From its iconic windmills and pristine white-washed buildings to its bustling waterfront promenades and lively nightlife, Mykonos is a must-visit stop on any cruise itinerary. Whether you’re wandering through narrow cobblestone streets, exploring historic structures, or immersing yourself in the local culture, Mykonos is ready to enchant and delight cruisers with its unique energy and timeless attraction.
Welcome to Mykonos, a jewel in the crown of the Aegean Sea and a popular destination for cruise ship excursions. Nestled within the Cyclades archipelago of Greece, Mykonos is a beacon of cosmopolitan allure and postcard perfect beauty. This enchanting Greek island, renowned for its vibrant nightlife, pristine beaches, and iconic windmills, is perfect for travelers seeking a blend of luxury, history, and natural splendor.
Mykonos has it all:
Location and Accessibility: Mykonos sits within the Cyclades archipelago, strategically located approximately 93 miles southeast of Athens. It is easily accessible via ferry, cruise ship, or plane
Cosmopolitan Atmosphere: Mykonos is more than an island; it’s a lifestyle. It effortlessly blends the charm of a traditional Greek village with world-class vibes
Picturesque Charm: Every corner of Mykonos seems to be a painter’s or photographer’s dream; the island’s beauty extends beyond architecture to its pristine beaches that entice visitors with crystalline water, soft sands, and tranquil ambiance
Things to Do in Mykonos
With so many things to see and things to do in Mykonos, it can be overwhelming! Below are some of our cruiser’s favorite Mykonos shore excursions, to help you narrow down your choices:
Chora (Mykonos Old Town)
Chora, the local name for Mykonos, is the island’s capital town. Its traditional whitewashed houses adorned with colorful windows and doors is what many people picture when they think of Greece.
Not only does Mykonos attract celebrities, it is a celebrity in its own right! Scenes of the town and surrounding villages appear in the 1989 film Shirley Valentine, the 2003 film The Bourne Identity, and in the game Assassin’s Creed Odyssey, among other works.
Chora is a city of contrasts: mornings are peaceful thanks to the many clubbers who are sleeping in, while at night the maze of cobblestone streets comes to life with the myriad of bars and nightclubs for people to dance and party the night away. This town is compact and best traveled on foot, so take advantage of one of the walking tours of this stunning city.
While here, be sure to visit:
Matoyianni Street — this shopper’s paradise in the heart of Mykonos is famous for its posh shops and eclectic restaurants. Walk along its charming cobblestone path to experience the energetic blend of boutique shops, artisanal galleries, and cafes that line this busy street. The vibrant colors, intricate architecture, and lively chatter of both locals and tourists create a dynamic atmosphere.
Mykonian Windmills — these whitewashed windmills with their wooden antennas and string are an island trademark and a must-see while in town. Built between the 16th and 20th centuries, these three-story engineering marvels harnessed the area’s powerful trade winds to grind grains into flour.
Mykonos Folklore Museum — this museum, set inside a 17th century captain’s house, offers you a sneak peek into the island’s interesting background. View the artifacts and gain an idea of what life was like here in the past through its art, jewelry, and textiles.
Panagia Paraportiani Church — also known as the White Church and the Church of Our Lady, this building is made up of five adjoining churches that were actually built in different time periods. Architecture buffs will marvel over its seamless mix of Byzantine, western, traditional, and vernacular styles. Its sleek, white lines and domed top at the edge of the sea make it the most Instagrammable spot on the island.
Mykonian Traditional Farm — Earn a newfound appreciation for the agricultural side of Mykonos when you get your hands in the dirt at a century-old working farm. Once here you will learn the secrets of traditional Mykonian farming as you help with common tasks such as weeding, trimming, and collecting vegetables from the garden. You will also have an opportunity to feed and play with the farm animals. Enjoy a farmer’s snack of bread, cheese, tomatoes, olives, and cucumbers as you sip raki and be entertained with stories about farm life.
St. Ioannis Port — This pretty, modest port near Agios Ioannis beach is named after the small church of St. John (Ioannis in Greek). Step inside this quaint church built in 1711 and visit the Saint’s cell, then snap photos of the small fishing boats who use this port as a haven from the island’s strong winds.
Alefkandra, aka Little Venice, beckons you with its colorful row houses perched precariously along the water’s edge. This village has a definite venetian look and feel from the romantic venetian architecture and other influences that permeate the area today. Legend has it these former sea captain and merchant houses were secretly owned by pirates because of their underground storage and direct access to the sea! These days the houses serve as lively shops, restaurants, bistros, and cafes.
To truly savor the local Mykonos experience, indulge in some authentic delicacies and refreshments while you are out and about. Stop by a traditional taverna and relish in the flavors of freshly caught seafood drizzled with olive oil and sprinkled with fragrant herbs. For a sweet treat, sample the irresistible Loukoumades – golden Greek donuts topped with honey and crushed walnuts. To quench your thirst, sip on a chilled glass of Ouzo or treat yourself to a rejuvenating Freddo Espresso at one of the many cafes.
Historical Landmarks: The Archaeological Site of Delos and Ano Mera
The Archaeological Site of Delos is a superb cache of rich history and cultural significance of the ancient Greek world, revealing the artistic, religious, and social dimensions of an extraordinary civilization. Among the most iconic features are the renowned Terrace of the Lions, where a row of majestic marble lions stands guard, symbolizing the site’s grandeur.
The Temple of Apollo, a sanctuary of immense religious importance, captivates with its imposing Doric columns and intricate architectural details. As one explores further, the House of Dionysus reveals the luxurious lifestyle of a bygone era through its mosaic-adorned floors and well-preserved frescoes. Nearby, the House of Cleopatra provides insights into the daily lives of the affluent, adorned with opulent decorations and elaborate living quarters.
Anchored in antiquity, Ano Mera is celebrated as one of Mykonos’s oldest settlements, offering a glimpse into a bygone era that is beautifully preserved amidst the modern world. Unlike the bustling tourist hubs of Mykonos, this village exudes a quieter, more authentic charm. Locals engage in their daily routines, creating an intimate connection between visitors and the rhythms of local life.
Ano Mera’s village layout, characterized by a central square, narrow alleys, and winding cobblestone streets, invite exploration at every turn. Pass by traditional white-washed houses adorned with colorful shutters and blooming bougainvillea, then spend some time in the traditional tavernas and the small boutiques bursting with local crafts and souvenirs.
Panagia Tourliani Monastery — founded in 1542, this monastery named in honor of the Virgin Mary (Panagia in Greek) was both a spiritual center and a repository of artistic and historical treasures. It was a place of solace for monks and pilgrims alike, fostering a sense of devotion and community. While here, step inside the whitewashed church with its colorful dome to view stunning icons, vestments, holy vessels, and an impressive wooden baroque altar screen.
If You’re Craving Some Adventure
Want to see the sites but crave a little action? Who says you can’t have both? Whether by land, by sea, or by taste buds, we got you!
Jeep Safari Tour
An open top Jeep driving tour through the gorgeous island of Mykonos offers you a mesmerizing array of iconic locations and landmarks. Your journey commences with a scenic drive along the coast, past St. Ioannis Port and Ornos Beach.
As the road winds its way inland, the charming village of Ano Mera welcomes you with its rustic beauty and distinctive Panagia Tourliani monastery. Stop to walk the grounds and tour the monastery’s chambers, if you wish. Then it’s onto a traditional Mykonian farm for a light snack before you head over to the beautiful beaches of Kalo Livadi, Kalafati, and Aghia Anna. Pause here to grab some photos and dip your toes in the surf before your ride back to port.
Insider tips to make the most of your adventure:
- Wear comfortable clothes and shoes — be ready for exploring on foot with walking shoes or closed-toe shoes
- Be prepared for a bumpy ride — you might encounter bumpy and uneven terrain; be prepared for a bit of adventure and hold on tight!
- Respect local customs — your tour takes you through local villages or cultural sites, so be respectful of local customs and traditions
- Ask questions — your jeep tour guide is a valuable source of information about the island’s history, culture, and attractions; don’t hesitate to ask questions and engage in conversation
- Capture the memories, but live in the moment — while it’s important to capture memories, remember to put down your camera or phone occasionally and simply enjoy the experience
Boat Tour to Delos
Join in on an exciting voyage back in time with a boat tour to Delos, a cult center for the god of Apollo and a significant UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Once here you can marvel at the iconic Terrace of the Lions, where these imposing stone sentinels stand guard over the remnants of a grand avenue, then explore the Temple of Apollo and other structures as you walk the grounds. Expert guides will unravel the site’s engrossing history, sharing insights that breathe life into these weathered stones.
Some tips for a more enjoyable boat tour experience:
- Book in advance — Delos is a popular tourist destination, so lock in your excursion in advance
- Wear comfortable clothing and shoes — you’ll be doing a lot of walking on uneven terrain, so dress appropriately
- Check the weather — high winds and stormy seas can make for a rough ride out to Delos
- Motion Sickness remedies — these are good to have on hand if you are prone to motion sickness, and incase the waters turn rough while you are out there
- Respect the rules — remember, Delos is an archeological site of great importance, so please treat it that way
Mykonos Cooking Class
Participating in a Mykonos cooking class offers a delightful immersion into the heart of Greek culinary heritage. Here’s your chance to learn treasured traditional recipes that give you a deep understanding of the distinct flavors that define Mykonian cuisine.
First you will visit a vegetable garden to learn how the locals cultivate seasonal vegetables, as you sample local foods such as rusk (bread) with cheese, smoked pork, sausage, tomatoes, olives, and homemade wine. From there you will have a chance to help craft iconic dishes like spinach pie with its layers of rich flavors, and master the art of tzatziki in a guided in hands-on cooking experience by an expert chef before sitting down to a delicious meal.
Here are some tips to help you enjoy your class to the fullest:
- Ask questions — inquire about cooking techniques, ingredient origins, and any tips the chef might have for recreating the dishes at home
- Take notes and photos — bring a notebook and pen to jot down important cooking tips, techniques, and recipes; photos can also help you remember the steps and presentation of the dishes
- Relax and socialize — cooking classes are not just about the food; they’re also an opportunity to meet new people and share stories. Enjoy the camaraderie with your chef and fellow participants
For More Information
Embark on an unforgettable adventure by taking a cruise excursion to the island of Mykonos and immerse yourself in the vibrant local culture and the ancient ruins that speak of the island’s fascinating history. To discover more about the myriad of experiences awaiting you in Mykonos, reach out to us. Let Mykonos’ enchanting blend of beauty and culture become the highlight of your cruise adventure.