The Most Incredible Things to Do in Mykonos
Your must-do list for visiting Greece’s chicest island
What comes to mind when you first think of Mykonos? Likely whitewashed houses and a world-class party scene. You’re not wrong, but this most stylish of Greek islands has all this and more. Whether you’re more interested in dancing under the stars or delving into local history, Mykonos has myriad activities to fascinate and delight. Here’s where Plum Guide comes in: we know choosing how to fill your Mykonos itinerary can be tricky, particularly if you’re island hopping and have a limited amount of time, so let us make things that bit easier. Read on to discover our insider’s guide to the best things to do in Mykonos.
Explore Chora’s famous Little Venice
Fear not, you haven’t made a wrong turn and ended up next to London’s Paddington Station. As well as being a quaint London neighbourhood, Little Venice is among the most remarkable spots in Chora (Mykonos Town). Here at the southwestern end of the harbour you’ll find colourful 18th-century houses (many of which have been transformed into restaurants, bars, and shops) at the water’s edge, their balconies hovering over the calm harbour. The name Little Venice is a nod to the heavy Venetian influence on the region, with Mykonos under Venetian rule from 1390 to 1718. Having explored the boutiques and bistros of Little Venice, take the opportunity to make the short walk up to Chora’s iconic whitewashed windmills. The five windmills, known collectively as the kato mili (lower windmills), hark back to a time when Mykonos was the main supplier of a rusk called paximadi, which sailors used for sustenance. Among them is Geronymos Mill, built in the 1700s and the oldest of the 16 mills on the island.
Swim in the crystal clear waters of the Aegean
Undoubtedly, one of the most popular things to do in Mykonos in summer is to spend the day relaxing on the beach. An obvious draw of the island is its plethora of sandy stretches, with Platis Gialos a great place to start. Accessible via public transport from Chora, here you’ll find a well-organised beach backed with restaurants and bars, as well as an atmosphere that strikes the perfect balance between lively and laid back. Shallow, calm waters make it an ideal option for families. Right next door, Psarou beach is among the trendiest, while fans of water sports should head east to Kalafati. If you like your beaches a little on the wilder side, set up camp for the day at Fokos on the northeast coast.
Take a day trip to Delos
If time allows, make the short journey across the water to the island of Delos. In addition to having a strategic position, this UNESCO World Heritage Site was considered a sacred island in Ancient Greek culture, and according to Greek mythology, was the birthplace of the twin deities Apollo and Artemis. As such, the island was the religious and political epicentre of the Cyclades, drawing flocks of worshippers and numerous conquests. Today, you can stroll through the well-preserved ruins, including the famous Terrace of the Lions, House of Dionysus, and Sanctuary of Apollo, before delving further into the history at the Archaeological Museum of Delos. To reach the island, simply hop on a ferry from the old port in Mykonos.
Party at Paradise Beach
If beaches are one major draw to Mykonos, the other is the party scene. Combine the two on Paradise Beach, home to renowned bars Tropicana and Paradise Club. Arrive in the morning to enjoy swimming, sunbathing, and water sports, before DJs start spinning beats and the party really gets going in the late afternoon. To take your experience (quite literally) to the next level, head up into the hills above the bay to cliffside club Cavo Paradiso. Away from the beach, some of Chora’s chicest nightlife options include chilled-out Galleraki, prime cocktail spot BAO, and local institution Skandinavian Bar.
Visit Panagia Paraportiani
It’s said that there are as many churches in Mykonos as there are days in the year. In actual fact, there are far more than this - it would surely be remiss to not include at least one of the island’s churches in a guide to the best things to do in Mykonos. But, why visit one church, when you can tick off five in one go? The whitewashed Panagia Paraportiani is actually five separate churches, built on top or next to each other: the church of Agios Efstathios is the centre of this family, surrounded by Agios Anargyros (dating to the 14th century), Agios Sozon, and Agia Anastasia, and crowned by the domed church of Panagia (Virgin Mary). Among the most-photographed churches in all of Greece, Panagia Paraportiani takes its name from its location - Paraportiani means “standing next to the entrance door”, in reference to its position next to the entrance of the castle. From the church’s main entrance, you'll also enjoy spectacular views over the sea.
Embark on a tour of galleries and museums
For a bonus dose of history and culture, Mykonos boasts an impressive array of museums and galleries. To get the backstory on the island’s history, make a beeline for the Archaeological Museum of Mykonos in Chora, where you’ll find an expansive collection of jewellery and pottery dating as far back as the 25th century BC, as well as artefacts that illustrate Mykonos’s battle-filled history. Add on a visit to the Aegean Maritime Museum and the Mykonos Folklore Museum to complete your exploration of local history, or seek out the island’s premier contemporary spaces at The House of Fine Art (also found in London and Los Angeles) and Rarity Gallery.