Tiny Mykonos can be crisscrossed by car in about 25 minutes, but that doesn’t mean you should skimp on your time here. Long known as Greece’s party island, Mykonos actually has a lot to see and do during daylight hours if you're interested in its history and culture. You can have a satisfying visit in one day, taking in the Cycladic architecture of Mykonos town and the cocktails of “Little Venice.” But it's easy to fill up to five days of sight-seeing, beach-hopping, and enjoying the island's famous nightlife.

Planning Your Trip to Mykonos

This vibrant island offers plenty of beautiful towns to explore while the sun shines, along with the glamorous bars and clubs that have made the island world-famous. It’s also scattered with luxury hotels where the glitterati rest their heads when they aren’t drinking, dancing, and carousing, many in Mykonos town for easy access to nightlife hotspots. If you’re interested in a beach holiday without the clubs, check out the many resorts near famous beaches like Platis Gialos, Elia, and Ornos.

Five days is an ideal length of time for a visit here, as that will allow you enough time to tour legendary Mykonos beaches with their pulsing beach bars, explore the island’s classic architecture, and duck into small shops, bars, and restaurants. You can also take a boat cruise, or head to even smaller Delos island to see its ancient monuments. But if you only have a day or two, you’ll still be able to experience the island’s distinct cosmopolitan vibe, eat a few great meals, and have an epic night out.

Click here for info about the best time of year to visit Greece.

Mykonos in 24 Hours

One of the island's classic Cycladic buildings

Just 24 hours on Mykonos may seem a bit rushed, but one day and night on the island will still give you the chance to experience its tempting beaches and legendary nightlife. On the afternoon of your arrival, spend some time strolling around Mykonos town, taking in the whitewashed houses, their otherworldly bright hue illuminated even more in the Grecian sunlight.

Make sure to spend some time in Little Venice, the romantic portside neighborhood where the houses look like they were transplanted from the famed Italian city. The quarter’s many coffee shops, bars, and restaurants give it a bustling, sophisticated feel, and its small shops are a testament to the islanders’ craftsmanship, selling handmade Greek leather sandals, breezy resort wear, and high-end jewelry.

Grab dinner at one of many restaurants lining the harbor, where you can watch seafood caught right in front of you and just barely touched by flame before it ends up on your plate, or head to a 24-hour beach club for elegant meals, trendy cocktails, dancing, and seaside views all in one. The next morning, whether you ever went to sleep or not, you can recover from the night before by laying on the beach, with just enough time to feel the warmth of the sun before heading on to your next destination.

For ideas on how to see the hidden side of Mykonos, click here.

Mykonos in 2-3 days

Delos is world-renowned for its ancient ruins

With 2-3 days on Mykonos, you’ll have time to experience some history and culture. The nearby island of Delos, with its sanctuary to the gods Apollo and Artemis and its extraordinary collection of Greek sculpture, is a must-see. Delos has no hotels of its own, so the only way to visit is on a day trip from another island, and Mykonos just happens to be the closest. Ferries depart in the morning and come back in the mid-afternoon, but you can also book a private yacht and guide for a more personal experience.

Alternatively, allow a local guide to show you around all the Mykonos hotspots, including the windmills in Mykonos town and on Boni hill, Agious Nikolaus and Panagia Paraportian churches, and the bustling port area with its shops, restaurants, and flower-filled alleyways.

The island has many famous beaches, some of them with thumping beach bars and an all-night dance scene, others more secluded and relaxed. Among its most beloved are Paradise Beach, with its heady mix of DJed parties at beach bars and clear waters for snorkeling and diving, and its polar opposite Ornos Beach, on a tranquil bay with calm restaurants and cafes perfect for families. Elia’s long stretch of beach is dotted with hidden coves and offers a mix of bars with famous DJs and spots for water sports like windsurfing and waterskiing, while Platys Gialos is lined with some of the island’s best hotels.

For more on how to see Greece's highlights by yacht, click here.

Mykonos in 4-5 days

Mykonos is know for its pristine beaches

With 4-5 days on Mykonos, you can take to the seas, and experience the island from a different vantage point. A half-day cruise will give you a new perspective on Mykonos’s expansive beaches and craggy coves, its colorful ports and gleaming whitewashed towns. You can also combine it with a stop on Delos, and add in a quick visit to neighboring Rhenia, a largely uninhabited island the caretakers of Delos live along with several goat farmers, and where the beaches are just as spectacular as those on Mykonos but untouched and largely empty.

You can also take more time to delve into Mykonos nightlife, leaving the entire night open for visits to some of its best-known clubs, but earmark the following morning for rest and recovery. Cavo Paradise on Paradise Beach is perhaps the island’s most beloved open-air club, with EDM parties set against spectacular sea-and-sand backdrops, while Skandinavian Bar and Club is set right in the midst of Mykonos town, with its own open-air dance floor and patio. Sleek indoor spots like Void and funky lounges like Astra round out the mix, with plenty of smaller gay clubs and cocktail bars making the island a welcoming spot for everyone.
 
Read here for how to incorporate a visit to Mykonos into a 2-week trip.