Mykonos is one of the most popular islands in Greece, known for its whitewashed blue-roofed houses and world-class nightlife.
Aside from that, this island is also a treasure trove of archaeological wonders! A day trip to Delos, the birthplace of Apollo and Artemis, is a must for history buffs.
Another great way to explore Mykonos is by walking around the town. The island has a labyrinth of narrow streets, which were created to confuse pirates who would attack the town.
1. Mykonos Town
One of the best places to explore on the island, Mykonos Town (or Chora) is a labyrinth of narrow, pedestrian streets lined with white cubic buildings with multihued stairways and balconies. Expect to see pastel bougainvillaea draped fences in front of tiny Greek churches and stylish shops.
Its central streets - Matogianni St, for example - are packed with shoppers and colourful characters, streaming into brightly lit stores. During the day you can check out the latest collections from top design houses, or at night stroll the streets and people-watch.
2. Paraportiani Church
The beautiful Panagia Paraportiani Church in Mykonos is one of the most photographed buildings on the island. It is located at the entrance of the Kastro neighbourhood, right by the sea.
The name translates to “Standing Next to the Door.” This whitewashed church was built in 1425, but wasn’t finished until the 17th century.
What makes the Paraportiani Church so interesting is that it is actually a conglomeration of five small churches, built one on top of another. This unique construction technique blends different architectural styles and includes Traditional, Vernacular, Byzantine, and Western elements.
3. Armenistis Lighthouse
An imposing structure carved into the rugged cliffs of Cape Armenistis, the Armenistis Lighthouse is a proud testament to Mykonos' rich maritime past. Standing in silence at Fanari area on the north-western part of the island, 6.5 km from Chora (Mykonos Town), the structure is still fully functional today and offers breathtaking views over the Aegean Sea.
Built after the British steamship Volta sank off the north coast of Mykonos in 1887, killing eleven people, the lighthouse was built to prevent this kind of tragedy from happening again. Its 19 meter tall tower was fully operational in 1891 with an advanced lighting mechanism designed by French company Sauter Lemonier that won an award at the International Exhibition held in Paris.
4. Little Venice
Little Venice is a colorful area in Mykonos Town that features bars, bistros, and cafes pearched along the water’s edge. It’s a romantic and charming spot that attracts tourists from all over the world eager to see its gorgeous sights.
In the past, this neighborhood was called Alefkandra (after a sugary beach nearby). However, it was eventually changed to Little Venice because of its Venetian-inspired houses and architecture.
This neighborhood is a great place to visit when you want to take a break from the hustle and bustle of Mykonos town. This is especially true during the evening, when Little Venice becomes a thriving hub for partying and music!
5. Super Paradise Beach
One of the most famous beaches in Mykonos, Super Paradise is a popular destination for those who enjoy partying in the sun. The beach features soft sand and crystal clear water, along with umbrellas and sunbeds for sunbathing or swimming.
The right side of the beach is nudist and gay friendly, while the left is more cosmopolitan and offers a wide range of cocktail bars. It’s also home to the infamous Jackie O’ club, which features a restaurant and bar.
6. The Windmills
Windmills are a classic postcard of Greece, and they’re no different in Mykonos. The island is dotted with these three-story, circular buildings, typically made of stone and wood to withstand the tough conditions on the island, including the force of the wind, sun exposure, and sea moisture.
Mykonos has 16 windmills that are now preserved, renovated and open to visitors. Seven are located in the area of Kato Mili overlooking the Chora Mykonos harbor. They’re a popular spot for sunset photos, as their whitewashed exteriors change color in the evening light.
7. Delos Island
One of the most important archaeological sites in Greece, Delos has been listed as a World Heritage Site and is a fascinating place to visit. The ruins are well preserved and give a great insight into ancient Greek civilization, and are easily accessible on a day trip from Mykonos.
The island was renowned as the birthplace of Apollo and Artemis, and the twin gods Dionysus and Leto are also featured in the ruins. There are many traces of this, including the House of Dionysus which features a beautiful mosaic floor that depicts a panther.