Mykonos is known to be a flashy party destination, with yachts sailing in, beach and pool parties, big clubs and high prices all around. This is true and noticed when you walk into some of the ‘main’ streets in Mykonos town, and see some high fashion names about. This said, you can make it into any sort of holiday you want because there is variety about - you just need to look around.
We got to Mykonos in the last week of September, which for a group of girls who were simply pining for seafood, sun and sleep, this fitted perfectly. The season was just about wrapping up so the big clubs were a no-no but this didn’t mean a barren island, far from it. Instead, of the 40 taxis on the island, it was much easier for us to grab a couple when we needed them. In terms of travel though, bus is the way to go for day trips. To get to secluded beaches and corners on the island doesn’t take long because buses are mostly direct and pretty frequent, starting and finishing at either side of the town.
We stayed in Hotel Madalena near the old port and just a 7min walk down to the main town. As you drive through, you’ll notice that so many apartments look the same here - white washed stone buildings, blue shutters and doors, and beautiful pink Bourgainvillea flowers outside - so I would prioritise the proximity of your base to the nearest bus stop and length of walk into town as most are 3* and up and beautiful. As there are so many beaches to explore, we never hung around the pool but it was a ‘nice to have’ for sure. The hotel itself was ideal; very clean, looking out on to the Aegean sea and included breakfast for which if you were really nice, you could request eggs done your way.
Of the beaches, my favourite was Agios Sostis Beach on the north of the island. The beach itself is everything I love; a little cove, unspoilt, sandy and quiet. No fussing around a sun bed and umbrella, all you need is a book, a big bottle of water and a towel. Another massive plus to this heaven, is Kiki’s Tavern. Set towards the top of the cliff before getting to the beach, this is an original no-reservations, catch of the day, Greek sea view restaurant. Sitting under a bamboo thatched roof on an open terrace, with an outdoor coal grill cooking all the treats, you are in holiday-food paradise. You’re given a plate to fill with vibrant deli-style salads, a choice of grilled meats or fish (go for the fish!), and the obligatory home made mezze to start - you’re genuinely spoilt here for lunch. Get here early and be patient, they give you wine and water during your wait too, if that’s not great service I don’t know what is!
Eva’s Garden in Mykonos town is very romantic spot, with vines and fauna coming into the restaurant through the roof. Food here is the real homemade deal, run by two sons with their mother at the helm in the kitchen. The moussaka and seafood risotto were the types of dishes you could only wish you could make so well at home. Another favourite restaurant was Sea Satin Market which sits on the windmill side of town. It’s a little pricier but the pasta dishes are generous and easily shareable with a couple of sides. The clam linguine was perfect; simple, fresh ingredients and incredibly moreish.
Scorpios is one of the Pinterest worthy all-day-into-night hangouts at Paraga Beach. Sunbeds usually need to be booked and there are different scales of luxury, starting from €30. The setting has it’s own private part of Paraga beach, a huge open terrace, and impressive cocktails to keep you well-hydrated! You actually feel cool hanging out here; lying on a double, four-poster sun bed, with waiting service by boho chic waitresses and easy dance beats on in the background. There are two food menus; a shorter one for the sun worshippers and another for the restaurant. The restaurant food is delicious but as expected of a place like this, pretty pricey but you are also paying for a luxurious setting so keep that in mind when you're looking out onto the Deep Blue.
For bars, Mykonos town has many and many different types. Scarpa Bar had the sort of vibe we’d usually go for back home. Easy going, hipster-ish groups who just wanted a really good cocktail or beer with their friends. Skandinavian Bar was the place to start off a big night, a little cheesy with some free t-shirt giveaways but a fun and really happy vibe. Upstairs is Skandinavian Club, which if you don’t make it to the big clubs out of town, isn’t an awful second if you’re just wanting to stay out. Following from downstairs, the club is crowded but well controlled, with a mix of dance and easy hip hop and RnB. For the more elegant nights, Vinos is a wine bar that I fell in love with; the wine menu is entirely Greek, and the guys running it are brilliant at describing and suggesting wines sympathetic to the fact that Greek wines aren’t that well-known. Happy to ply you with more wine and more knowledge, I could easily have stayed there for hours.
Mykonos is beautiful, there is no doubt about that, and it’s a place I’d recommend for many even just for a long weekend. Whilst I want to go again in peak season to check out the clubs and see the full party vibe, a large part of me doesn’t want to let go of the calmness I experienced. Just shows, you can get the best of both in one place!