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How to spend a day in Mykonos

It’s easy to see why Mykonos is one of the most photgraphed destinations in the Greek Islands. Spend a day in Mykonos exploring ancient windmills, swimming in crystal clear waters, discovering pretty churches and losing yourself in winding alleyways lined with white-washed, blue-shuttered houses.

Mykonos is the epitome of Greek prettiness. This small island is part of the Cyclades archipelago, adjacent to tiny Delos in the Aegean Sea. Pristine white buildings with azure blue doors and windows are set against the bluest skies. Tempted?

Mykonos, Greece
Crystal clear waters and beautiful beaches in Mykonos, Greece

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What to see in Mykonos in one day

I have to admit to falling a little bit in love with Mykonos when I visited as part of a Mediterranean cruise with Celebrity Cruises. If you’ve arrived on a cruise ship it’s likely you’ll only have a day in Mykonos, or maybe just a few hours to explore.

If that’s how you’ll be visiting you might enjoy a Mykonos sightseeing tour specifically designed for cruise ship passengers who have limited time on the island. You’ll visit sights like Armenistis Lighthouse and take a walking tour of Mykonos Town. Check rates and availability.

If a tour’s not for you, there plenty of Mykonos highlights close to the cruise ship port that you can visit without a guide. You’ll find all the best sights and attracations including the Chora (Mykonos’ old town) and others top sights covered in this guide to exploring Mykonos in one day.

If you’ve only got one day in Mykonos you can take in the ancient history of nearby Delos and still have time to see the beautiful sights of Mykonos. Even with limited time you can enjoy its windmills, pretty alleyways, shopping, beaches and good food.

Here’s how to make the most of your 1-day Mykonos cruise stop based on my own visit which includes some must-see highlights of Mykonos.

Mykonos Town
Mykonos, Greece

How to spend a day in Mykonos

If you’re arriving in Mykonos by cruise ship you’ll dock at the New Port of Mykonos (Tourlos). One of the best ways to reach the old town from the cruise port is by a short bus ride (one stop) or an 8-minute taxi ride from Mykonos Old Town.

If you like to explore on your own there’s plenty to see within walking distance of the old town. If you prefer, you could book a Mykonos guided tour with a local guide and see a bit more of the island.

Mykonos Greece
One of the best views of Little Venice is from the Mykonos windmills

Mykonos Town

If you’re spending one day in Mykonos or even a week, Mykonos Town is a must-see. Also known as Chora, it is one of the prettiest towns in the Cyclades. Although the Chora on Ios island is in close competition.

In case you’re wondering, Chora means ‘town’ in Greek. It’s a common practice in Greece to use ‘Chora’ when the name of the main town is the same as the name of the island.

Mykonos town sits on a bay of clear turquoise water lined with restaurants, bars, shops and a small port. Fishing boats back from the day’s catch are moored in the shallows and whitewashed houses dot the hillside like little boxes.

Agios Nikolaos Church, the tiniest of blue-domed churches, sits almost on the water, it’s flags fluttering on the warm breeze. Its pristine white-washed walls are the perfect contrast to the cobalt-blue of the sky.

You could happily spend your time on Mykonos only exploring the Chora’s tiny winding lanes, shops and restaurants or sitting with a cold drink gazing at the views. But we’ll be back for that later, there are other Mykonos highlights to see first.

Agios Nikolaos, Mykonos
Agios Nikolaos Church, Mykonos

Church of Panagia Paraportiani, Mykonos

Carry on past the bay and head up the hill to the right and you’ll come to our next stop. The most famous of Mykonos’ 400 churches is also the most photographed.

Paraportiani Church is a small pyramid-shaped structure made up of four churches built asymmetrically together in various architectural styles.

The lower part of the church was once part of Mykonos castle, built to defend the old port many centuries ago.

White-washed to within an inch of its life it has a little bell-tower, dome and is crowned with crucifixes which stand out against the backdrop of never-ending ocean and cloudless blue sky.

If you’ve only got one day in Mykonos then don’t miss this gorgeous little church.

The Folklore Museum of Mykonos is located a few meters away in an old two-storey ship owner’s house.

Paraportiani Church Mykonos
Panagia Paraportiani Church – one of the most photographed churches in Mykonos

Visit Little Venice

Keep walking away from the port and you’ll arrive at Little Venice, one of Mykonos’ hot spots. The waterfront is lined with rows of eighteenth century fishing houses with wooden balconies that hang out over the sea.

The houses, with direct access to the sea, originally belonged to shipping merchants but now house a lively area of cafes, restaurants, bars and shops. Tables are set up all along the water’s edge for outdoor dining with stunning views. It’s one of the best places on the island to watch the sun set.

If you’re ready for a cool drink find yourself a bar with a shaded balcony looking directly over the water. It’s the perfect place to take a break and soak up the scenery. I made myself at home in Katerina’s bar and had the best time chilling on the balcony with a glass of Greek wine as the sea lapped below me.

Little Venice Mykonos Greece
Little Venice, Mykonos

Check out the Mykonos Windmills

Refreshed and rested from your stop in Little Venice you’re now ready for the short walk up the hill to the iconic Mykonos Windmills. This is one of my favourite things to do in Mykonos. The Kato Mili which stand sentry at the top of the hill were built by the Venetians in the sixteenth century.

Originally the straw-topped mills with wooden sails were used for milling flour. Nowadays one houses a museum and another can be rented for short stays. There are around a dozen windmills on Mykonos but these are the most famous.

These historic landmarks are also a clue as to why Mykonos is called the ‘island of the winds’. The strong winds were put to good use in ancient Greece for milling flour. The views of the Agean sea and nearby islands from the windmills is stunning. If you have time be there for sunset.

Mykonos Windmills
Mykonos Windmills

More Greece inspiration: What to eat in Crete | Why you should go to Rethymno | Discovering Delos, Isle of Light

Chill on Megali Ammos Beach

If you want to beat the crowds and find a quiet beach with a typical Greek taverna I know just the place. Keep going past the windmills and meander your way down to the golden sands of one of the best beaches in Mykonos. Megali Ammos, a small beach, is a well-kept secret and an ideal spot to avoid the crowds. And it’s the closest beach to Mykonos Town!

It’s just a ten-minute walk from the windmills and Joanna’s Niko’s Place Taverna serves up delicious Greek fare with a side of traditional Greek music.

It’s a great place for lunch. Think crisp Greek salads, fresh fish, baked feta, fried zucchini, tzatziki, taramasalata and warmed pittas for dipping.

After all that good food take time to relax on the beach for an hour before heading back to explore the alleyways in Mykonos Town.

A day in Mykonos
One of many small churches on Mykonos

Explore the Alleyways of Mykonos Town

There’s exploring and shopping to be done in the tiny alleyways and narrow streets of Little Venice. Make sure you have at least an hour to wander the winding white-washed alleyways and back streets of Mykonos town, one of the main attractions on the island.

You’ll find art galleries, boutiques selling artisan jewellery and souvenir shops. Narrow lanes festooned with vibrant Bougainvillea lead to hidden churches.

Cats laze in front of azure-blue doorways soaking up the endless sunshine. A day in Mykonos slows the pace as you adjust to its laid-back Greek vibe. Take time to chill and allow yourself to fall under its spell.

Mykonos Greece

Take a day trip to Delos from Mykonos

Ruins on Delos Island, Greece
Delos on a guided tour from Mykonos

I started my day in Mykonos by taking a short boat trip to Delos, a sacred Greek island, known as the Isle of Light.

I’m adding it here, at the end, because not everyone will want to include it in their Mykonos visit. However, if history and archaeology are your bag then you’ll want to add this guided tour of Delos into your one day itinerary. You’ll still have the afternoon to explore Mykonos town after the trip.

Delos is one of the most important mythological, historical and archaeological sites in Greece. It’s also the mythical birthplace of Apollo, god of light, truth and music and his twin sister Artemis.

The UNESCO World Heritage site is just 25-minutes by a small boat from Mykonos. The island is peppered with old statues, sprawling ruins and an ancient shrine. Read more in my article about Delos the Isle of Light.

In my experience, I recommend taking a morning guided tour of Delos as soon as you disembark. It’s the best option because you’ll still have plenty of time to explore the rest of Mykonos town in the afternoon and be closer to the port ready to set sail in the evening.

This guided tour of Delos of will pick you up from the cruise ship port at 9am and drop you at Mykonos old port in the town afterwards.

The Archaeological museum of Mykonos overlooks the old harbour. Many artifacts excavated from nearby islands like Rheneia and Mykonos itself are exhibited there. This would pair nicely with your trip to Delos.

Delos, Greece
Delos Island near Mykonos

A Mykonos day trip is a must-do on your Greek island cruise. You could spend your time exploring Mykonos old town or choose from a Mykonos guided tour to see more of the island.

I’m sure you can see why I loved my visit to the Cycladic island of Mykonos and it’s tiny neighbour Delos. Mykonos is one of the most popular Greek islands and for good reason. Hopefully, this article has given you some ideas for your own Mykonos one day itinerary. I hope you enjoy it as much as I did.

Click here for details of my self-guided walk tour in Mykonos available to download to your mobile device.

May Chong

Monday 5th of February 2018

It's been years since I visited Mykonos. I loved all the houses, the blue skies and beaches. I spent a day on Paradise beach which was like a club with blaring music the whole day. Won't be going back there in a hurry!

Suzanne Jones

Saturday 17th of February 2018

Ha - I used to love a clubby style beach but not so much since I hit 50!

Andrew Petcher

Saturday 20th of January 2018

The trouble with Mykonos is that the cruise ships bring in too many day visitors and the place becomes unpleasantly crowded and expensive. Best to head for a smaller island in my opinion!

Suzanne Jones

Saturday 20th of January 2018

This post was about what to see on the island when you're visiting from a cruise....!


Wednesday 10th of January 2018

It’s a lifetime since I was on Mykonos, but it looks beautiful as ever, Suze.

Suzanne Jones

Wednesday 10th of January 2018

I love the Greek islands - all beautiful!


Monday 4th of December 2017

It's a lifetime since I was on Mykonos, but it looks beautiful as ever, Suze. :) :)

Suzanne Jones

Tuesday 5th of December 2017

You need to re-visit Jo :)

Shikha (whywasteannualleave)

Tuesday 17th of October 2017

You had already got me swooning at Mykonos a while back with one of your posts & now you've gone and done it again Suzanne! I'd previously always heard of it being quite a party island & whilst I'm game for a party, it's nice to hear its charm extends beyond that!

Suzanne Jones

Wednesday 18th of October 2017

I was only there for the day so missed 'party time' but what I saw during the day was more than enough to want to spend a lot more time on the island :)

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