If you’re thinking about offbeat Greek destinations to relax and escape the hustle and bustle of mass tourism, Mykonos is not the first time that comes to mind. Despite its beautiful landscape that is dominated by the trademark Cycladic aesthetic and inspires the calm and serenity the Greek islands are known for, Mykonos has been advertised as the cosmopolitan island than never sleeps, where partying gets wild and everything is possible.
No one can deny that this side of Mykonos exists. The island attracts thousands and thousands of visitors every summer, something which has shaped the type of vacations one expects and most often experiences there. However, there is also a side to Mykonos that not many people get to see and it is, in my opinion, the best one; the one that anyone who gets to encounter should consider themselves as a lucky person.
Discover below this alternative side of Mykonos, far removed from the busy streets, crowded beaches, and hectic nightlife and book your tickets as soon as you can!
Mykonos beaches to swim at
Mykonos' beach - credits: Aerial motion/Shutterstock.com
Finding a quiet beach in Mykonos to swim at and enjoy the sun on your skin is easier than one might think. Yes, most beaches are organized with beach bars and gourmet restaurants serving it’s demanding guests, however, there are more than a couple of beaches that remain somewhat untouched by mass tourism and therefore maintain an offbeat feel that is valuable for those who crave relaxation.
Agios Sostis is located in the northern part of the island, on the road to the village of Ano Mera, and has a wonderful golden sandy beach. It is the most famous unorganized beach and has been named by the homonymous church nearby. Serene, lovely and quiet it is the perfect spot to fully embrace doing absolutely nothing but breathing. That being said, please keep in mind that because of its geology, it is not protected from the strong winds Mykonos is famous for, and it is therefore not the ideal choice for when the wind blows from the north.
In the southwest of the island, Kapari is one of the most beautiful, unorganized beaches and it is overlooking the islets of Delos. It has crystal clear blue waters, while its impeccable view makes it the perfect spot to catch the sunset - a true gem for the island’s çouples.
Fokos, which is also located in the northern part of the island, is also an exceptional offbeat beach that doesn’t get too crowded. Its wild landscape will leave every nature-lover stunned, while shortly after Fokos, the even quieter beach of Myrsini is there to welcome the few people that know about it.
Additionally, the local-beloved beach of Choulaki, may not feature a sandy coast but big pebbles instead, however, if you visit its magical setting you won’t even notice this small little detail that keeps most tourists away.
Last but not least, Loulos Beach is an easily accessible, unorganized beach that is favored by those visiting Mykonos with kids, as i is protected from the winds and therefore offers a much safer environment for their little ones.
Things to do in Mykonos
Mykonos' Town - credits: ZGPhotography/Shutterstock.com
I’m assuming that having clicked on this blog post, partying all day and night in the numerous beach bars of the island is not all you want to do. Well, lucky you, there is a lot more to the island than its parties!
Dive into the endless blue
Discover Mykonos from the bottom of its sea. Found in most organized beaches on the island, diving introduces you to a different world that only a select few have had the privilege to be a part of. A world that showcases the true locals of Mykonos: octopus, starfish, cormorants, sponges, and Monachus-Monachus seals! You will find many diving centers that offer diving on reefs, caves, shipwrecks, or mysterious night dives; make Mykonos your oyster!
Explore the landscape from the back of a horse
If you can think of something cooler than exploring the island of Mykonos while horseriding, then I’m intrigued about your life! Jump on the back of one of Mykonos’ beautiful horses and wander around the attractions of the island, through wonderful paths, beaches, and hills. Sounds like something straight out of a fairytale, right?
If you don’t grab the opportunity to live the “big life” while on vacations in Mykonos, then I’m sad to inform you that you never will. Spike your alternative vacations with luxury and comfort by joining a sailing adventure across the coast of Mykonos and the neighboring islets of Delos and Rhenia. Dive into the clear blue waters and cool off from the Cycladic air. Calm, relax, and enjoy under the sun; I’d say ‘it’s the little things in life’, but saying that from the deck of a sailboat in the middle of the Aegean would be a tad ironic.
Watch a movie
If you’re a couch potato and you’re proud of it, then leave all the sports aside and enjoy a cult classic movie in Mykonos’ open-air cinema,’Cine Manto’. Located in the heart of Mykonos Town -or ‘Chora’- you can drink your coffee in the morning under the shadow of the thick trees that surround it, watch a movie at night, or just enjoy your a drink and some local food. You don’t need to be on your toes all day in order to have a good time!
Spots to explore
The windmills of Mykonos - credits: Aetherial Images/Shutterstock.com
If you want to explore Mykonos Town, as you definitely should, the best time to get "lost" in its cobbled streets and discover all its corners, churches, courtyards and whitewashed houses is around 6 pm, when the town is the quietest, with most of its visitors either at the beach or enjoying an afternoon siesta. Mykonos Town, however, is not the end all be all of the island, which has some amazing out-of-the-beaten-path spots that are waiting to be discovered.
A walk in the nearby island of Delos is a must to admire the remnants of the island's heritage and history. Delos is the island of Apollo, the god of light, and you can enjoy its ambiance in just a few minutes by boat from Mykonos. Explore the fascinating archaeological site and just before you head back, marvel at the unique sunset it generously offers.
This legendary lighthouse of Armenistis stands at the edge of the homonymous area at Fanari. Enjoy the stunning views, discover about its long history, and relax while looking out to the marvelous endless blue. Yes, it is a place every tourist tends to visit, but no, you can’t skip it; all you can do is schedule to go there when everyone’s asleep!
Tria Phgadia (Three Wells)
Tradition has it that whoever says the water from the three wells that gave their name to the area and are located right in the center of the village will never leave the island or will at least return one day. Believe me when I say that if you visit the charming village of Tria Phgadia, you’ll be gulping down gallons in hope of the legend coming true; I dare you!
Second in size to Mykonos Town, the village of Ano Mera is a personal favorite due to the old-time charm and the authentic island feel it exudes. The Cycladic features of the village will enchant you, while its inhabitants will capture you with their hospitality. Walk around its gorgeous setting and grab a bite in one of its excellent taverns!
Places to eat in Mykonos
Little Venice - credits: Pawel-Kazmierczak/Shutterstock.com
I don’t know about you, but when I visit a new destination, my biggest fear is to eat overpriced, tasteless food. Well in Mykonos, the ‘tasteless’ part is out of the question, however, the ‘overpriced’’ part is very much a thing; I don’t care what the dish consists of or if the ingredients were collected by fairies, if you charge 30€ for a plate of pasta, I don’t wanna eat it.
Thankfully, gourmet restaurants are not monopolizing the interest of Mykonos’ visitors, and therefore one can find top-quality food that is affordable and delicious.
In ‘Lounta’s Spicy Corner’ you can find dishes of exceptional quality, made with Cycladic products, and influenced by Ukrainian cuisine, the cuisine of the owner’s homeland.
‘Araxame Street’, on the other hand, is as Greek as it gets. Located in Ano Mera, it is one of the most genuine village taverns on the island that serves delicious meatballs, excellent Mykonian sausage -the world-famous ‘loutza’-, and fried squid, among others, while its desserts have made a name for themselves among both locals and visitors alike! Another gastronomic gem that can be found in Ano Mera is ‘Seven’, offering delicious seafood dishes such as baked octopus, fried shrimp, squid, and mussels on the daily.
A little unconventional, as it is known for a different island’s cuisine, ‘Balothies’ is an outstanding meze tavern in Ornos that served delicious, traditional Cretan cuisine. ‘Bakoya Cafe’ located in Gialos, the beach in the old port of Mykonos, and is one of the oldest cafes on the island, which alongside coffee, offers a wide variety of snacks and small bites, from ‘loutza’ sausage to small fried fish.
Last but not least, the tavern of ‘Limnios’ counts more than 20 years on the island, offering an array of exquisite food, such as stuffed zucchini, different local pies, grilled meats, and seafood on the beach of Agios Stefanos.
The best tip when it comes to avoiding the large crowds in Mykonos goes without saying: avoid central locations like a vampire avoids a silver bullet, and you’ll have little to worry about. Of course, following my advice above doesn’t mean that you’ll have completely eliminated the chance of coming upon busy areas, too-high prices, and a hectic pace of life.
However, as in most travel destinations, if you educate yourself beforehand and visit the island well-prepared, you’ll optimize your stay and have the opportunity to enjoy the benefits of a well-organized island without suffering its drawbacks.
The alternative side of Mykonos is enchanting, to say the least. It is worth discovering the island beyond the flashing lights, and the glamor. Explore the queen of the Cyclades that keeps her secrets well-hidden and reveals them only to few, lucky, wandering hearts!