Why Go To Mykonos

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.

Mykonos' silky sand beaches are the biggest draw. Vacationers come to them to see and be seen — ahem — often in the nude. This laissez-faire attitude particularly appeals to those who love a ruckus; Psarou and Paradise beaches start jumping early in the day and don't clear out until sunrise. Don't worry early birds, there are also plenty daytime sights like the Cycladic-style buildings of Chora, the windmills of Kato Myli and the ornate temples of Delos. Here, you'll discover the perfect Greek mix of sophistication, relaxation and jubilation.

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Mykonos Travel Tips

Best Months to Visit

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.

What You Need to Know

  • How to eat like a Greek Greeks eat dinner much later than Americans — as late as 10 p.m. Also, they'll only have a snack at lunch to save room for a gigantic supper that can easily last more than two hours.
  • How to dress like a Greek Attire is beach casual at most places, but be sure to dress more conservatively at religious sites and to gussy up for the nightlife.
  • How to get around like a Greek Mykonos residents are used to walking most places, so buy yourself a sturdy pair of sandals and start motoring.

How to Save Money in Mykonos

  • Smart Drinking Restaurants, bars and clubs will charge a fortune for drinks; charging 10 € EUR per alcoholic beverage is not unusual. If you wish to imbibe (and certainly try Greek ouzo), purchase booze at a local grocery to save lots of cash.
  • Winter Wonderland Winter is Mykonos' slowest tourism season, so you'll find the best deals during this time. Christmas at the beach, anyone?
  • Shop Elsewhere Mykonos' stores cater to its wealthy clientele and carry overpriced items and clothing. If you must, purchase a souvenir. But save your heavy-duty shopping for the mainland.

Culture & Customs

The official language on Mykonos is Greek. However, because it is such a touristy island, you can get away with using English. A Greek phrasebook may come in handy for the less visited beaches. If you have trouble communicating or getting around, you'll find Greeks are generally patient and willing to help you find your way or overcome the language barrier. One thing to avoid in all of Greece is inadvertently offending with your hands. The hand motion for "OK" made with your thumb and index finger in the U.S. is considered rude in Greece.

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What to Eat

Cuisine in Mykonos is unsurprisingly heavy on seafood, yet it does ooze with Greek flavors. Olive oil and olives are featured in many dishes. They serve to enhance the fresh local cheeses and produce, which are also heavily represented in Mykonos restaurant menus. On the more casual end, street vendors sell gyros, or Greek sandwiches, which are also relatively inexpensive.

Writers say that unfortunately it's all too easy to find mediocre food in Mykonos, which nonetheless costs a lot. To find the best options, writers suggest following the island's residents to a taverna — a small and casual restaurant — for authentic Greek cuisine. Little Venice is a popular option for those looking to grab a bite to eat.

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Safety

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.

Getting Around Mykonos

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.

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Entry & Exit Requirements

A valid passport (for at least three months past your stay) is required for you to enter Greece. If you want to stay longer, you will need to obtain a visa by contacting an embassy or consulate before your trip. Since Greece is one of the 25 countries that are part of the Schengen agreement, visitors are free to travelgo between it and other member countries without encountering border controls. However, you'll need to present your passport and receive a stamp upon first arrival into one of the Schengen countries. For more information, visit the U.S. Department of State's website

Photos

Mykonos1 of 14
Mykonos2 of 14
Archiartistul/iStockphoto.com

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