Mykonos is a Greek island that attracts a cosmopolitan set to its stunning beaches, ancient towns and deep blue seas. Explore the iconic castle and relax at a waterfront café in the capital town of Hora or follow the bass to the party beaches along the southern coast, especially Paradise Beach. If you feel like getting active, enjoy an afternoon of surfing or sailing. If you are planning on visiting Santorini, here are 5 things you need to keep in mind before you visit!
The island juggles its heritage with all the modern touches that visitors expect. If you’re looking for a taste of yesteryear, head to the nearby islands just off the Mykonos coast. The UNESCO-listed Delos Island is said to be the birthplace of Apollo and is covered in fascinating ancient ruins.
This collection of local spots in the post will surprise many people who think of the Greek island as nothing but high-end boutiques, swanky restaurants and fancy hotels with infinity pools overlooking the beach (I was one of them!). There’s another side to this multidimensional island – one that only the locals and the most committed explorers who research a lot about the places they visit know.
Mykonos offers many authentic and unknown places for those who wish to get to know it better without spending a lot of money and getting lost amidst swarms of tourists. Read on to discover hidden gems in Mykonos that only locals and weird A type personalities like me know:
Watch classic movies under the moonlit Aegean sky, you will feel like you are in an 80s classic movie.
An open-air cinema in the centre of Mykonos Town, Cine Manto helps keep alive a summer pastime. It has been a favourite with Greeks since the 1960s, watching movies under the star-lit sky, so magical. You can also head to this garden at any time of the day. Enjoy a coffee and walk around admiring the unique paintings and colourful sculptures in the daytime. Once the sun sets, grab a table, order some tsipouro (local brandy) and grilled mezedes (meze). Then just sit back to watch old Hollywood classics, all while breathing in the aromas of jasmine and gardenia. Location: Mykonos Town, Mykonos, 846 00, Greece Open: May–December: daily from 9 am to 3 am Phone: +30 2289 026165
Enjoy an intimate experience at this hidden beach away from the constant swarms of crowds on the island.
Kapari is a secluded beach that offers a great alternative to the party beaches that have come to define Mykonos. Located on the west side of the island, behind Agios Ioannis, it used to be a well-preserved secret among locals. Even though it’s no longer undiscovered, it is still rather quiet given it is not reachable by car or bus.
If you’re visiting Kapari, you need to be well prepared. Wear trainers for your trek on the narrow dirt paths to reach it. Bring your own umbrella, snacks and drinks as there are no amenities on the beach. Stay until the sunset for a spectacular view of the holy Delos Island. Location: Agios Ioannis, Mykonos, 846 00, Greece
Islet of Baos
Learn the myths of this tiny Cycladic islet, great for history and mythology buffs (maybe even Twilight fans haha).
The islet of Agios Georgios (or Baos Islet) is one of several tiny islands that surround and belong to Mykonos. Located around 670 km northwest of Mykonos Town, the island has only a few houses and a chapel dedicated to St. George. The chapel was built in honour of George Baos, a Myconian pirate. He used the islet as an attack base during the Orlov revolt.
Local legend has it that Agios Georgios is where they used to exile vrikolakas (Greek vampires) from Mykonos. As being surrounded by saltwater meant that they would not be able to escape. Take a boat to Baos and spend the day wandering around, taking in the history, myths and legends. Location: Agios Georgios, Mykonos, 846 00, Greece
Get a feel of the real Mykonos at this local market, the best way to know what this island is really like!
Pagka (‘bench’ in Greek) is a local fishermen and farmers’ market that offers an authentic Mykonian shopping experience. Sellers gather at the Old Port in Mykonos Town early each morning, before other businesses open for the day, to arrange their catch and produce on large marble slab benches. Locals go there not only to procure the freshest fish, fruits and vegetables, but also to chat and catch up on community gossip, creating a lively, buzzing atmosphere that will give you a glimpse into the real Mykonos. Location: Old Port, Mykonos Town, Mykonos 846 00, Greece Open: Monday–Saturday from 7 am to 2 pm (closed on Sundays)
Gioras’ wood bakery
Watch this family of bakers create pastry masterpieces that literally melt in your mouth like Godiva!
Gioras’ is a traditional wood-fired bakery in Mykonos Town. Housed in what is rumoured to be the second-oldest building on the island, Gioras’ is a family business that has been in operation since the 18th century. Follow your nose down Basoula Ignatiou lane and walk straight into this rustic, old-school bakery for breakfast or brunch. The vibe inside is decidedly cosy – you can even watch the bakers knead their masterpieces right in front of you. For a truly local experience, order a Freddo cappuccino and an amigdaloto, a delicious almond cookie and Gioras’ speciality. Location: Agiou Efthimiou, Mykonos, 846 00, Greece Open: Daily from 7 am to 4 pm Phone: +30 2289 027784
Spend a day marvelling at this rocky island’s landscape, you might forget you are in Europe.
Tragonisi, also known as Dragonisi, is one of the many tiny, uninhabited rocky islands that surround Mykonos. Located around 16 km the east of Mykonos, it’s often overlooked by many tourists. With its many caverns, caves and crystal blue waters, it’s home to many rare marine species.
Travel to Tragonisi by boat to dive inside its caves and see the yellow sea anemones that are exclusively found in this part of Greece. If you’re lucky, you might even get to see the rare Mediterranean monk seal. Location: Tragonisi, Mykonos, 846 00, Greece
Agios Panteleimonas monastery
Get your medieval architecture fix at Agios Panteleimonas, it will seriously blow your mind away!
Agios Panteleimonas is a 17th-century fortified monastery on the rural village of Marathi, around 3 km northeast of Mykonos Town. While there are plenty of churches and monasteries in Mykonos, this one stands out with its well-preserved medieval architecture, castle-like features, and beautiful chancel with wood carvings.
One of the best times to visit Agios Panteleimonas is on 27th July, when the monastery celebrates its homonymous saint. During this day, there’s a large festival with lots of singing, dancing, and local food and drinks, showcasing the best of Greek hospitality. Location: Marathi, Mykonos, 846 00, Greece Open: Daily from 9 am to 7 pm
Tirokomio Mykonou Dairy Factory
Try a selection of delicious cheeses, the taste of whom is unparalleled to even Swiss cheese!
Tirokomio Mykonou is a family-owned dairy factory that’s a highlight for foodies visiting Mykonos, making you feel like you’ve discovered one of its best secrets. As you make your way up to Palaiokastro in Ano Mera, you’ll see the factory’s own cattle grazing on the hills.
Tirokomio Mykonou has a reputation for making the best kopanisti (a spicy soft cheese) in the Cyclades. Don’t leave without trying a slice of tirovolia cheese, which is traditionally made by Myconian housewives.
Location: Palaiokastro, Mykonos, 846 00, Greece Open: Monday–Friday from 9 am to 5 pm (closed on Saturdays and Sundays) Phone: +30 22890 71813
Take impressive photos at the abandoned mines for your ‘gram.
Once a hub of industrial activity on Mykonos, the now-abandoned Barite mines form an impressive dystopian site worth visiting. A company called Mykobar founded the mines on the northeastern part of the island in the 1950s to extract barite, a colourless mineral, which brought development and prosperity to the island.
The Barite mines were shut down in the early 1980s, but the machinery and buildings were left behind to slowly crumble and decompose under the strong Cycladic sun. The result is an eerie landscape that’s dubbed “the Chernobyl of the Aegean”. Location: Kalafati, Mykonos, 846 00, Greece
Add a touch of history to your trip!
Portes comprises of 2 Hellenistic towers right above Platis Gialos. Often overlooked by tourists too busy booking trips to Delos, these structures attest to the existence of a very old defence system that protected the island’s settlements.
This Stonehenge-like monument is made of large granite blocks that still stand strong to this day. A visit to Portes can take you back in time, with its towering sight making an excellent backdrop for photos, too. Location: Platis Gialos, Mykonos, 846 00, Greece
For more stuff like this, join the club! If you’re not already a member, you can sign up below and get tons of amazing, incredible, badass stuff that no one else can get and all your friends will be jealous.
Until next time, be jealous friends. Be jealous.
Get FREE access to our member’s only club and enjoy unlimited travel resources. Be the first to find out about new travel discounts and exclusive discount coupons for leading brands. Did I mention it’s all FREE? Are you in? Great! Sign up below!