A cat catches an early afternoon snooze on a giant butternut squash displayed on a table outside a house in Stenies village on Andros. We saw the cute kitty cozying up to the giant gourd while we were hiking around the Stenies area during our Andros visit in late May.
This video, “Mykonos: The ‘Crisis-Free Island,” was posted online this week by Bloomberg Business. It explains why the champagne keeps flowing in Mykonos while the rest of Greece reels from its ongoing economic woes.
Corks keep popping: Much like the bunny in the television commercials for the Energizer® brand of batteries, the Mykonos party scene just keeps going and going, fuelled in large part by a seemingly unquenchable thirst for champagne by travellers who have money to burn.
Last summer, I published a post describing how champagne was the summer’s top drink on Mykonos. Fast forward to this month, and Mykonos visitors still have an insatiable demand for the fine bubbly beverage — and that has been making headlines in international media.
The Bloomberg piece was written by Tom Mackenzie, who travelled to Mykonos earlier this month after spending six days in Athens. Noting that the island’s bars, clubs and restaurants were busy, Mackenzie said Mykonos “could be another country, divorced from the nation’s economic woes. Mykonos is not about austerity. The hotels are among the most expensive in Europe, and a good night is measured in empty champagne bottles, stacked in piles. One three-liter bottle of Armand De Brignac champagne can set you back 12,000 euros (U.S. $13,500).”
Some of those bottles are practically flying off the shelves at Nammos, the premier beach bar and restaurant on Mykonos. Mackenzie interviewed the Nammos manager, who said “he sells 300 to 400 bottles of champagne” on an average night, “much of it shipped out to the yachts that line the harbor.”
Although the Bloomberg article got wide attention when it was picked up and shared by news services around the globe, it was basically paraphrasing an observation that I made at the beginning of May when I reported on dozens of new businesses that have opened on Mykonos this year. Mackenzie’s comment that “Mykonos “could be another country, divorced from the nation’s economic woes,” seems to be simply an abbreviated version of my statement that “While Greece shudders through its sixth straight year of devastating economic turbulence, Mykonos appears to be in a different world altogether, virtually unscathed from the recession that has ravaged the rest of the country.” Indeed, as I pointed out in my what’s new on Mykonos post, many regular visitors to the island will probably be asking themselves “Crisis? What Crisis?” when they arrive this summer to see all the new and freshly-renovated bars, clubs, hotels, restaurants and shops.
Top international brands flocking to Mykonos
Internationally-renowned retail chains, restaurants and nightclubs — most of which cater to an affluent clientele — have been scooping up all available rental space on the island in a bid to cash in on the big-spending jet-set travellers who have been vacationing on Mykonos during the last several years. The top-flight brands opening on Mykonos this season include Victoria’s Secret, Lapin House, Le Concept Avant-Garde, Six Senses Spa, Buddha-Bar, Hakkasan, and the chic London nightspots Bonbonniere, Project and Toy Room. They have been joined by four new hotels, two new upscale beach clubs, plus at least a dozen new restaurants and wine bars, with more reportedly on the way.
And it isn’t even high season for tourism yet — the peak months for travel to Mykonos are July and August.
Heaps of empty champagne bottles at the beaches
With so much champagne flowing already, the heaps of empty bottles collecting behind some of the Mykonos beach clubs could be enormous by summer’s end.
Below are photos I found on social media this week, showing some of the top places to enjoy champagne on Mykonos. Those are followed by a video which illustrates why champagne is so popular at Paradise, the island’s most famous party beach.
To see a listing of beach and club parties along with the dates that international DJs will be appearing on Mykonos this summer, click here to read my regularly-updated post about entertainment and cultural events taking place on the island in 2015.
A reveller poses on a pile of empty champagne bottles at Pinky Beach Mykonos at Super Paradise beach
Bill & Coo Suites & Lounge is a swank boutique hotel with an award-winning and critically-acclaimed restaurant considered to be among the best in Greece. Bill & Coo shared this photo on Facebook with the caption: “It’s champagne o’clock.”
With a prime location overlooking Mykonos Town and its harbourfront, Remezzo Mykonos is a swish restaurant and bar complex offering fine Greek dining, a cocktail bar and a trendy lounge with a DJ. Remezzo posted this photo on Facebook page with the caption: “Start Friday with a smile and finish it with champagne.”
One of the popular new restaurants on Mykonos this year is Cayenne, located near the New Port at Tourlos. It serves Mediterranean cuisine, pizza, burgers and cocktails in chic premises that include a spacious open-air terrace with panoramic port, sea and sunset views. Cayenne posts frequently on social media, and champagne often figures prominently in its photos.
Güzel Stage Club at the MykonosTown harbourside is one of the island’s hottest nightclubs, and its clients love to party with champagne. Güzel shared this photo on Facebook with the caption: “Party hardy… and enjoy champagne!!! You should be in that kind of #mood…”
Skandinavian Bar is a Mykonos icon, legendary around the globe as one of the island’s best places to party. It shared this photo on its Facebook page along with the caption: “Are you gonna drink me tonight or what?”
Guapaloca at Paradise beach is famous for its toga parties, nightly body painting bashes, and its daily Twerk It! Bitch beach parties. But many of its guests enjoy sipping champagne on the beach while watching luxury yachts come and go from Paradise Bay.
Members of the Pinky Beach Mykonos team display the Armand de Brignac champagne they’re about to serve to customers relaxing on the club’s chic sunbeds at Super Paradise beach
Kalua is the top place to party at Paraga beach. It shared this photo on Facebook with the caption: “Preparing the area for an outstanding party!!!
Buckets of champagne for one of the daily parties at Tropicana Club
Revellers raise champagne “bombs” above their heads while partying in the exclusive Toy Room Mykonos nightclub at Little Venice
Another Güzel Stage Club photo from Facebook. The caption: “Was there a better sound in the world than a champagne cork popping? Hell, no…”
Tropicana Club at Paradise beach is notorious for its champagne parties. This photo of a group of guys enjoying one of the Tropicana parties was posted on Facebook by Manuel Tolleni.
A huge heap of empty champagne bottles at Tropicana Club is seen in this photo shared on Facebook by Lee Kyhe Hong
This panoramic view of Ornos beach and bay on Mykonos was shared on the Facebook page for Mpalothies, a traditional Greek restaurant located in the Ornos resort area just a short walk from the beach
Ornos is one of the top beach resorts on Mykonos, offering a wide range of accommodations and restaurants to suit every budget and lifetyle. Ornos is particularly popular with families not only for its gorgeous golden sand beach, but because it doesn’t have a wild and raunchy party scene like Paradise and Super Paradise. It’s also a convenient place to stay — or visit for the day — since Ornos is only a short drive or bus ride from Mykonos Town.
This year I have noticed a tremendous amount of interest in Ornos; in fact, I have fielded more requests for information about it in recent months than I have for any other beach area on Mykonos. Besides restaurant and hotel inquiries, there’s another recurring question many people have asked: “Is Ornos a scenic beach?”
I usually let them judge for themselves by inviting them to view my photos on Flickr — my Ornos and Ornos beach album from 2013, and my Ornos beach 2011 photoset. But thanks to Mpalothies, a traditional Greek eatery at Ornos, I can now refer people to the excellent panoramic photo shown above, which the restaurant recently shared on Facebook. The photo offers a wide-angled view of the entire beach and bay area, something I didn’t manage to capture in any of my own pictures.
If you’re viewing my blog on a desktop computer, click on the photo to see a full-size version of the beach pic.
Filipe Samora captured breathtaking Santorini sights in this spellbinding film posted on Vimeo. I loved watching the video and am sharing it here so you can enjoy the exhilarating images of this incomparably beautiful Greek island.
Three curious cats watch as we approach them in a lane in Andros Town
During our visit to Andros at the end of May, we usually had most of Andros Town all to ourselves while walking around — we saw only a small number of residents and even fewer tourists whenever we were out and about. Although the town’s main commercial street was bustling with people each morning and again in the evening at dinner time, it was a different story off the main strip, where we typically would encounter some cats but barely any people on side streets and lanes like the one in the photo above. For us, the quiet alleys and walkways were pure bliss — a refreshing escape from the crowds, traffic, sirens and incessant city noise that stress us out back home in downtown Toronto. In main travel season, I’m sure Andros Town is teeming with tourists and residents, but we didn’t mind finding it so empty in May.
Here are more street scenes that will give you an idea of what it’s like to stroll around Andros Town:
Approaching a church near the eastern tip of Andros Town
Looking along the main street in Andros Town. Vehicles can drive on this particular block, but beyond the intersection a few doors down, the street becomes a pedestrian-only thoroughfare.
With most shops and businesses closed in late afternoon, the pedestrian section of Andros Town’s main street is empty. Stormclouds gathering overhead seemed to scare most of the tourists back to their hotels until dinner time.
A view of the main street during a busier time of day
Shops and cafes line the marble-paved street
A view down the steps leading to the island’s Museum of Contemporary Art. It was open only between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m., and since we were always off exploring other parts of the island during those hours, we were unable to visit the galleries. Other tourists told us that the museum’s collections and special exhibits are impressive.
A steep flight of steps on the south side of Andros Town
Not a soul in sight on this street, either
A colourful section of street near Agios Georgios Church
Agios Georgios Church
A lane of steps in Andros Town
The road along Nimborio beach on the north side of Andros Town
A street near Nimborio beach
The big main square in Andros Town
Looking down the long, steep flight of stairs leading to Paraporti beach …
… and looking partway up the same stairs from a spot near the bottom
This lane has views of two of the most famous landmarks at Andros Town — the Tourlitis lighthouse and Agia Thalassini Church
Steps leading from Andros Town to the Nimborio beach area
A lane high above the bay on the north side of Andros Town
A street near Nimborio beach
A wide waterfront promenade leads to Agia Thalassini Church on the seaside
This is a 5-minute promotional clip that the travel portal Incredible Crete shared on Vimeo to encourage tourism to Greece’s largest island. The island is so vast and scenic that such a short film can give a mere fleeting glimpse of the myriad amazing sights to see and things do there. But I’m willing to bet this short clip will quickly convince you that Crete is indeed incredible! Click on the white arrow to start the film and commence your video tour of Crete.