When most people think of Mykonos, what they picture first is its whitewashed houses, crazy nightlife, celebrities and, of course, heavenly sandy beaches with crystal clear turquoise waters. But… is that all? No, definitely not! Let’s have a look at the top attractions in Mykonos that prove that this Greek island is more than just a place to relax on the beach with a cocktail in hand or to have fun at the clubs; it’s also a place to spend some quality time getting to know the local culture, architecture and history and dive into the past centuries and millenniums.
1. Little Venice
One the most beautiful areas of Mykonos town, overlooking the sea and the iconic windmills. Here you will have the opportunity to take amazing photos of both the town and the windmills. The atmosphere is lovely and there are lots of bars, restaurants and shop to choose from. Do yourself a favor and find a table with a great view, order a refreshing cocktail and watch the sun setting into the sea. ‘Little Venice’ is a must if you visit Mykonos!
2. Windmills (Kato Myloi)
The Windmills are the most picturesque landmark of the island, seen from every point of Mykonos Town. The Windmills or ‘Kato Myloi’ are located on a hill overlooking the town and the Aegean Sea. Most of them were built by the Venetians in the 16th century. They were primarily used to mill wheat and were an important source of income for the islanders, until they ceased production in the middle of the 20th century. Taking a photo here is a must-do for any visitor.
3. Church of Panagia Paraportiani
Reportedly the oldest church in Mykonos, Panagia Paraportiani is a wonderful whitewashed monument dedicated to the Virgin Mary. This special church is an impressive mixture of different architectural styles that were combined in a single structure. The five churches—four at ground level and one at the center above them—were built between the 15th and the 17th century. It’s a church worth visiting to enjoy its beauty and take some beautiful photos.
4. Archaeological Museum of Mykonos
The Archaeological Museum of Mykonos definitely deserves a visit! Its exhibition includes a large number of vases ranging from the prehistoric to the late Hellenistic period (25th-1st century BC), grave statues, pottery discovered on Rhenea (Rineia) island, jewellery and weapons. Perhaps the most important exhibit is the “Mykonos vase”, a pithos that was found in 1961 by a local islander, and it’s the first known depiction of the Trojan Horse (dated to about 670 BC).
5. Archaeological Site and Museum of Delos
The Archaeological Museum of Delos hosts some of the most valuable treasures of Delos island—one of the most important mythological, historical and archaeological sites in Greece. The collection of the Museum includes the originals of some of the most significant findings from the excavations on the ancient site, which has been declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site. You won’t regret seeing the stunning lions from the monumental ‘Avenue of the Lions’ and some beautiful mosaics!
6. Aegean Maritime Museum
Take a journey back in history! The Aegean Maritime Museum is housed in a traditional building of the 19th century, located at the centre of the Town of Mykonos. The goal of the Museum is the preservation, promotion and study of the Greek maritime history and tradition in the historic region of the Aegean Sea. Here you will see the evolution of the ships that sailed the Greek seas, you will discover interesting artifacts and navigation tools of the past, and you will admire reproductions of ancient marble gravestones from the islands of Mykonos and Delos.
7. Folklore Museum
Located inside an old captain’s house in Kastro neighborhood of Mykonos Town, the Folklore Museum is a little gem full of history. Here you will explore an eclectic collection of furniture, tools, utensils, paintings and photographs from the 19th century that cover many aspects of Mykonos life. Don’t miss the basement, where there is an old fishing boat and some other pretty interesting exhibits.
8. Agricultural Museum and Boni Windmill
The Agricultural Museum of Mykonos is actually a part of the Folklore Museum, displaying various traditional agricultural tools. A division of its exhibitions is hosted in the Boni Windmill, a perfectly preserved windmill of the 16th century, located above Mykonos Town. Here you will see where past inhabitants weighed and collected the flour. Also, on the first Sunday of September, the grape harvest festival is held here. Tip: This is one of the best places in Mykonos from where to view a magical sunset!
9. Neolithic Settlement of Ftelia
The archaeological site of Ftelia is located at the northern part of Mykonos. The excavations have revealed many interesting findings, like fragments of ceramic vessels, animal bones and arrowheads made of obsidian, that attest to the existence of inhabitants during the Neolithic period. It is believed that here was the tomb of ancient Iliad war hero, Ajax the Locrian.
10. Armenistis Lighthouse
This 19-meter high old lighthouse is located on the northern side of the island, away from all the fuzz of Mykonos Town and other popular tourist areas. Armenistis lighthouse is one of the top attractions in Mykonos and it’s totally worth the visit, as you are rewarded with exceptional panoramic views and great opportunities to take impressive photos of the astounding scenery or even enjoy a really romantic sundowner picnic.