It’s Mykonos beaches and the beautiful Chora that attracted celebrities in the 80’s when the island started to gain its reputation as a paradise in the Aegean Cyclades. The famous DJs and parties by the beach came much later.
Out of more than twenty Mykonos beaches, most are found at the southern coast of the island which of course is also the busiest one. At this side of the Mykonos, beaches are sandy and protected from the meltemi winds, that is the strong noth-northwestern winds that blow in the Aegean during the summer. This is where you will find the party scenes of Paradise and Super Paradise and the popular beach of Psarou.
The northern coast is much more quiet and (surprise!) our favourite. Here the beaches are only partly organised, and although still busy in the summer, they are much calmer, especially if you go early in the morning.
Despite the changes that mass tourism brought to the island, the beautiful villages of Chora and Ano Mera have maintained their traditional Cycladic architecture and even the numerous shops and bars respect the aesthetic style of the area.
Public transport will get you to the Chora, Ano Mera and to some of the busiest Mykonos beaches, but you will need to rent a car to get to the more remote ones, a bit further away from the crowds. If you decide to visit outside the summer season, you will also have a chance to get a taste of the everyday life of the islanders.
No matter which part of the year you decide to visit Mykonos, make sure you visit:
The Chora of Mykonos, 5 km north of the airport
The Chora (town) of Mykonos is a model Cycladic island town. White washed houses with blue windows, narrow alleys that resemble a small labyrinth, all restored and maintained with respect to the local tradition. During the summer season, the Chora is busy all through the day and especially through the night.
Leave your car in the parking areas and stroll around the alleys. Walk to the western part of Chora to the impressive Little Venice with colorful fishing houses standing above the sea, turned to bars, cafes and shops. Just a few steps further are the famous windmills in the area of Kastro and the Folklore Museum of Mykonos, housed in an 18th century captain’s old house. Here you will discover a rich collection of antique furnitures, post byzantine scupltures and gravures and model boats from the Cretan pre-Minoan period through to the 19th century.
Visit the Archaeological Museum housing ceramics ranging from the prehistoric to the late Hellenistic period ( 25th to the 1st century B.C) funerary statues, jewels, utensils and other findings from the island and nearby sacred island of Delos, the birthplace of Apollo, the mythical god of the sun and light.
Ano Mera, 8 km south of Mykonos Chora
Much more quiet than the Chora of Mykonos, Ano Mera (=upper side in Greek) is the second largest village of the island. Drive from the Chora to Ano Mera and park your car at the parking area close to the main square. Stroll around the small streets, with the traditional houses and the wooden shutters to the red domed church and the 16th century monastery of Panagia Tourliani with the Byzantine icon collection.
Kalo Livadi, 8 km south east of Chora of Mykonos
At the south east coast of the island, Kalo Livadi is a long, sandy, beautiful, friendly beach, one of the longest of Mykonos beaches. As you have already guessed, it’s a fully organized beach with sunbeds and umbrellas provided by the famous beach bars. At the same time, due to the shallow waters it is also a preferred destination for families with small children.
Kalafatis beach, 2 km east of Mykonos Chora
Kalafatis, 12 km east of Chora, is an ideal beach for the water sport fans. The white sandy beach is fully organized and is located in a bay with restaurants and hotels for those who want to stay next to the sea during their holiday. From Kalafatis you can also take the boat to Dragonissi, an islet off the east coast with beautiful caves.
Ftelia beach, 6 km from the Chora of Mykonos
At the northern side of the island, 5.5 km from Chora, Ftelia beach with the strong northern winds is a surfer’s destination. At the same time, the strong winds keep away the crowds, making Ftelia a more quiet beach even during the summer months.
Fokos beach, 11 km north east of Chora of Mykonos
For those of you seeking a more peaceful day at the beach, Fokos is your best bet. Rent a car and drive to the north east part of the island, following the signs from Ano Mera. The road will take through quiet farmlands of the island and to the artificial lake which is also a resting area for migratory sea birds. Once you reach Fokos you will discover the other side of Mykonos, far away from the loud music, the one that is peaceful, with natural, non-organized beaches. The taverna by the beach with delicious home-cooked meals can provide a shelter from the hot summer sun as well as some of the best local meals you can have.
Panormos beach, 5 km northeast of Mykonos Chora
Partly organized, well protected by the wind in the north bay of Mykonos is Panormos beach. As with Fokos, you will need to rent a car to get here since there is no public transport to Panormos. This also means that it is much more quiet than the other Mykonos beaches and that you can unwind here. There are a few umbrellas and huge white pillows instead of sun beds, resembling oversized pebbles from above. There are also a few restaurants and bars in the area, as well as accommodation for those who prefer to stay at this part of the island.
Agrari beach, 10 km southeast of Mykonos Chora
From Ano Mera follow the signs and drive down the winding road to the quiet beach of Agrari. Partly organized, you are going to love this sandy beach, whether you are looking for comfortable sunbeds and the local beach bar, or you prefer to lay your towel straight on the thick sand, or the naturalist way, closer to the rocks. To the east of Agrari is Elia beach, a little more busy, but equally beautiful.
Lia beach, 12 km east of Mykonos Chora
At the south coast of the island is Lia beach. Out of all Mykonos beaches this is the furthest away from the Chora. The blue waters and the surrounding rocks create an attractive scenery where visitors come to relax, swim, snorkel or even dive. The local diving center will also help you explore underwater Mykonos. There are also a few coastal restaurants nearby with beautiful views, pleasant to both the palate and the eyes.
Tsangari beach, 13 km east of Chora
We saved the best for last. Just a short drive past Lia beach is Tsangari. Park your car around 500 meters after Lia beach and walk down to the ten minute rocky trail to this beautiful beach. Make sure that you have taken with you everything you need, as there is nothing in Tsangari apart from people seeking a calm day at the beach and crystal waters of Mykonos.