Mykonos, Greece

Greece › Mykonos Travel Guide
by Santorini Dave • Updated: October 18, 2021

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Travel guide to the Greek island of Mykonos.

Beautiful Ornos Beach – my favorite beach on Mykonos.

Mykonos is known as the Greek party island – but it’s much more than that and one of our absolute favorite places to go in Greece. Part of the Cycladic island chain, Mykonos is famous for its wonderful beaches, boutique shopping, charming whitewashed buildings, luxury hotels, and vibrant beach clubs and nightlife – but the club scene is easy to avoid if you’d rather focus on the beaches, shopping, and great restaurants.

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Frequently Asked Questions about Mykonos

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Where is Mykonos?

Mykonos is an island in Greece, part of the Cycladic group located in the Aegean Sea. Mykonos lies about 150 km southeast of Athens, 150 km North of Santorini, and 230 km north of Crete. Flights to Mykonos take 4 hours from London, 3.25 hours from Paris, 2 hours from Rome, and 40 minutes from Athens.

Map showing the location of the island of Mykonos in Greece

How big is Mykonos?

Mykonos has a population of almost 12,500 and a land area of 86 sq. km (about 1.5 times the size of Manhattan). The length of the island is around 10 km, and it measures around 15 km at its widest point. It takes about 40 minutes to drive the longest way (west to east) from one end of the island to the other.

Map showing the size of Mykonos, Greece, in relation to the size of Manhattan, New York

What is the history of Mykonos?

According to myth, Mykonos was created in the Gigantomachy, the war between Zeus and the Giants. Zeus’ son Hercules eventually killed the Giants, which he threw into the sea; the giants turned into stone and created what is now Mykonos. The island was named after its first ruler, Mykonos, who was (depending on the source) either the son of the King of nearby Delos Island or the son or grandson of Apollo. The island Delos, just a short ferry away, was believed to be the birthplace of Apollo and Artemis.

Mykonos was first settled by the Carians from southwest Anatolia, followed by the Ionians, Romans, Byzantines, Catalans, Venetians, and the Ottomans. Mykonos has historically been a poor island, reliant on sailing, fishing, and textiles, and was almost completely abandoned after WWI. Tourism later came to dominate the economy around the mid-twentieth century, owing initially to the archaeological excavation of Delos. Mykonos is now among the richest islands in Greece and the world.

Delos Island

Delos Island, a short boat ride from Mykonos, is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and the mythical birthplace of Apollo and Artemis.

How do I get to Mykonos?

Mykonos is connected by direct ferry to Athens; ferries take anywhere from 2 to 5 hours, depending on the type of boat. Ferries connecting Mykonos to the islands of Naxos, Paros, Ios, Milos, Folegandros, Santorini, and Crete usually make a few stops and can take 30 minutes to 5 hours. Flights from Athens to Mykonos take around 40 minutes, direct flights from western Europe (London, Paris, Amsterdam, Rome, Venice) take 2 to 4 hours.

When is the best time to go to Mykonos?

Mykonos has a shorter travel season than nearby Santorini. Hotels in Mykonos tend to open later in spring and close earlier in the fall. The best time to visit Mykonos for good weather, nightlife, swimming, sunbathing, and sailing is from late June to early September. If swimming and hot weather are not a necessity and you’re more interested in sightseeing, history, dining, and archaeology then late April, May, and October are also great.

Chart showing the best time to visit Mykonos, Greece, considering different variables

What are the main towns in Mykonos?

The main village on Mykonos, where the vast majority of restaurants, bars, nightclubs, shops, and hotels are located, is called Mykonos Town or Chora. Mykonos Town is home to the nightlife and dining hub Little Venice, the landmark Kato Mili Windmills, and the romantic Old Port.

Map showing the location of the main towns and beaches on Mykonos, Greece

The two other major areas for visitors are family-friendly Ornos and Platis Gialos Beaches, brimming with restaurants, beach clubs, and resorts. Mykonos Town is connected by frequent buses to Ornos and Platis Gialos Beaches. Ornos and Platis Gialos are connected to each other by a busy water taxi route that serves most beaches on the south side of the island.

Other popular beach destinations with a good number of hotels and dining include Megali Ammos (the closest beach to Mykonos Town), Agios Stefanos, Psarou, Elia, Paradise, Super Paradise, Paraga, Agios Ioannis, Kalo Livadi, Kalafati, Panormos, and Agios Sostis.

Aside from Mykonos Town, the only other real village on Mykonos is Ano Mera, which sits roughly in the center of the island. Ano Mera boasts a charming main square, a gorgeous 16th-century monastery, and several authentic tavernas (casual, local restaurants). Ano Mera is more of a locals’ area with only a handful of budget hotels, no luxury resorts.

Mykonos Town in Greece.

Mykonos Town is largest community on the island, the hub of the Mykonos bus system, and home to an insane number of luxury hotels, great restaurants, and trendy clubs.

What are the best beaches in Mykonos?

Our favorite beaches on Mykonos are Ornos Beach and Platis Gialos Beach. Both are great for families, with many great of restaurants, resorts, and beach clubs. It’s easy to visit both of these beaches from Mykonos Town by bus, but staying on the beach is a great option for those who would prefer to avoid the busy Mykonos Town nightlife scene.

Other popular Mykonos beaches include Megali Ammos (an easy walk to Mykonos Town), Agios Stefanos, Psarou, Elia, Paradise, Super Paradise, Paraga, Agios Ioannis, Kalo Livadi, Kalafati, Panormos, and Agios Sostis. There is a water taxi that runs from Agia Ioannis Beach to Elia Beach, stopping at most beaches along the island’s south side of the island, making it easy to stay at one beach and visit another.

Map of the best beaches on Mykonos Island, Greece

Do I need a car in Mykonos

A car can be helpful to have on Mykonos, but it is not necessary. Mykonos’ public bus service is good, cheap, and reliable, and provides regular service between Mykonos Town (the bus system’s central hub) and all of the major beaches. There are more frequent routes in the summer months. If you prefer renting a car in Mykonos for greater freedom in your schedule or to explore more remote parts of the island, We recommend picking it up at the airport, even if you are arriving by ferry. (And remember that foreign drivers are required to have an International Drivers Permit in Greece.) There are only 30 taxis on Mykonos, and Uber is not available on the island, so private transport from the Mykonos airport or ferry port is best arranged in advance through your hotel or through Welcome Pickups car service.

Beach with golden sand and turquoise waters

Fokos Beach. Most beaches on Mykonos are easily accessed by bus, but you’ll need a car to get to beautiful and remote Fokos.

Where should I stay in Mykonos?

For most travelers, the best places to stay in Mykonos are in the village of Mykonos Town or on the beaches of Platis Gialos and Ornos for a good mix of relaxing, dining, nightlife, and exploring. These areas are well-connected to each other by bus or water taxi, and within the areas themselves, everything is just a short walk away. Travelers looking to get away from the crowds may enjoy the more remote Agios Ioannis, Agios Sostis, Elia, Psarou, or Kalo Livadi Beaches. Those looking for non-stop beach parties should consider staying in Paradise, Super Paradise, or Paraga Beaches.

What are the best things to do in Mykonos?

The best things to do in Mykonos include dining, shopping, drinking, and dancing in cosmopolitan Mykonos Town, swimming and sunbathing at world-renowned beaches, exploring the archaeological ruins of Delos Island, visiting traditional Ano Mera village, and catching the sunset from Armenistis Lighthouse, Boni’s Windmill, Little Venice, or the bluffs above Mykonos Town that look over the Old Port. And no trip to Mykonos would be complete without a selfie-stop at the iconic Kato Mili – the windmills that stand guard at Mykonos Town’s southern end.

Taking a cooking class or a tour is a great way to get to know Mykonos and some of its locals. Some of our favorite Mykonos tours include the Half-Day Highlights of Mykonos tour, South Coast Sailing and Snorkeling Tour, and the Guided Tour to Delos Island. This excellent tour includes sailing, snorkeling at a private island, and a guided Delos tour.

Tourist taking a selfie-photo at the Mykonos Town windmills

The iconic Mykonos Town windmills are a short walk from the town’s restaurants and bars.

How many days should I spend in Mykonos?

We recommend staying a minimum of 2 nights and 1 full day on Mykonos – but there’s plenty to see and do (at the very least just checking out all the great beaches) and it’s easy to fill 5 days. If possible, do a tour of Delos Island, spend one day beach hopping by water taxi, enjoy a sunset picnic at Armenistis Lighthouse, and take time for a photo-op at the iconic Mykonos Town windmills (“Kato Mili”). Be sure to leave yourself plenty of time to get lost in the maze-like streets of Mykonos Town: shop and dine in Chora, stroll along the edge of the Old Port, and enjoy a wild night of drinking and dancing in Little Venice.

The ruins at Delos Island

Exploring the ancient ruins on nearby Delos Island is a wonderful thing to do during a visit to Mykonos.

What currency is used in Mykonos?

Greece is part of the European Union, so the currency used in Mykonos is the Euro (€). Most major shops and restaurants on Mykonos accept credit cards, but it is a good idea to have some cash on hand for bus trips and small purchases like bottled water and snacks. ATMs are easy to find in Mykonos Town and all of the major beach towns.

A waiter serves a couple at an open air beachfront restaurant

Most of our favorite restaurants in Mykonos accept credit cards, like Joanna’s at Megali Ammos Beach, but it’s a good idea to have some euros on hand, just in case.

Is Mykonos expensive?

Mykonos is known for its luxury hotels, exclusive beach clubs, designer shops, and overpriced cocktails, but it’s easy to visit Mykonos on a modest budget. There are no all-inclusive resorts or all-inclusive holidays or vacation packages. To save cash, simply choose hotels and restaurants that are not directly on the water. All beaches are open to the public and free to visit, buses and water taxis are affordable, and great cheap hotels in Mykonos are easy to find in almost any part of the island.

Garden with potted plants and colorful chairs

The tranquil garden of Hotel Matina, the best inexpensive hotel in Mykonos Town.

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