Cosmopolitan and serene

Every magazine, every travel guide, all the online leisure resources will reserve a spot at the very front for the island of Mykonos. Welcome to Greece's (or rather Mediterranean’s) ultimate and famous cosmopolitan destination, a whitewashed paradise in the heart of Cyclades region.

Set out on a journey to discover a fascinating world where glamour meets simplicity. On Mykonos celebrities, college students and families mingle together to celebrate the Greek summer. Whether you are an entertainment junkie out for a really good time or just a visitor who wishes to explore the island’s seaside, cuisine, history and tradition, Mykonos will certainly meet your expectations.

Exploring the island’s capital town

In contrast to other Cycladic capitals, the capital town (Hora) of the island is not built in the shape of an amphitheatre but instead spreads out over a wide area. It is one of the best examples of Cycladic architecture and a spellbinding attraction for everyone. First-time visitors after a while will have the impression that, this is the centre of earth. Wander around the pedestrian shopping streets of the Hora, always colourful and busy. The most glamorous of all is Matogianni Street, lined with brand-name stores, charming cafés and stylish restaurants. One can buy almost anything, clothes, jewellery and works of art designed by the most celebrated designers and artists. So, don’t worry if you forgot something back home.

Its cube-shaped, all white houses glow in the sunlight, scattered wisely and orderly in the countless labyrinthine alleys and streets with whitewashed cobbled pavements. Stroll around its narrow streets and admire the colourful doors and window frames, bougainvillea trees in purple bloom and hidden churches. Pay a visit to the church of Panagia Paraportiani, the town hall and the castle situated above the harbour. Don’t forget to visit the Archaeological, Folklore and Maritime Museums to take in a little history.

Soak up the atmosphere along the lively waterfront and admire a fleet of fishing boats casting colourful reflections in the azure waters. This is where you will find the Kazarma building, served as the personal residence of Manto Mavrogenous. While you’re out strolling, don’t be surprised if you come across the official mascot of Mykonos, which is nothing other than a... pelican. Petros the Pelican was found by a fisherman after a storm in 1954, and eventually became the locals’ companion. When he died, the grief for his loss was so deep that a replacement was soon found. In honour of Petros, the locals have established a long tradition of pelicans wandering around the waterfront as an essential part of everyday life. So, whatever you do, don’t forget to take a picture with the successor of the famous pelican Petros.

Plenty of photos and videos will give you a sense of the island's life and beauties.

One of the most scenic corners of the island is "Little Venice", an 18th century district, dominated by grand captains’ mansions with colourful balconies and stylish windows. With balconies perched over the sea, pictures of the famous Italian city spring to mind. Relax at a waterfront café and admire the view. A little further, on a low hill, the windmills, having stood for centuries, compose a picture of unparalleled beauty in combination with red domes and bell towers of the countless churches. In the harbour, a small colourful flotilla of fishing boats completes this unique picture with its vivid colours.

The second traditional settlement of Mykonos is Ano Mera, situated around the historic monastery of Panagia Tourliani (a 16th century church with a brilliant carved wooden iconostasis), and to the north, in Ftelia with its famous Mycenaean tomb.

Extra tips:
  • Cars are not permitted in the town of Mykonos, but you can leave your car in a parking place on the outskirts.
  • August is the busiest time of the year to visit Mykonos. If your main objective is not "to see and be seen", getting an autograph from a celebrity, or else, it is better to avoid rush hour in your car, spotting a place on a beach before reserving a table at a restaurant. Visit the island during spring or fall. Or be sure to plan your holidays far in advance.

You can find a superior hotel at almost every village, bay or beach of the island, the distance will not be a problem after all as they are within only 15 kilometres reach at the most.

Using the Hora as your base, it saves you from the parking headache, and gets you a few minutes walk from everywhere. Won’t be difficult to set out your daily trips discovering the beauties of the island and the sun-kissed beaches. Along the southern coast you will find a great selection of the most cosmopolitan ones. Here, wild parties keep the crowds rocking day and night. Paradise and Super Paradise may already be familiar to you. Ornos and Psarou are favourite spots for families. You can also try and visit Platis Gialos, with a well-organised beach where you can soak up the sun lazing on a sun lounge.

However, if you are looking for a serene beach to unwind with a book, pick a less organised one on the northern coast of the island, like Agia Anna, Houlakia, Kapari, Agrari and Agios Stefanos.

Need something more?

If coffee, sun tanning or relaxed reading, are not your favourite, choose one of the breathtaking water sports. It’s not called the "Island of the Winds" for nothing! It attracts surfers and sailors from all over the world. There is a great choice of beaches for windsurfing; choose from Korfos, Ftelia, Megali Ammos and Kalafatis, where surfing lessons are also available. Play tennis or mini golf at Agios Stefanos, beach volleyball at Agia Anna or try sea parachuting or jet skiing at Elia or Kalafatis. Diving fans should choose September (which is best month for warm waters and great visibility) to do an exciting exploration of the underwater magic. On the island you can find many well-organised diving centres (some of them also offer snorkelling lessons) and stores specializing in diving equipment.

Experience its nightlife

The night starts early with a walk through the colourful alleys and shopping streets, full of any kind of taste you may wish. They are everywhere. Try Nammos, Katrin, Cucina di Daniele, or Mimis (for fish) and Fillipis.

Don’t miss the opportunity to treat yourself to some local Aegean specialties! Pepper flavoured kopanisti (soft cheese seasoned with pepper) is the island’s gastronomic trademark. Try it as a topping on a round rusk spread with grated tomato, as an appetiser (favourite local mezes). To finish off your meal you can sample two exceptionally good local pastries, "amigdalota" (small round cakes with ground almond, rosewater and caster sugar) and honey pie. Or, first you can make a stop for a drink at the bars of Alefkantras area and Little Venice, enjoying the beautiful sunset, drinking cocktails at tables on the sea or in the wooden balcony of the "Venetian" area. There are no strict rules of dress code, because to end up being danced to any of the clubs with a swimsuit and sunglasses, it is the natural flow of things.
At Matogianni Street you will find bars and lounge-cafés are nicely decorated, and a great variety of music. If the bar-hopping is not enough for you there is always more, choosing one of the nightclubs on the island, where the music never ends and people dance on the tables and sidebars until the sunrise.

Don’t miss the island of Delos

If you find yourself in Mykonos take the opportunity to explore the tiny archaeological gem of Delos, just a short boat trip away. Delos was a sacred island in ancient times, and according to mythology was the birthplace of the twin gods Apollo and Artemis.

There is lots to see. Visit the ruined sanctuary and the museum, the agoras, the gymnasiums and the palaestras, the houses with the fine mosaics, the temples of the foreign gods and climb on the summit of Kynthos (112 m) to admire the view of Cyclades under the light of the Aegean.

Useful information
Getting there:
  • Mykonos is connected by ferry to Piraeus, Rafina, Lavrio and the rest of the Cyclades.
  • You can reach Mykonos by aeroplane from Athens and Thessaloniki
Useful phone numbers (+30)
Municipality +30 22890-23261
Airport 22890-22327
Police 22890-23333
Port Police 22890-22218
Medical centre 22890-23994
Pharmacies 22890-23770, 23250, 23151, 71112
Tourist Information Office 22890-23360
Taxi 22890-22400
Local buses (KTEL) 22890-23360