They say Mykonos is the Ibiza of Greece, the party animal of the Cycladic islands! I was curious to find out if this glamour, gay friendly and party hardy reputation was all true. And indeed Mykonos has a lot to offer, trendy hotels, active beach life (25 beaches), high end shops and a great diversity of restaurants, that is why the rich and famous come here in their yachts. And you see a couple of those yachts around in Greece but certainly in the waters of Mykonos. Mykonos is famous for the narrow lanes with whitewashed houses and the windmills. You can get lost in the maze of streets with souvenir shops, boutiques shops and they all look so cute with bougainvilleas.
Mykonos has two ports, the Old port in town where the day trip boats to Delos depart and the New Port where the ferries and sailing boats depart. I arrived in two hours Mykonos with the Seajets, Vista Caldera from Ios for 49 EUR. Cruise ships are in front of the Mykonos bay and transfer the tourist in boats to one of the ports. Mykonos has two bus stations too, Fabrika (Hora or South Station) and the Old Port (North Station), both stations are not connected but it’s a 15 min walk between them. Busses run to every main destination in Mykonos; Paradise beach, Ornos, Airport, New Port, Platis Gialos, Agios Stefanos, Kalaftis and Elia; check the schedule here.
Tip: You have to buy the tickets in advance at the ticket booth at Fabrika, please be on time there could be a line.
Of course you can rent a car, quad or motorbike here but same decision as on Santorini, too busy and went with the bus and boat for that day. Mykonos has an international airport and that is the one I used to fly back to Amsterdam. The boat taxi is the perfect way to explore the southern beaches of Mykonos, check the part of this blog below for a more detailed description.
Tip: Fly in and out from different location, this way you don’t travel too much and can visit more places; it could be cheaper too and saving boat ticket for example to Athens when flying from Mykonos.
Things to do on Mykonos
Mykonos has a lot to offer so you don’t get bored here! I loved the beach hopping tour with the boat taxi concept and the sailing trip to Delos. See my separate blog on Delos too. Both are not that main stream and avoid the crowds a little bit. Strolling through the Little Venice streets and watching the windmills is a nice activity too and don’t forget to party and shop of course. See below my tips and inspirations to enjoy Mykonos!
1. Beach Hopping by Boat
A perfect way to explore the Mykonos beaches is by boat. The company Mykonos Sea Transfer offers the perfect transport to visit several southern Mykonos beaches. Small fishing boats that are converted to tourist water taxis leave every hour from the main beaches. I started my beach hopping tour in Ornos the first beach on the south coast. The bus from Fabrika brought me for 1,80 EUR to Ornos in 20 minutes where I bought an all-day pass for 20 EUR (10 EUR for a return) at the beach. The boats run to Ornos, Platis Gialos, Paranga, Paradise, Super Paradise, Agrari and Elia.
Tip: Check the timetable up front, in low season the boats run differently than in high season.
My first stop was Platis Gialos, the beach clubs here offer luxurious sunbeds and umbrellas, this is btw for all the beaches. The Branco beach club appealed me the most of all the beach clubs; trendy, light with wood and bamboo.
Tip: If you don’t want to rent a sun bed for the day because you are hopping to the next beach in 1 -2 hours, just order a coffee (6 EUR) or other drink and make use of the beach terrace.
After Platis Gialos I went to the last beach Elia, the boat stopped at all the beaches to let people on and off. Elia is the last beach, from there you can hop back. Elia is known as the gay beach, but that is focused on one part of the beach; which you can recognize by the rainbow flag. The part of Elia beach near the rocks is nudist area, so you are warned!
After two hours chilling at the beach area where no beach beds are rented, I hopped on the boat to the next beach, called Paradise beach. This was my last stop on the beach hopping day, here I took the bus back. From ever beach to you can take the busses back to Mykonos Town, except of Super Paradise.
Tip: Time the beach hopping right so you can continue with the next activity below, Party at Paradise Beach!!
2. Party at Paradise Beach
The most famous beach of Mykonos is Paradise beach and it’s known for the parties. I timed my arrival (with the beach hopping tour) at this hot spot around 16:00 PM; just before the music started to play. I was impressed what to see here, it’s like a small village with camping, hotel, shops, restaurants, bars and beach clubs. All under one roof, with the main explorer called Tropicana! The champagne bottles are lined up on the beach and tunes are coming out of the bar while hostesses are walking around to serve you on the beach and restaurant. Tropicana is indeed the place to be!
Tip: Wait for your cocktail order till the happy hour starts at ±17:00 PM. Two for 16 EUR instead of only one when ordering at the bar!
Then it’s time to hit the dancefloor, if you dance on the bar you will get free shots, which a lot people do. The vibe is good and the tunes are even better. Hosts are searching for mainly ‘good looking women’ (with some help of the plastic surgeon…….) on the beach to persuade them on the dance floor, for shots in return. Beautiful dancers are performing on small stages, it is a nice scenery to watch. The reggaeton music persuade me to join the dancefloor too; I had so much fun! I went back by bus (1,80 EUR); please check the bus schedule in advance it runs once a hour in the evening…
3. Sailing Delos Day Trip
After the party evening at Paradise beach, a more cultural and relaxing activity was on the planning. I booked a sailing trip to Delos with Set Sail for 110 EUR; a full day including drinks and lunch. You can book trips to Delos for 50 EUR, including guide and transport to the island next to Mykonos, but I think that was to main stream and too busy. The combination with a sailing trip appealed to me, one hour on the Delos island and after that chilling and swimming in a turquoise bay close to Delos. See my blog on Delos for more details, tips and pictures of this recommendable day trip.
4. Strolling the maze streets of Little Venice
On the west side of the island the capital Hora (Mykonos Town) is located. In the narrow pedestrian streets (no cars allowed) you definitely can get lost. You will be amazed in this maze, by the beauty of bougainvillea, boutique shops, restaurants and churches. All the stones on the pedestrian paths are painted and all looks very neat and clean. The part of Mykonos town more at the water front is called, Little Venice; due to the picturesque Venetian houses with bars, boutiques and clubs. From this part you can see the five windmills over the water on you left hand side.
5. Shop till you Drop
The shopping is excellent here in Mykonos! You will find art, high end designers shops with clothes and sunglasses, a lot of jewelry and even more souvenirs shops.
Tip: If you see something nice, buy it immediately, probably you will never find the shop again if you need to in the maze of streets!
One disadvantage, all is very expensive. In general I found Greek not cheap at all, but Santorini and Mykonos are expensive compared to Milos and Ios. Be prepared; bring you Credit Card or leave it at home on purpose!
Where to eat and stay on Mykonos
I booked the hotel Ilio Maris via Booking a couple of weeks in advance, the good rating and location triggered me to book this hotel. The breakfast and pool area are perfect! The rooms are comfortable and neat with a Delos wallpaper. The reception was very helpful giving me great tips will I pass on to you too!
Eva’s Garden is located at Plateia Goumenou, use Maps.me to find the destinations in the maze of streets. The menu is traditional Greek and the ambiance is romantic with the patio and hanging grape vines. The food is good and even in low season it was busy at this popular spot.
If you want to go for a budget and traditional dinner you can go for the Gyros Plater at Souvlaki Story or Pepper Souvlaki & more on Georgouli street. I went for the vegetarian version with falafel, but could not finish it.
Time to cool off with a tasty and fresh ice-cream, check DaVinci Gelato. Located at the main street in the Old port Akti Kampani