Picture Mykonos and you probably think of fairy-tale windmills, of winding white-washed alleyways adorned with blue doors and shutters, and unspoiled golden beaches backed by chic beach clubs. This compact Cycladean Island takes the best things about Greece and squeezes them into a destination just fifteen kilometres across. Bustling squares in Mykonos Town, incredible ancient archaeology preserved in remarkable museums, and a spellbinding landscape of dramatic hills and sandy shores await. Here’s what not to miss…
Mykonos Town (or Chora to locals) is unquestionably the island’s biggest draw. This maze of irregularly-paved streets, waterfront restaurants, and quaint gift shops is one of Greece’s most evocative sights and hides plenty of gems that you won’t want to miss. It’s often quite an experience just to wander amid the tangled passages and get comfortably lost within the heart of historic Chora. However, if you manage to follow a map, we recommend searching for Matoyianni Street – the town’s most picturesque and thriving thoroughfare, bedecked with tiny shops and local tavernas. Nearby you’ll find the M-eating fine-dining restaurant – one of the island’s best-reviewed restaurants, and the remarkable Rarity Gallery , one of Greece’s leading contemporary art galleries. The informative owners are happy to guide visitors through their remarkable collection, making it an ideal visit for novices and aficionados alike.
Watching over Mykonos Town are the island’s most evocative landmarks – the windmills! These haunting icons are scattered all across the island, but the five uniform mills at the edge of ‘Little Venice’ are the island’s most photographed. You can’t go inside these ones so if you want to discover the interior, we recommend heading to the Mykonos Agricultural Museum, where you can visit the Boni Windmill – the only mill on the island that still operates today.
There are plenty more treasures to discover in the town, including Little Venice – a very scenic stretch of waterfront cafes and bars, with dramatic al fresco terraces from some of the town’s best hotspots hanging just above the waves. If you want to lap up some more of the local Cycladean architecture – it really is quite remarkable – then we suggest the Church of Panagia Paraportiani, whose famous white dome is one of the island’s most photographed sights, or the Archaeological Museum of Mykonos, where nationally-important artefacts are preserved for future generations.
Head outside of the town, and you will discover another side to Mykonos. Dramatic rolling hills and charming villages dot the island’s centre, with a picture-perfect coastline fringing the edge. When it comes to discovering the island’s beaches, there are plenty to choose from despite its compact size. Paradise Beach is perhaps most popular, thanks to its wealth of bars, restaurants, and shops, while the stylish Ornos Beach, notable for being one of the closest to Mykonos Town, is another great pick. For a more ‘back to basics’ experience away from the crowds, head to the largely unspoiled beachfronts of Agios Stefanos, or Agios Ioannis. Here, a simple lounger and umbrella can be rented along a stretch of beautiful shoreline, with azure waters close by and fewer tourists.
Today, Mykonos is becoming internationally renowned for its chic nightlife scene, and you can discover this most notably during peak season where the bars and clubs of the island come alive. The bars and intimate clubs of Mykonos Town are perfect for a fun and relaxed evening, although we recommend heading to Paradise Beach for the best club on the island – Paradise Beach Club . You can even soak up the beach scene beforehand on the gorgeous golden beachfront.
If nightlife isn’t your scene, then don’t worry, as there are plenty of other activities to divulge in. Perhaps try scuba diving with Dive Adventures , who offer training across a variety of courses, or instead stay dry on a glamorous Mykonos Catamaran Cruise and visit nearby islands and hidden coves. Or perhaps take part in an authentic Greek cooking class and take home a new skill as well as a tan! Mykonos Spiti is one of the best-reviewed cooking schools and provides a range of courses and culinary experiences for adults and children alike.
We hope we’ve given you a little taste of what to expect from your next visit to this spectacular island destination. Let us know in the comments below if you have any tips to share with our readers.
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