Things to Do in Mykonos
Little Venice is a tiny quarter of trendy boutiques, churches and whitewashed fishermen’s houses lining the seafront in Mykonos’ Old Town. Flowering bougainvillea adds a touch of crimson to the bright white walls, and wooden balconies painted in trademark Grecian colors of blue and rust hang over the narrow streets.
Just south of the Old Jetty at the entrance to Little Venice, stands the rocklike Church of Panagia Paraportiani, while the town’s iconic row of hilltop windmills overlook the quarter. Come to Little Venice at dusk to capture postcard shots of a Mykonos sunset, and stay on into the evening at a waterfront taverna.
Known world-over for its cosmopolitan lifestyle and booming nightlife, Mykonos is a favorite amongst visitors on the Greece leg of their Mediterranean tour. With a load of wonderful beaches to park at, Mykonos is also filled with museums and other tokens of cultural life. The town itself is a wonderful maze of charming little streets and traditional buildings full of shops, cafes and restaurants. Feel free to get lost when exploring Mykonos.
Now with two ports, one of which is the relatively new, but smaller marina, all sorts of cruise liners, yachts and other boats swarm the island of Mykonos - making it a common ferry destination from places like Rafina or Piraeua, where you can catch a ride daily. Mykonos also has an international airport only a few miles away from the town itself, offering flights from a number of major European destinations.
Ano Mera is the second-largest settlement on Mykonos, and as far from the island’s party-crazy reputation it is possible to get. A whitewashed cluster northeast of Mykonos Town (also called Chora), life rumbles on here as it has done for centuries. There’s a daily fresh produce market in the village square and Ano Mera is popular with local families for leisurely Sunday brunches in traditional tavernas. The village’s chief claim to fame is the 16th-century whitewashed monastery of Panagia Tourliani and its church, which is fronted by an intricate marble bell tower and ornate triple bells. Founded in 1542 by monks from the neighboring island of Paros and dedicated to the Virgin Mary, the monastery’s Byzantine styling is apparent in its red dome and its layout around a fountain-filled courtyard.
The holiday island of Paros is the place for chilling out and napping on the beach, soaking up the relaxed Aegean vibe. Away from the beaches, terraced hills climb up to the mountainous interior, where the island’s famous pure white marble is quarried. The Paros marble has been famous for millennia, used by the ancient Greek genius who carved the beautiful Venus de Milo and by the sculptors who adorned Napoleon’s tomb. Your main base on the island is the port of Parikia, at the head of the bay on the northwest coast. There’s a labyrinthine old town to explore, a 13th-century Venetian fort and taverna-thronged waterfront for sunset drinks and seafood meals. The Panagia Ekatontapyliani church is a highlight of the entire Cyclades, with an ornate interior dating from the year 326. Make sure to visit the Byzantine Museum while you’re in the church grounds, filled with icons and other artifacts from the early Christian era.
After a day relaxing on the sand or jet-skiing through the water, Paradise Beach is where holiday makers come to party when the sun goes down. During the day, you can rent an umbrella and beach lounge, and make the most of the beach’s bar service. At night, there are a couple of restaurants in town, but it’s the pumping music played by beach club DJs that draws the mostly young crowds. Paradise Beach is fine for the family during the day, but the scene turns loud and sexy after dark. Don’t come here to sleep! As well as the beach dance floor, there’s the famous Paradise Club all-night party megaclub, that’s been a favorite rave scene since 1993.