Originally published May 23, 2014
Mykonos has a reputation:
Mykonos is the great glamour island of the Cyclades and happily flaunts its sizzling style and reputation. The high-season mix of good-time holidaymakers, cruise-ship crowds which can reach 15,000 a day, and posturing fashionistas throngs through Mykonos town, a traditional Cycladic maze, delighting in its authentic cubist charms and its pricey cafe-bar-shopping scene. Read more.
Mykonos has a big boy harbor. We have to use the new port which is near where the cruise ships and big ferries dock. The big plus is that we have a market right across the Main Street where we can re-supply with beer and ice. It is a mile and a half into town but there is a bus stop near us for 1.60€ each.
The bus drops us off at the old port which still puts us about 1/4 mile away from the main town. I must admit, the town feels touristy, especially the shops and taverns facing the harbor. The description above calling out the maze in old town is apropos -- it is fun to get lost in it! We find a nice Italian restaurant with great pizza, calzone, and salads. We wanted to find some nightlife after that but settled for a pleasant outdoor bar where we have some drinks before walking back. Ah, walking back... 1.5 miles along a harbor-side cliff with no sidewalk -- fun!
When we return to the boat, Vassilis broke the news that there was no way for us to sail ourselves to Delos. This means another day in Mykonos and 17€ ferry tickets.
It is Monday, July 1 and Julie and I walk into town early and find the fabled pelicans of Mykonos! We also enjoy a coffee and crepe breakfast.
Now it is time for adventure. We rent four quads to allow us to easily explore the small island and the beaches on the south coast. We start with a break at the town of Ano Mera to see the Panaga Tourliani monastery. It is common to have strict dress codes for places of worship in Europe but not so here.
From there we visit Kala Livadi and Elia beaches, which are nice but we are more interested in the main tourist beach at Paradise. We stop back in Ano Mera on our way back for lunch, and the tavernas fight for our business!
We settle on the Fisherman taverna and we are not disappointed! Very unique gyros there -- double pitas (like a panini) with their special sauce. We finish our ATV adventure with a 2-3 hour stay at Paradise beach.
This was a very relaxing stop. Laying out in the sun, playing with a ball in the water. We paid for it though - chair plus chair plus umbrella = 12 €.
We had planned to take Vassilis out for a birthday dinner but he surprised us by cooking a late second lunch and a full dinner. The highlight was an eggplant salad. After dinner we strolled down the harbor for a drink and share some Cuban cigars while we walked.
The next day, Tuesday, is our Delos adventure. Our first move is to drive the ladies and Matthew into town on the quads, then double back to drop them off at the rental spot. We convince the driver to take us all the way back into town and meet up with the others who purchased the ferry tickets. We wander the town maze for a bit looking for lunch we can carry with us and score some cheese and ham/cheese sandwiches.
We find our guide Amaryllis by the ferry, and we can tell right away that she will be a great guide. The trip to Delos is about 30 minutes.
We stay in the island from 10:30 to 15:00 and we were engaged every minute. This island is the true archeological and historical treasure of the Cyclades. We most enjoyed the tile mosaics and hiking to the top of Mt Kythnos.
We explore the sanctuary of Zeus then wandered into the museum to see the original Delos lion sculptures.
The Terrace of the Lions also dedicated to Apollo by the people of Naxos shortly before 600 BC, had originally nine to twelve squatting, snarling marble guardian lions along the Sacred Way; one is inserted over the main gate to the Venetian Arsenal. The lions create a monumental avenue comparable to Egyptian avenues of sphinxes. (There is a Greek sphinx in the Delos Museum.) Today only seven of the original lions remain.
We paid our guide 230€ and think it was worth every penny. I advise other travelers to seek our quality guides like Amaryllis when exploring such a world treasure. I've had similar experiences in Jerusalem, China, and now Greece and have never regretted the choice.
After returning to Mykonos we hastily provision before setting sail for Rineia. We should have taken more time to get some veggies and water. And more beer.
This article is part of my sailing in Greece series. You can find all articles here.