Mykonos is definitely the most glamorous of the Greek Cycladic islands. Located south east of Athens, its reputation for oiled up summer parties and beautiful tanned bodies is matched only by that of its incredible selection of breathtaking beaches.
Mykonos has two wonderful sides to it – the relaxation island (think the Greek’s answer to Capris) and the party island (the Ibiza of Greece). I’ve had two holidays here now, one of each, so I’m happy to say I feel like I’ve conquered both aspects! 5 years ago when I was in my early 20’s (ahh the twilight years) I visited Mykonos for 4 nights whilst on a Busabout tour and had an amazing trip with lots of party time and very little sleepy time. We stayed in a small, wooden cubby house-style hut on Paradise Beach, partied at Scandinavia Bar, Paradise Beach, Super Paradise and Paradise Club amongst others, whilst the days were spent recovering from our hangovers on Paradise Beach eating €2 gyros and waiting for the sun to go down to do it all again.
5 years on and with a very different holiday in mind, we set off to Mykonos with the aim to spend our days exploring the island’s many stunning beaches with crystal blue waters, try as many Greek restaurants and delicacies as possible, explore the whole island by scooter (we ended up with a quadbike as neither of us has a motorbike licence for a scooter), have some quality boat time and throw in some relaxing beach massages and shopping too! For all of this, Mykonos did not disappoint.
On our first night in Mykonos we managed to get stranded, twice. First our accommodation transfer driver stood us up, that’s fine, we’ll make our own way there. Then after spending over half an hour in the airport taxi queue, our cab made what the driver described in at least fifteen different phone conversations as a ‘BOOF’ sound and made us get out on the side of the road and wait for his friend to pick us up, in the dark.
Normally this sequence of events would really tug on my patience but nothing could get me down, it was the start of what was going to be an amazing holiday, the soft, humid air with that fresh island smell was just what I needed to be at total peace with the universe.
So we happily waited around and when we finally made it to our apartments we were met by the lovely manager who showed us around, offered us a ride into town and spat off a long list of very Greek names for places, beaches and restaurants we should visit. All I managed to scribble down in a hurry was ‘Kalafi’ and I’m still not entirely sure what that is, though there’s a high chance what I meant was ‘Kalafati’, which was this stunning beach where we just so happened to spend the whole next day…
After that it was pretty smooth sailing, literally (sorry, couldn’t help myself). Each day entailed waking up to this gorgeous view outside the window…
preparing breakfast and sipping our morning coffees on the balcony overlooking the Mediterranean sea and neighbouring islands of Dalos and Rheiss,
then jumping on our very err, ‘luxurious’ quadbike which we fondly nicknamed Ron Weasley, (a.k.a Ronnie or The Weeze) to head into Mykonos Town or Ornos for a mid-morning frappe and some exploring of the towns
before setting off to discover a new beach on the island to laze around on for the rest of the day. James and I had an unspoken agreement to visit every single beach in Mykonos, though we didn’t quite get there in the end as we found our perfect beach by Thursday and seriously considered never leaving.
The evenings were spent discovering different restaurants in all the regions of Mykonos. The town centre is pretty crazy with lots of narrow alleyways spilling out with masses of people, especially in August which is the busiest month and also during the annual gay festival, so we avoided going there two nights in a row to avoid testing our high holiday patience levels. We also spent a lot of time in the beautiful area of Ornos that was just near our apartment, which reminded us of Thailand with its beautiful beach restaurants and tables in the sand, softly lit by burning candles and fairy lights, with a backdrop of cheesy 90’s love songs setting the mood with the likes of Bryan Adams, Aerosmith and Boyz II Men busting out some classics.
We spent a day visiting one of the neighbouring islands called Delos, which is one of the most important mythological, historical and archaeological sites in Greece, birthplace of Greek gods Apollo and Artemis. Full of excavations, the island consists of a ticketing booth upon entry (€5 each), one café with €6 drinks, about 8 cats and the Archaeological Museum of Delos. Everything else on the island consisted of excavated ruins from previous eras, dating back to the 3rd millennium BC. 3rd millennium! That’s 2000-2999 BC. I can’t even begin to comprehend how old that is, so seeing things like pottery, art, jewellery and mosaics from this period was pretty extraordinary, let alone being able to climb through and explore the ruins of ancient civilisations as you pleased. It’s definitely worth a visit if you’re in the area. We got a 10:30am boat from Ornos Beach to Delos which costs €20 return and goes every Thursday only. You get 3 hours on Delos Island, which is more than enough to explore the ruins, visit the museum and get back to Mykonos before the sun becomes too much to bear.
On our last day we discovered that our flight was actually much later than we thought, so I got in touch with the apartment manager who invited us to spend the day by the pool at their other hotel in Mykonos Town, Andronikos Hotel, which is where his office was located. What he failed to mention was that this hotel is a luxurious paradise, with a beautiful swimming pool surrounded by tropical palms, dreamy white daybeds, stunning views and an amazing Michelin Star quality restaurant. I couldn’t have pictured a better way to finish off a perfect holiday.
All in all, the holiday was a total success. The people of Mykonos were just so hospitable, friendly and lovely that I could sing their praises ‘til the cows come home. One week in Mykonos gave us the perfect chance to totally unwind and fall into a state of complete zen and happiness. London is such a fast-paced, stressful, crazy city at times that spending a week like this is the equivalent of at least 6 months worth of quality therapy. Plus, all the adorable cats of Greece are always a bonus 😉 This little cutie on Ornos beach was my favourite…
Keep your eyes peeled for a one-pager summary on the best places to stay, eat, relax and play in Mykonos, to be posted soon!