Mykonos: Picture Perfect But Pricey

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Little Venice, Mykonos
Little Venice, Mykonos
Home » Travel Blog » Holidays » Mykonos, Greece

Having enjoyed the Greek Cyclades Islands of Andros and Naxos, the last leg of my island-hopping adventure in the heart of the Aegean Sea was to be Mykonos – an island known for its attractive old town of Chora, pristine beaches, glamorous nightlife, and rich cultural heritage.

Sadly, I was only staying a couple of nights, so my experience was going to be short-lived, but let’s see what I was able to discover!

Geography

Known as the “Island of the Winds,” Mykonos boasts a diverse landscape characterised by rugged coastlines, golden sandy beaches, and rolling hills dotted with whitewashed buildings and blue-domed churches.

The island covers an area of approximately 85 square kilometres and is in the Cyclades group, southeast of mainland Greece. Its strategic position in the Aegean Sea has made it a hub for maritime trade and tourism.

History and Culture

Mykonos boasts a rich history that dates back thousands of years, with evidence of ancient settlements and civilizations found throughout the island. According to Greek mythology, Mykonos was named after its first ruler, Mykonos, the son of the god Apollo.

Over the centuries, the island has been inhabited by various civilizations, including the Minoans, the Greeks, the Romans, and the Byzantines, each leaving their mark on its culture and architecture. Today, Mykonos is renowned for its cosmopolitan atmosphere, attracting artists, celebrities, and travellers from around the world.

Chora Town

During my brief stay in Chora, the capital of Mykonos, I was keen to enjoy the towns charming ambience. The town’s incredibly pretty cobblestone alleys are adorned with boutique shops, quaint cafes, and inviting tavernas.

Whilst exploring these picturesque whitewashed streets is a pleasure, it’s worth noting that the establishments here tend to be pricey, so be prepared for some eye-watering bills when dining or shopping. Despite this, the allure of Chora’s bustling streets and lively atmosphere makes it a must-visit destination on the island.

Make your way towards the coastal side of town and you will come to the Little Venice district which is the most celebrated part of town. It is named due to the merchant sailors, who had come from Venice, and used to stop here to refresh and replenish their supplies.

Watching the sunset is a must in Mykonos and the place to do it I was told was from a bar cafe, or restaurant in Little Venice. Along with hundreds of tourists, I made my way there only to be told by a grumpy waiter at my first stop that I could not take a table without first agreeing to a minimum spend of 70 euros…. I moved along and sat on a wall and watched it for free.

Having had nothing but a friendly welcome in Naxos and Andros I was a little taken aback by this approach. As I moved along I started scanning these bars and it was clear this was a place to be seen with many locals and tourists flamboyantly sipping fancy cocktails or champagne. I have never been one for paying over the odds for a drink, especially when you can buy it in a supermarket up the road for a fraction of the price. As you can tell I was not keen!

When in Mykonos one of the signature landmarks is the iconic windmills. Back in the 16th century, the island of Mykonos was known for its production of grain and in particular wheat. With the island’s notorious windy weather, it soon became clear that the use of windmills would be ideal for supplying grain to not only the island but also to seafaring traders as this was an important shipping route.

There are many windmills on the island but the five, known as the ‘Kato Myloi’, are the most iconic in Mykonos Town. A short stroll up a slope from Little Venice will bring you to them. The ground around which they are located is a little scruffy but the views of Mykonos Town, the Aegean Sea and more than likely a cruise ship or two are spectacular.  

Cuisine

The culinary scene in Mykonos reflects the island’s rich cultural heritage and abundant natural resources. Local cuisine emphasises fresh, seasonal ingredients from land and sea, with dishes prepared using traditional cooking methods and recipes passed down through generations. Seafood plays a prominent role in Mykonian cuisine, with specialities such as grilled octopus, fried calamari, and lobster pasta.

Other popular dishes include… souvlaki (grilled skewered meat), moussaka (a layered dish with eggplant, minced meat, and béchamel sauce), and spanakopita (spinach pie). Meze, or small appetizer plates, are also a staple of Greek dining, featuring a variety of dips, salads, and grilled meats.

Sports and Recreation

Mykonos offers a range of outdoor activities and sports for visitors to enjoy. Water sports enthusiasts can indulge in activities such as windsurfing, kiteboarding, and jet skiing along the island’s pristine beaches. Scuba diving and snorkelling excursions provide opportunities to explore the vibrant underwater world of Mykonos, with crystal-clear waters teeming with marine life.

For those who prefer land-based activities, Mykonos boasts scenic hiking trails that wind through rugged landscapes and offer panoramic views of the Aegean Sea. Cycling tours and horseback riding adventures provide unique ways to explore the island’s natural beauty and charming villages.

Nightlife

Mykonos is renowned for its vibrant nightlife, with a plethora of bars, clubs, and beach parties that cater to every taste. The island comes alive after dark, with throbbing waterfront tavernas, chic cocktail bars, and open-air clubs pulsating with music and energy.

Many head to Little Venice for Sunset however as I mentioned, I was put off by bars on the front wanting a minimum spend of 70 euros plus they rather frowned at me when they saw I was on my own. I did however find the lovely Parthenis Cafe which is set back from the front but still in a delightful location. I met a couple of ladies on holiday who were great fun and who were planning to enjoy a few days in the town and on the nearby beaches. Just one for the road turned into three or was it four – who knows – it was a pleasant stop and the staff at Parthenis were friendly, fun and welcoming.

From sunset drinks at waterfront cafes to dancing until dawn at world-famous nightclubs, Mykonos offers endless opportunities for unforgettable nights out.

Top 20 Things to Do and Places to Visit In Mykonos:

  1. Delos: Just a short boat ride away from Mykonos lies the uninhabited island of Delos, an ancient archaeological site that is steeped in mythology and history. Discover the ruins of temples, theatres, and statues dating back to the 8th century BC.
  2. Ano Mera: Experience traditional Greek village life in Ano Mera, located in the centre of the island. Visit the historic Monastery of Panagia Tourliani and sample authentic Greek cuisine at local tavernas.
  3. Paradise Beach: Known for its lively atmosphere and crystal-clear waters, Paradise Beach is a hotspot for sunbathing, swimming, and water sports. Relax on the golden sands, sip cocktails at beach bars, and dance the night away at beach parties.
  4. Other stunning beaches of Mykonos, include Super Paradise Beach, and Psarou Beach, known for their crystal-clear waters and vibrant beach clubs.
  5. Archaeological Site of Mykonos: Explore the ruins of ancient Mykonos, including the Mycenaean Acropolis and the Roman-era amphitheatre, which offer insights into the island’s fascinating history.
  6. Visit the historic Panagia Paraportiani Church, a stunning example of Cycladic architecture, located in the heart of Mykonos Town.
  7. Sample delicious Greek cuisine at the traditional tavernas and seafood restaurants scattered throughout Mykonos, offering fresh seafood, meze dishes, and local specialities.
  8. Experience the vibrant nightlife of Mykonos at the island’s famous beach clubs, bars, and nightclubs, with world-renowned DJs and a lively party atmosphere.
  9. Take a scenic drive or hike to the Armenistis Lighthouse, located on the northern tip of Mykonos, for breathtaking views of the Aegean Sea and neighbouring islands.
  10. Explore the beautiful countryside of Mykonos, with its rolling hills, olive groves, and traditional Greek villages, such as Ano Mera, Marathi, and Ftelia.
  11. Visit the Mykonos Folklore Museum, housed in a traditional 18th-century Mykonian house, and learn about the island’s rich cultural heritage and customs.
  12. Relax and unwind at one of Mykonos’ luxury spas, offering a range of rejuvenating treatments, massages, and wellness programs.
  13. Go shopping in Mykonos Town, with its boutique shops, designer boutiques, and local craft stores, offering unique souvenirs, fashion, and artwork.
  14. Take a day trip to the nearby islands of Tinos, Paros, or Naxos, accessible by ferry from Mykonos Port, and explore their beautiful beaches, charming villages, and historic sites.
  15. Enjoy water sports activities such as windsurfing, kiteboarding, and jet skiing at the island’s many beaches, equipped with rental facilities and water sports centres
  16. Discover the hidden gems of Mykonos, such as the small churches and chapels scattered throughout the island, known for their beautiful frescoes and stunning views.
  17. Attend one of Mykonos’ many cultural events and festivals, such as the Mykonos Biennale, the International Music Festival, or the Mykonos Jazz Festival.
  18. Take a stroll along the picturesque waterfront of Little Venice, known for its charming cafes, bars, and restaurants overlooking the sea.
  19. Discover the fascinating history and culture of Mykonos at the Archaeological Museum of Mykonos, with its impressive collection of artefacts from ancient times.
  20. Immerse yourself in the natural beauty of Mykonos with a hike or bike ride through the island’s rugged terrain, exploring hidden coves, rocky cliffs, and scenic viewpoints.

Where To Stay in Mykonos

I stayed at the small luxury boutique, My Mykonos Hotel which is just a 10-minute walk downhill into the town of Mykonos.

The rooms were excellent and with fabulous views over Mykonos from up high on the hillside. The pool area was the standout feature due to its size and location, not to mention the space and availability of sunbeds.

Breakfast was also a delight with a wide choice of pastries, fruit, cereals and hot dishes, all served until 11 am. If you wanted an evening in the hotel then the restaurant was also available for dinner.

Just across the road is a handy supermarket and a few restaurants if you just fancy eating locally one evening.

Final Thoughts

With its stunning beaches, rich history, vibrant culture, and lively nightlife, Mykonos is one of the most loved destinations in the Aegean Sea.

My experience was brief and while I found the costs to be excessive, there is no denying that Chora is a picture postcard town. I heard that the beaches in the area were excellent so whilst I did not enjoy the island as much as I had on Naxos and Andros, I appreciate that I only caught a brief glimpse of what is a very popular destination for tourism. With that in mind I know there is more to Mykonos and hopefully one day I will get to return!

Till next time…

Contact Information

For more information on visiting Mykonos, contact your local travel agent or specialist tour operator or pop over to the Visit Greece website for more information.

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