Mykonos Travel Guide
The cube-shaped buildings and whitewashed exterior facades of Mykonos scream Mediterranean. Winding roads twist through the main city of Chora, past expensive storefronts and beautiful churches that give the island a grounded sense of Greek tradition. But Mykonos is far from conservative, as it's known for its rowdy beach parties and crazy nightlife. In the "Ibiza of Greece," you're never far from a party at any point in the day. continue»
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The best time to visit Mykonos is September and October. Sitting in the Aegean Sea, this island's weather permits a year-round flow of tourists, but in those months you'll see that the crowds have left, the water remains warm and the hotel rates descend back into a reasonable range. The spring, before the summer rush comes, is also a great (and affordable) vacation time. Mykonos experiences a typical Mediterranean winter: mild with temps that dip to the mid-50s. June, July and August are especially busy; temperatures average in the upper 70s and 80s, and there are nonstop parties and pricey hotel rates.Best Times to Visit Mykonos»
Mykonos consists of seven main areas, with the city of Chora in the center of the west coast as the main commercial and tourist hub. The areas are sometimes referred to as communities or villages. The island's beaches are generally separated into northern and southern beaches.
Located in the middle of the western shore, Chora, also called "Mykonos Town," is home to the majority of the island's restaurants, attractions and hotels. To get around, you'll need to walk or bike, since motorized vehicles are prohibited from entering the town. You probably won't miss the cars anyway, as the roads were purposefully made curvy and twisted to confuse any foreign invaders. Today, the quaint streets are filled with cube-shaped whitewashed buildings, shops and restaurants. One of these is the most famous church in Mykonos; the sloping whitewashed Panagia Paraportiani (more often referred to as Paraportiani), which sits in the southern part of the town overlooking the surrounding seas.
In the northern end of Chora are the windmills of Kato Myli that were once used to power the island's granaries. Next door, the area of Little Venice makes a pleasant walk-through to view Mykonos' trademark Cycladic-style architecture. Colorful balconies jut over the waters and form a unique and bright shoreline.
Situated on the eastern end of the island about 7 miles from Chora, Kalafatis features some of the most exclusive beach resorts in Mykonos. The area's stunning beaches are secluded (very few buses travel to Kalafatis) and are surrounded by lush trees. Travel writers recommend the region's waters for snorkeling and windsurfing.
Ornos, about 2 miles south of Choros in the western part of Mykonos, is the most family-friendly part of the island. The waters are calmer here and the parties are less rowdy than other beaches. Many small boats and ferries from other Cyclades islands and mainland Greece make port here along the golden sandy shorelines.
The westernmost point of Mykonos, the beach area of Agios Ioannis, offers breathtaking views of Delos island nearby, in addition to a handful of decent hotels and restaurants. Experts say Agios Ioannis is generally not as crowded as other parts of the island.
The area of Platis Gialos, located south of Ornos on Mykonos' western side, is made up mainly of beach resorts and summer houses for wealthy Athenians. The resorts feature serene beaches of golden sands. Nearby, Psarou Beach is popular for parties.
Ano Mera, in the center of Mykonos, is the only other real town besides Chora, which is about 4 miles west. However, this town is much quieter and traditional, and lacks the sightseeing opportunities of Chora. There are a few churches you can visit, including the Panagia Tourliani monastery.
Tourlos, in the northern part of Mykonos' west coast, is home to the newer of the island's two ports as well as beaches that tend to get very crowded during the high tourist season. There are also chapels and Cycladic-style houses in this area that provide a pretty panorama.
Beaches on Mykonos' southern shores are more developed and attract far more people than those on the northern end of the island. Megali Ammos is the closest beach to Chora. Since it is only a 10-minute walk from the city, it's always very crowded. Ornos, a bit further south, is popular with families since the waters and the parties are both calmer. About a five-minute drive southeast from Ornos is Psarou, which features beautiful white sand and a few trees. The sophisticated Psarou Beach is also home to rowdy parties in the summer, as well as watersports like water skiing, diving and windsurfing. If you follow the shore east, you will come upon the heavily nude beach, Paranga.
Even farther southeast is the clothing-optional Paradise Beach. This party beach is lined with bars and clubs that are filled at all points of the day. A short walk away, Super Paradise is a rockier beach featuring non-stop parties and a large gay clientele. Elia, a long stretch of beach toward the center of the southern shoreline, is one of the quietest and most stunning southern shores. It too is a clothing-optional beach, and frequently attracts LGBT travelers.
You'll need a car or scooter to visit the northern shore beaches, since there are no bus routes to them. One of the area's most popular spots for surfers is the windy beach of Ftelia, located in the center of the northern shore. The lush landscape of Fokos, located farther northeast, is as untouched by tourists as you can get in Mykonos. And Agios Sostis offers a less developed and more rustic scene — one of the beach's tavernas doesn't even have electricity.
Take general precautions in Mykonos and it'll be unlikely that you will encounter any problems. Two quick tips: Don't leave any of your possessions unattended on the beach, and be extra cautious if exploring the Mykonos nightlife solo.
The best way to get around Mykonos is the bus — the island has an efficient system that connects many cities and attractions. Chora actually banned motor vehicles, so everyone walks or rides a bike through town. We strongly advise against renting a car — they're expensive to rent, and parking is a pain. Why would you want to add a worry to a potentially stress-free vacation? Taxis are available but expensive; however, you might consider using one to get to your hotel from Mykonos Island National Airport (JMK). Many travelers arrive on the ferries through Tourlos port from other Greek islands or the mainland.Getting Around Mykonos»