Although Mykonos Island is (in)famous for being the ultimate party destination in Greece, we’re happy to share with you our 3 days in Mykonos itinerary which is tailor-made for everyone determined to discover the island’s charms away from the glitter and glow of its world-renowned party scene. Just like we did.
The island’s legendary nightlife attracts celebrities and common people from every corner of the planet who flock to Mykonos and pay tons of money for a spot at one of the island’s world-famous clubs. However, this isn’t our cup of tea. This is why we have kept avoiding Mykonos for years. But it recently started to feel wrong never to have seen the most popular island in Greece with our own eyes. So, we went and we realised that there are many wonderful things to do in Mykonos apart from partying all day long.
That’s not to say that we dismiss the island’s identity as one of the world’s best party destinations. Far from that. Mykonos nightlife is a phenomenon of great historical significance and one that has forged the island’s culture over the decades.
Ever since the 60s, Mykonos has attracted celebrities from all over the world who wanted to spend their summer vacation on a breathtakingly beautiful island. Because, at the end of the day, this is what Mykonos is. A beyond words gorgeous island.
Later on, in the 70s and 80s, the island was among the first tourist destinations that embraced the LGBT community. The latter saw in Mykonos a safe haven where they could feel free to express themselves while having an amazing time. Somewhere along the way, the wild parties started to happen. The rest is history.
However, there’s so much more to Mykonos than its nightclubs and high-end resorts. Although it does suffer from overtourism, which has brought about a terrible effect on the island’s authentic character because of overbuilding and heavy traffic, the real Mykonos is still there. As long as you know where to look for it.
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Table of contents
- The Best 3 Days in Mykonos Itinerary
- Day 1: Take In the Unique Ambience of Mykonos Town
- Day 2: Explore the Off-the-beaten-path Side of Mykonos Island
- Day 3: Visit Delos Island and More Beach Time
- Final Thoughts About Our 3 Days in Mykonos Itinerary
The Best 3 Days in Mykonos Itinerary
From what you must have understood so far, this 3-day Mykonos itinerary is by no means glamour-oriented. It addresses travellers who want to spend 3 days exploring the authentic Mykonos while making sure they won’t miss out on its must-sees either. Therefore, this itinerary doesn’t make any reference to popular beaches like Psarou or Super Paradise neither does it mention any famous bars or clubs.
For one thing, we never visited any of these places ourselves. Secondly and most importantly, our aim is to show you the authentic Mykonos and guide you to its least known treasures. The ones that made us feel bad for being reluctant to visit Mykonos all this time.
Day 1: Take In the Unique Ambience of Mykonos Town
No matter the maddening crowds and astronomical prices, Mykonos Old Town (or Chora) was, is and certainly will be the top reason to visit the island. Therefore, we would highly recommend spending your very first day in Mykonos exploring the charms of the Old Town and around.
Agios Stefanos Beach
If weather permits, start your day with a refreshing dip in the blue waters of the Aegean Sea. The most pristine beach near Mykonos Town is Agios Stefanos. It is a long, sandy beach from where you can take glimpses of the Old Town in the distance. However, our own favourite pastime there is to watch ferries come and go as the busy New Port of Mykonos is right next door.
The largest part of the beach is free to lay your beach towel on. That said, if you are not keen on getting a sunstroke, there are also reasonably priced (by Mykonos standards) sunbed and umbrella sets as well as a quaint café-restaurant right on the beach.
Mykonos Old Town or Chora
Once you have enough of Vitamin Sea (is that even possible?), it’s time to head to the Old Port of Mykonos. From there, you will start a splendid walk around Chora. If you haven’t rented a car or a scooter, you can get to the Old Port from Agios Stefanos Beach either on foot (about 45′) or by bus.
From the Old Port to Panagia Paraportiani Church
The Old Port is usually the starting point of any walk around Mykonos Town. Stroll along the waterfront and pass by the Old Port Beach on your way to one of the most beautiful churches in Greece, Panagia Paraportiani. This stunning whitewashed church is actually a complex of five smaller churches. Each of them is dedicated to a different saint. Typical of the wonderful Mykonian architecture, the church is built on the spot where a medieval castle once stood.
The Old Town Maze of Narrow Alleys
Leaving Panagia Paraportiani behind, you can now enter the wonderful maze of narrow streets in Chora. Once there, you can’t help but feel that you have stepped inside a real-life postcard of the Greek Islands. Walking along the whitewashed streets which are lined with centuries-old houses with blue (and the occasional red) shutters is the best way to appreciate the unique Mykonian architecture.
The Picture-perfect Windmills
Often dubbed The Island of the Winds, it’s no wonder Mykonos is home to some of the most impressive windmills in the Cyclades Islands. Located on a low hill at the south end of Chora, the Windmills of Mykonos offer spectacular views to the Aegean Sea and Little Venice. Especially at sunset.
Little Venice at Sunset
Little Venice is the most recognisable landmark of Mykonos. For good reason. Yes, it does attract outrageously large crowds, particularly at sunset. Yes, the seafront cafés and bars aren’t budget-friendly. Yes, probably all the negative things you’ve ever heard about this place are indeed true. But one thing’s for sure. This place is like no other. In terms of beauty but, most of all, in terms of positive vibes.
Little Venice has an inescapably mellow aura that is impossible to put into words. Especially during sunset, when everyone stands in awe to watch the sun flirt with the iconic buildings which seem to be floating in the sea. We couldn’t help it. Little Venice has definitely and effortlessly made its way to the list of places that have a special place in our hearts.
When it gets dark, it’s time to have a stroll along the most famous street in Mykonos. Matoyianni Street is lined with designer boutiques and fancy souvenir shops. They all promise a unique shopping experience under the shade of brightly coloured bougainvilleas. To be honest, we didn’t like the way Matoyianni Street has turned out.
With a strong passion for everything authentic, we almost felt physical pain at how the facades of traditional buildings were quite literally violated by additions such as enormous shopping windows or brightly lit signage. Although Matoyianni Street may seem glamorous to many, it felt quite tasteless to us. That said, we don’t regret having walked along one of the most famous shopping streets in Europe. One way or another, it is indeed a unique thing to do in Mykonos.
Day 2: Explore the Off-the-beaten-path Side of Mykonos Island
Off-the-beaten-path Mykonos may sound like a joke. You might think that an island with such long history in tourism couldn’t possibly have any secrets to hide. Yet there are roads less travelled even in Mykonos. We loved exploring each and every one of them during our mini road trip across the island. By following pretty much the same route as we did, the contrast between the merciless overbuilding near Mykonos Town and the wild natural landscapes that await elsewhere will amaze you.
In order to make the most of your day exploring the more laid-back part of Mykonos, start as early as possible. Rent a car or, ideally, a scooter for the day. Keep in mind that driving a car in Mykonos means heavy traffic and limited parking space. On the other hand, only rent a scooter if you are 100% sure that you can handle it. Mykonos is not your average fooling-around-on-a-scooter island. Traffic conditions and driving attitudes remind more of Athens rather than the rest of the Cyclades Islands.
Ano Mera is a traditional village in the centre of the island. It is the only inland settlement in Mykonos and it features a beautiful main square. However, the village’s ultimate highlight is the Monastery of Panagia Tourliani with its impressive architecture. Before you leave Ano Mera, make sure you stop by the village’s traditional coffee shop for a mouthwatering handmade sweet treat or three.
Ano Mera Dam
Most of the Greek Islands suffer from droughts. Therefore, there are many dams, especially on the Cyclades Islands. Some of them have blended in with their natural surroundings in such a way that they have become must-sees in their own right. The Ano Mera Dam is one such case. The unreal, almost lunar, landscape is absolutely worth checking out.
If you keep on the dirt road that begins near the dam, you will soon find yourselves in one of the most secluded and gorgeous beaches in Mykonos. Fokos Beach boasts ridiculously crystal clear waters in an absolutely unspoilt setting as there aren’t even any sunbeds or umbrellas. It is the ideal place to enjoy nothing but the sea and the sun.
People were so scarce when we visited that we almost forgot we were still on Mykonos Island. Fokos reminded us more of the beaches on our beloved Andros Island.
Keep in mind that people may try to talk you against going all the way to Fokos Beach under the pretext that the road is in very bad condition. However, this is not true. The dirt road is excellent. Probably this is just the locals’ way to keep this stunning beach to themselves. We do respect their wish but we couldn’t keep this secret paradise from you either.
Agios Sostis Beach
It is hard to believe that such a long, sandy beach has not been colonised by trendy beach bars (yet). Agios Sostis Beach is one of the most spectacular beaches in Mykonos. Yet this is not the only reason why you should go there. Just a stone’s throw from the beach and hidden from view, you will find Kiki’s Tavern. This is hands down the most authentic restaurant in Mykonos.
Eating at Kiki’s Tavern is a unique experience in its own right. The restaurant has no electricity and the menu consists of grilled meat or fresh fish, salads and drinks. That’s all. Moreover, no electricity means that the tavern stays open until sunset at the latest.
Combine this with the fact that there are not many tables available and you can understand why there are always people queuing up at Kiki’s Tavern. The restaurant doesn’t accept reservations but works on a first come first served basis. After all, who needs reservations when they have Vassilis, the multilingual owner, who never forgets a face and always knows whose turn it is to be seated.
However, waiting for a table is not as bad as it sounds as Vassilis keeps filling everyone’s glasses with wine as you wait. In the meantime, you can even have a swim at the secret tiny bay which lies just a few steps from the restaurant. Just make sure there is one of your party at the queue at all times. For a steak, two salads and one beer, we paid 50€, which is reasonable by Mykonos standards.
A full stomach makes a happy heart. So, what better way to end a lovely day than with yet another fantastic sunset? This time head to the splendid Armenistis Lighthouse on the north-western part of the island. The lighthouse was built in 1891 after a terrible ship accident claimed the lives of 11 people. Nowadays, the lighthouse stands on a beautiful spot overlooking the island of Tinos and the Aegean Sea and offers the opportunity to witness one of the most amazing sunsets on the Cyclades Islands.
Day 3: Visit Delos Island and More Beach Time
No trip to Mykonos is complete without a visit to nearby Delos Island. This small island is home to one of the most important archaeological sites in Greece. With the exception of a handful of people who work at the archaeological site itself, the island is no longer inhabited. Delos Island boasts some of the most impressive remnants of Ancient Greece’s glorious past.
For the remainder of your last day in Mykonos, choose one of the island’s many wonderful beaches, such as Lia or Ftelia and just be happy doing nothing but enjoying the sound of the waves and the gentle touch of the island breeze.
Final Thoughts About Our 3 Days in Mykonos Itinerary
We have always thought that Mykonos is not for us but we couldn’t be more wrong. Sure, there are things we didn’t particularly like about the island and we have explained why throughout this post. Yet these 3 days in Mykonos showed us that every place is worth visiting.
In the case of Mykonos, the nightlife Mecca of the Greek Islands, it seems that you don’t have to be a party animal to enjoy your time there. The island boasts some of the prettiest beaches in Greece as well as wonderful unspoilt routes for road trip lovers and hikers alike.
So, we won’t be judging a book by its cover from now on. We will just go and see. Come join us!