16 Amazing Things to Do in Mykonos, Greece, According to Locals

Steve Cummings

Mykonos

Mykonos is one of the most popular destinations in Greece and can sometimes be overcrowded with tourists. We have put together this article to suggest places off the beaten track or that only a few tourists know about, such as Kapari Beach and Pagma Market.

It's always good to head out to different places or see how the locals live.

Mykonos isn’t the most frugal of places and can be expensive, so we have tried to include some free or cheap activities on the list so you can make the most of your visit without breaking the bank.

Without further ado, let's examine 16 things to do in Mykonos, according to locals.

1. Visit the Windmills

Mykonos Windmills
Credit: Depositphotos

At the top of the list are the windmills, probably one of the attractions Mykonos is most famous for. There are 6 in total, dating back to the 16th century, and it's one of the first places that people head to, especially when they get off the cruise ships that dock here. It's a 10-minute walk from the old town through lovely narrow streets. At the top, you will be rewarded with great views of the town and Little Venice (discussed later on).

Our top tip would be to visit here at night as they light up and change color. But it can be popular with people after the perfect Instagram photo.

2. Kapari Beach

If you are after a beach that the Mykonos party scene hasn’t spoiled, head to Kapari Beach on the west side of the island behind Agios Ioannis. This used to be a well-kept secret beach just used by locals, and even though it now gets tourists, it's still quiet.

One of the reasons it's so quiet is that there is nothing else here. There are no shops, restaurants, or beach bars, and it's not accessible by car or bus. This is a “bring your own umbrella” kind of beach, and that's why we love it.

The path down can be challenging, especially for those with mobility issues, but the effort will be worth it if you want a place to relax.

3. Pagka Market

This market is so local that you won’t even find a Trip Advisor listing for it, and it offers a true taste of local life in Mykonos.

It's what you would call a proper market, without any tourist stuff. It's where locals come together to buy fresh fruit and vegetables and where the fishermen bring in their latest catch. It's precisely how you imagine a proper traditional market to be.

Come down to Pagka market to experience the authentic local culture and see a different side of Mykonos.

4. Walk through Little Venice

Little Venice, Mykonos
Credit: Depositphotos

Little Venice is one of the most excellent parts of Mykonos, and it is just as you can imagine – full of narrow alleyways, shops, cafes, and plenty of Greek culture. The buildings here are from the 18th century, with lots of colorful balconies that overlook the sea.

Like many places in Mykonos, it can get hectic when cruise ships dock, but that's mainly because the place is a victim of its success. Head here at sunset if you can, when the ships have gone, and walk hand in hand through the streets enjoying the sunset.

We recommend heading to one of the restaurants and having a meal on the terrace overlooking the sea. There are not many better places to enjoy a meal.

5. Shop in Matoyianni Street

We talked about the old town earlier in the article, but we have to mention Matoyianni Street. It's a picture-perfect pedestrian street lined with perfect white buildings and home to restaurants, bars, designer shops, and a few tourist shops. One of the other things it's known for is the pink and purple bougainvillea that line the street with great splashes of blue, making it a great spot for a holiday photo.

When walking down Matoyianni Street, be sure to wander down some of the side streets. You never know what you might find, and these are less busy.

6. The Church of Panagia Paraportiani

Church of Panagia Paraportiani
Credit: Depositphotos

Even though it's called “The Church,” implying that it's one church, it's made up of 5 churches. The main church with the bell tower is the Church of the Virgin Mary from the 14th century. Four others are clustered around it.

Because it has five churches, its weird shape looks like it's been modeled out of Play-Doh, making it unique and popular. 

Head up here early in the morning (it's only a short walk from the old town) before the crowds head to it, and then after that, you could head down into Little Venice.

7. Gioras’ Wood Bakery

credit: depositphotos

If you love history and food, you must visit Gioras’s Wood Bakery. It has been baking food on the same premises since the 1800s, and some people say it is the second oldest building on the island. You enter through a dark hole in the ground with steep steps leading into it, adding to the charm.

Head here in the morning, grab a Freddo cappuccino and an amygdaloid (an almond cookie that is their specialty) that feels like your Greek grandma made it, or try the baklava. 

The only issue is that if you are in Mykonos for more than one day, you might find yourself returning here daily—it's that good!

8. Ano Mera Village

We could write a whole article on Ano Mera Village as it is that good and isn’t as touristy as other areas. It's the perfect place to experience Mykonos’ traditional way of life without the crowds.

Head to the central square for authentic Greek cuisine, or wander around the alleyways until you find a cozy tavern that's off the beaten track. One of the main attractions is the Monastery of Panagia Tourliani, which you should visit.

The best way to get here is via taxi as they are cheap, and the buses on the island can be unreliable.

9. Island of Delos

Delos
Credit: Depositphotos

Although not technically Mykonos, we felt we had to include it as it's only a 30-minute ferry ride, and there are plenty of crossings every day. History fans will love it here as the island is one big piece of history, a UNESCO World Heritage site, and one of Greece's most important archaeological sites.

The island is littered with temples, statues, and other ruins, including the Sanctuary of Apollo, The Terrace of Lions, and The House of Dolphins.

If you are in Mykonos for a few days, visiting Delos is worth half a day.

10. Cine Manto

Cine Manto is Mykonos's most amazing outdoor cinema. It offers a chance to see a film outside and enjoy amazingfood under the stars. We can’t believe it's not more popular than it is.

It’s not the biggest screen, and sometimes, it's not even sold out (which we like). However, there's a BBQ and other great food choices, such as pork kebabs, zucchini balls, and grilled mushrooms.

It's the most romantic and perfect way to spend the evening. Sit down with a glass of wine and enjoy this once-in-a-lifetime experience.

11. Hire a Bike

Although not quite a thing done by locals, it will allow you to escape the crowds and see parts of the island that most people who stick to the main towns won’t get to see.

Many bike companies offer half- or full-day tours with electric bikes available. Otherwise, biking all day in the Mykonos sun would be hard work!

These tours usually include a visit to a vineyard and other lesser-known parts of the island and end with a meal somewhere. It's a good way to meet new people. And younger members of your family will undoubtedly enjoy it.

12. Wine Tasting

Wine Tasting
Credit: Depositphotos

We mentioned visiting a vineyard above. But with a bike tour, you won’t be able to spend much time there (or cycle home after a few wines). However, you could go on an adequately organized wine-tasting tour. 

You will learn what makes the local wines so good and how they are grown. Most vineyards also save some exceptional wines for the tours they don’t sell to the high street shops, meaning you can grab a bottle to take home what others can't.

13. Rarity Gallery

If you have had enough of eating and drinking, pop into Rarity Gallery, located in the center of the island. It features art from around the world, including Greek, American, and German artists. The staff is very knowledgeable and can answer any questions you might have.

We have included this on the list because it is a free-to-enter gallery that the frugal among you will love.

Overall, the gallery is a welcome break from the usual activities, and the air conditioning is great, so even if you don't love art, visit!

14. Eat Where Locals Eat

Greek Food
Credit: Depositphotos

There are so many choices regarding eating in Mykonos, but we advise finding where the locals eat and avoiding the tourist traps. The good news is that we have done the hard work for you and have some places we think you should try.

To Kafeneio tou Bakoya is a small traditional place family-run since the 1970s. It serves excellent mezes, including squid, sausages, and other seafood.

Mamalouka is another family-run restaurant with a lovely outdoor patio. It is just outside of Little Venice. One of the recommended dishes here is the lobster.

15. Visit In The Winter

Mykonos Streetview
Credit: Depositphotos

Even out-of-season, Mykonos is still warm. Okay, it's not as hot as the main summer months from April to September, but if you visit during early October, you will find that you have the island a lot more to yourself as there are no cruise ships and all the party people have gone home. That means there's plenty of space for you to wander around the cobbled streets, chat with the locals, and enjoy what life is like there for most people when the tourists have gone home.

16. Ask the Locals What They Recommend

Traveler asking for help
Image Credit: Shutterstock.

Although not quite a “thing” like the others on the list, our advice would be to ask the locals where they think you should go to eat or drink or do, which reminded me of the famous chef Anthony Bourdain quote.

“Eat at a local restaurant tonight. Get the cream sauce. Have a cold pint at 4 o’clock in a mostly empty bar. Go somewhere you’ve never been. Listen to someone you think may have nothing in common with you. Order the steak rare. Eat an oyster. Have a negroni. Have two. Be open to a world where you may not understand or agree with the person next to you, but have a drink with them anyways. Eat slowly. Tip your server. Check in on your friends. Check in on yourself. Enjoy the ride.”

That's what this article is all about: trying to find things or places (not just food and drink) to see that haven’t been covered on the internet. Sometimes, it takes asking a local to find that hidden place no one knows about.

Final Thoughts

There you have it—16 things less touristy than most on the island, hopefully giving you some ideas of what to do that everyone else isn’t doing.

If you have any comments on the places we have listed or think we have missed something and would be kind enough to share it, please let us know by filling in the comments below.

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