Technicolor beaches, people watching and the high life combined on the windy island that never sleeps: It is actually almost impossible not to fall in love with Mykonos. This whitewashed Cycladic island, in fact the Mediterranean’s hottest destination; has so much to offer: Pristine beauty, emblematic architecture, ancient history and myths, world class services and 24/7 gloriously glamorous fun. Wanna make the most out of your visit? Here are the top 10 things to do in Mykonos:
Party at Little Venice
This quaint and colorful, seafront neighborhood of Chora which was once the realm of ship captains and rich merchants (and a local pirates’ den, according to another version of the story!); is nowadays the stomping ground of the beau monde. At sunset time everybody who’s anybody unfalteringly flocks at Little Venice’s all time classic Semeli the Bar and the emblematic Bao’s, for the ritual sundowners. The party of course continues well into the wee hours: With dancing on the floor -or on the tables-at uber fashionable Toy Room along with models and celebrities; seeing and being seen while relishing the eccentric live show at brand new, avant garde Secret of Bao’s; and later on by throwing flowers in sync with the music next to international movie stars and fashion designers, at Mykonos Bar, the place that in effect started the whole Mykonos nightlife frenzy.
Get a glimpse of old Mykonos at Ano mera
About 8 km east of photogenic Chora, home to the Semeli luxury boutique hotel, you’ll find Ano Mera: The island’s only other real settlement; a sleepy, picturesque village that stands out for its old fashioned charm and authentic Cycladic character.
Start by exploring the historic monastery of Panagia Tourliani, with its intricate marble carvings and massive Italian baroque altar screen. You’ll be certainly impressed, even if you’re not that into religious tourism. Then take a stroll in the quaint, narrow streets and reward yourselves with some local homemade delicacies in the little traditional tavernas. This is a side of Mykonos, we bet you thought it never existed!
See history coming alive at the Folk Museum
Keeping up with the whole “broadening your horizons” theme, one of the top 10 things to do in Mykonos is to visit its Folklore Museum. It actually consists of three separate historical houses. The first is located in the 18th century Castro in Chora and boasts a collection of Cycladic costumes, traditional musical instruments, historic paintings and old photographs. Lena’s House, the second building, is a typical 19th century middle class family home in the area of Tria Pigadia. Furniture and decorations, from mirrors to gravures and embroideries, remain intact; so you’ ll get a glimpse of life at times bygone. The museum complex also includes the Windmill of Boni, at the edge of the town. Featuring authentic tools like a waterwheel, an outdoor oven and a wine press; it shall give you an insight on the island’s agricultural past and traditions.
Count the stars at Cine Manto
One of the Greeks’ favorite summer pastimes is going to an open-air cinema. It’s quite logical; for what could be more magical than gazing at the stars while watching your favorite movie at the same time? Ciné Manto, in the Municipal Garden of Meletopoulos in Matoyiannia, features a variety of films-world wide first releases, box office hits and classics- to be enjoyed amidst palm trees and cactuses; under the star studded Aegean sky. Plus there is a very good all day cafe-restaurant with loads of tasty options.
Stroll around Mykonos town
Getting lost in the maze like streets of Chora with the whitewashed cube houses, blue and red doors and windows and vivid bougainvilleas, is among the top 10 things to do in Mykonos. Don’t miss Matogiania, with the smart boutiques, designer labels, jewellery shops, leather goods and arts and crafts shops. Shop till you drop; after all this is where you’ll get the creme de la creme of goods amassed together and very attractively presented in the minimalist-Cycladic chic settings of the stores.
Get a selfie in an iconic church
One of the island’s trademarks is its numerous churches and chapels with the elegant curves and the colorful domes. Some say that their number exceeds 800, while about 60 of them can be spotted in the main town. Getting your picture taken against the backdrop of a quaint, beautiful church is among the top 10 things to do in Mykonos; guaranteed to create a sensation on Instagram!
Experience Greek fine dining at Krama
Pleasures of the palate are amongst the most essential holiday delights. In fact Mykonos owes a lot of its allure to its characteristically epicurean nature. Yet in this cosmopolitan island where notable culinary choices abound; there was one thing missing: Greek fine dining-in style. This is where the recently launched Krama restaurant enters. Set in the stunning, atmospherically lit renovated pool area of the Semeli, and co-signed by acclaimed chef Karamolegos, Krama, proffers an unmatched gastronomic experience that showcases the goodness, wealth and depth of Greek and Cycladic cooking. To the mix add the Semeli’s trademark, uber cool and sophisticated vibes; and you’re in for a night out to remember!
Meet Mykonos’ greatest celebrity
During the mid 50’s, when Mykonos was still a poor, albeit beautiful island; a local fisherman rescued a wandering pelican who got wounded in a raging storm. The (original) bird became the darling of the locals and the early tourists; and soon evolved into a powerful PR symbol-he even went as far New York for promotional purposes. Following his somewhat questionable demise in the 80’s, he was succeeded by an array of other pelicans, named in his honor. The latest Petros still roams the alleyways of the harbor; and is fed, petted and cajoled by young and old; celebrities and movie stars; royalty and mere mortals. Try to befriend him but tread with caution. After all he is the quintessential temperamental celebrity!
Enjoy the beach life
There are cosmopolitan, organised beaches where you’ll lounge in luxurious sunbeds, drink magnums of the finest bubbly and dance to the latest tunes; and there are beaches where the only soundtrack is the splashing of the waves and the singing of the seagulls. All boast aquamarine, crystal clear waters and most likely golden sand. Take your pick as your mood strikes you. If you want to party, then Paradise beach and Super Paradise beach is for you. For celebrity spotting go to Psarou, and its world famous Nammos. Equally posh, albeit somewhat more bohemian/hip options include Principaute in Panormos; the eccentric Scorpios in Paraga and Ftelia beach with the Alemagou beach bar. Family adventurers should try Kalo Livadi, Elia, Ornos, and Lia. While If you are looking for some privacy and seclusion then head to Kapari, Agios Sostis or Merchia.
Take a boat trip to Delos
One of the top 10 things to do in Mykonos; and certainly a not to be missed, immersive experience is to visit ancient Delos: Nowadays a UNESCO World Heritage Site, the birthplace of Apollo and Artemis was antiquity’s most important commercial and religious center. Following its painstaking and lengthy excavations which started in 1873 by the French Archaeological School in Athens, the glorious ancient city with the remarkably well preserved temples, theaters, stadiums, gyms, monuments and structures; once again come to light. It is open to the public; and easily accessible from the shores of nearby Mykonos by boat. Make sure not to miss it.