Best things to do in Mykonos, to stay like a local
Whitewashed buildings, crystal-clear waters, beach bars and a selection of fine-dining restaurants: Mykonos is possibly one of the most famous islands in the world.
You may think the island is worth the visit only in high summer. You may also think Mykonos is a destination exclusively for the rich and famous. Trust our insider guide of the best things to do in Mykonos and make the most of your trip to the Cyclades like a local.
Sit among the locals in Agios Stefanos
Visiting Agios Stefanos is probably not an insider recommendation but it is among the best things to do in Mykonos.
This charming village is home to one of the most idyllic beaches on the island. Make your first stop a visit to the eponymous Agios Stefanos Greek Orthodox church, a tiny and quaint whitewashed building perched on a low hillside looking over the sea.
Next, head down to the beach and sit among the locals at St Stefano’s beachside café, run by Maria and her family. Sip on a Greek coffee and snack on some tzatziki while lying on a lounger and listening to the sounds of the waves. At lunchtime, brave the steps up to the off-the-beaten track favourite Limnios Tavern and enjoy some rustic local food. Don’t forget to treat yourself to their famous strawberry cheesecake for dessert. If you don’t feel like climbing up the hill, head to Taverna Petran instead, tucked away at the end of the beach and enjoy a glass or two of chilled white wine with a plate of grilled fish as you gaze across the topaz water.
Enjoying a peaceful moment at the old Armenistis lighthouse
In the afternoon, you can visit the old Armenistis lighthouse, a classic local spot for enjoying a peaceful moment looking out over the sweeping ocean vista, in the shadow of the abandoned lighthouse building in all of its crumbling elegance.
Since Agios Stefanos is quite small, it’s worth taking a 15 minute drive to Chora, the old town of Mykonos. Although it is quite touristy and not many locals live in the center anymore, you can find real Mediterranean flair and magical local gems among the labyrinthine cobbled streets.
Explore the labyrinthine cobbled streets in the old town of Mykonos
On Sundays at the old port is when you can join the Mykonians who have come into the town to meet friends, chat and enjoy a few drinks in the sunshine. The time for ouzo begins after lunch and can last all day so make sure to drink slowly! Art lovers will be inspired by a walk along Mavrogenous street, home to small gallery shops. For a really memorable afternoon, pick up some homemade pastries at the medieval Gioras Wood Bakery, where savoury and sweet treats are made in an old earthen stone oven and then visit Cine Manto. This open-air cinema and art centre located in a botanical garden is a long-established favourite spot for spending a tranquil afternoon in the presence of art and flowers.
In Chora, you can also visit the neighbourhood of Little Venice, home to quirky clothing and jewellery stores where the architecture is reminiscent of the Italian town, with colourful medieval houses jutting out over the water.
Enjoy the nightlife
In Mykonos, people tend to stay late on the beaches and eat dinner at around 9pm, so you can take your time to watch the sunset while enjoying an ouzo in one of the traditional bars before dining.
As the evening draws in, seek out Eva’s Garden restaurant, which is hidden away in the heart of town. Although not the easiest to find, it’s worth the search, offering al fresco dining on the romantic patio and serving fresh, mouth-watering Greek food. Finally, don’t leave Chora without indulging in a classic champagne cocktail at the iconic Queen of Mykonos bar.