Last year when I was studying in London, I was really excited to tick off my travel bucket list, and I got pretty lucky with most of it. But I was still really bummed to not be able to make it to Greece which has been right at the top for very very long.
So this year when my parents suggested we spend our summer there, you’d be surprised to know that I was still bummed! Only because I’d always imagined Greece with friends, not my parents and brother. Thank god I came around and was proven wrong, because Greece is beautiful, amazing and fun enough to enjoy with any age group (hehe, love you mom and dad ♥)
Having said that, it was hard to shake off the occasional twinges of sadness every time I realised I wasn’t actually on a bachelorette/all-girls trip…but what’s stopping me from putting together the ultimate bachelorette guide to Mykonos? Nothing.
And let’s be honest, it obviously goes for honeymooning couples, single travellers and other families too. If you feel skeptical about my suggestions, will I have more credibility if I told you that there were at least a dozen hen parties/girls trips/ bachelorettes all around me? So if its good for them, it must be good for you too, right? Great. Because this is the only, and most comprehensive guide you’ll need.
When To Go
Mykonos isn’t exactly functional through the year as a tourist spot. The “season” as it’s known starts from May and goes on until September. Early may, (which is when I was there), is a little chilly and you can’t get into the sea/pool because the water is freeeezing. That was a real bummer. You’d also need something warm at night, so I’m really glad I packed my leather jacket in. Worse still, most clubs, bars and restaurants don’t open until a few weeks into the season.
So, the best time to go is from mid May to mid September. Winter brides, lucky you!
Where To Stay
Mykonos has two main aspects to it – the beaches and the port area, known popularly as Mykonos Town. So you decide where you stay based on your itinerary.
Stay on the beaches if : you want to lounge on the beach all day with a drink in one hand and a book in the other, don’t mind eating at the same few bars/restaurants everyday and want to alternate between sea and sand, this is your pick. Most beaches in Mykonos have sea facing resorts, but the beaches themselves are public.
Popular beaches are Ornos, Platis Gialos, Paradise, Super Paradise and Psarrou.
Stay in the town if: you’re looking to explore different parts of Mykonos. If you want to alternate your time between the quaint, charming lanes of Little Venice, and the beaches dotting this seaside town, then this is it for you.
What I did, and why I recommend it : The geography of Mykonos is similar to a small hill, that overlooks the township and beaches. The town centre itself is a small maze of quaint lanes, and winding alleys. These are filled with restaurants and shops open through the day, as well as many bars and clubs open till the morning. That’s exactly why we chose to stay a ten minute walk/five minute drive from the centre. After breakfast we’d head to the beaches and lounge around, come back in the evening and head to the Town to live it up at night. For your first trip to Mykonos, this would be the best thing to do because it allows you to get the best out of the town. Which brings me to the AMAZING place we stayed at. If you had to take just one recommendation from this post, let it be this.
Kouros Hotel and Suites has excellent location, and gorgeous interiors that stay true to the Cycladic whitewashed style but are still really contemporary. The restaurant is run by a highly acclaimed chef, and the breakfast was to die for. And the view of Mykonos, my god, the view.
And really really warm hospitality that made Taj and Oberoi hospitality feel mediocre. So just stay here, ok.
Where To Chill
From here on, assume that you’re staying at the port. Also assume that you have rented a car or a quad bike because that’s the easiest way to get around the island. There are only 35 cabs servicing the entire island so obviously, their time and rates come at a premium.
Talk to your hotel or head down to any of the rental agencies near your hotel (because there are many), and you’ll be set. Daily rates start at €45 for a Nissan Micra during the lean season, and can go up to €70 during peak season.
Now that your transport is sorted, its time to plan your itinerary. As first time visitors to the island, I’d recommend that you spend days at the beaches and night in the town. Greeks have the best kind of holiday schedules with late lunches, evening bar crawls, naps, very late dinners and drinks that end in dancing till dawn. While my ideal day would look just like that, travelling with family does come with limitations. Which is why we called it an early night on most days, around 3 am. Be warned, if you’re going to a beachside club like the (in)famous Cavo Paradiso, then the headlining DJ comes on only around 3:30 so it truly is early if you’re planning to turn in around then.
Since it was early on in the season, there wasn’t any waiting and crazy crowds, but if you’re visiting between June and August make sure you get reservations.
Beaches I loved : Psarrou • Ornos • Platis Gialos • Paradise • Super Paradise
Beaches I didn’t get a chance to visit / weren’t open for the season : Elia • Kalo Livadis • Panormos
(PS: At one end of the Platis Gialos Beach is a tiny shack where you can do every water sport, right from banana boat(ing) to flyboarding. I didn’t have the courage, but I’m hoping you’re braver than me and will give it a try! You can definitely trust Dmitris and his experienced team.)
Every evening, we would make our way back to the hotel, trying our best to adhere to the Greek (holiday) lifestyle. So at night we would venture to the town for dinner and drinks. The hub of all activity was the area in and around the windmills, known as Little Venice. Because Town is a pedestrian-only zone till 12 am midnight everyday, you can leave your car in one of the public or private parking lots. And yes ladies, Mykonos is really safe and women-friendly, so don’t worry about walking back to your car late at night/early dawn.
Bars and clubs we loved : Semeli • The Toy Room • Caprice Bar • Scarpa • Galleraki • Guzel (not open for the season in May, but highly recommended by locals) • Astra • My Mykonos (plays amazing Greek music – I’m a fan!)
Also check out : http://cavoparadiso.gr/ for schedules and tickets of the best DJs from the world over. (WHERE WAS KYGO WHEN I VISITED IN MAY?! ;;cry;;)
Where To Eat
If you’re a vegetarian like me, there are lots of really useful tips for you. If you’re a non-vegetarian like my brother and dad, you will still find this list really useful. Life is always a struggle when it comes to food abroad but more so when you’re in a seaside town that is filled with restaurants that specialise in seafood. And you don’t realise how dependant you are on Zomato and Food Talk until you’ve seen menus from four restaurants and are looking at the fifth one’s menu. In person. So I hope you love this list and don’t need to spend time figuring where to eat, because I’ve been there and done that.
(Look out for the numbers on the food images for corresponding restaurants)
1. Nammos Bar, Psarrou Beach : Not the best place for vegetarians, but this is one of the coolest and funnest bars in Mykonos so you must visit. Lots of bar eats and yummy snacks to keep you going through the day.
2. Konstantis, Ornos Beach : Great selection of pizzas, yum yum salads and fresh ingredients. Definitely try the Saganaki (fried feta cheese with honey) here!
3. Kuzinga, Ornos Beach : Limited selection for vegetarians, but their desserts
are insane. Best Tiramisu I’ve had in ages, just the perfect amount of bitterness and moistness and everything in between. The orange and grey decor is a stunning contrast against the turqoise Aegean. The music made sure I was shazaming the whole time I was there!
4. Pasaji, Ornos Beach : This Sushi bar was still under construction when I was there, but I ate at Pasaji, Athens and quite enjoyed it. It’s really difficult to go wrong with basic vegetarian sushi!
5. Tropicana, Paradise Beach : Most extensive menu from the ones I saw, even if it’s just souvlaki, sandwiches and a lone vegetarian burgers. Also, really really reasonable, a main costs less than €5 (for vegetarians).
6. Fato a Mano, Mykonos Town : Best pasta I’ve eaten outside of Milan and Florence. Handmade and subtly seasoned but with loads of flavour. Order the eponymously titled “Fato a Mano” pasta and dream about that meal for the rest of your life.
7. D’angleo, Mykonos Town : Loved their range of salads and I had a hard time making up my mind. I settled on a fig and goats cheese one, and was the happiest person in the world. The portions are HUGE though, and that goes for their starters, steaks and pastas as well.
8. Appaloosa, Mykonos Town: When you’re sick of all the pasta and mediterranean food, come here for some Indonesian, Mexican, and wait for it…Indian food. Probably also the only place where you can find jalapeños in a 100 km radius…
9. Mamalouka, Mykonos Town : Well known for mediterranean food and local cuisine, their ambience is really inviting with orange-bearing trees all around. Not much for vegetarians though.
10. Bougazi, Mykonos Town : Open pretty much 20 hours a day, its perfect for a snack if you’re in the mood for some really authentic and yummy crepes.
If you’re a seafood fan, I hear these places are great : Interni and Koursaros, both in Mykonos Town
Where (And What) To Shop
Enough of beating ’round the bush, lets get to business.
Mykonos is a shopping paradise, and I don’t understand why more hasn’t been spoken about it before. Whether it’s street shopping that you’re after, or high-end luxury brands, there’s something for every kind of shopper, every kind of taste.
I, for one, was elated when I saw all the *beauty* around me. I didn’t know where to start, and spent a lot of time figuring my way out in the winding maze that was these unnamed lanes. But like any fashionista worth her
stilettos sneakers, I sniffed out the best of the best, and have tried to list down landmarks to make it easier for you to find them too.
Entering from the Fabrika Bus Station side, near the windmills, you’ll find these stores as you go in further:
1. The Curiosity Shop : this is heaven for luxury vintage finds! I came across some rare (and very well preserved) Chanel, Hermés and YSL pieces, that vintage aficionados are sure to appreciate.
2. Kampanas : a trip to Greece warrants picking up (several) on-trend Greek sandals, obviously. So stop by at this store that has an exhaustive collection of sizes and designs. Wish I could’ve got one of each, but dad wasn’t too comfortable with fulfilling that wish.
3. Salt Boutique : kitschy scarves, clutches, tassels, pom poms and jute, that’s what this place is about.
4. Alchemist : for those who have thrive on the vibrant colour palette of blacks and whites
5. Athens Protasis : a whole range of beads, and not the kind you find at Lajapt Nagar and Marina Beach.
6. Beach House and T Bar : If you’re as crazy about the pineapple and patchwork and pop pom trend as I am, this place is for you. Their collection is what would happen if Accessorize was a greek beach brand.
7. Kalypso : A footwear and resort wear boutique, the stuff here is good quality, different from the stores around you, and realllllyyy comfortable.
8. El Pareo : The most versatile piece of resortwear, endorsed by none other than Shivan-Narresh can be yours if you visit this store. In case you had any doubts, I was referring to the Pareo, which can be draped around you in about 7 different styles.
Near the Mykonos Accomodation Centre, you’d find all the multi-brand stores for high end and luxury brands. The collections are definitely geared towards resort wear, which also makes it different from the stuff you’d see in the same stores at the city.
Entering from the main entrance to the Town area, come straight ahead, past the Hondos Centre (which is a departmental store that stocks the best of international and Greek beauty brands). Keep walking straight along the main street, and apart from street shopping havens, you’ll come across:
1. Pure and White Mykonos : An all-white store, native to the beachside style of Greek islands. If you want to be a Greek Goddess when you grow up, this is your first stop.
2. Amnesia : Gorgeous, (and super expensive) gold jewellery inspired by Greek motifs and designs
3. Cosset : One of the coolest finds in the town, this interiors store is where I’d like to source my furniture and accessories from when I set up my own little Greek villa (or tavern, yet to decide). Really unique stuff stuff that I’ve yet to come across elsewhere.
If you’ve made it all the way till the end, thank you! I enjoyed this trip so much, and have put my heart into this post to ensure that you can have more fun than I did at this little slice of white and blue heaven. A big big efcharisto to my amazing friend malaka Manolis, who helped me plan this trip and took out so much of his time to share his suggestions. You’re simply F(antastic)!
If you have any further questions about travelling to, from or within Mykonos, drop me a line and I’ll be more than happy to sort it out for you.
Love you too ♥