Also known as Hora/Chora, the island capital is a charming tangle of narrow pedestrian-only streets – a real pleasure to get lost in. The historic core is densely packed with guesthouses, hotels, restaurants and bars; tavernas dot the waterfront, and there are two bona fide shopping streets, lined with Greek fashion boutiques, art stores, and touristy shops. Little Venice is a dense cluster of waterside bars and a favourite gathering place at sunset, as are the picturesque Cycladic Kato Mili windmills. A couple of worthwhile museums and an open-air cinema add to the town’s attractions. There are excellent bus connections to the beaches and interior villages of the island.
The Best Hotels in Mykonos Town
- Belvedere Hotel • (Hotel phone: +30 2289 025122)
- Cavo Tagoo • (Hotel phone: +30 2289 020100)
- Kouros Hotel & Suites • (Hotel phone: +30 2289 025381)
- Harmony Boutique Hotel • (Hotel phone: +30 2289 028980)
- Semeli Hotel Mykonos • (Hotel phone: +30 2289 027466)
- Theoxenia Luxury Boutique Hotel • (Hotel phone: +30 2289 022230)
Just 3.4km south of Mykonos Town, Ornos beach is one of the busiest beaches on the island. The streets around it are dotted with boutique hotels and guesthouses and its white sand is densely lined with sun loungers. Half a dozen or so seafood restaurants are found immediately next to the beach, with a few more in the near vicinity. Ornos overlooks a sheltered bay and the shallow, calm water is popular with families. If the crowds get a bit too much, a five minute walk around the east side of the bay takes you to the excellent Apaggio restaurant that overlooks a cluster of docked fishing boats, while a 5-minute walk north takes you to Korfos beach – more exposed and breezy on windy days, but far less crowded. Several buses daily pass by Ornos en route from Mykonos Town to Agios Ioannis beach.
The Best Hotels at Ornos
Studded with beach umbrellas, this narrow sandy crescent on Mykonos’ west coast is a favourite sunset-watching spot. As locals will tell you, part of the movie Shirley Valentine was shot here, and it’s also where you find an excellent seafood restaurant – Hippie Fish – and a couple of boutique hotels on the hillside overlooking the Aegean. Several daily buses from Mykonos run by the steep, short access road down to Agios Ioannis, turning around in the parking lot near the picturesque Cycladic church by the sea. From Agios Ioannis it’s a 10-minute walk past the church and around the headland to the small, sheltered and practically deserted cove of Kapari beach.
The Best Hotels at Agios Ioannis
With its teal waters and end-to-end rows of sun loungers, Psarou beach is one of the island’s most popular beaches. It’s a particular favourite with families and honeymooners due to its relaxed atmosphere and powdery white sand and it’s also a minor water sports center, with windsurfers and waterskiers bouncing on the waves further away from the shore. There are a couple of restaurants here and the beach is well-served by buses from Mykonos Town, while water taxis connect it to other south coast beaches.
The Best Hotel at Psarou Beach
- Mykonos Blu • (Hotel phone: +30 2289 027900)
The best beach on Mykonos for a mix of restaurants, low-key nightlife, hotels and good sand. Platys Gialos is a 4km drive south from Mykonos Town. It’s got something for everyone: families come here for the calm waters and white sand, the young, trendy crowd heads for the hip beach bars and everyone comes here to eat: the beach is lined with back-to-back restaurants serving everything from Greek standards and seafood to sophisticated fusion. It’s also the main water sports beach in Mykonos, with kayaking, standup paddleboarding, wakeboarding and flyboarding on offer. Numerous hotels and villas surround the beach. Excellent bus connections to Mykonos Town and hourly water taxis to other south coast beaches in high season.
The Best Hotels at Platys Gialos
Lively Paraga beach on the south coast bridges the gap between backpacker beach party central and sultry sophistication. This appealing sandy crescent has several beach bars and a youth hostel at one end. Beach parties tend to kick off in the afternoons. At the other end of the beach, on a headland with excellent sea views from its lofty vantage point, is Scorpios – a place for leisurely lunch under a shady canopy by day, an amphitheatre for sunset-watching and a club-lounge by night. A two-minute walk north across the headland is the pebbly Agia Anna beach, with a couple of great seafood tavernas and a more chilled-out vibe. Buses run here from Mykonos Town in summer.
Exclusive villas dot the hillside above the sheltered cove of Super Paradise beach, accessible via a steep, narrow access road. Super Paradise is dominated by its namesake beach bar and club, and during summer peak season, beach parties kick off in the afternoons and continue until the wee hours of the morning. Nightly international DJ sets and rubbing shoulders with supermodels and other partying celebrities is part of the experience. During the day, the beach is a good spot for sipping a cocktail while working on your tan. Hourly shuttle buses from Mykonos Town during high season run late into the night, while boat taxis serve the beach during the day.
An equally big draw for revellers, Paradise beach has two clubs to choose from: Paradise Club with a hugely popular beach bar, surrounded by mounds of empty Dom Perignon bottles, and Cavo Paradiso, a five-minute walk away on a headland overlooking the waves. Both attract big name international DJs and the party goes on till dawn. In daytime during peak season the sandy beach is popular with young, trendy sunbathers in various states of undress (topless and nude sunbathing welcome); in low and shoulder seasons, families take over. There’s an excellent, authentic Indian restaurant nearby – Indian Palace – and the beach can be reached either by frequent shuttle from Mykonos Town or by water taxi.
Reachable via Ano Mera (or via boat taxi from nearby beaches during summer peak season), Elia beach is a long, white, sandy beach on the south coast of Mykonos. There is only one restaurant here – Elia Mykonos – and it’s a good place for seafood, while the attached bar serves beers and cocktails. The restaurant rents out beach chairs, but while the beach gets busy with sun worshippers, it has a much more relaxed vibe to it than most other south coast beaches. A ten-minute scramble along the rocks from the west end of Elia beach takes you to the small, pretty Agrari beach in a sheltered bay. There are a couple of beach restaurants, plenty of deck chairs and calm, shallow water.
The Best Hotels at Elia Beach
You have to pass through Ano Mera to reach this long, wide, sand-and-pebble beach on the south coast. Because it’s relatively isolated (compared to other south coast beaches), reachable by several daily buses in high season but not water taxi, this beach avoids the worst of the summer crowds. There are a couple of seafront tavernas serving Greek standards and several clusters of sun loungers, but you can easily find a patch of sand to call your own. On windy days the beach feels quite exposed.
The prettiest beach on the Mykonos north coast, Agios Sostis is a long, wide strip of white sand, shallow, calm water and a few beach umbrellas. It tends to be a lot less crowded than the south coast beaches but can be buffeted with wind in July and August. At the north end, high above the beach, is the legendary Kiki’s Taverna; diners start lining up outside it at noon for the terrific Cycladic dishes. Directly below the taverna is a small, sheltered cove with crystal-clear water and a tiny beach. You need your own wheels to get to Agios Sostis – a scooter or an ATV is better than a car, since the road is steep in places and narrow; the turnoff for the beach is 2km or so out of Mykonos Town, off the main road towards Ano Mera.
The only other settlement on the island of any size after Mykonos Town, Ano Mera sits roughly in the centre of the island, reachable via an 8km drive along the island’s main road. Ano Mera is well worth a visit for its attractive main square, lined with tavernas and cafes, and its beautiful Tourliani Monastery that dates back to the 16th century. Inside a whitewashed, fortress-like interior, there’s a striking marble chapel filled with medieval icons. There are great views of the village and the monastery from the Paleokastro nunnery, located on a hill just outside Ano Mera. Frequent buses connect Ano Mera with Mykonos Town. In summer, there buses connect Ano Mera with Kalo Livadi and Kalafati beaches. There are few hotel in Ano Mera and none of them luxurious.
The Best Hotel in Ano Mera
- Hotel Anatolia • (Hotel phone: +30 2289 025122)