Tourism is the main — really the only — industry on this stunning Greek island, so it’s tempting to bypass it for fear of the throngs. Don’t. From the moment you arrive in port, you’ll be dazzled. Mykonos, with its white houses and fig trees, is candy to your camera. Whether you head for the ruins on the nearby island of Delos or lounge on the beach, Mykonos makes for an idyllic interlude in what’s likely an otherwise frenzied sightseeing schedule.
Breakfast: Gioras Bakery – Granted, you may not see many Greeks out for an early breakfast, but if you need a light bite, you can hit up a bakery. Try a koulouri, a freshly made sesame ring — just follow your nose to the traditional bake shop on Agiou Efthimiou.
Lunch: Mykonos Palace Beach Hotel – Freshly baked, warm pita bread slathered in refreshing tzatziki, washed down with anise-scented ouzo — this simplest of plates is bound to outlive fancier meals in your culinary memories. Grab a seat at this hotel’s round bar on Platis Gialos Beach and chat with the friendly bartenders while you wait. These guys love their jobs — not just for the views but because, according to one, they get to interact with people having the time of their lives.
Dinner: Sea Satin Market – On this touristy island, you should base your dinner decision on where you can get the table with the best view. For straightforward Greek fare and fresh seafood, Sea Satin delivers. The magic happens when the sun sinks into the sea, which glimmers with the lights of the town. The looming cruise ships transform into a luminous backdrop.
Dessert: Da vinci Scoop – If you’re traveling on a large ship, you may have to mar your lovely day on Mykonos with a long line to get back onboard. Console yourself with a cone from this gelateria in the harbor. Chances are good there will be a line here too, but it will move quickly.
For Everyone: Chora – Leave time at the beginning or end of your day to wander the winding lanes of Mykonos town. Just stroll the back streets, which are lined with whitewashed houses and draped with brilliant bougainvillea. You needn’t do anything more taxing than count how many shades of blue you can name, and maybe find a pelican — the island’s mascot — to photograph. There’s also plenty of shopping that’s worth your time, from sandal stores with handmade leather flip-flops to tiny boutiques selling honey in various floral scents from nearby islands and Mykonos itself.
For Couples: Delos – Ready to venture out beyond Mykonos? Take your ship’s excursion to the nearby island of Delos, birthplace of Apollo (Greek mythology’s god of music, beauty, and light). Once so sacred nobody was permitted to die here, the ancient island is now home to a spectacular array of artifacts and ruins. Close your eyes against the harsh sun and give your inner hopeless romantic free rein as you envision this Mediterranean port at the height of its splendor.
For the Adventurous: Mykonos Watersports – Not content to just gaze at those frothy waves? Your jaws will ache later from the ear-to-ear grin plastered across your face while you water ski or wakeboard, but it’s well worth it. Never skied before? No worries — the friendly staff will give you a lesson. Sluicing through the waves as the sea spray whips your face is one of those pinch-me-am-I-really-here moments. Go ahead and yell — it’s just you and the sea.
For Families: Platis Gialos – Beaches on Mykonos have quite the reputation, but there are places you can take the kids without strapping blinders on them. Platis Gialos Beach on the southern coast is rated PG. Adult beverages are easy to come by, though, with servers from nearby bars making the rounds. Sip a frosty, colorful concoction under a bamboo umbrella while the kids frolic in the shallow water.
When you get to the beach, you’ll see sunbathers packed in like sardines. Don’t panic. Keep heading away from the drop-off point and seaside chairs — which rent for about 5 euros per day — get easier to come by.