Mykonos

Mykonos (Greek: Μύκονος) is a popular tourist destination in the Greek islands of the Cyclades group, situated in the middle of the Aegean Sea. Mykonos is located south of Tinos, east of Syros and north of Paros and Naxos.

Understand

Sunset at Paraportiani

Mykonos is famed as a cosmopolitan destination amongst the Greek islands and widely recognised as one of the great travel meccas. It is one of the most visited islands in the Aegean. This means that visitors should be prepared for loud dance clubs, English breakfasts and overpriced merchandise. Mykonos, along with Santorini, is more expensive than other Greek islands.

Mykonos tends to be extremely crowded with visitors in July and August. The best time to visit Mykonos is mid-May through June (early season, when accommodations are much cheaper and it's not too hot), or September through mid-October (post season).

Mykonos is a gay-friendly island, featuring a vibrant gay nightlife, ranking among the most popular holiday destinations in Europe among gay travellers. While there are many other destinations around the Mediterranean that see sizeable gay tourist traffic, Mykonos managed to remain refined and romantic rather than rowdy.

If you're gay, get yourself an up-to-date map with all the gay venues. The most popular beaches with gay visitors are Super Paradise and Elia. These are not strictly gay, but they have parts where gay men and women congregate. The only gay beach deserving of the title is the small beach between Elia and Agrari.

Orientation

Little Venice in Mykonos Town

Mykonos' main communities are Chora, the island's port town and capital, and Ano Mera.

Although the streets are lined with little shops, boutiques, art galleries, cafes, stylish bars and restaurants, Mykonos Town has not completely lost its identity. Despite the island’s rapid growth and development, its traditional Cycladic architectural style and character has remained firmly intact, thanks to the island’s strict building regulations.

Other small communities include:

Climate

 Climate Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec
 
Daily highs (°C) 13 13 15 16 21 25 26 25 23 21 17 15
Nightly lows (°C) 10 10 11 13 16 20 22 22 20 17 14 11
Precipitation (mm) 135 149 94 58 33 15 18 23 97 167 170 165
Sunshine (hrs/day) 4 6 7 8 10 13 13 12 10 8 5 3
Sea (°C) 14 13 17 16 18 25 24 25 23 22 18 14

The climate of Mykonos is characterised by hot, dry summers and mild winters. Like in most of the Aegean islands it hardly ever rains during summer but rain showers can be expected between October and April.

Temperatures in July and August range from 30°C (86°F) during the day to 22°C (72°F) at night. The Cyclades are famous for the constant wind (called meltemi) in July and August that mitigates the heat a bit.

Mid-May through mid-October is usually warm and sunny enough to enjoy the beaches.

Talk

Greek is the official language of Greece, and therefore it's spoken by all the permanent inhabitants of the island and most of its visitors, but the foreign visitor will have no problem at all communicating in foreign languages, mainly in English.

Get in

View of Mykonos' port

By boat

From the Greek mainland ferries and highspeed catamaran services run daily from Piraeus and Rafina. The highspeeds take half the time but cost twice as much.

The journey between the port of Piraeus (Athens) and Mykonos takes between 3h 30min and 5h 15min, depending on the type of ferry you are taking. On a slow ferry a seat in economy class will cost € 32; on a highspeed service expect to pay € 54.50. In Piraeus all the highspeed ferries to Mykonos depart from Port Gate Ε7; the conventional ferries leave from Port Gate Ε1. Most of the ferries connecting Piraeus to Mykonos stop working by end of October and resume by April.

Many travelers probably don’t even consider Rafina a possible departure port if they are heading to one of the Cyclades, but if you are arriving at the airport of Athens you are often better off taking a ferry from Rafina than traveling to Athens and get a ferry from Piraeus. The journey between Rafina and Mykonos takes between 2h 10min and 5h 30min, depending on the type of ferry you are taking. On a regular ferry expect to pay € 23.50 per person for a seat in economy class; on a highspeed catamaran service expect to pay € 52.50. Most of the ferries connecting Rafina to Mykonos stop working by end of October and resume by April.

Mykonos can also be reached directly from other islands in the Cyclades. More than once a day there is a boat connection from Syros, Andros, Tinos and Paros. There are daily boat connections from Naxos, Ios, Santorini and Crete. There's a daily overnight ferry, the 'Nissos Mykonos', from Samos (Vathi and Karlovassi) and Ikaria. There are less frequent boat connections from Serifos, Sifnos, Kimolos, Milos, Folegandros, Sikinos, Thirassia and Anafi.

Ferry companies:

Pre-booking of ferries and highspeeds is only necessary from mid-July to late August or just before or after a Greek holiday. Beware that every year at the 15th of Augustus the island of Tinos is a goal for thousands of orthodox pilgrims. Most ferries and highspeeds from Piraeus and Rafina to Mykonos make a stop at Tinos. This means that around this period it is recommended to buy tickets well in advance. Also expect a lot of Greek tourist to visit Mykonos around the weekend of Pentecost, which is at movable dates but in 2012 will be at the 3rd and 4 June.

Keep in mind that if you book your ticket online, you will still need to collect the ticket from a travel agency once you get to Greece.

Boat services can be cancelled due to strong wind. Weather cancellations are very rare, though, only a few days over the course of a summer.

Mykonos has two ports: the old port in Mykonos Town, and the new port at Tourlos, about 2 km north of Mykonos Town. Check before you travel which port your boat will use. Most of the ferries use the new port. The highspeed catamaran services still use the old port in Mykonos Town.

From the port to Mykonos Town

During high season there is an infrequent public bus service from the new port in Tourlos to Mykonos Town. It is best to take a taxi. It is possible to walk from the new port into town, but it will take around 45 minutes along a busy main road without a sidewalk.

From the old port it is a short and easy walk along the coast into town.

By cruise ship

Mykonos is a popular stop on cruise ship tours of the Greek Islands. Almost all cruise ships dock at the new port in Tourlos, though some cruise ships use the old port. If you are arriving at the new port, make use of the cruise shuttle bus to Mykonos Town. You can also take a taxi yourself, but with so many people arriving at the same time it won't be easy to catch one. It is likely that the cruise shuttle bus will drop you off at a parking area not far from the northern bus station in Mykonos Town. It is less than a 10-minute ride. From there everything is within walking distance.

If you are arriving at the old port, you will arrive within a 10-minute walk of the heart of Mykonos Town and no bus ride will be necessary or even available.

It is easy to explore Mykonos independently. There's no real need to book excursions. Also the recommended excursion to Delos can be booked independently (guided or unguided).

By plane

Mykonos has an airport (IATA: JMK) , about 4 km away from the main town. There are daily flights from Athens (35 minutes) by Olympic Air and Aegean Airlines. During summer, both Olympic Air and Aegean Airlines also have daily direct flights from Thessaloniki. In high season there are also less frequent flights from Rhodes, Santorini, Crete (Heraklion) and Volos by Sky Express. During the months of July and August, Astra Airlines flies from Thessaloniki.

From May through October, charter airlines fly directly to Mykonos from many European airports:

At the arrival area of the airport you may find an ATM, shops, a cafetaria, public phones, a post box, an office of the Mykonos Hoteliers Association, an Olympic Air office, an Aegean Airlines office and many car rental companies.

In the terminal building on the first floor there is a duty-free shop for departing passengers selling tobacco, spirits, perfumes, cosmetics, travel accessories and gift items.

Take a free and useful Mykonos Sky Map from the luggage collecting hall at the airport. This free map is also sold in shops in Mykonos Town.

From the airport to Mykonos Town

Many Mykonos hotels offer airport transfers, at rates that can be anything from free to more than a taxi. Best chance for a free transfer is when you book your room directly with the hotel. A transfer by your hotel is the easiest way to get to your hotel, so check with your hotel before arrival.

Taxis are usually waiting at the airport, at the taxi rank opposite the terminal building, but competition for them can be keen. If there is no taxi waiting you can see the sign with the phone numbers of the taxi radio office so you may call. A taxi from Mykonos airport to town costs about € 8, a few euros more if you are carrying luggage.

During high season there is an infrequent public bus service from the airport to the southern bus terminal, Fabrika, in Mykonos Town. A bus ticket costs € 1.60. The bus leaves the southern bus terminal in Mykonos Town at 12:15PM and 1:45PM, and then is scheduled to go back from the airport to Fabrika 10 minutes later. As the schedule changes every two weeks those times might change a little. It is not really worth waiting around for a bus unless it is already there. This bus service is not useful if you have to go to the (old or new) port.

Get around

Distances from Mykonos Town in km (and taxi prices in 2007)


  • Airport 4.2 (€ 5.90)
  • Agios Ioannis 4.5 (€ 5.90)
  • Agios Stefanos 3 (€ 4.00)
  • Agrari 7.5
  • Ano Mera 8 (€ 6.90)
  • Elia (€ 11.40)
  • Kalafatis 11 (€ 10.50)
  • Kalo Livadi 10
  • Ornos 3.5 (€ 4.40)
  • Paradise 6 (€ 7.20)
  • Paranga 5
  • Platys Gialos 5 (€ 5.90)
  • Psarou 4.5 (€ 5.90)
  • Tourlos 2 (€ 3.70)

With a length of 12 to 15 km and a width of 10 km, Mykonos is one of the smallest of the Cyclades islands. On Mykonos you can get around by bus, taxi, car, scooter, ATV or boat.

By bus

There is a bus network that takes you around the island. There are two bus stations in Mykonos Town, each on different sides of Mykonos Town. From the main southern bus station, Fabrica, buses can be taken for departures to Platys Gialos (every half hour), Paraga (every hour), Paradise (every half hour), Ornos and Agios Ioannis. There are also night buses from Mykonos to Platys Gialos and Paradise leaving every hour. From the northern bus station which is not very far from the old port ferry quay, buses can be taken for departures to Ano Mera, Elia (departing at 11AM, noon, 2PM, 4PM, 6PM and 7PM, returning 30 minutes later) and Kalafatis. Departure times are clearly marked at the two bus stations and the end of the bus routes. Bus schedules change a bit about every two weeks. Frequencies of buses are higher in high season.

There is no bus connection between the two bus stations. From one bus station to the other will take about 20 minutes of walking through the streets of Mykonos Town.

It is possible to buy your bus ticket from the bus driver (have exact change ready), but you can also buy your bus tickets before boarding the bus. Bus tickets can be bought in advance from a bus ticket vending machine (euro coins necessary) and can be purchased at kiosks, mini-markets and tourist shops as well. There are no return tickets available; for a return trip you simply need two single tickets. Hand over your ticket to the bus driver and he will "validate" it by simply tearing your ticket. There are ticket stamping machines in the bus, but they simply don't function. Don't be surprised if a man that is already on the bus near the bus driver will check your "validated" ticket a few minutes later. Even though your ticket is just teared and not stamped, he will inspect your ticket thoroughly, looking for counterfeited tickets. Bus tickets are € 1.60, except for the further destinations of Elia and Kalafatis which cost € 1.70. Tickets for night buses are € 2. Buses in Mykonos are almost always full during the busy parts of the day; the bus driver will squeeze in as many passengers as he possibly can.

By taxi

On the entire island there are only about 30 taxis, which means that depending on taxis for transport can be an exercise of great patience. In Mykonos Town the main location for taxis is in Manto Square (also called Town Square or Taxi Square), on the harbour front near the statue. You have to wait in line and sometimes you can wait for hours in the taxi queue. In the evening it can be very difficult to find a taxi. Taxis do not use meters, but there's a notice board giving rates for each destination. Fares are quite reasonable. Calling for a radio taxi costs € 1.30 extra, and an appointment € 5 in addition to the fare. Contact telephone numbers are 22400 and 23700.

By boat

The Plati Yalos Boat Service provides a good and fun way of getting to the southern beaches of Mykonos.

Price for a return ticket is € 5 for Paranga and Paradise, € 6 for Super Paradise and € 7 for Agrari and Elia. Boat services can be cancelled due to strong wind, but with the exception of Super Paradise all of these beaches can be reached by bus from Mykonos Town as well.

From June to September there are also infrequently boats leaving from the harbour in Mykonos Town to Super Paradise, Agrari and Elia.

By car or by motorbike

Mykonos has an extensive public transport system from Mykonos Town. By public transport it is easy to get to all the southern beaches, which happen to be the nicest beaches as well. Renting a motorbike or a car is the way to go if you want to explore the rest of the island, especially the more remote beaches at the north coast. Motorbike and car rentals are readily available around the island. In Mykonos Town the highest concentration of rent a car - motorbike agencies is in and around the area of the southern busstation, where you will find a wide range of choices. The other area of Mykonos Town with rent a car - motorbike agencies is near to the old port, behind the Archaeological Museum.

If you rent a car be aware that cars are not permitted in the town of Mykonos. There are parking areas on the outskirts of town, but during peak season finding a parking space is usually a challenge. You can always try the huge public parking area next to the old port. Considering Mykonos is a very small island, renting a bike might be a better choice, unless you are planning to stay far out of town and from beaches. Bikes are cheap to rent, you can park them almost anywhere, and it is cooler than a car standing in the hot sun all day.

See

Windmills in Mykonos Town

Attractions in Mykonos Town

Panagia Paraportianí, a true Byzantine jewel. This whitewashed church, which building dates back to 1425 and was not completed until the 17th century, is the most popular and most photographed of the 400 churches on the whole island of Mykonos. It is made up of four chapels at ground level with another one above. Only one of the chapels on the ground floor is open to visitors, from early morning until sunset. The church is located in the Kastro district, the oldest section of Mykonos Town.

Museums

All museums are open from April to October, except the Archaeological Museum which is open year round. Most people keep the museums for a rainy day, but the Archaeological Museum is worth a visit.

Beaches

Most of the beaches have tavernas and restaurants and are well equipped with deck chairs and parasols. Most common price is € 12 for a set of two deck chairs and an umbrella. The best beaches are on the south side of the island and sheltered from the prevailing northern wind. On the more popular beaches, it is not uncommon for people to walk down the beach selling probably illegal goods such as DVDs, fake bags, clothes, jewellery and watches. They come right up to you and it can be somewhat annoying but they are easily pushed away with a simple 'No, thank you'. Also, many beaches, even the more family-orientated, are often populated with the 'European' style of sunbathing - i.e. topless.

South coast

Elia Beach, Mykonos

Psarou is easily accessible by bus from Mykonos Town. Get off the bus one stop before the last stop, Platys Gialos.

Bus service from Mykonos Town is very frequent and takes about 15 minutes. Platys Gialos is the starting point for regular boat services to the other southern Mykonos beaches.

Paranga is easily accessible by bus from Mykonos Town or with a regular boat service from Platys Gialos (first stop). It is also an easy walk from Platys Gialos (15 minutes) or Paradise (10 minutes). On your way walking from Platys Galios you will pass by the beach of Aghia Anna, an enchanting little cove nearby Paranga Beach with only a handful of rental umbrellas and lounge chairs. At this golden sand beach there are two lovely restaurants nearby, a more modern Greek restaurant (Santanna) and a traditional-style Greek tavern (Nikolas).

Paradise is easily reached by bus from Mykonos Town or with a regular boat service from Platys Gialos (second stop).

There is no bus service to Super Paradise, but it is easily accessible with a regular boat service from Platys Gialos (third stop). You can also take the bus to Paradise from Mykonos Town and then continue walking for 20 minutes over the hill to Superparadise. From June to September there is a boat from the harbour in Mykonos Town to Super Paradise, leaving in the morning and returning around 4:30PM in the afternoon. With you own transport it is a difficult winding road from Mykonos Town.

If there are enough passengers, the boats from Platys Gialos will make a stop at Agrari. Otherwise, it is an easy 5-minute walk over the rocks from Elia Beach. With you own transport it is a quite difficult road from Mykonos Town.

Elia is most easily reached by a direct local bus from Mykonos Town’s northern bus terminal, but also with a regular boat service from Platys Gialos beach (fourth and last stop). Last boat back is at 6PM, but after that time two buses are still running (leaving at 6:30PM and 7:30PM).

East coast

Best reached with your own transport, but you can get there by bus. Take the bus to Elia and get off the bus at the top of the hill where it turns to go to Elia Beach and walk for about ten minutes downhill to your left.

Kalafati can be reached by bus from Mykonos Town, but this bus only runs a few times a day. Immediately next to Kalafatis are the sandy beaches of Draoumia and Tafarnis.

To get there you need your own transport or you can walk from Kalafati.

North coast

To get there you need your own transport. From Ano Mera follow a weaving road down to the beach.

West coast

A view overlooking Agios Ioannis Beach, Mykonos

Ornos is easily accessible by bus from Mykonos Town (or walk along the coast road for about 30 minutes). 2km north of Ornos is the beach of Korfos, suitable for wind surfing, but not for swimming or sunbathing.

Next to Agios Ioannis is the small beach of Kapari, with a small nude section. This hidden beach is located north of Agios Ioannis, behind Agios Ioannis chapel, and then a steep walk downhill.

Do

Preserved marble theatre in Delos

Buy

You can go shopping or window shopping in the fabulous little boutiques which carry exclusive name brands, among them outstanding Greek jewelers, souvenirs as well as works of art. Bring money and credit cards. Most shops are open seven days a week, but will be closed from 2PM to 5PM. Many tourist shops will remain open late into the evening. In case you are looking for department stores, as some cruise tourists do, there aren't any.

Mykonos is home to a large artists' colony, so there are a number of fine galleries offering original works.

Of course, you will also find the shops you need to fill all your basic needs and comforts. There are mini-markets, green grocers, butchers, kiosks, bakeries, liquor stores, a few small supermarkets (and bigger supermarkets out of town), many pharmacies, a dry goods shop, bookstores, photo and electronics shops.

ATM's are available throughout town. There's a concentration of ATM's near the southern bus station.

Eat

In Mykonos Town you will find most of the restaurants and eateries. All over town there are various gyros and souvlaki shops and creperies where you can eat quite well for just a few euros. Mykonos offers dining options catering to a range of tastes and budgets. You can have good Greek food at reasonable prices, but it also easy to spend a fortune. Almost all restaurants (and many bars) post their prices on menus at the entrance, so as you walk around you can take a look to see which places offer appealing food in your budget range. Restaurants facing the harbour or the sea (especially in Little Venice) tend to have significantly higher prices, because you are also paying for the location and the view. Restaurants in the streets deeper in the heart of town tend to be more reasonably priced.

Mykonos Town

Ano Mera

The town square offers several traditional restaurants.

Kalafatis

Ornos

Platys Gialos

Psarou

Beach Taverns

Drink

Mykonos is famous for its intense nightlife as evidenced by a vast number of bars and nightclubs. Drinking can be quite expensive in Mykonos.

Bars in Mykonos Town

Gay bars and nightclubs

Beach bars

Nightclubs

Although Mykonos´ nightlife focuses mainly on bars, there are a number of notable dance clubs to be found on the island, some of them attracting world-famous DJs.

Sleep

This guide uses the following price ranges for a standard double room:
Budget Under € 75
Mid-range € 75-150
Splurge Over € 150

Mykonos has a well developed tourist infrastructure with countless hotels, studios, apartments and rooms for rent. Accommodation can be found in and around Mykonos Town and nearby the beaches. Compared to other Greek islands accommodation in Mykonos is expensive. The price of accommodation varies greatly according to season. Mentioned from-prices are for low season. Expect prices to double in high season. Mykonos becomes overcrowded from mid July to the end of August, so be sure you have a room waiting if you go during that period. Beware that every year a lot of Greek tourist visit Mykonos around the weekend of Pentecost, which is at movable dates but in 2012 will be at the 3rd and 4th of June. Most of the hotels will close at the end of October and will open again at the end of April or the beginning of May.

A lot of the locals rent rooms and they will be waiting for you when you arrive at the port or the airport, waving pictures of their rooms. They will be there in peak season as well. Most of them are from small establishments that aren't listed on the internet. If approached to let a room, make sure you don't end up in an isolated apartment up on the hills around the town. Outside high season it is also easy enough to look around in Mykonos Town for yourself. There are 'rooms' signs everywhere. Wandering around with a suitcase or backpack you will be approached.

Camping

For the young and most budget conscious travelers there are two campgrounds, both situated at popular beaches:

Both are reachable by public bus from Mykonos Town or by boat from Platys Gialos. Both offer shuttle bus transportation to and from the airport and ferry boat ports.

Budget

Mid-range

Splurge

Connect

Telephone

Truly the cheapest way to call abroad is to use a pre-paid calling card and call from a land line anywhere (also from your hotel room). Pre-paid calling cards are sold in many shops and kiosks in Mykonos Town. The calling card is not much more than a phone number and a PIN code, which you dial prior to dialing the usual phone number. If you want to call internationally, ask for an international calling card. For 1 euro you can call for about 45 minutes, so buy a card in the cheapest value (which is about 3 euros). Calling someone for half an hour is cheaper than sending one email from an Internet café. Cards expire usually 90 days after first use. You can use this pre-paid calling card also at public phone boxes, which are widely available in Mykonos Town, though there are a lot of broken phone boxes as well.

Internet

Stay safe

Mykonos is generally a safe island, with the only problem of dangerous and drunk driving. Be aware in case you want to rent a motorbike or quadbike, because its roads are sometimes narrow with sudden twists that need driving experience and extra care.

Go next

Return to Athens or move on by boat to Paros, Naxos, Ios or Santorini.

The nearby islands of Syros and Paros can be used as transport hubs to further Greek Islands.

Day trips are possible to Delos and Tinos.

This article is issued from Wikivoyage - version of the Thursday, December 17, 2015. The text is available under the Creative Commons Attribution/Share Alike but additional terms may apply for the media files.