Mykonos (also known as Hora) is perhaps the most known and famous of the Greek isles, and public fascination with the island has seen a massive uptick in recent years. The secret’s out—Mykonos is sophisticated and glossy, the younger sibling of Athens, where bright white buildings pop against seriously blue waters and bougainvillea blooms unrestricted, Mykonos cruises revel in incredible nightlife, alluring white sand beaches, and a stay-up-all-night spirit.
Mykonos cruises are one of the most popular destinations for Mediterranean cruises, and this port of call leaves you wanting for more. Accessible, warm, and friendly even when high season multiplies the population on the island, Mykonos defines what it means for a destination to be effortlessly cool.
Cruises to Mykonos, Greece dock into the New Port, where at least 2-3 cruise ships arrive daily, and even more arrive to the island on busy summer weekends. Peak season for Mykonos is July and August, when temperatures spike and so do visitor numbers. The Old Port of Mykonos provides excursions to the neighboring island of ancient Delos, if you’re looking for a short getaway from the main island. See Little Venice, modeled after the Italian town, and take in views of the Aegean from on high. As you continue on your cruise, you’ll look back fondly on the sheer beauty of Mykonos.
Little Venice, or Alefkantra, was named to invoke it’s same-named counterpart in Italy and created by rich Italian merchants in the 18th century. See one of Mykonos’ signature sunsets off of the Aegean Sea from Little Venice. The seaside is lined with fishing houses, painted in every color imaginable. For visitors, just follow the road from the Mykonos city center to its landmark windmills.
The Windmills are a remarkable staple of the island’s landscape. Settlers constructed the windmills in the 16th century to mill wheat and today, the windmills overlook the harbor, welcoming you to Mykonos. Only seven of these instantly recognizable structures are preserved and still standing today.
This tiny island is a UNESCO World Heritage site, and according to Greek mythology, is the island where the god Apollo and the goddess Artemis were born. No town or village was ever built on top of the ruins that were originally constructed on Delos. To see for yourself this well-preserved island for yourself, take a small boat from Mykonos to the island—weather permitting. Delos also has a small museum filled with Greek vases and sculpture, and a small cafe for you too.
About a twenty minute car ride inland is Ano Mera, a town where you can enjoy a more laid-back, small town energy to contrast with the bustle of Mykonos Town. Climb to the Gyzi Castle for a peek at this castle above the village, where you’ll find ruins of an old cemetary and a local market. Check out the Paleokastro Monastery or the Panagia Tourliani to observe historic religious sites in Ano Mera.
Panagia Paraportiani is a religious and historical site along the coastline of Mykonos. This structure was formed by five small churches built on top of one another, creating an asymmetrical and totally unique shape. Construction began in the 14th century, and today, Panagia Paraportiani, though a little misshapen and wonky, is nevertheless one of the most photographed sites in the world.
About seven miles from the city center, you’ll arrive at Elia beach, one of the most popular and longest beaches on the island of Mykonos. Go windsurfing, water skiing, parasailing, or simply relax in the Mediterranean sunshine. Elia is a little more secluded and laid-back than Mykonos beaches. While you’re there, be sure to take a short walk uphill, where you’ll see a fantastic view of the Aegean Sea from the bay.
Rest and recover from Mykonos’ vibrant nightlife with a museum day. Learn everything you’ve ever wanted to know about maritime equipment and nautical navigation at the Aegean Maritime Museum. Then, check out the Archaeological Museum for pottery dating back to the 9th century BC, ancient jewelry and artifacts, and well-preserved marble figures of Greek gods like Hercules.
Psarou is commonly frequented luxury beach village, known for calm, clear waters and white sand. Sunbathing is popular in Psarrou, where umbrellas are available to rent as well. Psarou Beach attracts celebrities from all over the world and other high-end clientele, a testament to its glamor and prestige. Reservations for hotels in the area are a must, particularly in peak season.
There are plenty of opportunities to dive or learn to dive, if you have time, while in Mykonos. The island is rich with caves and wrecks for all levels of divers, promising unforgettable underwater views. You can find diving operators are based on Paradise, Lia and Kalafatis beaches on the island.
Address: Mikonos 846 00, Greece
Kiki’s Tavern is one of those mythic, word-of-mouth restaurants that typically has a wait no matter what day it is. This tiny beach shack offers grilled eggplant and vegetables, well-executed and thoughtful meat dishes, and unpretentious outdoor seating with views of the water.
Address: Porta, Mikonos 846 00, Greece
Niko’s is one of Mykonos' oldest restaurants and popular with both locals and tourists. The menu consists of lots of Greek specialties, like classic moussaka, stuffed cabbage, and varieties of grilled meats and fish.
Spilia Seaside Restaurant
Address: Ano Mera, 84600 Mykonos Island
This restaurant and bar has seating available inside the cove of Agia Anna (Spilia means “cave” in Greek) for an unforgettable and romantic meal overlooking the Aegean Sea. At Spilia, you can enjoy fresh seafood from the Aegean right in front of you – oysters, mussels, urchins, lobsters, and more. They take reservations for lunch and dinner.
Il Forno di Gerasimo
Address: Chora Mykonos, Mykonos Town 846 00, Greece
This highly-rated bakery has rave reviews for its pastries, cakes, and coffees, spinach and feta pies, and even handmade pizzas. There isn’t a lot of seating available, so pop in for a pastry and pop out to continue your walkabout in Mykonos.
The name Mykonos means “a mass of stones” or “a rocky place,” but a later tradition attributes the name of the island to a hero by the name of Mykonos, the son of a king descended from Greek god Dionysus.
Limited agricultural resources made Mykonos hard to settle in around 1,000 BC. Later, the Romans and subsequently the Byzantines occupied the island, and then built fortifications on the island against the Arab raids during the 7th century. After the fall of Constantinople in 1204, the island was occupied by the Venetians, and continued to pass hands for centuries in a variety of sieges and battles.
Over time, Mykonos proved to be a predominant trade center and port city. After World War I, the island saw an economic depression which led to a substantial dip in population in favor of working abroad or on the mainland of Greece. Wealthy visitors, including politicians and famous artists, began to flock to the island as early as the 1930s, where they began to notice and appreciate the island’s potential as a tourist destination. As a result, tourism in Mykonos provided a means to restore the island’s economy and development. The growth of its tourism economy is an industry success story considering its scale, size, and prominence as a luxury destination since the 1950s. Today, Mykonos is synonymous with a luxurious, cosmopolitan vacation.
The Old Port isn’t as built up as other Mediterranean ports, so you’ll find more to see and do by taking the available shuttle into Mykonos town. At the old port, however, you can linger at one of the waterfront cafes, walk along the harbor, or meander into shops and restaurants as you please. Free WiFi is offered in many restaurants and cafes if you need to hop online for any reason.
Looking for ways to get around in Mykonos? There’s no shortage of options.
Most attractions are within easy walking distance—no more than 10 or 15 minute walk—from the old port. From Tourlos, walking to town (about a half hour) is possible but not recommended. There are no sidewalks and the road can get very busy during peak season.
If you want to venture beyond the town, there is a taxi stand at Manto Mavrogenous Square (sometimes called Town Square or Taxi Square). Rates are fixed according to destination and vary by season. There are a limited number of taxis on the island so they may be difficult to get in high season.
There are two bus stations. The main Fabrica (also spelled Fabrika) in the southern section of town serves Ornos, Aghios, Ioannis, Platys Gialos, Psarou, Paranga, and Paradise. The Northern bus station serves Ano Mera village, the beaches of Elia, and Kalafatis. Normal fares are less than two euros.
Take a small boats (called caiques) to visit the beaches at the southern and western parts of the island.
The best way to shop during Mykonos cruises is to start walking and see where you end up. Mykonos Sandals in Little Venice is one option for handmade leather sandals that you can dance the night away in. Jewelry stores are common in Mykonos, so you’ll find interesting, not cookie-cutter jewelry to complement your personal style. Franck Muller is a popular, hand-crafted watch brand with a store on the island. Plus, Mykonos is teeming with small boutiques, cafes, galleries, and souvenir shops for every type of shopper.
Tipping isn’t that common in Mykonos, but it can be very polite depending on the circumstances. Bring a little extra cash—Mykonos accepts the Euro—as some smaller establishments, tours, or taxis won’t accept credit cards. If tip isn’t included in your restaurant bill, tip 10-20%. Always double check while in Mykonos if they can accept your credit card.
For bartenders, tip isn’t expected, but it’s customary in the event of excellent service. For doormen, you can offer them €1 if you’re extra pleased with the service. For bellhops, tipping per bag is polite, but it doesn’t have to be a large tip. It is customary to tip your tour guide. €2-€5 per person per day is the rule of thumb.