Mykonos - Great Shopping, Beaches, and Partying
Mykonos is one of Greece's most popular islands. Almost every cruise line that sails in Greek waters visits Mykonos for the day, and thousands of other tourists pack the hotels during the high season in summer. The island is not what most would consider scenic; it's dry, barren, and mostly flat. Visitors don't come for the natural scenery; they come to enjoy the beaches, shopping, restaurants, bars, and nightlife.
Some also come to visit one of Greece's most important archaeological sites, the island of Delos, which is only accessible via day trips from Mykonos or from a ship small enough to anchor in Delos' small harbor.
Most of the action on Mykonos is centered around its main town, which is usually simply called Mykonos town, although is is also known as Hora or Chora. Like most of the rest of the island, Mykonos town is filled with low, white-washed buildings, most with a colorful door and/or windows. The town's designers laid out the narrow streets much like a maze to confuse attacking enemies. Today those narrow streets might confuse only tourists, but it's impossible to get too lost in Mykonos town. Most visitors love the atmosphere and ambiance of Mykonos town, and even those who are stone sober might even see a pink pelican patrolling the narrow lanes.
Cruise ships usually dock at the old port, which is about a mile from Mykonos town. Many cruise ships offer a free bus shuttle into town for their guests, but there's also a public bus, taxis, or a water taxi. Buses and taxis will drop you at the old port, which is just a short walk into town. Just follow the curved harbor. Walking is not recommended since there are no sidewalks most of the route into town, and the road is very busy.
Some cruise ships anchor in the Mykonos harbor and use their tenders to take guests ashore, dropping them at the pier used by day boats and the water taxi. You can't miss the town; it's right ahead of you.
Other than the beaches, the most popular activity on Mykonos is strolling around the amazingly picturesque old town. Every narrow passageway features one or more shops or homes requiring a photo. The island is more expensive than other islands, but visitors still like to shop or sit in one of the cafes nursing a drink and watching visitors from around the world stroll by.
This photo gallery captures a look at Mykonos town.
Mykonos Town near the Old Harbor
These buildings are on the outskirts of Mykonos town and are representative of most homes on Mykonos. They are almost cubist, with straight lines and flat roofs.
Bars and Restaurants Line the Old Harbor of Mykonos
The curving harbor in Mykonos town is lined with restaurants, bars, and cafes. Many visitors drift from place to place, following the shade. However, they never have a problem finding a cold drink (or ice cream) along the harbor.
Windmills of Mykonos
Mykonos is almost always windy, so it's not surprising to see these old windmills on the island. They aren't functional any more, but are one of the iconic pictures from Mykonos.
Windmills and Little Venice of Mykonos
The small harbor near the windmills is lined with bars and restaurants, and the water comes right up next to the buildings. Since many of the buildings have balconies overlooking the water, this area is nicknamed Little Venice.
Little Venice of Mykonos
The Little Venice area of old town Mykonos features balconies overlooking the Aegean, water lapping at the edge of the white-washed buildings, and great views of the Mykonos windmills.
Tiny Church on Mykonos
Although Mykonos is famous for its nightlife, the island has many churches, most of which are Greek Orthodox. I glimpsed this tiny church while sailing into Mykonos from Delos on the G Adventures' sailboat the Baltra.
A small church on the outskirts of Mykonos town doesn't get photographed very often, but most everyone with a camera in Mykonos town gets pictures of the two churches on the next three pages of this article.
Mykonos Church of Panagia Paraportiani
This lumpy church is probably the most photographed in Mykonos. It's actually 4 or 5 (depending on which guidebook or guide you ask) tiny churches linked together by a layer of whitewashed stucco, which gives it the odd appearance. The sunlight on Panagia Paraportiani gives it a different look throughout the day, and it seems like someone is almost always taking a photo of the odd little church.
Church of Panagia Paraportiani on Mykonos Island
This close-up view of Panagia Paraportiani shows how it was built of both stucco and brick before the whitewash was applied.
Greek Orthodox Church on the Old Harbor in Mykonos
This small church sits next to the pier for the day boats to Delos and the water taxi to the new port. It's very typical of Greek Orthodox churches throughout Greece--whitewashed with a bright blue dome.
Street Scene in Mykonos Town
This street is a good example of what visitors see all over Mykonos town--a narrow lane, whitewashed buildings with brightly colored doors and shutters, and some brilliantly colored flowers. The look is very simple, but spectacular.
Shopping on Mykonos
This shopping area is along the harbor in Mykonos town. It's one of the first souvenir shopping areas visitors see when walking into town from the taxi square or the old port bus stop.
Old Town Mykonos with Harbor
With all the winds on Mykonos, it's not surprising that a breakwater is in the tiny harbor near the town.
Mykonos Town Waterfront
Standing near the tiny shoreside church with the blue dome, I took this photo of the rounded harbor of Mykonos town.
Petros the Pelican, the Symbol of Mykonos
Yes, this is a pink pelican walking through a bar in Little Venice on Mykonos. His name is Petrous, and he's the mascot of the town. I'm sure Petros is often a head-turner, especially for those who have had a couple of drinks!
Like many of the Greek isles, Mykonos has amazing sunsets almost every evening. People gather near Little Venice and the windmills to watch the sun set. It's cheaper to buy a bottle of cold wine at the bottle shop across from Zorba's than to buy just one glass at one of the bars in Little Venice. The bottle shop will open the wine and provide plastic cups to drink from. So, grab your bottle and cups, find a seat along the wall, and watch nature's nightly show. Then, find a restaurant or bar (or both) and enjoy the evening on Mykonos island.