Island hopping from Mykonos is the best way to take in the beauties of Greece’s shiniest stars: The Cyclades.
Sure, with its hefty mix of glamour, 5-star accommodations, no-holds-barred partying, jaw-dropping scenery, fine dining and paradisiacal beaches, Mykonos is as exciting a holiday destination as it gets.
Yet the Mediterranean’s hip queen sits smack in the heart of the Cyclades – a cluster of postcard-pretty islands that form a circle around the sacred isle of Delos. With fast and frequent ferry connections to these Aegean gems, it is then the ideal starting point for a day trip or a comprehensive Greek island tour.
Yep, it doesn’t get more fun, exhilarating or romantic than going island hopping from Mykonos – and if you’re a first-timer at the sport, you might as well start with the stars of this island group. So what’s next?
Island hopping from Mykonos to Paros & Antiparos
Depending on the vessel, ferry trips from Mykonos to Paros take from 45 mins to 1 ½hour, making this route very popular among day-trippers. But if you choose to stay here for longer, you’ll uncover a wealth of fascinating sights and hidden gem kind of attractions. Paros boasts picturesque scenery – the quaint fishing port of Naoussa is absolutely photogenic and bustling with life – great local delicacies – do try gouna, ie. roasted mackerel – and some of the world’s favourite windsurfing beaches, such as Kolimbithres, Santa Maria and Golden Beach. Of course, it wouldn’t do to go to Paros and not visit Antiparos, which is just a short 7-minute ferry ride away. The stomping ground of Hollywood stars like Tom Hanks (he has a villa there!), Antiparos is tiny and cute, with top-class nightlife and food, and perhaps the most notorious late-night, open-air disco in the Aegean.
Island hopping from Mykonos to Santorini
The duration of this trip ranges from 2 to 3 ½ hours, and it is well worth your time since you’ll be heading to one of the world’s most unique and stunning destinations. With a dramatically alluring scenery, a world-class food scene, important archaeological sites and one-of-a-kind beaches with black or red sands, Santorini is simply breathtaking. Stroll around the scenic villages of Fira, Imerovigli and Oia climbed on the Caldera cliffs that were formed thousands of years ago; watch the famous sunset in one of the cocktail bars overlooking the famous Volcano– or head to Oia for the fiery spectacle, if the season is not too touristic. Wine and dine in style in Pyrgos and Fira; or by the sea in Perivolos, Vlichada and Perissa. As a premier choice for romantic couples, the nightlife here is in no way comparable to Mykonos’ dusk-to-dawn party extravaganza, but you’ll be able to find some good spots for champagne with a view.
Island hopping from Mykonos to Tinos
You can easily spot Tinos from Mykonos – in fact, they are so close that the trip there lasts from 20 to 35 minutes maximum! Yet despite their proximity, these two islands couldn’t be more different. Tinos is mostly known for its grand Church of Panagia Evangelistria, one of the most important pilgrimage sites in the Orthodox world, with devotees, characteristically ascending the slight hill on their knees. But this is not its only claim to fame. In recent years, Tinos has been rapidly becoming a favourite for those in the know, with good reason. Boasting epic scenery – especially around the rocky countryside of Volax; a host of breathtakingly beautiful, impossibly quaint villages, like marble-clad Pyrgos – the home of Greece’s most important sculptures; top food – both traditional and modern; and gorgeous (though often windy) beaches, Tinos is utterly charming, still authentic and unspoiled. Head there for a short respite from Mykonos’ frenzied rhythms, or just for a change of scenery.
Island hopping from Mykonos to Naxos
The trip’s duration ranges from 35 minutes to 1 ½ hour, so these islands are quite close, though markedly different in terms of atmosphere and feel. You won’t find a classy clubbing scene in Naxos, but you’ll discover gorgeous quaint villages, like the Neoclassical Halki or Apiranthos, climbed on the slopes of Mount Fanari; awe-inspiring ancient monuments, including the mysterious Portara – Great Door – that greets visitors in the port, and the gigantic Kouroi – massive free-standing sculptures of nude young males; and that’s not to mention some of the best food you’ve ever tasted. Often likened to the garden of Eden, Naxos’ fertile land ensures prolific farming and agriculture – and Naxian products, including its famous potatoes, cheeses and meat, are exported countywide and invariably praised by culinarians and gourmands, alike. Naxos also boasts a well preserved Medieval town and several Venetian castles strewn around its verdant valleys, as well as a host of exotic, sandy beaches – the most famous, like Plaka, Agios Prokopios, Agia Anna and Mikri Vigla, are on the southwest; but wind permitting, you can also try venturing towards the island’s northeast to discover unspoiled shores with no other person in sight!
Travelling from Mykonos to Delos
With just a couple of nautical miles between them, Delos, the mythological birthplace of twins Artemis and Apollo, is a short ferry ride from Mykonos, with frequent daily return trips – as, unlike the aforementioned islands, you can not stay here overnight. Once the world’s most important religious, trade and commercial centre, the sacred island of antiquity nowadays boasts a remarkably well preserved archaeological site with fascinating finds that’ll travel you back in time. You can also opt to visit Delos with a private boat rental – in which case you might work into your itinerary a stop at neighbouring Rhenia, an uninhabited piece of land where ancient monuments still stand in their original, unchanged habitat.
Did you like this feature? Stay tuned to our Semeli Blog for more tips and ideas for bouncing from island to island – glamorous, globetrotter style!