By Rachael Funk
Mykonos is a dreamy island getaway, begging to be explored. Pristine beaches, vibrant sunsets, and an unbeatable nightlife are highlights of a trip, but the Greek islands are notorious for being on the pricey side. Thankfully, there’s plenty to do on Mykonos without having to reach for your wallet! Here’s ten of our favorite free things to do around the island.
1. Get lost in town
Whether you do it on purpose or not, this one’s bound to happen! Mykonos Town’s winding alleys, gorgeous white buildings, bright blue doors, and colorful plants spilling out of flower pots demand attention from wanderers. This is a lovely detour as you make your way to the seaside.
2. Catch a tan at Paradise Beach
If you don’t come home from Mykonos without a Mediterranean glow, have you really visited Greece at all? Carve some time out of your busy schedule for one of the most noble vacation activities of all: lounging on the gorgeous beach with no plan whatsoever.
3. Take a selfie with Peter the Pelican
The original Peter (or Petros, as the locals may better know him) was discovered in 1950 by a fisherman. The pelican had been hurt in a storm and was nursed back to health and subsequently adopted by the people in town. Now, there are three pelicans who all go by Peter (or Petros) who live near the harbor and are something of a mascot for the town.
4. Journey through the Rarity Gallery
A small, free art gallery located in town, the Rarity Gallery is run by friendly and informative staff and features fascinating pieces that are sure to capture the imagination. Established in 1994, the gallery is divided into five rooms each with their own distinct thematic narrative.
5. Visit the windmills
An icon of the island, Mykonos Town’s seven famous windmills are located above the island’s main port and can be seen from nearly every corner of the town. Originally built to mill wheat, they still proudly stand today and are a huge attraction for visitors (they’re also another great place to catch the sunset!).
6. Take a trip to Ano Mera
If you are a religious history buff, you may enjoy a trip four miles east of Chora to the town of Ano Mera. There, you will be able to explore the 18th-Century Monastery of Panagia Tourliani, which is known for its marble sculptures and massive altar screen. Half a mile farther is the 12th-century Monastery of Paleokastro, which is said to be one of the most verdant places on the island.
7. Explore Paraportiani Church
Possibly the most famous church on the island, Paraportiani Church is a must-see while you’re in the area. The gorgeous site dates back to the Byzantine era and features a variety of religious embellishments which can be traced to the Middle Ages. The church is perched on high ground, giving breathtaking views of the Mediterranean Sea.
8. See the Mykonos Folklore Museum
Dive into the history of Mykonos with Cycladic costumes, traditional instruments, historic paintings, and old photographs of the area. There are three separate historical houses which comprise the museum. In the first building, you can walk through a restored kitchen as well as a 19th-century bedroom. A second building nearby known as Lena’s House is an 18th-century home which was preserved exactly as its final owner left it. The final branch is the Agricultural Museum, which is located near the Windmills and offers insight into the islands’ farming history.
9. Watch the sunset from Little Venice
Little Venice is a postcard-perfect area to go for a stroll, snap a selfie, and take in the atmosphere of the island. It’s also the ideal spot to settle in for the main event of the day: sunset. Before your vacation is over, be sure to set aside as least one evening to head down to the waterfront in Little Venice to see the sunset paint the buildings as it bids the city farewell.
10. Window shop on Matoyianni Street
Matoyianni Street is the ultimate destination for shopaholics but if you’re on a budget, that doesn’t mean you have to skip it altogether. Half the fun of shopping is exploring the goods, so we say go for it! Peruse the designer stores, souvenir shops, and handmade jewelry designers to your heart’s content, but it’s going to be up to you if this one’s going to remain a “free thing” to do in Mykonos or not!