Okay, you just rented that cool Jeep or ATV that you have been wanting to drive since the minute you landed in Mykonos. Now what?
Our guide for exploring the island on wheels
Note: don’t worry about the directions, the idea is that you can use the map that you will be offered at the time of rental in combination with this article. Or any Mykonos map really. Oh, and we will happily help you out with establishing a route that suits you!
Start by heading East: take the second roundabout towards Ano Mera (just follow the signs) and drive all the way to Kalafatis Beach for a morning dip. This is almost the furthest away you can drive without leaving the main roads. Located approximately 12kms from Town Kalafatis beach gives you a beautiful view of the fisherman’s village Divounia on the opposite bay side.
After Kalafaits, head next to Kalo Livadi Beach or Elia Beach (or visit both!) which are located approximately 10 mins of driving from each other. They are also some of the longest beaches on the island and are exceptional for swimming, sunbathing, dining and watersports!
Optional: have brunch at one the beach restaurants. Also optional: cancel the remaining exploration and stay put because it’s hard to top these beaches!
When you think it’s time for lunch, Ano Mera square which is about 5 mins driving from these beaches is surrounded by little mykonian tavernas to have lunch at. It also offers an important architectural “sightseeing stop” – Panagia Tourliani Monastery. The monastery dates back to 1542 and offers guided tours for the more interested. But perhaps just a quick look in the main church and little museum up the stairs is enough.
For further sightseeing of this sort, to the north of Panagia Tourliani is the monastery of Paleokastro and the ruins of Gizi-Castle (just after Ano Mera square you will see a road sign).
I bet you didn’t know Mykonos had so many culturally interesting sights did ya?
If it is not to windy: double back and then turn north following the sign to Panormos and then Agios Sostis.
Except for Panormos Beach which has one restaurant with some beach beds and umbrellas these two are pretty much “natural beaches”. Meaning there is nothing else there, but the beach. panromos
Past Ag.Sostis beach is a hidden little tavern which you could have lunch at if you skip lunch at Ano Mera (or have lunch twice?) that you will not regret.
The reason why you will notice we mention the wind in Mykonos all the time is because if it comes from the north, which it usually does, and if it’s too strong, you won’t be able to enjoy the beaches in the north. On windy days all the sand flies into your face. Asking an experienced receptionist or concierge at your hotel you will notice that they will recommend beaches after first checking the wind direction and strength.
Another beautiful sight in the far North is the lighthous Armenistis (from 1890). The area is actually called Fanari (light house in greek) which you will find driving past the main port of Mykonos in Tourlos. Armenistis is located on top of a hill and offers amazing an amazing sunset and a great place to take some memorable photos. We recommend driving here in a Jeep, a Suzuki Jimny, a quad bike with 150cc engine or more, or any other similar 4×4 vehicle.
Towards the early afternoon it’s time for the party people to head over to the southern beaches “Paradise” or “Super Paradise”. The latter has a big, scary hill so if you’re on a little scooter – leave it for another time.
To get there you want to head back to the first roundabout you passed (there are only two in Mykonos) and turn towards the airport. For Paradise Beach you will turn right before the airport and for Super Paradise you will turn right after the airport.
The famous beach parties usually start around 5pm and go on all afternoon until 10pm.
Both Paradise and Super Paradise are excellent beaches for swimming and sunbathing. Even for visitors who aren`t interested in the parties at first hand. High music level all the time should be expected though.
If you are not the partying type another option could be to drive west to have a cocktail at Ornos beach or watch the sunset at Agios Ioannis beach. These two beaches on the southwestern side of the island offer a lot of restaurants to choose from and are worth coming back to for spending a whole day and not just rushing through.
Up until now, all beaches we have mentioned offer free parking whereas Ornos and Ag.Ioannis has very limited, good, free spots to park. It might be worth picking a restaurant with a private parking.
By now you are probably thinking to yourself that Paranga in the south has been left out, right? Wrong!
After going back to your hotel for a shower and change of clothes, Paranga is your last stop for dinner.. or party.. or something in the middle. This beach has something for everyone during all the day and by night as well. It has a great rock in the middle of the sea to jump into the water from and (besides the newly famous restaurant/clubs) traditional tavernas still owned by locals.
This little day excursion guide is based on that you live at Platis Gialos or Town area. Therefore you wouldn’t need to visit Platis Gialos beach or Psarrou Beach by car/quad/scooter, otherwise make sure you do!
Stay tuned for more tips on discovering Mykonos like a pro..