s our ultimate Mykonos travel guide.
This ultimate travel guide to Mykonos will show you all the most beautiful places in Mykonos, what to expect when visiting, where to stay in Mykonos and things to do in Mykonos which will help you in planning a trip to Mykonos.
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How to get to Mykonos
Mykonos is part of the Cyclades Islands group, a small archipelago which is found in the Aegean Sea. Despite its small size, Mykonos’ booming tourism industry ensures that it is well connected to the rest of Greece and much of Europe – especially in summer.
The main hub is Mykonos Town – also known as Chora – and a few kilometres outside of the town you can find the international airport. There are scheduled flights to Athens and other Greek Islands and cities throughout the year, while during summer, there are regular flights to almost any major European city with low-cost airlines and charter companies.
From April through to October, the airport is a busy transport hub, with flights connecting Mykonos to cities such as London, Manchester, Berlin, Paris and many, many more.
A more traditional way to travel to Mykonos though, is by boat, and there are regular services from Athens, a journey time of 3 to 5 hours depending on the ship and the conditions. There are also other connections to nearby islands such as Paros and Naxos, and in summer, to other tourist islands such as Santorini.
What to expect in Mykonos
Mykonos is one of the most visited and touristy islands in Greece, but that doesn’t mean that it’s lost the charms that originally drew in visitors – you just have to look a little harder to find it, and be prepared for things to be busy when you arrive.
The local language is Greek, and you’ll find that while lots of signage might be in the Greek alphabet, much of it is also transliterated into the Roman alphabet, and into English. Those working in the tourism industry are very likely to speak good English, while other European languages such as Spanish, French or German might also be spoken.
The currency in use in Mykonos is the Euro, and in the major towns on the island, you will find several ATMs, especially in the tourist zones.
How to get around Mykonos
Mykonos is a small island, and it would even be possible to hike from one end of the island and back again in a day if you so desired. Mykonos town can easily be traversed on foot. There is, however, also a reliable bus service which connects towns and villages to the main hub of Mykonos Town, with departures roughly every hour.
Taxis are limited on the island, however, it is possible to rent a car or a scooter from Mykonos airport. If you wish to self-drive, just be aware that parking in most destinations is extremely limited.
Given that this is an island, you can also make use of the many water taxis and boats which ply the coast picking up tourists and transporting them from beach to beach.
The best time to visit Mykonos
Given that Mykonos is both a beach and a party destination, the best time to visit is during the summer season. This is a very seasonal destination, and peak season runs roughly from March through to October. Outside of this, much of the tourism industry here closes down for the winter, and it can be difficult getting around the island or even finding flights and boats to Mykonos in the first instance.
Mykonos has great weather through the tourist season too, with the highest temperatures falling between June and August, which is also when visitor numbers are at their highest. If you want to avoid the worst of the summer crowds, then travel to Mykonos at the start or the end of the season, when the weather is still great and when you can score good deals on package holidays.
Things to do in Mykonos
Mykonos Town, otherwise known as Chora, is the centre of life on the island. This is not only the transport hub, but also the cultural hub, where you can find the island’s museums, best restaurants and more laid back bars than you’ll find at the party beaches.
It’s known for its picture-postcard houses, and ramshackle streets, which are painted in startling quantities of white and blue paint that literally shimmer in the sunlight.
One of the most iconic sights in Mykonos will always be the famed Mykonos Windmills. If you ever see a picture from the island, it’s bound to include these photogenic windmills, which line the coast just outside of the main town.
The windmills are painted white, with thatched roofs, and they make for the perfect photo spot when the sun is going down over the horizon. The oldest windmills date back to the 16th century when Mykonos’ Venetian inhabitants built them in order to mill the grain they were producing.
Another iconic sight to see in Mykonos Town is the famous Panagia Paraportiani. This is the local Greek Orthodox Church, but it’s perhaps unlike any other church you have seen anywhere in the world.
For starters, the walls are completely whitewashed, just like the rest of the buildings in Mykonos Town, but more than this, the unusual shape and structure of Panagia Paraportiani comes from the fact that the church is actually formed from several conjoined churches which were built on top of one another over several centuries.
Little Venice is a bustling part of Mykonos Town that’s found directly overlooking the waterfront. It’s a popular place in the evenings because this is where you can find some of the best restaurants, with the best views in Mykonos.
The houses here are built over the water – reminiscent of the canals in Venice – and the bars and outside dining areas offer a superb atmosphere in summer.
Archaeological Museum of Mykonos
Mykonos has a long history that’s often overlooked by people simply searching for sun and sand, but the best place to learn more about the island’s long past and rich heritage is to visit the Archaeological Museum of Mykonos, which is located in Mykonos Town.
Mykonos was an important centre of Ancient Greek culture and mythology, and at the museum, you can find many artefacts and archaeological finds, some dating back thousands of years.
Paradise Beach and Super Paradise Beach
Mykonos is well known for its summer parties and late-night drinking, and around the island, you can find a staggering number of bars and beach clubs. The parties and the drinking never really stop in summer in some locations, and two of the most famed places to go if you’re here for the partying, are Paradise Beach and Super Paradise Beach.
Both are found on the southern shore, and at these legendary beach clubs, you can enjoy white sands, endless cocktails and wild parties all through the high season.
But there are many more Mykonos beach locations to visit too, aside from the beach clubs, and even given the large number of visitors, if you look hard enough then you can find a secluded stretch of sand somewhere on the island.
In fact, Mykonos is home to some of the most beautiful beaches in the world, and first and foremost, this is a sun, sea and sand destination for many tourists. The best beaches are found in the south, where you have glorious white sands and wonderfully clear water to enjoy.
What to eat in Mykonos
Mykonos has an incredible range of restaurants, given its small size, and while you can find many that cater to international tastes, it’s the local Greek style restaurants that serve the most traditional food on the island.
Of course, you can find plenty of fresh seafood and many Greek classics, including the likes of Souvlaki and Moussaka, but there are lots of local specialties to indulge in too. The island is well known for its strong, yet delicious cheese, which is known as Kopanisti, while you can also try the local cold meat cuts, known as Louza.
Where to stay in Mykonos
Budget – Mykonos has some great value accommodation for budget travellers. Many companies offer great package deals from Europe, including flights and basic hotels or apartments on the island, that can often be cheaper than booking individually. Prices will generally be higher here though than other Greek Islands, so if you are really budgeting, you can even stay at the beach camping grounds – there’s even one by Paradise Beach.
Mid-Range – Mid-range accommodation can be found in Mykonos Town and the nearby surroundings, and for the best deals, you are best booking into family-run guesthouses or local apartments.
Luxury – Mykonos has some fabulous luxury accommodation to offer to anyone not travelling on a budget. Luxury hotels are not cheap – especially given the wave of influencers and Instagrammers that have been raising the profile of Mykonos even higher than it already was in recent years – but you are guaranteed excellent service and amenities. Some of the best options include Bill & Coo Suites and Lounge, a boutique hotel with private infinity pools, or the Santa Marina, which offers not only private pools, but also the only private beach on Mykonos.
Airbnb is also a great option for short or long stays.
Tours to do in Mykonos
One of the best tours to join in Mykonos is a Catamaran cruise. The small island offers countless opportunities for snorkelling, as well as superb vistas and panoramas from the water, and the best way to get around is by boat.
In summer, Catamaran cruises leave daily, and there’s one for every style of traveller. You can join active excursions, with plenty of swimming, or you can join the party boats, where it’s more about the music and the drinking – this is Mykonos after all! – than it is about the views.
A great way to see the best of Mykonos Town, and to delve deeper into the local history and culture, is to join a walking tour. Learn from the locals the importance of iconic sights such as the Mykonos Windmills or the Panagia Paraportiani, try some of the best local food and drink away from the touristy waterfront areas, and enjoy a different, more unique side of life in Mykonos.
Day trips from Mykonos
Delos is a small island just off the coast of Mykonos, and it’s home to one of the most important archaeological sites in the Greek Islands. Delos is a short journey by boat from Mykonos Town, and it makes for a great day trip.
It’s long been an important religious location, and Greek Mythology has it that this is where Apollo and Artemis, legendary deities, were both born. You can explore many of the excavated ruins that date back thousands of years, including Ancient Greek temples and theatres.
Most trips to Delos also include a stop at the adjacent island of Rhenia, where you can find some of the best sandy beaches in the region, and some of the clearest water too.
Further afield, the island of Syros also makes for a fantastic day trip from Mykonos. You can catch the local ferry, with the shortest crossings taking just half an hour, or you can join an organised tour to see more of the islands on the way to Syros at the same time.
On Syros, you can see a less touristy side of life in the Aegean Sea, find unspoilt beaches, wonderful villages and enjoy island life at its best.
Recommended tours in Mykonos
- Mykonos Catamaran Daytime or Sunset Sailing with Food and Drinks
- Half-Day Small-Group Guided Tour of Mykonos
- Best of Mykonos island, 4 hours private tour
- All Included Mykonos South-Coast Beaches, Rhenia and Delos Islands
- Mykonos to Delos & Rhenia Cruise ,BBQ&drinks, optional Delos Tour & Transfer
- Traditional Mykonian Barbecue Experience at Spiti Farm
- Snorkeling Adventure Trip
- Paros Bus Island Tour
- All inclusive Day or Sunset cruises on a luxury Lagoon catamaran 44
- Wine Tasting In Mykonos with Greek Ancient varieties
- Full Day Mykonos South Coast Cruise with Lunch