The Only Mykonos Guide You Need

The Only Mykonos Guide You Need

 

Mykonossss!

Mykonos is my favourite summer destination in the world. It’s a crazy/beautiful kind of place. The airport is one of the worst I’ve ever been to (although I hear it’s finally getting refurbished), and yet right across from it, is one of the most glamorous of all supermarkets, stocked to the brim with vintage champagne, caviar, and even a DJ booth.

On the surface, it looks a lot like any other Cycladic island. Rows of white-washed houses, turquoise waters lapping onto sun-drenched sandy beaches, boats dropping anchor for lunch at seaside tabernas… Except it’s the blinged-out version, with international DJs, billion-dollar yachts, celebrities and fine dining.

Mykonos has always been popular with the world’s rich and famous, ever since the 1960s when Jackie Kennedy Onassis, John Paul Gaulthier, and Grace Kelly became regulars. But only in recent years has it begun to cater almost exclusively to the wealthy.

 

Flora Supermarket

Flora Supermarket

 

What to Expect

The evolution of the island from then to now is a reflection of both its growth in popularity and the rise of luxury tourism. Everyone who has been or is going to Mykonos will have heard of Nammos at Psarou beach, which for years was the most glamorous, and by glamorous, I also mean expensive, place on the island. The restaurant famously pulled in one million euros in just one night, selling tickets at €1000 and up to see a washed-out Greek singer entertain for the night, or so the urban legend goes.

If making that kind of money is possible, what would you do? Continue to sell tsatziki and local wine in your taberna, or caviar and Dom making two or three times as much? So that’s basically what happened. When I returned in 2016, my favourite beach for spending a lazy afternoon lounging on (free) poofs and vibing to chilled-out beats got replaced with €50 sunbeds, staff in all-white uniforms, and a grand entrance complete with water fountains and valet parking. Panormos became Principote, and new places to compete with Nammos sprouted up.

But you don’t have to be a millionaire to have fun in Mykonos. Local tabernas and beaches that don’t cost an arm and a leg are still to be found, even if they are increasingly the exception, rather than the norm. The infamous Kiki’s Taverna at Agios Sostis, homemade cooking without using any electricity, isn’t going anywhere. There is also a beach hostel and campsite for younger, more adventurous travelers.

If you’re wondering how to pack for such a place, click here for some packing help and a checklist.

 

Guide to Mykonos

 

When To Go

Everyone wants to go to Mykonos, and most want to go at the same time. Fortunately, peak season lasts for only two months during July and August, when supply and demand do crazy things to the island. The roads jam up with traffic, parking becomes problematic, and advance reservations are required not only for tables but also sunbeds. The months on either side, however, are much more peaceful, accessible and affordable.

 

Mykonos Town

Mykonos Town

 

Where to Go

Mykonos is a small and often windy island. It’s worth checking the winds before heading out, and always bring something to cover up. If the winds are blowing in from the north, choose a beach on the south, and vice versa.

Renting a car is without a doubt the best way to get around. Quad bikes are popular but also very dangerous and contribute to traffic. Taxis are notoriously hard to get a hold of, with only 40 odd allowed on the island. There is also a bus service if you don’t want to drive.

Mykonos Town, also known as Chora, is the bustling 24 hour town centre. One of the advantages of staying here is that you don’t need to worry about transport at the end of the night. The disadvantage, though, is that it gets very busy and you’ll still need a way to get in and out to hit up the beaches.

The southwestern part of the island, such as Agios Ioannis, Ornos and around Nammos, Scorpios and Paradise, is the most popular region to stay. Another popular area would be north of Chora, near Panormos and Ftelia.

The most popular day trip from Mykonos is a visit to the sacred island of Delos. Once the most important economic, religious and cultural place in Greece, a visit should not be missed. Check out my blog post on Delos for everything you need to know to make the most out of your trip.

 

Mykonos Windmills

The iconic Mykonos Windmills

 

Mykonos Town (Chora)

Most tourists will spend their days on the beach and their nights in Mykonos Town. Everything is open until the early hours of the morning, including restaurants and shops. Nobody here (other than families of course) eats dinner before 10 pm, and you’ll need to make advance reservations for most places during peak season. The heat during the day makes shopping much more bearable at night, also the prices can be less intimidating after a few glasses of wine. Sunset is another popular hour to visit and photograph Little Venice and the iconic windmills.

 

Sea Satin(Left to right) Sea Satin, Kastro’s, Niko’s Taverna

 

Where to Eat

M-Eating – My favourite modern Greek restaurant in town, delicious food with extravagant presentation

Nautilus – My second favourite restaurant in town! Contemporary Greek cuisine cooked to perfection

Kastro’s – Beautiful restaurant in the most insta-famous alley overlooking the sea

Sea Satin – Famously fun (yet expensive) fish restaurant by the sea with live music until late!

Avra – Mediterranean cuisine in a romantic garden

Interni – High-end and uber-trendy “to see and be seen” restaurant and cocktail bar

Ling Ling – Sister of London’s Michelin-starred Hakkasan, blurring the lines between restaurant and club

Koursaros – Expensive but delicious trendy fish and sushi restaurant

Kalamaki Mykonos – Cheap and cheerful souvlaki and salads, good food that won’t break the bank!

Meditarraneo – The best and most authentic Italian in town

Bougazi – The most famous place for crepes at any hour! Also the best way to end the night

 

M-Eating Restaurant

M-Eating Restaurant

 

Where to Drink and Dance

180 Sunset Bar – The best place to watch the sunset – recommend reserving a table with a view in advance

Little Venice – Collection of charismatic late-night bars by the sea, we like Caprice, Scarpa and Veranda best

Nightclubs – My top picks are Astra, Bonbonierre, Moni and Toyroom – guestlist or reservation often required

Remezzo – Large terrace bar with an indoor club – great view and venue, we had our wedding afterparty here!

 

Little Venice Best Bars

Little Venice Best Bars

 

Hidden Gem: Secret Cinema

Did you know that Mykonos has a cinema? If you can’t handle yet another party night, consider watching a film at the Cine Manto. It’s an outdoor cinema, where you can enjoy a souvlaki, beer, ice cream or even a cigarette while watching a film in this beautiful cinema garden.

 

Cine Manto Mykonos

Agios Ioannis (St John) Area

This is my little slice of Mykonos, where I got married and where I always stay. Agios Ioannis (St John) is considered an up-market, residential neighbourhood with a great selection of hotels. It’s family friendly and a top choice for people looking for some peace and quiet.

Hippie Fish – My favourite all-day beach bar and restaurant with delicious Greek food and fresh sushi

Pili at Manoulas Hotel – Another easy local lunch spot by the beach

Vasilikos at Bellissimo Hotel – Great local, casual dining option for lunch or dinner – try the tigania!

Mini-market at Bellissimo Hotel – The only minimart for essentials and an ATM within walking distance

Delight Hotel Restaurant – Romantic, exclusive fine-dining restaurant at this 5 star hotel

Beefbar at Bill & Coo – New for 2018!

 

 

Kapari Beach

The unserviced Kapari Beach in Agios Ioannis

 

 

The Town of Ornos

The small town of Ornos is on the way to Agios Ioannis. It’s a lovely spot for buying groceries, eating at a taverna, or as an alternative to going into town.

AB Supermarket – Small convenience store for groceries and essentials

Mykonos Bakery – Open 24/7 selling fresh Greek pastries, pies and sandwiches

Pro/Gress – A popular new, modern bakery with tasty pastries and sandwiches

Bowl – Serving avo toast and chia bowls for the health-conscious crowd

Lefteris – Fantastic family style Greek taverna, no reservations required

Buddha Bar – Beautiful venue also perfect for a romantic dinner and drinks

Pasaji Mykonos – Nice seafront bar for drinks and shisha

 

Lefteris taverna

Grandma’s Meatballs left, me at Lefteris Taverna right

 

 

Top Tavernas in Mykonos

If you’re looking for a more authentic Greek taverna experience, you won’t find it in town. Here are my top picks:

Limnios Taverna – Our favourite spot for authentic Greek meze and lamb chops!

Fokos Taverna – Enjoy fresh mussels inside this beautiful building with stone walls and wooden ceilings

Kiki’s – Everything here is made fresh and on the grill, but be prepared to wait 1-2 hours for a table!

Spilia – Higher-end taverna dining inside an iconic caveside location

Joanna’s Niko’s Place – Just before town, this busy seaside taverna is an increasingly popular pick

 

Best Mykonos Taverna

Fokos (top), Kiki’s (bottom)

 

Best Beaches and Restaurants:

Mykonos has around 23 different beaches, each one offering its own unique experience. Most beaches have a bar and restaurant and sunbeds for rent, although there are also a few unserviced beaches with no sunbeds or facilities.

 

North

Agios Sostis – Kiki’s Taverna – No sunbeds, no music, but the most famous taverna!

Panormos – Principote – Stunning up-market luxury beach, worth calling ahead to reserve a spot

Ftelia – Alemagou – Very cool little boho-chic beach bar and restaurant with great cocktails, one of my favourites

Fokos – Fokos Taverna – Growing in popularity for its unspoiled beach and nearby taverna (unserviced)

 

Alemagou at Ftelia Beach

Alemagou at Ftelia Beach

 

South (west to east)

Agios Ioannis – Hippie Fish / Pili – My favourite, close to home.

Kapari – Unserviced – A beautiful little beach in Agios Ioannis, just a short walk past the church

Psarrou – Nammos – Most popular with celebrities and yacht owners! But they allow us common folk in too

Paraga – Kahlua – Great beachand after 4pm the party starts! Can get a bit wild…!

Scorpios – Trendy place near Paraga, a beach club without beach access! Parties Thursdays and Sundays

Paradise – Tropicana / Cavo Paradiso – Bachelor parties and other kinds of debauchery, headline DJs

Super Paradise – For everyone and anyone, letting go and getting messy

Jackie ‘O – Next to Super Paradise, up-market restaurant and gay beach club

Elia – Elia Restaurant – A family friendly long beach, although not one I frequent

Kalo Livadi – Solymar – Lively popular restaurant by this popular long beach

Agia Anna (by Kalafatis) – Spilia – Cute beach with a quirky restaurant in a cave (reservation required)

Lia – Liasti – Another nice family friendly beach, no music and a little pebbly

 

Panormos

Panormos Principote Beach Club

 

What is your favourite place in Mykonos?

 

 

*Post last updated on 24/07/2018

 

 

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4 Comments

  1. Maria Lorena Mendoza
    19 May 2018 / 5:41 pm

    Hi Lara, very informative post! I will save it 🙂

    I urgently need your help!

    I am trying to decide on which island to visit in mid-July this year, but cannot make up my mind! I have been to Mykonos before and loved it, the thing is that I don’t want to queue in restaurants and face traffic jams 🙁 Based on that, would you still recommend on going there from July 14th to July 19th? If not, what other island would you suggest?

    Look forward to your advice. Best!!

    Lorena

    • 20 May 2018 / 10:00 pm

      Hi Lorena, Mykonos is always busy in July, but if you plan carefully and make reservations in advance, you won’t be queueing for long! July-August is high peak season. For a quieter experience, go in June/September. Mykonos is also unique, you won’t find another Greek island like it. Maybe why it’s so popular! In terms of other islands, Santorini is also very popular and busy that time of year. Some others to consider are Hydra, Kefalonia, Chios, Sifnos, Antiparos… Let me know where you decide to go! Best xx

  2. 10 July 2017 / 12:39 pm

    Breathtaking! You made me fall in love with Mykonos, now I have to see it by myself! 🙂 Thank you :* <3

    • 11 July 2017 / 10:09 am

      Thanks Anna! You absolutely have to 😉 Your daughter would love it too I’m sure.

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