We were already living in Athens in early spring when a friend of ours from the US announced he was visiting Mykonos in late June. We couldn’t say no to visiting Mykonos with a friend. This experience was quite different to our time in Santorini. It’s difficult to get to know real life, how locals live. In all honesty, I reckon that most locals leave the island in summer and rent their places out. In fact, most people visit Mykonos for its fancy bars and shops and to spend time on the beach. We don’t shop, but we did have a lovely time on the beach and had a blast partying at night.
City of Mykonos (Chora)
We chose the city of Mykonos as our base since we wanted to be in the middle of everything. It was a great choice, considering we rarely spend entire days on the beach. Additionally, we got to see a bit of everyday life. The city is absolutely beautiful, full of typical white houses and Bougainvillea flowers. The sea surrounds the city, with a lovely seaside promenade and a small beach. The famous Kato Mili windmills are located on its westernmost end. Our wonderful hotel was just off the main street, close to a school and a local super market. Our room even had a cute little balcony overlooking a quiet street perfect to read.
Where to Stay in Mykonos
Contrary to what we hoped for, in Mykonos, you can’t stay on the beach. You can, but only on smaller crowded beaches like Paradise Beach. Thus, we recommend staying in lovely Mykonos City. The key is to find a hotel on an off the beaten street close to the action. The idea is to avoid the noise and the crowds, but be close to all the fun. Our Dimitra Pension delivered all that we wanted and more! It offers super comfy rooms with nice balconies and superb hospitality. If you are into views, Hotel Spanelis is for you. Rooms come with private terraces, and they have a large rooftop one with killer views. When it comes to luxury, we recommend the Poseidon Hotel Suites. Located by the sea, it offers a nice pool and again, wonderful views.
Take a look at this post if you are still wondering which Greek island to visit. It’s written by a local.
What to Do in Mykonos in Summer
Mykonos is a fancy island where tourists from all around the world come to show off. Of course we have nothing against beautiful people having fun. Most shops, restaurants, bars and discos have a posh feel with hardly any budget options around. It was so much fun strolling about the city’s cobbled streets looking for historical churches. We had coffee, lunch and dinner in different places and had no problem in paying a bit extra for coffee with the view to Little Venice. One afternoon we walked all the way to the hill above the city to enjoy more great views. Watching local kids have fun at a small amphitheater was another source of fun. Afternoons were spent at different beaches and nights partying at different bars (more about that later).
You can find more ideas on what to do in Mykonos here.
During our 4 day stay in Mykonos we visited 3 different beaches + the small one in the city. Elia Beach is our absolute favorite. It is the largest and furthest away from the city. There is nothing but a couple of beach restaurants so it’s perfect to relax and swim. You can also walk to nearby Agrari Beach. On the other hand, Super Paradise Beach is a bit smaller and more crowded. There a couple of beach bars and the Famous Jackie O’ on a cliff overlooking the beach. Finally, Paradise Beach is even smaller and too overcrowded. It is packed with bars and shops, with no free area. On top of that is pretty noisy, but it’s very close to the city!
Take a look at this extensive list of the best Mykonos beaches.
Mykonos isn’t famous only for its shopping. Its gay life is legendary! We are happy to report that it does live to all the hoopla. There are plenty of places to go out, and the atmosphere is great. We had an afternoon drink in Jackie O’ at Super Paradise Beach and went out partying to several places in Mykonos Town. Our first night began in Lola where we enjoyed its cool interior. Then we went dancing to the hidden Porta Bar. All the hot guys were there! On our second night we watched the famous midnight show at @54 Club and Lounge (ex Ramrod). We had to spend the last two days chilling to recharge our batteries.
Mykonos Excursions – Delos
From Mykonos we took a one day excursion to nearby Delos Island. Actually it wasn’t really an excursion, since we just bought return tickets at the pier and discovered the island on our own. In summer, only one boat departs in the afternoon (there are several in the morning). Therefore, we thought it was the best way to avoid the scorching heat. The island is superb and it wasn’t crowded at all. Delos was the most important Hellenic Sanctuary and the birth place of Apollo, the God of music and poetry. It was an important Cosmopolitan port town between the 3rd Century BC and the 1st Century AD. Numerous archeological artifacts are spread all about the island and inside a small but cool museum.
When to Visit Mykonos
Unlike Santorini, we were in Mykonos during the shoulder season. Hotels, restaurants and beaches were all crowded and expensive. Luckily, we visited in late June, so it wasn’t as crowded as it gets. While Santorini displays outstanding nature and architecture Mykonos is famous for its nightlife and beaches. Thus, it doesn’t make much sense to visit Mykonos when it’s cold and there’s no one to dance with. Considering it was a bit difficult to navigate Mykonos’ narrow streets in June, we can only imagine how overcrowded it must be in July and August. If we take all that into a consideration there is no better time to visit Mykonos than in June or September. Perhaps later is even better!
How to Get to Mykonos
Since Mykonos is a popular travel destination, there are several ways to get there. The fastest way by far is by taking a plane. Several companies connect Athens with Mykonos even in the low season. Mykonos Airport is not that far from Mykonos Town so you can get to the city by bus or taxi. The other popular way to get to Mykonos is by boat. Though this is a more scenic trip, it takes more time. The Blue Star Ferries Company operates several daily boats from the port of Piraeus next to Athens. The journey takes between 4h 15min and 5h 15min. Take note that boats arrive at the New Port, 5 kilometers north of Mykonos city. From there you can take a local bus to the Old Port in the City of Mykonos.
Moving Around Mykonos
Moving around Mykonos can be challenging. Wherever you are heading, you first have to transfer in the city of Mykonos. Take note that buses are not that frequent, even in summer. The city’s bus station is south of the city center, tucked between a densely built area. It’s basically a parking lot, nicknamed Fabrika. From Fabrika, there are daily connections to all the main beaches and the airport. Another bus station with many daily departures is called the Old Port, right in front of the old port of Mykonos. Please check the local bus company’s website for updated schedules.