What are the five best things to see and do in Mykonos?

Marissa Tejada

As one of the most cosmopolitan spots in Greece, Mykonos truly has something for everyone: party beaches, quiet stretches of sand, pretty cafes that offer prime seating for watching Greece’s famous sunsets and more. Mykonos has developed over the past decades to offer options to everyone from the party crowd and gay couples to newlyweds and families. Away from its famous beaches, anyone can appreciate the ancient archeology of neighboring Delos and the picturesque alleyways of the island’s main town, Chora. Here are the five things our Forbes Travel Guide editors say are not to be missed in Mykonos:

1. Sunsets in Little Venice. Little Venice is the most picturesque corner of Chora. Its colorful buildings seem to rise right out of the sea. The lively area is full of cafes and restaurants and watching the sunset with a chilled drink in hand is a nightly ritual.

2. Seeing the windmills up close. The island’s iconic windmills have been greeting visitors for centuries. Once used to produce grain, the distinctive windmills are the first things visitors see when approaching Mykonos. You’ll want a few photos in front of one of the round white structures with their thatched roofs that rise above Chora.

3. Psarou Beach. This luxury beach is a see-and-be-seen kind of place. Reserve one of the spacious, chic lounge beds in advance and wear your designer bikini. Then, sit back, order a cocktail and keep an eye out for celebrities.

4. Discovering Delos. A short boat ride takes you to this sacred island, where you can explore the impressive and expansive remains of an ancient sanctuary and theater by foot. Delos is thought to be the birthplace of mythological twins Apollo and Artemis and is one of Greece’s most important archeological sites. You can hop a ferry at the port for the 30-minute trip to the island or charter a boat that includes a private tour guide and lunch.

5. Photos at Panagia Paraportiani. While Mykonos has a lot of historic churches, this white, asymmetrical beauty is the most photographed in Greece. The whitewashed place of worship is actually made up of four little chapels. The entrance offers sweeping views of the sea but be careful when you enter as the church is still in use for services.

  • On September 18, 2012
    Marissa Tejada answered the question: Marissa Tejada

    What are the best sports to try out on Mykonos?

    Mykonos is the perfect destination for water sports and other outdoor activities. Its beaches and terrain offer ideal conditions for scenic and invigorating adventures. Here are a few that Forbes Travel Guide recommends trying:   
     
    1. Windsurfing. Windsurfers love the strong northern winds that hit the island. Take advantage of the winds at Ftelia and Kalafati beaches. Beginners can take courses throughout the island. 
     
    2. Horseback riding. Discover the Greek countryside as you ride horseback through a network of hillside trails and donkey paths. You’ll end up on the island’s scenic beaches. 
      
    3. Diving. Take the plunge at one of the island’s dive centers. Discover archeological artifacts, shipwrecks, scenic canyons and reefs.
  • On September 18, 2012
    Marissa Tejada answered the question: Marissa Tejada

    What is the best thing to bring home from Mykonos?

    The widely available windmill key chains will remind you of the island’s iconic sight, but something that is truly original to take home is some artwork from the island. The town’s cobbled streets are filled with galleries and shops that offer all kinds of unique and original treasures. The island is home to a sizeable community of artists from around the world and from mainland Greece. Its beauty inspires them to create gorgeous pieces of art — everything from paintings to sculptures — that pay homage to the unique energy and splendor they’ve discovered.  
     
    Greece is also known for its jewelry, particularly anything that’s gold. Pick up a gold cuff or necklace. Of course, no trip to Greece is complete without picking up an evil eye charm. The glass blue charms are sold everywhere in Greece and you can buy them as bracelets, necklaces and pins to ward off curses. We also recommend buying a pair of Greek sandals, which are now sold in upscale department stores for hundreds of dollars. Pick them up off the street in Mykonos for 20 euros.
  • On September 18, 2012
    Marissa Tejada answered the question: Marissa Tejada

    What are the five best Mykonos food experiences?

    Mykonos prides itself on a few tasty specialties that you can rarely find on the mainland. Here are five that Forbes Travel Guide recommends you try while on the island:
     
    1. Mykonos wine. The lone vineyard on the island, Mykonos Vineyard, produces white, red and rose wines from local grapes under three different labels. Varieties include aidani, athiri, assyrtiko, mandilaria, as well as cabernet and syrah.  
     
    2. Louza. The local pork sausages can be added to Greek salads or ordered as an appetizer.  They are often seasoned with oregano and dipped in wine before being smoked.
     
    3. Mykonos Pie. Greece is famous for its stuffed savory pies, which are filled with everything from feta cheese to spinach to leeks. On Mykonos the specialty is an onion pie called kremmydopita. The pies make for the perfect snack or breakfast.
     
    4. Sweets. Look out for Greek almond cookies called amygdolata, which have a crunchy exterior and a chewy center. The traditional treat is sold in bakeries around Chora.
     
    5. Ouzo and Octopus. Greeks love two things: ouzo and octopus. Make like the locals and sit down in a café at sunset and order both. Remember, there’s no such thing as too much ouzo when in Mykonos. Just ask the locals.
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  • On September 18, 2012
    Marissa Tejada answered the question: Marissa Tejada

    Where is the best nightlife in Mykonos?

    The best nightlife in Mykonos is found in the island’s town, Chora. Its winding streets are dotted with dance clubs and trendy bars that cater to all — everyone from the gay community to the techno-minded to traditional Greek music lovers. Caprice Bar is a good place to start your bar hopping; it’s always packed with a diverse crowd of beautiful people having a great time.
     
    Just outside of town, the beaches of Mykonos are known for their nightlife — especially in the summer. At Super Paradise Beach, the dance party spills out onto the sand until the sun comes up. And at Paradise Beach, which is right next to Super Paradise Beach, world-famous DJs spin for thousands of fans in an enormous outdoor venue.   
  • On September 18, 2012
    Marissa Tejada answered the question: Marissa Tejada

    What is the best way to see Mykonos in one day?

    You can only explore the island’s town, Chora, by foot, but for the rest of the island a car is a must (taxis can also be rented for the day). In the morning, head to your luxurious pre-booked lounge bed at one of the world’s most glamorous spots, Psarou Beach. While lounging, order tasty snacks and cool drinks from your waiter, people-watch and swim in the bright blue sea. For lunch, dine at Nammos, a trendy spot on the beach with an upbeat atmosphere and great Greek dishes. To sample the island’s famous party scene, head to Paradise Beach next. The party crowd starts to congregate there mid-afternoon. Have a cold beer or iced coffee as the dance music begins to pump.   
     
    Stop by the quiet inland village of Ano Mera by late afternoon to explore the historic Panagia Tourliani Monastery, which was built in 1542. Then, freshen up and head into town. Walk through its small winding streets and pop into the jewelry shops and galleries. Later, venture out to the dockside and take photos at the island’s iconic windmills and the famous Church of Panagia Paraportiani.
     
    Just before sunset, choose a waterfront restaurant, where you can enjoy Greek specialties, Greek wine and stunning views. Then walk over to Caprice Bar in Little Venice, an island landmark. Order a drink and watch the place slowly crowd up (if it isn’t already). If you want to stay out after midnight, head to the beach parties at Paradise or Super Paradise. In the thick of summer, they attract intense crowds that will likely stick around until sunrise.
  • On September 18, 2012
    Marissa Tejada answered the question: Marissa Tejada

    Where is the best shopping in Mykonos?

    Famous for its fashionable crowd, Mykonos is the kind of place where you can go shopping at midnight. The mazelike streets of Chora are filled with both posh clothing boutiques and little shops run by old ladies clad in black selling chunky wool sweaters and Greek sandals that retail for hundreds of dollars at Barneys.
     
    First things first, buy those sandals. They’re handmade and come in all sorts of colors and designs for the entire family. Check out Mykonos Sandals in Little Venice and Eccentrics by Design on Zouganeli Street.
     
    Next, buying a piece of jewelry while visiting Greece is a must. Jewelry stores in Greece are as common as bakeries and cafes. You’ll practically trip over one on every block in Mykonos, where you can buy handmade silver and gold jewelry. For pieces that look like they may have been worn by Aphrodite or Athena, check out Lalaounis on Polikandrioti Street. This is the place to go for thick gold cuffs and other ancient Greek-inspired jewelry.
     
    For clothing, Soho-Soho on Matoyanni is the most well-known boutique. The chic shop has locations around Greece and sells everything from Yosi Sama flats to Alice By Temperley dresses and fun tees by Amsterdam-based Zoe Karssen.
     
    In addition to clothing and accessories, Mykonos is a place to shop for art. An impressive collection of art galleries (some of which are based in Athens) sell the work of some of Greece’s most famous artists, as well as creations from talented foreign artists inspired by the island’s beauty.
  • On September 18, 2012
    Marissa Tejada answered the question: Marissa Tejada

    What are the five best things to do with kids in Mykonos?

    It may be known as an adult vacation paradise, but Mykonos has its share of kid-friendly activities, too. Our Forbes Travel Guide editors recommend the five best things to do with kids while vacationing in Mykonos:
     
    1. Find Petros the Pelican. You can’t miss the island’s fabled resident mascot since he loves a crowd. Large, outgoing and sometimes noisy, he draws tourists around him when he struts around by the port in town.
     
    2. Ride a horse. Trot along some of the best beaches in the world. Several horseback riding companies offer various packages that include lessons and one-hour rides or day-long excursions.
     
    3. Hit the water. Many of the island’s beaches have kiosks that rent out pedal boats, canoes and kayaks.
     
    4. Go snorkeling. Discover the Aegean’s vibrant underwater life while visiting one of the island’s beaches, including Psarou and Paranga. Snorkel over caverns inhabited by hundreds of colorful fish and anemones.
     
    5. Visit Delos. Tell your children the mythological story of Apollo and Artemis, twins born to Zeus and his wife Leto. The story goes that Leto came to the island to give birth to the twins, first to Artemis, goddess of the hunt, and then to Apollo, god of the sun. The UNESCO World Heritage Site is a must for people of all ages.
  • On September 18, 2012
    Marissa Tejada answered the question: Marissa Tejada

    What are the five best things to see and do in Mykonos?

    As one of the most cosmopolitan spots in Greece, Mykonos truly has something for everyone: party beaches, quiet stretches of sand, pretty cafes that offer prime seating for watching Greece’s famous sunsets and more. Mykonos has developed over the past decades to offer options to everyone from the party crowd and gay couples to newlyweds and families. Away from its famous beaches, anyone can appreciate the ancient archeology of neighboring Delos and the picturesque alleyways of the island’s main town, Chora. Here are the five things our Forbes Travel Guide editors say are not to be missed in Mykonos:

    1. Sunsets in Little Venice. Little Venice is the most picturesque corner of Chora. Its colorful buildings seem to rise right out of the sea. The lively area is full of cafes and restaurants and watching the sunset with a chilled drink in hand is a nightly ritual.

    2. Seeing the windmills up close. The island’s iconic windmills have been greeting visitors for centuries. Once used to produce grain, the distinctive windmills are the first things visitors see when approaching Mykonos. You’ll want a few photos in front of one of the round white structures with their thatched roofs that rise above Chora.

    3. Psarou Beach. This luxury beach is a see-and-be-seen kind of place. Reserve one of the spacious, chic lounge beds in advance and wear your designer bikini. Then, sit back, order a cocktail and keep an eye out for celebrities.

    4. Discovering Delos. A short boat ride takes you to this sacred island, where you can explore the impressive and expansive remains of an ancient sanctuary and theater by foot. Delos is thought to be the birthplace of mythological twins Apollo and Artemis and is one of Greece’s most important archeological sites. You can hop a ferry at the port for the 30-minute trip to the island or charter a boat that includes a private tour guide and lunch.

    5. Photos at Panagia Paraportiani. While Mykonos has a lot of historic churches, this white, asymmetrical beauty is the most photographed in Greece. The whitewashed place of worship is actually made up of four little chapels. The entrance offers sweeping views of the sea but be careful when you enter as the church is still in use for services.
  • On July 6, 2012
    Forbes Travel Guide Inspector answered the question: Forbes Travel Guide Inspector

    What are the five best places to eat in Mykonos?

    The island of Mykonos offers a lot more than just fried calamari and village salads (tomatoes, cucumber, onions and feta). Not that we don’t love eating both those things while in Greece, but you’re in luck if, say, you want sushi one day instead. Some of Greece’s best restaurants can be found on Mykonos. Here are Forbes Travel Guide’s top picks for where to eat in Mykonos:  
     
    1. Avra. Sit in Avra’s secluded courtyard garden or rooftop terrace as you enjoy its top-rated Greek fusion menu. Order the fresh fish or a hearty meat dish, such as the chateaubriand, which is made for two and features tender slices of steak in a béarnaise sauce.
     
    2. Nammos. One of the island’s trendiest spots has an outdoor café, formal dining area and beach club. Located on glam Psarou Beach, a crowd wearing designer bikinis descends daily to dine on the fresh fish and pasta dishes.
     
    3. La Cucina di Daniele. Sitting on a hill just above Ftelia beach, this elegant restaurant offers an ever-changing menu inspired by fusing Greek and Italian tastes.  
     
    4. Matsuhisa Mykonos. Nobu’s island restaurant found a home at the Belvedere Hotel, where the dishes are an appetizing balance of Japanese and Peruvian influences. Ingredients are flown in directly from Japan. 
     
    5. The Belvedere Club. Across from Matsuhisa Mykonos, you’ll find some of the best Greek cuisine on the island at The Belvedere Club. Try its version of saganaki (fried Greek cheese) and spanakopita (spinach pie). 
  • On July 6, 2012
    Forbes Travel Guide Inspector answered the question: Forbes Travel Guide Inspector

    What are the five best places to stay in Mykonos?

    Some of the best hotel and resort destinations in Greece are in Mykonos. Many of them are high design and have those cliff-edge views that have become synonymous with the Greek Islands. Here are Forbes Travel Guide’s top five picks for where to stay in Mykonos:

    1. Cavo Tagoo. Nestled onto the side of a cliff, Cavo Tagoo has top views of Chora and the deep blue Greek waters below. Inside, the design is sleek and modern, with mostly white walls and floors and punches of color. Ask for a room with a private plunge pool, so you can take a dip while you admire the views.

    2. Belvedere Hotel. This luxury landmark has a series of beautifully whitewashed buildings overlooking the town and the sea. It also houses two of the island’s best restaurants, Matsuhisa Mykonos, an outpost of celebrity chef Nobu Matsuhisa’s Japanese eatery empire, and The Belvedere Club, helmed by Aussie chef George Calombaris, who does upscale Greek cuisine when he isn’t serving as a judge on the TV show MasterChef Australia

    3. Mykonos Grand Hotel & Resort. This whitewashed hotel gives you easy access to the beach and a long list of amenities, such as tennis courts, yoga classes and an onsite spa. There’s also a large pool that overlooks the sea, but if you really want privacy, ask for a suite with its own pool.

    4. Santa Marina Resort and Villas. This resort overlooks the Bay of Ornos on a private peninsula. It even features its own helipad, so you can take helicopter rides across the Aegean.
     
    5. Grace Mykonos. Located in a whitewashed building just above Agios Stefanos beach, Grace Mykonos is a peaceful retreat full of infinity pools and spacious rooms. When you’re ready to leave your private balcony behind, you’re just a five-minute drive into town.