One of the favorite destinations of tourists visiting Greece is the island of Mykonos (aka Chora), set in the Aegean Sea, a part of the Cyclades group of islands. Mykonos is popular for cruise ship visitors, young and old alike. It is famous for its beautiful beaches, white washed houses, magnificent restaurants, night life and archaeological history. The town of Mykonos is the island capital. Overall, the Island population is about 10,000 plus people. Since the 1950s, the tourists have been flocking to Mykonos and they haven’t stopped since, a factor making tourism its largest industry. With a colorful history of Roman, Venetians and Ottoman invasions, the Island finally came to the Greeks in about 1830. It’s an ideal vacation spot for all and especially the senior traveler who wants to visit a place that will leave one with memories and experiences. I’ve composed this list of the top 10 tourist attractions in Mykonos, to be enjoyed at all ages.
Whether you arrive by cruise ship for a day or spend a few days or more on the island of Mykonos, you won’t want to miss these tourist attractions. These are the sites and experiences we enjoyed on our last vacation in Greece. If you aim to do all ten things listed here, depending on your energy level, you’ll most likely need more than just one day. As a senior, unless you’re on a one day excursion, you should allow yourself plenty of time to explore Mykonos. If you are limited to one day on a cruise ship excursion, you might be able to see most, but not all of these attractions.
Recommended, as I always say on any holiday, take a bus tour of the island. There are many bus tour companies available online and on the island itself. If you’re thinking about a cruise ship excursion, I’d say take it. Although it’s a quick tour by bus, you’ll get a good introduction to the overall island; a little history, geography never hurt anyone.
1) Stroll through in the old labyrinthian streets of Mykonos. It’s okay to get lost in Mykonos. In the old city of Mykonos, the streets were built as a labyrinthe to protect the city from the invading pirates. If you’ve got the time, walk, get lost and enjoy it. There is something splendid around every new corner you turn. Mykonos is very photogenic, so bring your camera.
2) Along the harbor, you’ll find many restaurants with a good view. Enjoy a traditional leisurely Greek meal accompanied by some good Greek wine or real Greek beer. We ate at the Kadena Cafe and Restaurant on the old town harbor. No complaints and the authentic Greek food was fantastic. With such a splendid view of the harbor and the people watching, you could almost sit here for the entire day.
3) Beaches are one of the top reasons the tourists flock to Mykonos. We only had time to visit one beach, the Beach of Aphrodite, also known as Kalafatis Beach, owned by the Aphrodite Beach Hotel. We spent an afternoon there because of limited time. It’s a small pebble beach, with unbelievably clean turquoise crystal clear water. There, you have a view of two rocky islands off in the distance symmetrically rising out of the sea, known by the locals as the breasts of Aphrodite. If you have more time in Mykonos, there are many other beaches to explore including Super Paradise and Paradise Beach, Elia, Lia, Platis Gialos, Paraga and many more.
4) While you wonder through the streets of Mykonos, pay a visit the Monastery of Panagia Tourliani built in 1542. It has a white washed exterior with colored dome and bell tower. The interior is full of beautiful religious icons, carvings and paintings. If there is a service is taking place, you’ll have to wait outside. Do dress modestly because this is a religious establishment. Once inside you’ll be able to see the very famous baroque iconostasis (altar screen), created in 1775 by artists from Florence.
5) Take a ferry to the Island of Delos, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, the birthplace of Apollo. Delos is an uninhabited, abandoned religious island where no one is allowed to be born or die. Delos is an archaeological site of renowned importance. It will take you a couple of hours to walk around the entire site. The Archaeological Museum of Delos on the site is well worth a visit for history buffs.
6) After the old labyrinthine streets of Mykonos, keep walking along the shore line where you’ll find Little Venice, which consists of colorful wooden houses with balconies at the edge of the Aegean Sea. Little Venice was built by the Venetian sea captains and merchants in the 1800s. Today many of the houses have been converted to restaurants and bars. It’s a favorite place of tourists to go and sit and watch the sunset. From a table in one of the restaurants or bar you can enjoy a snack or a Mythos Beer or glass of cold, crisp white Greek wine and see the famous windmills of Mykonos on the hill and watch a magnificent sun set over the Aegean Sea.
7) Head next along the harbor and up a small hill to the Mykonos windmills, one of the most familiar landmarks of the Island. There are, in fact, windmills all over the island but they are no longer used today. These five windmills overlook the harbor and are a recognized symbol of Mykonos.
8) Another central landmark of Mykonos is the historic Church of Panagia Paraportiani which began construction in 1425 and finished in the 17th century. You can walk around it, find a place to sit down and enjoy the views or if you are lucky like we were, listen to a man who plays the most beautiful Greek melodies on his guitar.
9) You will no doubt encounter Petros the Pelican, the mascot of Mykonos on your visit. In 1954 Petros came to to the Island to make his home here. He was adored by the people of Mykonos and when he died, the people replaced him with a newer version of Petros. Petros, loved by Mykoneans, eventually becoming the island’s mascot.
10) For seniors who appreciate a visit to the museums of a destination, there are other museums to visit. Spend a half day in each, the Mykonos Folk Museum and the Maritime Museum.
Other tourist attractions in Mykonos which seniors will enjoy include shopping and dining. Best buys are clothing, souvenir t shirts, sandals, bags and jewelry. To travel around the island by boat, take a water taxi from the red roofed Russian building in the harbor (the Russians were here until the Russian Revolution of 1917). You can also take a water taxi – if you are returning to your cruise ship, the cost is currently 2 euros.