I love Greece and have had the opportunity to visit many of the islands over the years and this year I had my 2nd trip to the wonderful Mykonos in September. I had just finished my final assignments for my Masters Degree and knew that a chilled out holiday would be needed and Mykonos to me is relaxing, warm and offers a good selection of restaurants.
The blue and white buildings and the winding streets bring a sense of calm. I know that Mykonos has become a party place but Mykonos town has that old style charm but still gives access to the party scene if needed.
The weather was still great during the day and the sun was shining so could sit out and relax but the pool and the cruise ships are still in and out of the harbour so the island was buzzing with people most days. There was a breeze at night but many of the restaurants had wind blocks so you could still sit outside and eat.
We stayed in the Carbonaki Boutique Hotel which was located in the centre of Mykonos town (http://carbonaki.gr/ ). It is a family ran hotel which has been open since the 1960s, it has a courtyard that surrounds the rooms with a small pool and terrace to catch the sun during the day. We used this area most days and generally was quiet, the pool wasn’t big enough to swim laps but perfect to cool down or sit in and read a good book. The hotel staff were friendly and on hand for anything you need. The rooms, although small were clean and well laid out with safe, fridge and air conditioning.
There are restaurants and shops as soon as you leave the hotel and it is in a 5 minute walking distance for the harbour, little Venice and the Windmills but the streets are narrow and not signposted so I used shops and restaurants (or google maps) as guidance to get around. Getting around can be confusing with the winding streets but I was in Mykonos to relax and not time keeping so getting lost for me was part of the experience and the town isn’t big enough to find yourself wandering for hours without getting to your destination to be honest.
One of the most popular sights that seems to be a real tourist draw are the 5 Windmills that sit on the hill over looking the harbour of Alefkandra and little Venice. The Windmills seemed to be going through a bit of restoration this summer but you can still wander around them and get some beautiful photos throughout the day and seems to be the place to catch the stunning sunsets each evening. A lot of the harbour side bars offer seats with views of the sunset but drinks are at a premium price.
Another spot to catch the sunsets is the 180 degree bar ( http://mykonoscastle.eu/ ), it is situated over looking the town , set out on the sight of the Panigirakis castle. It offers lounge chairs, sofa seating, chill out music and drinks in a picturesque setting with panoramic views of the town and is tailored to show off the breathtaking sunsets. It is a bit of a walk up the hill but there is a car park if you are driving and the enchanting setting is worth the trek and walking is good exercise after a day of lounging by the pool!
I felt that watching the sunset was as stunning here as it was in Santorini but judge for yourself on a visit to both- the Santorini post gives information on getting from Mykonos via ferry.
Back to the stay in Mykonos and there are some amazing places to eat whilst in Mykonos town and here are a few of the places I tried and would recommend, I’m not into giving negative reviews so if I didn’t list it I either didn’t try it or didn’t rate it at the time I was there. Saying that everyone knows that restaurants can have an off night so check the reviews and see the place for yourself and judge the vibe of the place when you are visiting The island.
A place that I have enjoyed on both visits is the Marco Polo Taverna ( https://www.tripadvisor.co.uk/Restaurant_Review-g189430-d2166088-Reviews-Marco_Polo-Mykonos_Cyclades_South_Aegean.html ). Not only did I enjoy the food and the service from this family ran restaurant but it is slightly set back from the street so the outside area is fantastic for sitting and relaxing. It seems popular with tourists and locals and you’ll find a queue for tables most nights but you never feel rushed and the staff seem to take it all in their stride. I’d recommend the baked feta with honey and sesame seeds and the Chicken souvlaki.
D’Angelos Italian in Niohori Square ( which is between the windmills and the bus station ) is another place that was visited on both visits to Mykonos and offers a varied menu of fresh pizza, pasta, salads and meats. It offers a great atmosphere, friendly and attentive staff and gorgeous food. There is covered seating for the cooler nights and the outside area for the warmer evenings or lunches in the sun. It is reasonable in price and the restaurant was recommended by the staff at our hotel on our first visit and we made a point of going back. Be sure to consider it on your visit and let me know how you found it, I’ve heard people say it’s better than pasta in Italy but I wouldn’t want to comment - worth judging for yourself and making your own opinion. (https://www.tripadvisor.co.uk/Restaurant_Review-g662620-d3585051-Reviews-D_Angelo_Mykonos-Mykonos_Town_Mykonos_Cyclades_South_Aegean.html ).
Breakfast for me was always best enjoyed in the old port with views of the cruise ships coming in, the fishing boats and the fruit and vegetable sellers all gathering around the harbour. You can take your pick of any of the restaurants and get a good breakfast to start the day. Raya Restaurant served a decent breakfast and the coffee was decent as well as views across the harbour and friendly staff that let you sit and watch the world go by without rushing you.
As your close to the harbours when staying in Mykonos town access to boat trips is so easy and the island of Delos is only 30 minutes by boat and costs around €50 for the ferry, entrance fee and guided tour if you wish to or you can explore without the guide if history is not your thing but still wish to look around the site.
Delos is an archaeological site and said to be the mythological birthplace of Apollo, and an important religious hub and work is still undertaken on the island to restore history and allow the stories of the past to be told. The island's ruins show the past with Doric temples, markets, an amphitheater, houses with mosaics and the iconic Lions statues. A great place for photography and to walk surrounded by history. ( For more on Delos check out - http://www.visitgreece.gr/en/culture/world_heritage_sites/delos )
My advice for Delos is pick a day with a breeze as there is little shade or shelter and I was not prepared for it..... pack water, a cap, sunscreen and avoid the hottest part of the day...none of which I was sensible enough to do!
As with all of my posts I would love to hear your experiences of places and suggestions of places to visit, I am aiming to get around as many of the Greek islands as possible and last year also got to visit Corfu and will share that experience with you in the coming months. Suggestions of other islands to add to my never ending travel list are always welcome.
Nick - TheThoughful Traveller
Sundry at the sight of the windmills near little Venice - be warned it can get busy