From beach hopping to island hopping and from savouring worldly delights to experiencing history’s mighty weight, you’ll never run out of fascinating things to do in Mykonos. Here’re some ideas on how to squeeze the best out of your time on the island of the winds.
What springs to mind when you first think about Mykonos? Bronzed goddesses and gods dancing on golden sands next to crystalline waters; modern-day Croesus arriving in super yachts and helicopters; tons of champagne getting popped every second; celebrities posing for the paparazzi…That’s the general idea, right?
Well, not quite. Mykonos is more than Greece’s answer to Ibiza. More than pristine beaches, insatiable party animals and the latest hits blasting from every corner. Spend a little time in this whitewashed paradise to discover the evocative charm of the Cycladic labyrinth of Chora, the joys of exploring the off-the-beaten-track countryside and a dining scene to rival that of any other jet-setting destination.
To make the most out of your stay, make sure to check out our handpicked suggestions about the top 5 things to do in Mykonos. And, in case you can’t make it here for the summer, don’t fret. Mykonos is an all-seasons wonderland brimming with natural and manmade beauties, no matter the time of year. Should you opt to visit in late September or October, the weather will continue to be just as inviting as in May, June, or even late August – and you’ll discover another, more calm and quiet side, that’s equally enchanting as its energy-packed summer version. Plus, you’ll get to enjoy nicer prices and the world-famous, photogenic attractions, without the hordes.
Top 5 things to do in Mykonos
Go Beach Hopping
With more than 25 beaches to choose from, Mykonos has a shore for every taste: From secluded coves surrounded by cerulean seas to wide stretches of silky sands teeming with merry-making sun worshippers. If you want to see and be seen head to Psarou, Paraga and Kalo Livadi. Panormos is also a quintessential jet-setting destination – albeit one with a more chilled feel. Sports enthusiasts will feel at home in Elia, Ftelia and Kalafatis, while the spacious and sandy Platys Gialos is a crowd-pleaser attracting families and couples alike. Yet if you are looking to venture off the beaten path, pebbled Myrsini and Fokos offer stunning scenery and refuge from the crowds. Likewise, Choulakia – the realm of the San Marco luxury hotel & villas in Mykonos – is a great option for those who seek to combine serenity with a gorgeous backdrop, and a spot of enchanting history. According to mythology, Choulakia is where the Giants were buried after their defeat by mighty Hercules in the battle of the Titans. The large, shiny pebbles that you’ll still encounter today are allegedly fragments of the Titans’ bodies – and no one is allowed to take them back home as souvenirs. Stay until late – our concierge can arrange for a hamper basket filled with locally sourced goodies to take with you on the beach – to admire the sun making its spectacular dive into the Aegean.
Get lost in Mykonos Town
Le Corbusier praised it for its architecture and light, Jackie’ O placed it on the jet-setters’ map in the 60s, while today’s Hollywood stars flock here for the incessant party. The impossibly photogenic, pristine Chora is not a place to be rushed but instead to be unhurriedly savoured. One of the best things to do in Mykonos Town is to get lost in its maze-lie, bougainvillaea-clad alleyways; bask in its one-of-a-kind energy and just take in the surroundings. Make sure to stop at the Archaeological Museum, where you can admire treasures, like a marble statue of Hercules dating from the 2nd-century BCE, but also jewellery, figurines, funerary statues and pottery from ancient Delos. If you are interested in Greece’s longstanding naval tradition, visit the Aegean Maritime Museum, where a wide range of nautical instruments and ancient vessels are exhibited, along with some incredibly detailed models of sailing ships and steamers. Lena’s House is also a treasure-laden, traditional house-turned-folk-museum. Featuring the original owner’s antique furnishings, artwork and tapestries, it offers a comprehensive look into the life of 19th-century Mykonians. On a more contemporary note, the shopping in Mykonos is excellent. Pop into the stores in Matogiannia for designer wear, funky souvenirs and world-class jewellery. For art check out Rarity and Skoufa Galleries as well as Art and Soul – Mykonos boasts a handful of quirky art galleries with some striking works. Chora’s other delights include a star-mascot Pelican, Peter, who’s forever busy posing next to celebrities and A-listers; and of course the postcard-perfect Windmills, Paraportiani church complex and the iconic, colourful neighbourhood of Little Venice. Sit down at one of its many restaurants, bars and cafes, enjoy a cocktail or meal and gaze at the sunset. That’s bliss on the water’s edge.
Visit Ancient Delos & Rhenia
No visit to Mykonos would be complete without a boat trip to Delos: The mythological birthplace of the sacred twins, Apollo and Artemis, was the most important religious, cultural and commercial centre of antiquity. Nowadays its remarkably well-preserved ruins attest to this illustrious past. Wonder through the archaeological site, admire the ancient theatre from the 3rd century BC, the Terrace of the Lions and the exhibits at Delos Museum such as the Torso of a Kouros dating from the middle of the 6th century BC; the Marble statue of Boreas; and the Bronze mask of Dionysos, from the 2nd century BC. A great idea is to combine this trip with a stop in neighbouring Rhenia – an unspoiled paradisiacal isle lapped with crystalline waters, where ancient monuments still stand in their original, unchanged habitat. Delos and Rhenia are just a couple of miles away from the cosmopolitan shores of Mykonos – tours and cruises are fast and frequent. Just ask our dedicated concierge to arrange everything for you.
Tour a vineyard
Vioma is a biodynamic vineyard and organic farm that’s open to the public. Book a tasting tour to learn all about the island’s wine-making tradition, and to enjoy a complete farm-to-table experience. Except for its traditional Aegean sea wine varieties, the farm also yields an array of delectable local products including different kinds of vinegar, vine leaves, grape molasses, and honey. If you find yourselves in Mykonos at the end of September, don’t miss the end-of-season grape harvesting, stomping, and merry-making!
Explore the great outdoors
Mykonos island has a hilly interior, quiet backcountry roads, tranquil villages and several practically deserted beaches along the north coast – and they are all best discovered on a mountain bike. Several companies, including Vioma and Yummy Pedals, offer guided bicycle tours across the unknown parts of rural Mykonos, which are tailored to your skill level. Explore Mykonos’ traditions in unspoiled Ano Mera; discover sleepy hamlets and post-card perfect little chapels; or even visit the deserted, eerie old mines and look out for their sole surviving inhabitant: the small crocodile, also known as the Mykonian lizard, may not be as famous as Peter the Pelican, but it’s the island’s real mascot!
Mykonos also offers various opportunities for underwater explorations. There are two wrecks that remain almost intact on its seabed. “Anna II ” is a cargo ship that sank in 1995, very close to Lia beach. Resting at a depth of 20 to 30 metres, it functions as an artificial reef attracting many marine life species. Likewise, “Peloponnese ” lies on the northeastern side of Mykonos at over 55 meters. The boat which sunk in 1926, is cut in two and is prefered by more experienced divers, due to the location’s harsh weather conditions and great depth. Also, Tragonissi, or Dragonisi, about a mile from the northeastern coast of Mykonos, is a protected small rocky isle and a refuge of Monachus Monachus, with a unique system of caves and caverns, which make for fascinating discoveries.
Did you like our post about the top 5 things to do in Mykonos? Stay tuned to the San Marco Hotel & Villas Blog, for more local tips and insights.