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Free Things To Do in Mykonos
- #1View all Photos
This Chora neighborhood is known as one of the most stunning places on the island. Overlooking the southwest end of the harbor, it was here that many early ship captains decided to settle down and built uniquely magnificent homes overlooking the sea. Today, many of these historic homes have been transformed into a variety of cozy restaurants, trendy bars, shops and nightclubs, making this a bustling place at all hours of the day.
Recent visitors offered mixed reviews for Little Venice. Some described it as a beautiful place to relax with a drink, especially at sunset. However, other travelers said it's overpriced and crowded, especially when the cruise ships are docked. If you do visit, plan to stop by the windmills for even more photo ops as the two sightseeing hot spots are within walking distance of each other. The area is free to peruse, though you'll want to have euros on hand should a drink, snack or trinket catch your eye.
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These iconic windmills overlooking Little Venice date back to the 16th century, when islanders used wind power to grind grain. There are 16 windmills in total, and while they are no longer operational, they stand as a monument to early innovation. The views here are spectacular: From this hilltop perch, you can see Chora and the harbor in the distance. While you're here, you might want to check out the nearby Mykonos Agricultural Museum.
On your way to the windmills, don't overlook the surrounding neighborhood of Alefkandra. This historic area is a great place to stop for a bite to eat or a glass of ouzo as you head back toward Little Venice. Many of the seaside bars, with their outdoor decks, are ideal spots to view, and photograph, the sunset – at least until the music gets turned up and partying becomes the focus.
- #3View all Photos#3 in MykonosFree, Churches/Religious Sites, SightseeingTYPELess than 1 hourTIME TO SPENDFree, Churches/Religious Sites, SightseeingTYPELess than 1 hourTIME TO SPEND
If you ask them, Mykonians will tell you that their island is home to 365 churches – one for each day of the year. However, Panagia Paraportiani is by far the most famous. Sitting in central Chora, this somber whitewashed church dates back to the Byzantine era and features a variety of religious decorations dating back to the Middle Ages. In fact, it's actually five churches constructed together. From its main entrance, you'll have spectacular views of the Mediterranean Sea.
Some admirers of the church recommended going at sunset, when the changing light makes the structure especially breathtaking.
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Many people flock to Mykonos for two reasons: beaches and parties. A trip to the southern coast and Paradise Beach – Mykonos' original nudist beach – will kill two birds with one stone. Soft sands, azure seas and a rowdy atmosphere have made Paradise one of the most popular places on the island. Paradise has become more developed over the past few years and now features a nearby strip of resort hotels, restaurants and beloved carousing spots like the Tropicana Club and Cavo Paradiso. The party scene at the nearby Super Paradise Beach attracts barely clothed bathers and a large portion of Mykonos' LGBT community, though some visitors find its amenities and cocktail bars to be rather pricey. Past visitors also reported paying between 20 and 25 euros (or about $22 to $28) for a beach lounge chair and umbrella. Others noted that the party starts to get going in the late afternoon, so plan a morning visit if you want to enjoy the sand in peace.
Paradise Beach sits about 2 miles south of Chora and can be reached on foot, by boat or by bus (there is a bus stop within walking distance of the beach). The beach is open 24/7 and you don't have to pay to lounge. However, you may want to bring some euros with you just in case your glass runs dry or if you want to relax in a beach chair.
- #5View all PhotosfreeAno Mera#5 in MykonosFree, Neighborhood/AreaTYPEHalf Day to Full DayTIME TO SPENDFree, Neighborhood/AreaTYPEHalf Day to Full DayTIME TO SPEND
Sitting in the heart of Mykonos about 4 miles east of Chora is the island's only other real town. Because it lacks the sea view, Ano Mera isn't as crowded as other parts of Mykonos; and many say you should only visit if you're passionate about religious history (the town is home to the island's two monasteries).
The 16th-century Monastery of Panagia Tourliani – located southeast of town – is renowned for its intricate marble carvings and massive Italian baroque altar screen. Head half a mile farther southeast past Panagia Tourliani and you'll find what's left of the 18th-century Monastery of Paleokastro.
- #7View all PhotosfreePsarou Beach#7 in MykonosBeaches, FreeTYPE2 hours to Half DayTIME TO SPENDBeaches, FreeTYPE2 hours to Half DayTIME TO SPEND
If you're looking to have fun in the sun without having to put up with rowdy parties and nude bathers, skip Paradise in favor of Psarou Beach. Located northwest of Paradise Beach along the coast, Psarou's powdery sand, clear blue waves and more relaxing atmosphere make this beach popular among families and honeymooners. However, this stretch of coastline has begun to lure larger and larger crowds, including herds of water sports enthusiasts and extravagant yachts. This beach is also known for its great windsurfing and waterskiing conditions, as well as its scuba diving center. To lay claim to some prime real estate, try to get here in the morning, while other sun-seekers are still sleeping off the night before.
Past visitors also suggested bringing plenty of euros since amenities – like beach chairs and cocktails – are expensive here. The beach itself is free to visit, but according to visitors, it's difficult to find a stretch of sand that doesn't require you to rent a beach chair. The beach can be reached via taxi or by bus from the Fabrika bus station.
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The Mykonos Folklore Museum, in a ship-owner's former house near the Paraportiani Church, houses half a dozen exhibition spaces displaying various historical artifacts, including antique weights and measures, locks and keys, Byzantine icons and furniture. Its library features archives of manuscripts, maps and photographs.
Visitors to the small museum consistently praise its curator as an informative guide through the area's history.
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