It’s thought that the small Greek island of Mykonos was named after is first ruler Mykons, a local hero and descendent of the god Apollo.
Another legend says that the island was the final battlefield of the mighty Gigantomachia, the battle of the Olympian Gods with the Giants. Hercules was called upon to help defeat the Giants and, when he did using poisonous arrows, their bodies turned into huge rocks that lay scattered across the island today.
These days, however, Mykonos is better known as a party destination (and an island where you should check the prices before ordering in restaurants!). It is, however, also good for families and there are plenty of things to do on Mykonos with kids.
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Often dubbed the Ibiza of Greece, the summer months see plenty of famous DJs play, beach clubs offering champagne lunches and a nightlife that goes on well into the morning. Now, this might sound like a lot of fun but is Mykonos really an island for families?
The good news is, however, that just like Ibiza, Mykonos has another side far removed from the sunset DJ sets.
This 33-square-mile island is home to beautiful beaches, stunning blue-green waters and white-washed villages. In terms of accommodation, there are some incredible villas in Mykonos that cater to families as well (including some Conde Nast favourites!).
If you’re looking to visit Greece with kids then Mykonos would make a great stop on your island itinerary.
If you’re interested in discovering other Greek islands with kids then this post details 10 things to do in Crete and in this post, one family shares why they love Crete for families. Take a look at this post for family-friendly hotels in Crete and this post for family-friendly villas in Crete.
Things to do in Mykonos
Mykonos Town (also known as Chora) is the place to stay if you’re keen to try out some of the island’s famed nightlife but if you’re visiting Mykonos with children then you’re better off staying in either Ornos or Platys Gialos.
Ornos beach sits in front of a small fishing village and is home to a diving school as well as schools for windsurfing. It’s the closest beach to the island capital, though, so can get crowded.
Platys Gialos is one of the island’s most popular beaches and there are plenty of hotels lining the beachfront.
Hit the beach
For a small island Mykonos has a lot of beaches and, as we all know, beaches and kids make for a happy family holiday.
There are some 25 beaches dotted along the coast, each with its own character. Some are party beaches, others are unofficial nude beaches but there are also some that are family-friendly.
The narrow sandy strip of Agios Ioannis, on Mykonos’ west coast, is a favourite local spot for watching the sun set and is also famous for being the setting for part of the Shirley Valentine movie. It’s rather narrow but much quieter than some of the other beaches on the island. Nearby is the small, sheltered Kapari beach that sees very few visitors.
Located a 4km drive south of Mykonos Town is Platys Gialos, which sees a mixed crowd. For families it offers calm waters and white sand. It’s also a great spot for water sports including kayaking, standup paddleboarding, wakeboarding and flyboarding.
Ornos beach, just 3.4km south of Mykonos Town, is busy but for good reason; the sheltered bay and shallow, calm waters are ideal for younger kids. There are some great seafood restaurants here too.
Nearby is Korfos beach, that is a bit more exposed but much less crowded.
For good snorkelling, head to Lia Beach, positioned 14km east of Mykonos Town. Because you’ll need rent a car to get here it’s much quieter than some of the other beaches. And finally there’s Platys Gialos Beach, one of the most popular beaches on the island.
Watch a movie under the stars
Set within a lush botanical garden filled with towering pine trees, cacti, fish ponds and a resident pelican named Petros is Cine Manto, an open air cinema that kids love.
There are two film showings daily at 9pm and 11pm, which might sounds a little late but hey, you’re on your holidays!
All movies are shown in their original version with Greek subtitles and there’s a good mix of films for families. There’s also a restaurant on site serving meals throughout the day.
Meet the Gods at Delos
One thing you must do when you visit Mykonos is visit the sacred island of Delos, the birthplace of the twins of Zeus and Leto, Apollo and Artemis.
Even if you have only a passing interest in Greek mythology this UNESCO World Heritage Site is a must. If you find the life of the Greek gods fascinating, then I highly recommend reading Circe, by Madeline Miller).
The small rocky island of Delos is used exclusively as an archaeological site and is one of the most important sites in Greece. In order to get the most out of a visit to Delos with kids you should really book a private family friendly guided tour, someone who can really bring the history, legends, Gods and Heroes to life. A tour will take you to the Temples of Apollo, the sanctuary of Artemis, and the Avenue of Lions.
Delos is located just 6 miles from Mykonos, about 30 minutes by boat.
See the windmills
The island’s most recognisable landmarks are the very Instagrammable windmills of Mykonos.
These windmills were built by the Venetians in the 16th century and used primarily to mill wheat and barley. There used to be 28 windmills dotted around the island but only 16 remain today, seven of which stand in a row on the western edge of Mykonos Town. Round in shape with a pointed roof and small windows, the whitewashed buildings have become a symbol of both Mykonos and the Cyclades. The Cyclades are the group of islands that southeast of the mainland in the Aegean Sea.
Not surprisingly, they are very popular but you should still definitely go and see them.
Wander the streets of Mykonos Town
Mykonos Town, or Chora, is an incredibly picturesque town all narrow whitewashed streets, colourful flowers and charming tavernas.
There are a handful of museums in town including the Archaeological Museum where the island’s history is revealed through figurines, pottery, jewellery and more dating back thousands of years. For kids’ with an interest in ships then the Aegean Maritime Museum is a good option and there’s also the Folk Museum.
On the western part of town is the Little Venice of Mykonos; a row of buildings directly on the sea’s edge that were built during the 16th and 17th century to facilitate the loading and unloading of goods by pirates. Arrr!
What have I missed? Please let me know your favourite things to do in Mykonos with kids in the comments below!