Amazing Day Trips to Take Around Mykonos by Boat
Make the most of a boat trip to Mykonos and sail over to Naxos for the day | © Apostolis Giontzis / Alamy
With its sugar-cube white houses, big blue skies and warm sapphire sea – not to mention the chic cafes and lively beach bars – it’s no wonder Mykonos draws visitors back every summer. Discover the delights of this beautiful island from its coast, including Little Venice, tiny Rhenia island and plenty of golden beaches in between. Here, Culture Trip has picked the best places to drop anchor along the way.
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A trip to this completely uninhabited and undeveloped island guarantees peace and solitude. Most boat captains will guide you around the coast, stopping by secluded beaches and in little-known bays for you to snorkel, swim and sunbathe. It’s a little piece of Greek paradise, next to the island of Delos, a Unesco World Heritage Site steeped in mythology and thought to be the birthplace of Greek gods Apollo and Artemis.
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This charming pocket of Mykonos sits on the waterfront edging the main town. The name comes from its similarity to the synonymous Italian city and its colourful buildings. It’s the perfect place to dock and enjoy the cafes, bars and homely restaurants. Head to Captain’s on the seafront for fresh Greek sharing plates: salads, grilled fish and home-made hummus. Then check out Caprice, a legendary waterfront bar for a sundowner or two.
The Mykonos Windmills
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The seven sun-scorched white windmills that sit on top of Chora hill, above Mykonos town, were built by the Venetians in the 16th century to mill wheat. Admire them from the sea and then head up to Sea Satin Market Restaurant just below the mills. It’s famous for its clear sunset sea views and a menu of Greek cuisine with cosmopolitan twists. All the ingredients are local and fresh. Order their famous lip-smacking loukoumades, a donut-like dessert.
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Clean still waters, untouched soft sand and rugged coastline define this semi-secret beach on a secluded bay in the north of the island. Spend a peaceful day here sunbathing and swimming. The charming village nearby has a handful of small shops and authentic restaurants overlooking the beach. Stay for a long lunch at Kikis, a popular taverna for barbecued fish, octopus and an array of exciting salads.
This lighthouse has been in operation since 1891, and continues to light the ocean for sailors today. It’s a spectacular sight from sea level, especially at sunset. Sitting on the northern tip of the island, the white 19m-high (62ft) stone lighthouse overlooks the strait between Mykonos and the island of Tinos. From dusk, you will see it flash every 10 seconds to ensure safe sea voyages.
Only reachable by private yacht, this uninhabited island is a protected nature reserve about a mile off the eastern coast of Mykonos. It’s also a haven for the Mediterranean monk seal, who bask on the small beach. Boats can moor in a cove at the northeast end, and there’s a cave nearby that’s perfect for swimming, kayaking or zipping through on a sea scooter. This is the perfect spot for snorkelling and looking out for yellow sea anemones.
Super Paradise Beach Club
Nightclub, Contemporary, $$$
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Let’s not forget Mykonos is a draw for free-spirited jet-setters and VIPs, who can be spotted hopping off their yachts into the picturesque bay to relax and party at Super Paradise. The club has been welcoming guests to its wide sunbeds and sparkling sea since the 1960s. Enjoy all-day beach service ordering ice-cool juices and champagne cocktails. Have a massage, shop at the beach boutique or embrace the party vibes as they heat up.
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For a change of scenery, take a day trip to Naxos, directly south of Mykonos and 45 minutes across the Aegean Sea by boat. There are charming villages stacked along the hilly coast that don’t seem to have changed in hundreds of years. Long sandy beaches are lined with cute restaurants and buzzy watersports centres – and if you arrive early enough, you could even fit in a hike up to Mount Zas, the tallest mountain in the Cyclades.
Zip across to the west of Mykonos and arrive in Syros in around 45 minutes. This small island often gets missed off tourist itineraries, even as the capital of the Cyclades. You won’t find whitewashed villages here – instead, the Venetian heritage of the island shines in the colour-pop houses and marble piazzas. The fabulous seaside tavernas offer fresh fish, sea-urchin salads and lobster with orzo. It’s a real festival hub from dance to digital art and classical music.
Expect Grecian heaven on this enchanting island with its whitewashed cobblestoned lanes and adorable houses. The best views are from the 13th-century Venetian castle on the top of a hill. Don’t miss Naoussa village next to the harbour before heading to Chrissi Akti and Santa Maria beaches for clear blue water and watersports. Hire a bike and explore the island in half a day.