Amazing Things to See and Do on Mykonos, Greece
Watch the sunset from the old port on Mykonos, Greece | © kavalenkava volha / Alamy Stock Photo
There’s more to the Greek island of Mykonos than clubbing and beaches. From the quaint streets of Little Venice to the Monastery of Paleokastro, Culture Trip rounds up some of the best attractions in Mykonos.
The cosmopolitan island of Mykonos attracts thousands of visitors every year. Come summer, the island’s reputation reverberates around the Aegean Sea – it’s a hotspot for partying, drawing international crowds to its mega clubs fronted by international DJs. It’s also known as one of the best LGBTQ+ places to stay in Greece. Delve beneath the surface of this party paradise, and discover what else there is to do in Mykonos.
Spot the pelicans
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Peter the pelican was an emblematic figure of Mykonos and a symbol of the island during the 30 years of his life. A local fisherman found him wounded in 1958. Afterwards, he was nursed and supported by the locals who named him Petros, from petra, which means “rock” in Greek – petra being the dominant architectural element of Mykonos, and the Cyclades in general. Thousands of tourists used to run after the island’s mascot every summer for a picture. To the disappointment of locals and tourists, Petros was killed by a car in 1985 and was mummified in Thessaloniki, according to the decision of the Municipality of Mykonos. Nowadays, three pelicans live on the island of Mykonos, one of which is named Petros to honour the island’s symbol.
Visit Little Venice
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One of the most charming areas in Mykonos is called Alefkantra, or Little Venice, as its picturesque setting next to the sea is reminiscent of the Italian city. The settlement of Little Venice was created during the 18th century by rich merchants and captains – stroll among the elegant houses that perch literally above the sea. At the end of the day, pull up a chair at a waterfront cafe – this is one of the best locations in the Aegean to enjoy the sunset.
Snap photos of the windmills
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The windmills of Mykonos constitute one of the most typical highlights of the Aegean Sea, famous all over the world. The impressive white windmills are located between the settlement of Little Venice and the neighbourhood of Niochori. During the 17th and 18th centuries, the island had more than 20 windmills, which contributed to the wheat production, a fundamental element of the island’s economic development. Nowadays, seven of them are in decent condition.
Peek inside Lena's House
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Lena’s House is located in Chora, near the area of Tria Pigadia. It is an authentic sample of a Mykonian middle-class family house of the 19th century. It hosts a collection of European and local furniture of the 19th century, as well as a wide range of useful and decorative objects, from mirrors to gravures and embroideries. From April until October, it is open to visitors daily, except for Sundays from 6.30pm to 9.30pm.
Learn about the island's past at the Folklore Museum of Mykonos
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The Folklore Museum on the island is located in Kastro, just minutes away from the famous Paraportiani, in a two-floor traditional building. It hosts interesting collections of classic furniture, handmade ceramics, Byzantine pictures and important manuscripts and photographs. You have to visit this museum in order to get in touch with the deeper cultural identity of the island, which is so much more than the vivid beach bars.
Admire the Monastery of Paleokastro
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Just a 15-minute walk from the small town of Ano Mera, you’ll find the Monastery of Paleokastro. It was a women’s monastery that dates back to the 18th century. Stroll through the rooms, and you’ll gain a true sense of what it would have been like to live here 250 years ago. Its whitewashed walls and crimson-red doors make for an aesthetic photo. Stop for Greek mezze at the cafe outside afterwards.
Browse the collections inside the Archaeological Museum of Mykonos
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The tiny Archeological Museum of Mykonos is located in the heart of the island, close to the port. It’s famous for its rich collection of vases, some of which date back over 2,000 years, as well as a unique collection of sculptures, ceramics and jewels. Look out for the mortuary urn depicting the story of the Trojan Horse. The museum is open to visitors every day, except for Mondays, from 8.30am until 3pm.
Stroll around the Aegean Maritime Museum
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Located in Tria Pigadia, next to Lena’s House, the Aegean Maritime Museum is a non-profit organisation founded in 1983 with the goal to preserve and promote Greek
maritime history and traditions. To that end, it exhibits replicas of rowing and sailing ships from prehistoric times until today. It also hosts a rich collection of maps, ancient coins and sculptures, all under the thematic umbrella of maritime life. It is open to interested visitors daily from April until October, from 10.30am until 1pm and from 6.30pm until 9pm.
Marvel at Paraportiani Orthodox Church
Building, Architectural Landmark
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Mykonos is home to more than 70 Christian Greek Orthodox churches, following the tradition of the islands. A large number were constructed after the Byzantine period by rich families on the island, as a way to thank God or honour one of their relatives. You don’t need to be religious to visit some of those beautiful churches. Paraportiani is one of the most popular, due to its prime position in the centre of town. Stick around to watch the sunset from here.
These recommendations were updated on July 20, 2021 to keep your travel plans fresh.