Little Venice in the town (hora) of Mykonos, Greece’s Cyclades Islands.
With its traditional dry stone walls and many fine, well-maintained, organically styled homes Mykonos still looks good away from the beaches and towns.
The main feature inferior to some other islands except Santorini is Mikonos’ beaches which tend to have fair sand and massed pay parasols/sun beds with little space to move, such as Elia Beach, or coarse sand and more space such as Super Paradise.
Super Paradise Beach
A wide view of Super Paradise. Great for gays but good for all.
We visited many beaches on the island and felt that the best Mykonos beach was either Super Paradise – even if you aren’t gay – or Panormos on the north coast, though plain old Paradise beach, next to Super, is brilliant for young party animals (more below). The main beach facilities reside discreetly in the white building partly behind the trees in the photo while the little caique ferry that powers sun-seekers around is at the far end and some very attractive villas hang conveniently around.
Super Paradise is a short fat strand of very coarse sand in a picturesque, rocky bay, with a steady onshore breeze and slightly rough water. There are a couple of very pleasant bars/tavernas servicing the area. The beach is frequented mainly by young, fit travellers, many of them gay. Package people are not in evidence!
Young and/or heterosexual tourists may prefer the beach in the next bay, Paradise Beach, which is bigger, more youth-oriented, offers more outrageous bars and runs beach parties at night and occasionally in daytime too if the need is there. Super Paradise facilities are much less extensive; water sports don’t seem to be on offer but the ambience is superb.
One parking area adjacent to Super Paradise beach bar/café.
Super Paradise transport
The ferry from Super Paradise on its way back to town via various other beaches. Yes, it’s reversing, for those with eagle eyes.
Super Paradise beach is 7 kms from Mikonos Hora and requires personal transport, though it’s a pretty drive. Alternatively there’s a bumpy boat ride from the town on this small caique, a typical Aegean fishing boat, photo above.
As usual on Greek islands driving a scooter is by far the cheapest and most convenient way to get around – until you fall off wearing T-shirt and flip-flops, you only have to do that once, the gravel rash will remain with you – so remember to bring your licence with you and read advice on safe driving in Greece.
The perfect little road for a scooter ride, Super Paradise is 7 kms from town, on the south coast.
Mikonos interior is unusually attractive – albeit arid – with well built dry stone walls surrounding many properties, and houses plastered into melting organic shapes reminiscent of Dali surrealism.
Locals seem to take a pride in the appearance of their housing that is not in evidence on other Greece islands. Or perhaps it’s just that they can afford it, having been coining it for a lot longer than others?
Paradise Beach, not to be confused with its smaller, gayer neighbour, Super Paradise.
Paradise is pretty comfortable with good, lively bars popular with young people, plentiful water sports facilities, trees on the beach, though the sand is a little coarse and the sea is quite exposed. At night Paradise turns into a wild beach party that frequently buzzes till dawn and offers special events such as Full Moon Parties. The parties end for the year with a manic Closing Down party in early September.
There’s camping available behind the beach and a boisterous entertainment complex called Cavo Paradiso just up the hill.
Paradise is 6kms from town.
Panormos beach. Good for families, couples or just about anyone looking for comfortable, spacious, tranquility.
Our second favourite Mykonos beach is Panormos in the the north of the island on an inlet, quite a drive from town but offering a very quiet and attractive family-friendly environment with soft sand and protected waters, a rocky climbing area behind and some unusual wildlife residents around such as ducks (just visible in the photo near the middle-shore) and pigs, but little in the way of facilities, such as sun beds, parasols or kiosks.
However one side of the beach, behind the camera, is home to a couple of shady tavernas, trees and a hotel with a pool that is useable by visitors who care to buy a snack or drink.
Nudists/naturalists often let it all hang out at the far end of the beach under the rock.
Personal transport will be necessary to get to Panormos.
Agios Sostis beach near to Panormos is another less-used and even more difficult to reach strip of sand with few facilities but plenty of naturists and others who suffer the poor road, limited parking and hill-walk to get there. There is a rewarding taverna beside the footpath to the beach.
Lengthy, popular Elia beach on the south coast.
Elia is the longest beach on Mykonos, with soft sand, good protection from the unpleasant north wind and a full range of facilities including plenty of tavernas, bars and a mini-market but also varied water sports, though due to its size it rarely seems crowded or noisy. It sees quite a lot of gay action and is also the last stop on the caique ferry run as well as being on the bus route from Mikonos hora, 11 kms away.
Psarou beach. Good for families, couple and mature folk in search of an easy.
Psarou is a popular beach and one of the best close to Mykonos town at 5 kms. It’s quiet, on a good bus route, comes with with fine sand and protected waters and is well provided with comfortable beach restaurants and bars. Unusually it’s also home to a couple of scuba diving centres but no noisy water sports.
Platis Gialos Beach
Platis Gialos beach. Good for mature sun-seekers staying adjacent.
Well obviously Platis Gialos (aka Platys Gialos) is a very busy, narrow beach but the sand is fine, the waters warm and protected and eating and drinking facilities extensive, as is the range of shops, hotels and holiday apartments around the beach. Presumably that’s where the clientele come from because we couldn’t recommend this as a beach destination for visitors living elsewhere on the island as the amount of sand available is minimal. The beach and restaurants are family-friendly. Platis Gialos is 5kms from the town centre.
Caiques (small ferries) run to and from here to many other beaches and Mikonos hora so Gialos is a useful transport hub.
Agios Stefanos Beach
Agios Stefanos beach.
Near to Mykonos’ new port of Tourlos, Stefanos beach has soft sand, clear shallow waters that kids can safely play in and good eating and drinking facilities with accommodationbut nearby, though we felt the the area was a bit neglected.
Don’t forget that those who fancy a quick look at some other Cyclades islands can jump a fast ferry to neighbouring Naxos, Ios or even Santorini with ease, though book a little ahead in mid-summer. The longest trip in the Cyclades islands group is Santorini to Mykonos and even that ferry will only take a couple of hours.