Mykonos for first-timers

Mykonos for first-timers

When you hear about Mykonos the first things that pop into your mind are endless parties, luxurious venues, bronzed bodies laying in endless sandy beaches, and non-stop basslines pounding through its super clubs until dawn, dazzling sand, preening celebrities and insatiable revelers, Greece’s answer to the cosmopolitan Ibizan. You are not wrong, but Mykonos is more than that. Way more.

Visitors who spend a little more time get to see the island’s true beauty, the quiet charm of the Cycladic maze of Hora, the pleasure of travelling the backcountry roads and a dining scene to rival any Greek island.

Beach life

The island has countless beaches which are justifiably its biggest natural attraction. Whether you’re looking for a tiny, romantic, secluded cove lapped at by cerulean waters, or a wide stretch of sugar-white sand covered with sun worshippers, Mykonos has a beach to suit your needs.

Crystal clear water, long sandy beaches, comfortable loungers and cold cocktails…what else could I ask for? What better way to begin your vacations than to relax on a beach and enjoy the sun in one of Mykonos’ beautiful beaches. The options are countless as Mykonos is one of the few islands in which the visitor has the possibility of being in a different beach every few minutes with waters being crystal clear all around the island, making it impossible to choose the best beach. All the beaches are about 65, some of them you can go by the car and others only by the sea:

  • Ftelia, to ride the waves! This is the place where fanatic windsurfers go, praying for North winds. When there is no wind, the place is perfect for swimming.
  • Lia, for the thick sand. Family with children, nature lovers from all over the world, slender models with tiny bikinis and big group of friends: everyone goes to Lia, even though it is one of the most distant beached from Chora. And this is because it has thick sand and crystal-clear turquoise waters and is surrounded by rocks that make the scnery even more beautiful. On the beach you will find umbrellas, sun loungers, a beach bar and a scuba diving school.
  • Panormos, with the fluffy sand. The most bohemian beach of Mykonos attracts Greeks and foreigners with a preference to tuffets, large cushions and warm fluffy sand rather than sun loungers. Throughout the beach’s long stretch, the sand is fine and the waters shallow and turquoise. Beach volley fans will adore it.
  • Super Paradise, to have fun! This is the most famous with crystal-clear blue waters and fine golden sand. At Super Paradise you will enjoy refreshing daquiris and you will dance to the loud and rhythmic celebrities and wannabe stars. At Jackie’O Beach with the magnificent infinity pool you will learn all about the good life: Massage on the beach, fresh oysters and scallops at the Oyster Bar and Cuban cigars after dinner and restaurant. On the far end of the beach you will find the timeless Cavo Paradiso, hosting Greek and foreign DJ’s.
  • Ornos, because it is a beach sheltered from the north wind! One of the most popular beaches of Mykonos, Ornos is located very close to Chora. Here flock those who do not have a vehicle to reach the more distant beaches, the guests of the area’s many hotels, but also anyone who enjoys good food, since many restaurants serve on the beach.
  • Psarrou, for celebrity watching! It is the island’s most cosmopolitan beach, mentioned ardently in foreign magazines. Visitors require an elevated social status to get a table at Nammos while service on the sun loungers compares to that of five star hotels. Call a day in advance to reserve a sun lounger on Saturdays and Sundays.
  • Paraga, to try some daring divers! Small but charming, Paraga beach is quite popular to the young crowd as well as the youth at heart! Almost all over the beach there are umbrellas and sun loungers and you will also find popular beach bars and restaurants that serve tasty food.
  • Paradise, to experience the never-ending beach-fun! A hangout of the younger crowd, paradise beach remain synonymous to the Mykonian beach party. Less cosmopolitan than Super Paradise and obviously more relaxed, it offers to visitor thick sand, a multitude of bars and restaurants, rooms to let and camping. The loud music will follow you even while you swim!
  • Kalafatis, for the watersports! Kalafatis beach is a true paradise for those who love watersports! Leaving aside the beloved classics you can initiate yourself to scuba diving on the Scuba Diving School that operates on the beach, giving lessons and take to you the most interesting spots of underwater Mykonos!

The options are countless whichever “scene” you prefer, either an organized beach with loud house music, waiters running around, cocktails and spacious loungers or remote romantic bays with a traditional tavern, Mykonos can cover your every need!


Away from the beaches

On the west side of the island, the tiny capital Hora (aka Mykonos Town) is Mykonos’ second-biggest attraction, after the beaches. With its endless, traditional, cycladic blue, its white houses and its tiny streets full of shops, churches, and windmills, Mykonos Town is the place to be. Each little corner and every beautiful house is a moment that it should be captured in a photograph.

Mykonos Town offers a variety of things to do; from bars to restaurants and cafeterias, to fashionable clothes and accessories boutiques, you’ll never run out of ideas and things to do! Here you will have the opportunity to pick up some traditional Greek souvenirs, like olive oil products or leather sandals and postcards for memories that you’ll remember for a lifetime.

One of the most famous and characteristic places in Mykonos is the windmills of Little Venice. It is named ‘Little Venice’ because of its similarity with Italy’s Venice concerning its architecture and exceptional beauty. Located in the Mykonos Town (Chora), you can get there and relax, choosing between the various bars and cafes right on the shore, enjoying  the view of Little Venice. You can also visit the windmills and take a cruise from Ormos Port as you watch the sunset from the sea.

Characterized as one of the most famous architectural and religious monuments of the Cyclades islands in total, the Church Panagia Paraportiani is a definitely one of the things you must see. It is located in the cultured center of the island right next to Aegean Sea, with direct access and sits on the old Castle of Mykonos.

Paraportiani took this name because of its location. In fact, it is located next to the small gate (“paraporti” in Greek) of the medieval wall of Mykonos. It is a two-storey building, which consists of five churches. Four of them are on the ground floor and one is elevated. The elevated church is the one with the name of Panagia Paraportiani.

Created in the first period between the 16th and 17th centuries and because of the fact that its architectural heritage is irreplaceable, it is for years an important monument not only for Mykonos but also for the whole Aegean islands. It is, undoubtedly, one of the most photographed places of Greece and everyone who travels to Mykonos should visit it.

Bring on the night

During the peak months of July and August, Mykonos doesn’t sleep. There are several clubs in Hora (including several gay and gay-friendly venues), but it’s the beach superclubs such as Cavo ParadisoSuper Paradise and Paradise Club that attract local and international DJ talent on a nightly basis.

Countless beach bars, chic clubs, legendary sunset bars, glamorous venues and world-renowned nightlife institutions – they all find a home in Mykonos, the Aegean’s party island. Enjoy they Greek Sun and the crystal-clear water of the Aegean in one of the countless beach bar/restaurants of Mykonos. Comfortable loungers, cabanas, cocktails, summer breeze and the sound of waves crashing a few meters away from you…The options are unlimited and can satisfy everyone.

The epic Mykonian nights can be spent either dancing to the hottest DJ’s tunes under the star-filled sky in the island’s impressive open-air clubs, or lingering over champagne in ultra-chic hotel bars with sleek design, soft music, and sophisticated ambiance. Last, but not least, Mykonos is one of Europe’s most famous gay-friendly destinations, so expect plenty of cool venues hosting live cabaret entertainment and drag shows.

What to do if you want to be active

Mykonos is a great destination if you want to be active on your vacations! With rocky cliffs and windy roads dotting the coastline you can find countless spots to go for a hike.

Other highly recommended activities are the bike tours! Engage with a fascinating mixture of experiences while exploring Mykonos island on a bike!  Take the time to inhale the freedom offered by a cycling adventure and capture each moment with all your senses sharpened. Our aim is familiarizing Mykonos’ visitors with authentic images of the island and its hidden gems. All tours explore non-touristic, rural parts of Mykonos’ countryside and pristine beaches!

In case you are into activities which involve the sea then you should definitely go for a boat dive. One of the first things that will strike you is the crystal clear, blue-turquoise and so transparent water. Fish are one of the most interesting part of the sea fauna, they are diverse and colorful.

Last but not least, at one of the most beautiful beaches in Mykonos the Meltemi wind blows all summer long, from May to October, with up to 6Bft inside Kalaftis Bay. This windy place offers you the ideal conditions for relaxed freerides and cool freestyle sessions in its never crowded vastness, perfect for everyone who wants to live for their addiction to windsurf.

What to do for a relaxing afternoon

  • Explore the alleys of Mykonos Town

The heart of Mykonos is with no doubt Mykonos Town, which is called Chora. With its endless, traditional, cycladic blue, its white houses and its tiny streets full of shops, churches, and windmills, Mykonos Town is the place to be. Each little corner and every beautiful house is a moment that it should be captured in a photograph.

  • Admire the scenic view from Armenistis Lighthouse

Located on the northwestern tip of the island, you will surely notice Armenistis Lighthouse because of its height – it is 19 meters (62 ft) tall. It is a scenic attraction, which offers great views to the Aegean Sea and to the neighbouring island of Tinos as well, which is located in the background.  See the boats passing by between these two islands. The lighthouse is approximately 7 km (4.35 mi) away from Mykonos Town and you can reach it by car, simply taking the north coastal road and following the signs to Fanari.

  • Mykonos Little Venice

One of the most famous and characteristic places in Mykonos is the windmills of Little Venice. It is named ‘Little Venice’ because of its similarity with Italy’s Venice concerning its architecture and exceptional beauty. Located in the Mykonos Town (Chora), you can get there and relax, choosing between the various bars and cafes right on the shore, enjoying  the view of Little Venice. You can also visit the windmills and take a cruise from Ormos Port as you watch the sunset from the sea.

  • Windmills

The windmills are considered to be one of the most famous markers of the Cyclades islands. In Mykonos, they are a landscape landmark as they appear above the sea, on the small hill southeast of Chora.

They have a distinctive rounded shape, snow-white color and wooden pointed roof, features that make them ideal for the quite extreme winds of Mykonos. They were originally used for grain grinding, activity that has contributed to the island’s economic evolution.

Nowadays, the windmills have no longer practical use. They exist as a symbol of Mykonos and an ornament to the island.

Today, there are 7 windmills in Mykonos that are kept in a quite good condition due to considerable renovation. Bonis Windmil, the most famous of all (Agromuseum of Mykonos), it is now a museum where you may find various activities taking place. Visitors should keep in mind that its opening dates and times are from 1st July till 30th of September each year, from Monday to Sunday, 16.00-20.00. If you want to be part of the past for a while, or if you are simply curious to see how windmills look like from the inside, then you have to visit them as soon as possible!

  • Visit the Panagia Paraportiani

One of the most famous architectural and religious monuments of the Cyclades islands in total is the Church Panagia Paraportiani. It is located in the cultured center of the island right next to Aegean Sea, with direct access and sits on the old Castle of Mykonos.

Paraportiani took this name because of its location. In fact, it is located next to the small gate (“paraporti” in Greek) of the medieval wall of Mykonos. It is a two-storey building, which consists of five churches. Four of them are on the ground floor and one is elevated. The elevated church is the one with the name of Panagia Paraportiani.

Created in the first period between the 16th and 17th centuries and because of the fact that its architectural heritage is irreplaceable, it is for years an important monument not only for Mykonos but also for the whole Aegean islands. It is, undoubtedly, one of the most photographed places of Greece and everyone who travels to Mykonos should visit it.

When to go

Peak travel time is June to September, when hotel prices are at a record high, and the beaches, restaurants and nightclubs are packed. Shoulder season (April to early June, late September and October) is arguably a more pleasant time to visit – you get the beaches minus the crowds and the accommodation prices are lower.

In winter, it may be too cold for sunbathing and swimming, but bonuses include empty beaches and plenty of accommodation bargains.

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