Sunday, July 2, 2017

Travel Guide: Mykonos, Greece

Visiting Mykonos, Greece

Where to begin with Mykonos...

I just LOVE this island! It easily sits in my "top 3 destinations I would revisit in a heartbeat"category.

This is such a picturesque, stylish and upscale island - it really has its own personality.





The artist in me was completely inspired by the decor, ambience and general vibe of this destination. These are the things that made me fall in love with it. I also loved that we could drive ourselves around and explore at our leisure. Having a car or atv here is the best way to see the most on this island.


Don't believe everything you've heard


Before visiting, I was warned that Mykonos is a "windy" island for people who like to "party." I was told I wouldn't like it and it wasn't the best destination for couples. I was also told it would be too windy to enjoy the beach much.


I wanted to write this piece to clarify that Mykonos has something for everyone. If you do your research, I'm sure you will fall in love with it just like I did.

While Mykonos does have crazy parties (and buses that will take you to them at midnight, bringing you back at 7am)...it also has family friendly beaches, amazing restaurants and lots of character.

Here's what I learned about Mykonos...

You will find what you are looking for

If you are looking to let loose and go to a crazy beach party, you can do that easily. If you're looking to relax and eat authentic food - you can do that too.


The winds can be strong here but if you ask a local to guide you, they can point out which beaches you should visit according to the specific weather that day. We visited in September and had no experience with the "winds of Mykonos" whatsoever.


Certain beaches are in coves and are protected from the winds. The island is small, so my advice is to check the weather and ask a local where to go. Plan your day according to the forecast and you will get some incredible beach time. On the other hand, if you love water sports, you can seek out a beach where you can capitalize on the winds and waves.

Some Interesting Facts about Mykonos:
  • expensive 
  • great food scene
  • big beach party scene
  • picturesque town
  • gay-friendly
  • winds can be strong
  • the government requires all the buildings on the island to be painted white and to be square with rounded edges
  • Once you choose the colour of your window frames, they must be painted the same colour each year to maintain the beautiful "Mykonos look"

Where to Stay

I highly recommend the Hotel Andronikos in Mykonos Town. It's about a 5-10 minute drive from the main centre and personally, I liked that it was away from the clubs and noise of the city's hub. The hotel provides a shuttle into the main square throughout the day and evening so getting there wasn't a problem.









The room we stayed in had a little terrace perfect for sunbathing
Comfortable, clean and stylish room 
 


Rooftop Bar

Little details



In Greece - you have to try the Greek Yogurt with local honey and nuts. Breakfast and Mimosas were included with our stay

There's a few things that sold me on this hotel - the look and the atmosphere. This is your quintessential Greek paradise with a beautiful pool, a rooftop bar with a spectacular view and that classic white stone look.


When I got there however, as beautiful as it was, it was the service that blew me away. This hotel experience was by far one of the best I've ever had in my life and the staff had a lot to do with that.

From the front desk staff, to the concierge, to the wait staff and bartenders - everyone knew us by name. The staff here is genuinely kind and ready to help you with anything you may need. I think it made such a difference especially on an island that is know for it's chic and posh vibe, the warm welcome we got at Hotel Andronikos made this the most memorable trip. I'd highly recommend staying here and wouldn't think twice about staying here again myself.


Where to Eat

Avra

It means "garden" and this is truly an indoor botanical paradise. The restaurant is covered with pink bougainvillea and the sight and smell is intoxicating!




This would be a great place for lunch so you can get the full visual effect. I went for dinner and was in awe of the ambience. I can't believe how beautiful this must be in daylight! The food here is also delicious. This is a hot spot so make sure you make a reservation. 

Nice n Easy

This casual patio bar/restaurant is in the perfect location to watch the sunset with a view of Little Venice on one side and the Windmills on the other. The food was so fresh and delicious! It's all local and organic too.




Katerina's Bar

This is the perfect place for an incredibly authentic Italian meal while you stare at the windmills over the water. Look into the water when you dine here - you'll see sea urchins!


Alemagou

A beach bar with a Boho vibe- this is a relaxed and fun place to dine. Make a day of it and spend some time at their beach front too.

Where to Drink

Bill and Coo

This hotel has a gorgeous rooftop bar with an infinity pool full of lights that twinkle like stars. Having a drink here is expensive but well worth it for the experience.



Sky Bar at Hotel Andronikos

A much more reasonably priced rooftop bar with a beautiful sunset view. This is a lounge style bar; the perfect place to sip and stare at the horizon.



Things to do

There's so much to do in Mykonos, I'd recommend 3-4 days to really enjoy it. Rent a car and drive around the island, visiting the various beaches. 



Check out the local bars for great patios and ambience. Eat some delicious food and wander the alleyways of Mykonos town. Don't forget to catch some epic sunsets from picturesque Little Venice, or the historic Wind Mills.

Below, I've listed some of my favourite spots.

Beaches

I would go so far as to say that the beaches of Mykonos are the best beaches I've ever experienced in Europe so far. They are covered in soft, white sand and the water of the Mediterranean is warm, clear and calm. It literally feels like you're in a bathtub.

Beach time is high priority for me while on vacation so this is one of the major draws for me. The beach you choose will depend on what you're looking to experience, but as I said before, there is something for everyone.

Kalafati Beach

This beach has a very relaxed vibe. There are plenty of sunbeds and umbrellas to rent. Mykonos is an expensive island but this beach is very reasonably priced. If you have a family and are looking for a place to spend the day, Kalafati would be a good fit for you. It has a lovely view of hills and a few white buildings. Soft sand and lots of water-sports. ($)






Agios Sostis Beach

This is a wild beach that you can get to after a bit of a hike. The water is so clear you can see to the bottom and watch the little fish dart around. This beach is a tiny hidden gem, amid the rocky hills of the island.



One of the cat's at Kiki's, enjoying a siesta

At the top, is Kiki's Tavern - a wildly famous restaurant that cooks only over a wood-burning fire. They have no electricity here and everything is made using traditional methods. If you decide to go, expect to wait around 2 hours - they don't take reservations.



 The food is fresh, local and delicious and it doesn't hurt that the wine is on the house while you wait. One person from your party can hold your place in line while the rest of you walk down to the beach for a quick dip.

Kalo Livadi Beach 

A luxurious man-made beach with sugar-white sand set against hills with tiny white houses. You really feel like you are in Greece at this beach. It's quaint and quiet but you will see some families here too. It's a great place to relax and enjoy time in the water. You can also rent sunbeds and umbrellas here. ($$)



Panormos Beach

This was my favourite beach in Mykonos. White powdery sand and an upscale beach club. This beach attracts a 30-40 year old crowd who like good music, atmosphere and time in the water. I loved hanging out here and could've stayed all day.








You can rent umbrellas and sunbeds, or sit towards the back in a cabana and order some food. Reservations are recommended if you plan to spend the day. The dj was incredibly talented and at times would even pick up a guitar and play along with the tracks he was spinning. If you're visiting Mykonos, I'd highly recommend you check out this beach.

Paradise Beach

This beach has a big party scene. If you're visiting for a girl's trip or Bachelor/Bachelorette Party, this may be the beach for you. I did not visit but there are some great beach bars here like Scorpio's, Tasos and Kalhua.

Super Paradise Beach

I did not get a chance to visit but I've heard this is a very stylish beach with a big party scene.

Mykonos Town

Mykonos Town is the area that you've certainly seen in pictures with little white homes, with windows and doorjambs painted in bright blues and reds. Seeing the cobblestones alleyways in real life feels like you are walking into a painting. It is just so beautiful!









Take some time to wander this area during the day and at night for a completely different feel. There are great restaurants here and some lovely bars. At night, you can wander from disco to disco and just listen to the different types of music: hip-hop, top 40 to the Greek top ten. My husband and I really enjoyed just wandering the pathways and listening to the different types of music as we walked.


Mykonos Town is also a great place to do a little shopping.You will find lovely jewellery stores, bathing suits, honey and olive oil. Everything is expensive here so if you are stopping first in Athens, I'd suggest doing more of your shopping there in Monostriaki. You can find more Athens tips here.

Little Venice

This is a cute strip of bars and restaurants right on the edge of town. It's an amazing place to sit and watch the waves with a cocktail. This strip is always alive with pulsating music at all hours of the night.




Walking around in Mykonos, you will quickly lose track of what time it is- since it's always bustling and full of life.




Wind Mills


The historic Wind Mills are one of the icons of this island. The famous ones (there are seven), sit on a hill in the "Chora" or town. Many of these windmills were built by the Venetians in the 16th century.


They are magnificent and look even more stunning in the light of the setting sun. Wander over here to take some pictures, then head back to Little Venice to watch the sunset.


ATVs

The best way to see this island, in my opinion, is on an ATV. We rented one for two days and used it to see as much of the island as we could. It was easy to drive and an experience that we will always remember about our time there. If you're not into an ATV, I'd suggest renting a car so that you can do a little beach hopping.



Thoughts on Mykonos

Mykonos has a reputation for being a party island but I found it was so much more than that. There was history, architecture, beaches and an overall indescribable vibe. This is a stylish and trendy location but the people were so friendly that I didn't feel put off by the high-roller lifestyle.


Since everything is so accessible, I'd recommend the island for someone on a Babymoon or on a family vacation too. It's easy to get around and the main sights are close to one another, leaving a lot of time to hang out at the beach. I can't wait for the chance to visit this beautiful island again in the future.

Have you been to Mykonos? I'd love to hear your travel tips in the comments below.

1 comment:

  1. You've had a beautiful holiday! Thank you for sharing your pictures and stories. I'm in love with Greek islands too, Santorini and Mykonos are my top favourites. And I'm going to move there next year thanks to their quite affordable residence permits (https://tranio.com/greece/residence/ it's the cheapest in Europe!) It's going to be a dream come true. I'll never be tired of watchng the sunset and walking around the beach

    ReplyDelete