Category: Mykonos Memories

Cool pools: Fab views of three Mykonos beaches from the pools at Petasos Beach Resort & Spa

Petasos Beach Resort & Spa Mykonos

The hotel restaurant building, plus rows of seaview lounge chairs and umbrellas, reflect in the almost-smooth-as-glass water of the main swimming pool at the Petasos Beach Resort and Spa at Platis Gialos beach on Mykonos

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Greece holiday pic of the day

Little Venice on Mykonos

Overlooking the scenic seaside area of Little Venice on Mykonos, from the hillside on which the island’s famous windmills are located. In the foreground is Sea Satin Market, a restaurant at which the final scene of the 2002 Matt Damon action thriller movie, The Bourne Identity, was filmed.

 

 

Hit the beach! Super Paradise on Mykonos

Super Paradise beach and bay on Mykonos

Overlooking Super Paradise beach and bay on Mykonos

 

Wild times in years past: I had heard a lot of stories about fabled Super Paradise beach on Mykonos for years before I finally got to go there and see it for myself. I had heard tales about wild all-day and all-night beach parties, nudity and sex from friends who had travelled to Mykonos in the 1970s, 90s and early to mid-90s. Back then, Super Paradise was world-famous not just because it was a popular party place and “alternative” beach destination, but also since it was the top gay beach in the world. It wasn’t exclusively gay, but for years it had a well-founded reputation as “the gay beach on Mykonos” — and the premier gay holiday destination in the Mediterranean. Super Paradise is still popular with gay travellers, but nowadays draws a mixed yet predominantly straight crowd; in recent years, Elia has been the preferred beach destination for most gay visitors to Mykonos.

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What is there to see in Mykonos Town?

A street in Mykonos Town

Staircases along a quiet residential street in Mykonos Town

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Lots to see: It’s that time of year when people are planning their spring, summer and fall vacations, and considering cruises and package tours for their first-ever trips to Greece. In the forums on TripAdvisor.com, travellers are asking for advice about what they will be able to see on Mykonos, especially if they only have limited time while their cruise ship calls in port.

Mykonos is famous not only for its sun-drenched sandy beaches and its frenzied party scene in July and August, but also for its charming and picturesque Mykonos Town, the island’s main settlement and one of the busiest and most popular destinations in all of the Greek Islands.

I sometimes describe Mykonos Town as “a small cosmopolitan Greek city by the sea” because it truly does offer many of the features that draw people to a sophisticated international city: fabulous scenery, wonderful architecture, outstanding restaurants, high-end designer shops, five-star boutique hotels, galleries and museums, and visitors from every corner of the globe.

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Things I love about Greece: There’s always a great place to experience a Shirley Valentine moment

Little Venice at Mykonos Town Mykonos Greece

Gazing toward Tinos island from Semeli bar at Little Venice, Mykonos

 

Seaside drinks and dining: One of the things I love most about Greece, especially in the Islands, are the bars and tavernas with seaside tables. I always find it soothing and refreshing to enjoy a drink or meal while sitting just a few feet, or even mere inches, from the sparkling waters of the Aegean Sea. Gazing toward nearby islands, watching the waves, or savouring a spectacular sunset comforts and re-invigorates me. Experiencing my own “Shirley Valentine moment” is always a highlight of my holidays in Greece. Probably because it’s something I can never enjoy at home, unfortunately.

Although my home city, Toronto, has an extensive waterfront along Lake Ontario, there are precious few lakeside restaurants where you can enjoy an alcoholic drink or restaurant meal while overlooking the water and the Toronto Islands. In fact, you could probably count on one hand the number of dining spots that are within a stone’s throw of the water here. And most of those are situated side-by-side on just one outdoor terrace at Harbourfront’s Queen’s Quay Terminal, about 50 feet from the water’s edge (which usually isn’t even visible if any of the big Toronto harbour cruise boats happen to be in port at the time; they block most views of the water from all the restaurant patios). In Toronto, you just can’t enjoy food or beverages any closer to the water’s edge unless it’s fast food takeout or a picnic lunch you’ve lugged along.

The fact there are barely any harbourfront bars or restaurants in Canada’s biggest city is completely pathetic in itself, but what’s worse is our province’s incredibly antiquated and Puritanical liquor laws. Here in Ontario, we’re allowed to consume alcoholic beverages on outdoor restaurant patios only if the terrace is completely enclosed by a fence or barricade of some sort. If you ever dared to move a table and chair to the water’s edge, and sat down with a beer or glass of wine, you’d get charged with a provincial liquor law violation, while the restaurant would be fined and probably get its liquor licence suspended, if not revoked altogether. And if they served you any food, city health inspectors would probably shut down their kitchen.

But in Greece, you won’t risk getting a criminal record if you drink a glass of wine or a bottle of Mythos at the seaside, and the taverna that serves you won’t be shut down by the authorities. And that’s exactly the way it should be.

Paradiso Taverna on Plaka Beach on Naxos

Paradiso Taverna has tables under a tree on the golden sand of Maragas beach (near Plaka beach) on Naxos.

 

Tables next to the seaside at a taverna in Little Venice in Mykonos Town

These tables at a taverna in Little Venice in Mykonos Town sit only a few feet from the water’s edge, and offer incredible sunset views…

 

Tables next to the sea at a Little Venice taverna

…if the tables were any closer to the sea, diners would get their feet wet!

 

Babulas Taverna in Mykonos Town

Harbourside tables at Babulas Taverna in Mykonos Town

 

Babulas Taverna at Mykonos Town

An overhead view of Babulas Taverna in Mykonos Town

 

Babulas Taverna at Mykonos Town

From the harbourside tables at Babulas Taverna, Tinos island is faintly visible across the sparkling waters of the Aegean Sea

 

Harbourside tavernas in Kokkari on Samos

Harbourside tavernas in the scenic village of Kokkari on Samos

 

Harbourside tavernas in Kokkari on Samos

Tables sit barely more than a meter from the water’s edge at dozens of bars and restaurants in Kokkari on Samos

 

Katina's fish taverna at Amoudi Bay

Katina’s fish taverna at Amoudi Bay below the village of Oia on Santorini

 

Sunset Taverna at Amoudi Bay on Santorini

Seaside tables at Sunset Taverna at Santorini’s Amoudi Bay

 

Taverna table at Amoudi Bay on Santorini

A table right next to the water at Amoudi Bay on Santorini

 

Oasis taverna at Grikos bay on Patmos

Oasis taverna has tables right on the sandy beach at Grikos Bay on Patmos

 

Meltemi beach bar in Skala Patmos

Meltemi beach bar in the port town of Skala on Patmos

 

Meltemi beach bar in Skala on Patmos

Donny B at Meltemi beach bar in Skala village on Patmos

 

Egali beach on Amorgos

Taverna tables beside Egali beach on Amorgos island

 

Egali beach on Amorgos

Taverna tables beside Egali beach on Amorgos

 

Beachside tables at Agia Anna on Naxos

Taverna tables beside the beach at Agia Anna on Naxos

 

Little Venice on Mykonos

Views of the famous Mykonos windmills from a seaside bar in Little Venice

 

Little Venice in Mykonos Town

Seaside cocktail bars at Little Venice in Mykonos Town

 

Semeli cocktail bar at Little Venice in Mykonos Town

Sun-soaked Semeli cocktail bar at Little Venice in Mykonos Town


A seaside bar at Little Venice in Mykonos

Tables right at the water’s edge at a Little Venice cocktail bar in Mykonos Town

 

Little Venice in Mykonos Town

A table beside the water at Little Venice in Mykonos Town

 

Little Venice in Mykonos Town

Sunsets, sailboats and cruise ships are all part of the view from the bars and tavernas along the seaside at Little Venice on Mykonos

 

Harbourside taverna tables in Kokkari on Samos

Tables overlooking the harbour at the village of Kokkari on Samos


Mykonos: My first and favourite Greek island

Little Venice on Mykonos

Waves rolling ashore in the scenic Little Venice area of Mykonos Town

 

Feels like home: Once my partner and I had decided we were going to travel to Greece for the first time, we couldn’t decide which islands to visit. We were going to be travelling on a package tour, and had a huge variety of itinerary options. Most of the island hopping packages scheduled Mykonos as the first stop, but we weren’t all that keen on going there. We had heard that Mykonos is a wild and crazy island where people party in the streets and on the beaches 24/7. We wanted a restful, relaxing holiday, and didn’t relish the idea of not being able to sleep off our jet lag because noise from non-stop partying might keep us awake. But our travel agent promised that Mykonos wasn’t anything like we’d heard, and she urged us to go. “I know you’re going to come back and tell me you loved it,” she insisted. Somewhat reluctantly, we agreed to include Mykonos, and headed to Greece.

We arrived at Mykonos after dark, following a gruelling full day of travel. (It took nearly 24 hours from the time we left our home in Toronto until the moment we walked into our hotel room on Mykonos.) It was the last weekend in May, but when the crew opened the doors of the highspeed ferry once it had docked at  the new port on Mykonos, we got blasted by a strong cold wind. We had been expecting Mykonos to be as hot as central Athens had been during our afternoon wait for the ferry, so the bone-chilling winds at the Mykonos port took us completely by surprise.

The shuttle bus ride from the port to our hotel — the Myconian Ambassador at Platis Gialos beach — was largely a blur, since the driver raced along the island’s twisting, hilly roads at breakneck speed. I recall seeing a Starbucks somewhere along the road, but didn’t recognize anything else. I was relieved when we got to the hotel without crashing, but was disappointed that we couldn’t see what the Platis Gialos area looked like because it was so dark. I kept my fingers crossed, hoping we would like what we saw when we woke up the next morning.

In my case, that was around 4 a.m. I peeked out the doors to our small balcony but couldn’t see much, so I went back to sleep. Sometime around 5 I awoke once more, hearing roosters crowing somewhere close by. I took another look outside and could see whitewashed buildings below us (the hotel is built up the side of a hill), but in the hazy pre-dawn light I still couldn’t tell if Platis Gialos was as nice as our travel agent said it would be. So I went back to bed for a  few hours. When we finally got up and opened the balcony doors, we were thrilled to see a brilliant sunny morning and jaw-dropping gorgeous views not just of Platis Gialos beach and bay, but also nearby Psarou beach and bay. Just as the travel agent had predicted, we loved what we saw. We couldn’t have asked for a better welcome to Mykonos!

Below are several photos showing the views from our hotel room at the Myconian Ambassador. More photos of the hotel can be viewed in the Myconian Ambassador Hotel album on the mygreecetravelblog.com Facebook page.

 

Platis Gialos Mykonos

The view from the balcony for our room at the Myconian Ambassador Hotel, overlooking the Platis Gialos beach resort area of Mykonos

 

 

Platis Gialos Mykonos

The view to the far left, in the direction of nearby Paranga beach

 

 

Platis Gialos area of Mykonos

The buildings below are hotels, many of which sit alongside Platis Gialos beach

 

 

Platis Gialos beach

Rows of rental loungers and umbrellas line most of the length of Platis Gialos beach

 

 

Platis Gialos Mykonos

The hotel sits on a steep hill, but the walk to the beach takes only five minutes

 

 

Platis Gialos Mykonos

A path winds above the coast from Platis Gialos to the rocky peninsula, passing small coves and inlets as well as a sandy crescent-shaped beach visible in the photo. From there, the path continues to Paranga beach.

 

 

Platis Gialos bay

Most days there were at least two private yachts anchored in Platis Gialos bay

 

 

Platis Gialos and Psarou Bay

From our balcony, the view to the right takes in much of Psarou bay, where several more luxury yachts are anchored

 

 

Psarou beach and bay

Mykonos has been a favourite destination of the affluent jet set for decades, and Psarou beach is one of their favourite places to see and be seen

 

 

two yachts in Psarou bay

Two luxury yachts at anchor in Psarou Bay

 

 

A yacht anchored in Psarou Bay

A sleek yacht anchored in Psarou Bay

 

 

Yacht anchored in Platis Gialos Bay

A yacht anchored in the bay near Platis Gialos

 

 

Platis Gialos beach on Mykonos

A view of Platis Gialos from the far end of the beach, on the way to Paranga beach

 

 

Platis Gialos beach and bay

Looking toward Platis Gialos from the coastal path leading to Paranga beach