Long ago a poor, bare patch of island land, ever since the hippies discovered Mykonos in the 1960s the island has been on the up and up. Today it's one of the glitziest, most renowned tourist destinations in the Mediterranean and its popularity stretches from singles to families, and from backpackers to the super rich. Home to many stretches of sandy beaches, like other parts of the Aegean, Mykanos' food is legendary, while the island's windmills and picturesque port town make for many pretty pictures. Prepare for the 24-hour lifestyle if you head to the island’s main beaches, or better yet, do a little adventuring to one of Mykonos' off-track beaches and leave it all behind.
Being one of the most developed of the Greek islands means that Mykonos is home to many things to see and do. Top of the list for most people is a visit to one of the beaches, which is where you can soak up some rays, snorkel or even party. For a change of pace, visit Chora. The place to experience a quintessential Cycladic town, there you'll find the whitewashed Panagia Paraportiani Church, iconic windmills and close-by the picturesque Alefkandra, or Little Venice. The nearby island of Delos makes a great day trip for its archaeological finds. An uninhabited UNESCO World Heritage Site, the island is covered with historic relics including the Avenue of the Lions and Cleopatra's House.
Mykonos offers dining options catering to a wide range of tastes and budgets. In Chora you will find the most variety of the restaurants and eateries but you can find affordable Greek food all over island. Some of the city’s best restaurants include Karavaki, Bakalo and Avra Restaurant but almost all restaurants (and many bars) post their prices on menus at the entrance, so take a walk around to see which places offer something you fancy. As a general rule restaurants facing the harbour or the sea (especially in Little Venice) tend to have higher prices.
Where to Stay
Finding a memorable place to suit your budget won't be a problem in Mykonos and accommodation options range from hotels and studios to apartments and villas. While places to stay in Mykonos can be found right around the island, Chora, closely followed by Ano Mera is where you'll find the most variety and even in the busy July and August season there's never a scarcity of excellent places to stay. The only thing to remember when booking is that the central parts of Chora can get rowdy. If you're looking for more peace than pace try some of the smaller settlements including Agios Stefanos, Ornos and Platys Gialos.
It's hard to compete with Mykonos when it comes to shopping in the Greek islands. Right around Chora are countless clothing and jewellery boutiques but just don't go looking for department stores because there aren't any. Mykonos' prices tend to be better than in the expensive shopping districts of Athens but still it's wise to shop around if you want the best deal. Generally shops open seven days a week, but many are closed between 2pm and 5pm then stay open late into the evening.
Mykonos Like a Local
Year round there is little to complain about the weather in Mykonos and though the nightlife won't be as lively and your tan might suffer a little, visiting Mykonos in the lower seasons is a great way to have a more authentic local experience. Late spring and early autumn offers good prices and water warm enough to swim in while closer to winter things really slow down to a local pace. Even in high season it's possible to experience Mykonos like a local if you head inland. The small village of Agios Ioannis is home to little more than a few tavernas but does have the fame of being the location where the movie 'Shirley Valentine' was filmed.