TRAVEL GUIDE TO MYKONOS by Oktavia C.
Oktavia C. is an Urban Explorer, Fellow Foodie and Art Aficionado and loves exploring new places and revisiting old favorites alike. There's something to be said about returning to a place you love and there are places that will always remain 'iconic' travel destinations - for a reason. That's how she feels about the timeless island of Mykonos. Read on for her insider's guide to this amazing island!
I fell in love with Mykonos by in large thanks to my half Greek husband who has been returning to the island every summer for the last 39 years, a tradition he inherited from his father and grandfather both of whom frequented the local tavernas and dance floors throughout their own lives. Somehow each year, he manages to convince me that there is "no other place like Mykonos" and after spending many summers exploring this mystical island, I have to agree there really isn't. As we get closer to the summer months, I start to crave driving down the dusty, narrow roads at sunset after a long day spent on the beach, with the windows rolled down and the local radio station pumping out deep house tunes that manage to blend with the time of day as the sky turns to dusk, in anticipation of what's to come.
What I love most about Mykonos is that despite the crowds that beat down on the island during peak season (best to avoid the rush in July and August months), you can still find complete silence and relaxation and feel like you are the only ones there with off-the-beaten-track beaches, tavernas and scenic drives.
The best times to visit are June or September. Skip August when the crowds descend onto the island and you can't find a table or parking anywhere.
The island is notorious for having only 30 taxis servicing the whole of the island so needless to say, booking a car, quad or driver is essential.
Over the last few years, the Greek police have been cracking down on American license holders (which are not considered valid in Europe) so if you don't hold an international driving permit - drive carefully or have a friend do the driving.
Bring cash and check receipts twice, restaurants only print these in Greek to deceive tourists (no, I did not order five San Pellegrinos).
Where to stay
Rent a villa with friends from the many many places on the island, such as the pristine White Rock Villas or Myconian Villa Collection (splurge) or relaxing Eliades Villas (save). There's also a multitude of wonderful Airbnbs available - book early!
Santa Marina Resort & Villas (best for families)
Rochari or Little Rochari (convenient and in Mykonos town)
Rocabella Mykonos (get away from the crowds)
Bill & Coo Suites and Lounge (with that special someone)
San Giorgio Mykonos (for the ultimate boho vibes - now with special perks for Soho House members)
Santa Marina (for the ultimate luxe retreat)
A personal favorite: grab a spanakopita and frappe or (very strong!) espresso from one of the many local bakeries
Alemagou: My personal favorite which attracts a more chilled, laid back crowd. Best for a late lunch and sundowner drink or spend the day lazing around drinking rose.
Principote de Mykonos: Situated on one of the biggest stretches of beach in Mykonos, Principote's elegance does not disappoint.
Liasti Beach Resort: Best 'hidden' gem on the island, full of locals and a wonderful taverna that serves fresh seafood all day.
Saint Anna: Spend the day lounging on comfy beds and grab lunch at Spilia nestled on a natural platform on the rocks.
Fokos Beach: No beds, no people, no fuss.
Where to eat
Escape the stereotypes of Mykonos and grab lunch at Vioma Organic Farm, a small scale farm and an organic vineyard.
Scorpios: Book for an early dinner and watch the sunset after which the place turns into a mad party every night of the week.
The legendary bar and restaurant Remezzo still holds its own for dinner with friends as a Mykonos staple.
Nesaea at Agia Anna Beach, Kalafati is one of the best meals I've had on the island - come for either lunch or a chilled dinner.
Avra: Take a break from the chaos of Mykonos Town in this low key courtyard set Greek restaurant and enjoy the secret garden feels.
Mr Pug: Enjoy a relaxed meal from the award-winning chef Yiorgos Venieris serving South Asian inspired cuisine.
Head to Fokos Taverna for some of the best fish on the island.
For first timers, grab a mandatory drink at sunset at Caprice, but GO EARLY to snag a table.
Niko's Taverna, one of the oldest restaurants on the island, serves incredibly fresh seafood.
Try Ling Ling from Hakkasan for a sexy meal before a night out.
Matsuhisa: Perfect for date night sushi located at the Belvedere Hotel.
Astra: The ultimate place to dance the night away, this lounge/bar has been at the apex of the nightlife scene of Mykonos for years.
Fun things to do
Take a day trip to the archeological site situated on the island of Delos - the mythological birthplace of Apollo. Ferries run daily from Mykonos town.
Rent a quad bike and explore the deserted parts of the island, home to abandoned establishments of the now inoperative mines of Mykonos.
Explore the island's remote beaches by renting a boat for the day and sailing around.
Watch the sunset at the now derelict Armenistis lighthouse. A beautiful experience.
Safe travels, ICBRKRs!
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