Over breakfast, much of the conversation centered on Delos since several people were planning to take the 11 a.m. boat to the island. I told them I had just read, in a May 13 post on the Mykonos forum, that a large section of the archaeological site including the amphitheatre and the historic houses with famous floor mosaics had been closed to visitors because of some kind of “danger.” Anna telephoned one of the travel agencies that sells Delos tour tickets to find out if this was true and, in fact, it was. The agency staff told Anna that a stone wall had collapsed, and so parts of the Delos ruins had been roped off as a security precaution. (Delos officials likely didn’t want to risk a repeat of the tragic September 2005 accident in which a British tourist was killed, and six other people injured, after a roof collapsed at the Akrotiri archaeological site on Santorini. Akrotiri didn’t reopen to the public until this past spring — 7 years after the incident.) Nevertheless, there is still plenty to see on the island, and I assured the other guests that they would still enjoy their excursion. (I’ve been to Delos three times, and still haven’t managed to see all the ruins and antiquities there.)

While the Delos-bound group headed to Mykonos Town on the road that runs past the bottom of Hotel Tagoo, I took a different route, walking up the road on the hill above the hotel. It winds past a number of houses and private estates, plus several wide fields full of tall grass. I passed a herd of goats grazing in a field on my left while, to my right, a group of about a half dozen older goats was gathered on a rocky outcropping that overlooks Mykonos Town and the sea. They actually looked like they were enjoying the amazing views from their hilltop perch.

I followed a trail that leads down the upper part of the hill and emerges on a dirt road where walkers can enjoy amazing panoramic views of the Town, the harbour and Old Port, as well as Syros, Tinos and other nearby islands. From there I followed pathways that meandered down the lower section of the hill past a number of houses and buildings that contained rental rooms and studios. That path ended at the main road a few hundred feet from the Remezzo bus stop near the Mykonos Archaeological Museum. Another footpath on the far side of the road took me the rest of the way down the hill into the heart of Mykonos Town. It was shortly after 11 a.m. and, since the next buses to the beaches weren’t scheduled to leave until noon, I took my time walking across Town to the Fabrica bus station.


goats on Mykonos

Four goats enjoy the great views of Syros island in the distance …



goats on Mykonos

… while this pair takes time out from their sightseeing to pose for a picture



fields in the Tagoo district of Mykonos

A view of Tinos island from the fields I walked past in the Tagoo district of Mykonos



Windstar cruise ship Wind Spirit

From the hilltop I had this view of the Windstar Wind Spirit cruise ship anchored in front of the Anavalousa peninsula of Mykonos. At rear is Rinia island.



Azamara Quest and Seabourn Quest

The Azamara Quest and Seabourn Quest at anchor near the Mykonos Old Port



Mykonos Town

To my left was this terrific view of Mykonos Town, with its hundreds of whitewashed buildings spread amphitheatrically across the hillsides …



Mykonos Town harbour

… above the scenic fishing harbour. The Delos excursion boats depart from the long narrow quay at upper right. The large white building next to the red-domed church, at bottom center, is the Mykonos Archaeological Museum.



Mykonos Town harbour

A closer view of the Mykonos harbour and the Mykonos Town Hall — the building with the terra cotta-coloured tile roof at right, behind the blue-domed fishermen’s church. An orange tender boat for one of the cruise ships is dropping passengers off at the pier.



Mykonos windmills

This zoom view shows tourists exploring the hillside next to the Little Venice windmills. Only a few people had been there when I visited the windmills just a day earlier.




Here is a videoclip I shot from my vantage point on the hill above the town & harbour



a hillside footpath on Mykonos

One of the footpaths took me down the hill past these private residences …



a footpath in Mykonos Town

… while this part of the path wound between buildings with rental rooms and studios



I arrived at the Fabrica bus depot about five minutes before noon. There was a long lineup of people filing onto the bus bound for Psarou and Platis Gialos, but no-one at all waiting to get on the Paradise bus, so I chose that one since I would be guaranteed a seat.  I climbed aboard, paid the driver €1.60 for a one-way ticket, and took a seat near the back. More people gradually got on, including a family of four from England with whom I chatted during the ride — a couple with two young daughters (both under 10 years old) who sat in the seats across from me. I was a little surprised they had picked Paradise, since it has the reputation of being the premier party beach on Mykonos, rather than a place to take little kids for a family outing in the sun, sand and surf (Ornos and Platis Gialos are the island’s most popular “family” beaches).

The bus was about three-quarters full when it pulled out of the station at 12:00 sharp. This was my first trip to Paradise on wheels, so I was looking forward to the scenery during the ride. Every other time I have gone to the beach, I got there on foot by walking along a coastal trail from Platis Gialos. The drive was considerably quicker than I had expected, taking only 15 minutes.  (It felt even shorter, probably because I had been busy speaking to the family from England most of the way.) After just a 3-minute walk from the Paradise bus stop I was standing on the brown sandy beach in front of the Tropicana Club, gazing across the beautiful turquoise sea toward Naxos island.

I walked to the far left end of the beach, a narrow strip of sand below the cavernous Cavo Paradiso nightclub complex that sprawls across the hillside on the east coast of Calamopodi (Paradise) Bay. This is the most “private” part of the beach and the farthest you can go to get away from the hundreds of rental lounge chairs and umbrellas that line the sand in front of a strip of bars and restaurants — the epicenter of the infamous Mykonos summer beach party scene, where the drinking and dancing can get wild and crazy beginning in late afternoon.

Although there were as many as 200 people at the beach, the atmosphere was laid back and relaxed, rather than festive and frenzied. People were just lounging around and soaking up the sun, with a few taking dips in the sea. Unlike my last visit to Paradise beach in May 2011, there weren’t any bikini-clad dancers gyrating on podiums at the Tropicana beach bar, nor did I see any groups of college students competing in shooter drinking contests. In fact, there was no sign of anyone partying at all — just a pervasive chill-out vibe. What surprised me, instead, was the sight of a dozen families with young children enjoying  the beach. Given its reputation as party central on Mykonos, I didn’t expect to see so many toddlers and elementary school-aged kids at Paradise. But then, it was still only early afternoon and the the notorious afternoon beach parties typically don’t get going until 17:00. I figured the family I met on the bus would have a good time, and they did email me afterwards to say they’d had a blast at the beach.


Paradise beach Mykonos

Footprints in the sand at Paradise beach



Paradise beach Mykonos

Looking across Paradise beach from the bottom of the cliff below the enormous Cavo Paradiso nightclub and entertainment complex



Paradise beach Mykonos

There were a number of families with young children at the beach, including this one enjoying the sun, sand and crystal clear water



Paradise beach Mykonos

Looking across the beach toward the east coast of Calamopodi Bay



Cavo Paradiso Mykonos

The enormous Cavo Paradiso after-hours party venue dominates the hillside above the east coast of Calamopodi Bay. Owner Nikos Daktylides built the club in 1993. Internationally famous DJs perform at the complex, which draws tens of thousands of partygoers from around the world each summer.



Paradise beach Mykonos

This poster shows the 2012 prices for sunbed and umbrella rentals on the beach



Paradise beach Mykonos

Overlooking Paradise beach from a hill to the west. A path leads up and over the hill to nearby Paraga beach. It takes less than 15 minutes to walk between the beaches.



Paradise beach Mykonos

A view of Paradise beach and bay from the coastal trail leading to Paraga beach



I shot this video from the hill below Cavo Paradiso. The clip includes views of the nightclub complex as well as Paradise beach down below.



I shot this video from the far left-hand side of Paradise beach



I shot this video from the hill at the far right end of Paradise beach



After spending some time at Paradise, I started to feel hungry but didn’t have an appetite for a cafeteria lunch at the beach. I was craving a quality Greek meal and knew I could find that within walking distance just two beaches away. So off I went, passing the clothing-optional area at the far right-hand side of the beach where more than a dozen people were sunbathing in the nude. (Judging by their bright red sunburns, half of the naturists had either forgotten to apply sunscreen regularly, or had not bothering putting any on in the first place. Ouch!)

The west end of Paradise beach terminates at a hill. Several dirt trails wind up and over the hillside, ending at a road that leads to Paraga beach. That route takes only 15 minutes to walk, but I decided to take a longer and more scenic path instead — a narrow dirt trail that follows the top edge of rugged coastal cliffs on the peninsula separating Paradise Bay from Paraga beach. From a rocky, windswept point roughly midway between Paradise and Paraga, you can actually see both beaches at the same time. If you turn and look in the opposite direction, out to sea, you get a great view of Naxos island. From the point all the way to Paraga, the trail passes alongside Mykonos Camping — a large campsite facility with bungalows, tents, dorms, a self-serve restaurant and a seaview swimming pool and bar. (The footpath ends at a parking area directly below the Mykonos Camping pool bar terrace.)



I shot this video from the peninsula that separates Paradise and Paraga beaches. This windy point offers great views of both beach and bay areas.




Mykonos coastline near Paradise beach

The trail to Paraga beach runs alongside the stone wall at the top of the cliffs



trail near Paraga beach Mykonos

A view of the dirt trail on the rugged east coast of Paraga bay



Mykonos Camping at Paraga beach

The trail passes close to the bungalows on the Mykonos Camping property



Paraga Beach Mykonos

A view of Paraga beach from the peninsula trail



Paraga beach Mykonos

This photo is from a videoclip I shot while standing on the north side of Paraga bay. The beach in the foreground is Paraga, of course, while Psarou beach is straight ahead at the very far side of the bay with the deep blue water behind Paraga. Platis Gialos beach isn’t visible in this photo, but it’s situated right between Paraga and Psarou.



Paraga beach Mykonos

Another video photo of Paraga beach. The white buildings that rise up the hill in the background are hotels at nearby Platis Gialos beach. If you click on this picture to view the full-size image, you will see the main road that runs from Platis Gialos to Mykonos Town.



Above is a brief videoclip of Paraga beach and bay



Paraga beach Mykonos

The view from the eastern end of Paraga beach



Paraga beach Mykonos

Sunbeds and trees on Paraga beach



I passed four other people hiking the coastal trail — two couples, one pair walking in each direction — and arrived at Paraga beach to find it considerably less busy than Paradise had been. There were at most two dozen people on the entire beach, and perhaps another dozen people dining or drinking at the beachside bars and restaurants, including Paraga Café, Tasos Taverna and Kalua Club, where two small groups of 20-something beachgoers were having drinks in the comfy lounge chairs.. I stayed long enough to take photos of the beach, then continued my walk.

My destination was nearby Agia Anna beach, just five minutes away, where I intended to stop for lunch at my favourite beach restaurant — Nikolas Taverna. Owned by the Nazos family of Mykonos, the taverna features superb home-cooked food made with fresh vegetables grown at the family’s organic farm near the Mykonos airport, and fish caught by members of the family right off the island’s coast. Our meal there last year had been so memorable (I wrote about it in an August 25 2011 post), I couldn’t wait to have another fantastic lunch. I sat at one of the taverna’s tables on the sand, under a tamarisk tree, and drank an ice-cold bottle of Alfa beer while relaxing and looking at the scenery. Agia Anna is a small sandy beach, with only a few umbrellas and lounge chairs separated by bamboo windbreaks in front of Nikolas Taverna. All the chairs were occupied, as were almost all the restaurant tables on the beach, but Agia Anna was still exceptionally serene — one of the reasons I like it so much.

Although the restaurant does have a regular menu, it’s best to go into their kitchen to see what delightful dishes the family has prepared for the day. Besides fish, Nikolas offers a variety of meat and vegetable appetizers and mains. The spanakopita (spinach pie) looked good, so I ordered a serving of that, as well as the moussaka. As I noted in my June 12 2012 post about my Mykonos holiday dining experiences, the spanakopita came in a thick chunk packed with juicy, fresh spinach, while the moussaka was light, fluffy and full of flavour. The moussaka served at many restaurants in Greece tends to be a very heavy and substantial dish, but the delicious Nikolas version didn’t leave me feeling uncomfortably full.

A couple who came walking past asked if I was enjoying my meal; when I said yes, they told me they might return another time because the taverna looked like such a nice spot to have a lunch or dinner. They actually came back and sat at one of the tables on the beach a short time afterwards, just as I was leaving. I ran into them in Mykonos Town two days later, and they thanked me for recommending the restaurant – they had loved the food, too.



Above is a video I shot from the far left end of Agia Anna beach



Nikolas Taverna Agia Anna Paraga Mykonos

Agia Anna is a small beach situated between Paraga and Platis Gialos. Nikolas Taverna has tables right on the sand, beneath a row of tamarisk trees.


Nikolas taverna at Agia Anna beach Mykonos

Nikolas taverna, left, and Agia Anna beach



Agia Anna beach Mykonos

Agia Anna beach has great views of Platis Gialos at the far end of the bay



Nikolas taverna Mykonos

The view from my tamarisk tree-shaded table at Nikolas taverna, where I quenched my thirst with a tall frosty bottle of Alfa beer



Re-energized by my lunch break, I headed for the dirt path that follows the coast to Platis Gialos. It passes above a couple of semi-secluded coves where you can usually spot a few naturists getting an all-over tan as they lay on towels or bamboo mats on the smooth rocks or narrow sandy sections of beach. Today there was a grand total of four nude sunbathers enjoying the peace and quiet in the coves. The brown hills on the land side of the trail are dotted with whitewashed cube houses, some of which have colourful gardens full of geraniums and bougainvillea.

The hike from Agia Anna to Platis Gialos takes only 15 minutes. The trail ends at the top of a hill overlooking Platis Gialos beach. From that point, you simply follow the road that descends the small hill next to the Bonatsa restaurant and Hotel Thalassa, and seconds later you’ll be standing on the popular brown sand beach.


trail to Platis Gialos Mykonos

The coastal path from Agia Anna to Platis Gialos. There usually are a few nude sunbathers on the sand and rocks in the quiet cove at lower left.



Platis Gialos bay Mykonos

Afternoon sunlight sparkles on the turquoise water in Platis Gialos bay



Agia Anna beach Mykonos

Looking back at Agia Anna beach from the coastal path to Platis Gialos. At right is the rocky Cape Drapanos peninsula that separates Paraga and Platis Gialos bays. Mountainous Naxos island provides a dramatic backdrop.



Platis Gialos Mykonos

Approaching the Platis Gialos beach resort area on the coastal trail



A video view of Platis Gialos beach




Platis Gialos beach Mykonos

Platis Gialos is one of the most popular family beaches on Mykonos. It’s just a short bus ride away from Mykonos Town.



Platis Gialos beach Mykonos

Beach umbrella installation in front of the Bonatsa restaurant



Platis Gialos Mykonos

Shuttle boats operated by The Platis Gialos Association of Boatmen transport passengers from Platis Gialos to other southeast Mykonos beaches, including Paraga, Paradise, Super Paradise, Agrari and Elia. This poster on the dock shows return ticket prices for 2012.



Platis Gialos was much livelier than Paraga, yet still had less than half the number of people I had seen at Paradise beach. A few people were relaxing on sunbeds outside the Bonatsa while a worker was busy installing more lounge chairs and umbrellas nearby, and several people were swimming in the sea. Dozens of holiday makers were sunbathing on lounge chairs in front of the other bars and tavernas along the beach, while Notos bar at the Mykonos Palace Hotel, the Atlantida restaurant at the Acrogiali Hotel, and the popular Avli tou Thodori restaurant seemed to be doing a brisk midafternoon business. Considering that Platis Gialos is one of the top “family” beaches on Mykonos, I was surprised to see that almost all the people there were adults. In fact, I saw only two families with small children. I found it hard to believe there were more kids at Paradise!

I walked to the shuttle boat pier at the far end of the beach, which is where the road from Mykonos Town terminates, then followed the road partway up the hill until I reached a driveway, on my left, from which I could see Psarou Bay. I walked down the driveway to reach a dirt trail that leads to Psarou beach, meandering along the top of a cliff as it follows the coast. The scenic walk takes only five minutes, and overlooks the bay and the stunning green and blue waters off Psarou beach. The path ends at a staircase linking the Mykonos Blu luxury hotel to the beach.

I had not been to Psarou since 2006, but found that it hasn’t changed much. Only a few of the sunbeds for the luxury Mykonos Blu Hotel were occupied, while around 20 people were lounging on the €20 rental chairs and drinking exotic cocktails on the beach at the ultra-trendy and expensive Nammos restaurant and nightclub. About as many people were enjoying Greek cuisine and drinks at the more affordably-priced Cavo Psarou, situated right between the Mykonos Blu and Nammos.



Psarou beach Mykonos

Approaching Psarou beach along a coastal path from Platis Gialos



Above is a brief videoclip of Psarou beach



Psarou Beach Mykonos

Psarou is the top Mykonos beach for celebrities, business tycoons and the fabulously rich. It’s common to see luxury yachts in the bay (though this was the first time I saw none there.)



Psarou beach Mykonos

The surf breaks on the golden sands of Psarou beach as clouds pass over the mountains on nearby Naxos island



Psarou bay on Mykonos

A caique anchored in Psarou Bay. Traditional boats like this are used to taxi passengers from Platis Gialos to other beaches on the southeast Mykonos coast.



Nammos at Psarou beach Mykonos

The plush lounge chairs in front of the über-chic Nammos restaurant and bar are the most luxurious and most expensive rental sunbeds on the island, costing €20 apiece. With food and beverage service provided by attentive wait staff, they’re probably worth the price.



Psarou bay Mykonos

View of Psarou beach from a trail on the far side of the bay. The large complex of white buildings on the hill above the right side of the beach is the Mykonos Blu luxury hotel.



Above is a video of Psarou beach and bay, including views of Nammos and the Mykonos Blu



a hotel at Platis Gialos beach Mykonos

Petinos Hotel next to the bus stop at Platis Gialos



I walked to the far end of Psarou beach and started hiking along a trail that climbs the hillside on the west side of the bay. Six years ago, we followed that trail all the way up the mountain, passing houses and luxury villas that have enviable breathtaking views of Psarou, Platis Gialos and other parts of the island’s southeast coast. We eventually wound up on a road that took us back to Mykonos Town in about an hour of walking. I debated doing that hike again, but as I got partway up the mountain realized I’d been in the hot sun a long time and probably should give myself a break from the strong rays. So I decided to head back to Platis Gialos and catch the 17:00 bus to Mykonos Town.

As I was making my way back across Psarou beach, an American man called out to me. “You look like you know this place!” he said. He asked me the name of the island in the distance (Naxos) and wondered what it’s like. I told him it’s a beautiful island, with a spectacular stretch of sandy beaches all along its southwest coast. “Speaking of beaches,” he said, “they told us on the cruise ship that this is the nicest one on Mykonos. But frankly we’re disappointed. Is this really the best they have?” I described some of the other main Mykonos beaches, and asked how long their cruise ship was in port. When he told me they weren’t sailing until late at night, I said he had time to walk over to Platis Gialos to see if he and his travel companions preferred that beach. They even had time to walk along the coast to check out Agia Anna and Paraga. I gave him directions to the beaches, and told him where they could catch a bus back to Mykonos Town when it was time to return to the ship. “They have buses here? The people on the ship told us you have to take taxis everywhere!” he said.

I followed the coastal trail back to the main road, and made my way down the hill to the bus stop. I joined a group of people who were waiting in the shade outside the Petasos Beach Resort & Spa, where we had stayed during our Mykonos vacation in 2006. It was the only place with shade near the bus stop and I was relieved to find room to stand there since I could feel the back of my next beginning to burn. The bus arrived 10 minutes later and I got a window seat all to myself near the rear door. It felt so good to finally sit down! Just as the bus was pulling away, the American fellow who had stopped me on Psarou beach gave me a friendly wave. He and his fellow cruisers were walking down the road toward the beach and I heard him tell his friends: “This is where that guy says we catch the bus when we go back.” I crossed my fingers and hoped they wouldn’t be disappointed with Platis Gialos!

The bus ride to Mykonos Town is quite short, taking only 10 to 15 minutes. As the bus chugged up the long hill from the beach, I held my camera out the window and started to film the passing scenery. The two videoclips below will give you an idea of what people on the right-hand side of the bus see during the ride to Town. The “Part 2” video ends with the bus arriving at the Fabrica station.


Above is the first part of a video I shot from the window of the bus I rode from Platis Gialos to Mykonos Town



This is the second video I shot from the bus; it shows our arrival in Mykonos Town



From Fabrica, I wandered through Mykonos Town toward the harbourfront. As I had expected, the town was busier thanks to the visiting cruise ships. But the streets weren’t as crowded with cruise ship passengers as I had thought they would be. Whenever there had been more than one ship in port in past years, the town had been absolutely bustling. There were even times that some of the narrow streets were uncomfortably jammed with long conga lines of cruisers following tour guides through the town. I couldn’t help but wonder where everybody was today. Had most people just stayed on board the ships?

The harbourside promenade was the busiest place in Town, as it often is. The restaurant terraces were packed with cruise ship passengers having meals and drinks in the late afternoon sunshine, and there was a steady flow of pedestrian traffic on the wide, stone-paved road.

Near Taxi Square, I passed a retirement-aged couple standing close to the water’s edge and overheard the woman say to her husband, “I have no idea where we should go.” I stopped and asked if they had come on a cruise ship; sure enough, they had. (Turned out they were fellow Canadians, from British Columbia.) They told me they didn’t know anything about Mykonos, so they didn’t have a clue what to do during the several hours of free time they had in port. The woman pointed to a windmill on the hillside high above Taxi Square and said, “That looks nice.” I said that if she thought the one windmill on the hill was impressive, she’d really enjoy seeing five of them at Little Venice. I added that Mykonos is a walking town easily explored on foot, and urged them to just wander around and check out the shops, restaurants and galleries. They asked me to point out the windmills, Little Venice and other points of interest on their map of the town, then they  strolled off down the street toward the Paraportiani church, which I recommended they see on their way to Little Venice.

I headed in the other direction, back to Hotel Tagoo, where I cooled down in my room for a few minutes before hitting the road once again. When I stepped outside, I noticed that another Norwegian Cruise Line ship, the Norwegian Spirit, had anchored near the Azamara and Seabourn vessels at the Old Port. That meant there were now five ships visiting the island, with a combined total passenger capacity of 5,712, so Mykonos Town should have been significantly busier than it actually was. Now I felt even more mystified as to why Mykonos remained so unusually quiet. Were the ships only half full?



a street in Mykonos Town

Although the cruise ships brought hundreds if not even thousands more people to Mykonos, the streets of Mykonos Town weren’t crowded at all



Mykonos Town waterfront promenade

The busiest part of town was the harbourside promenade, where cruise ship passengers filled the restaurant terraces



Mykonos waterfront near Taxi Square

Cruise ship passengers on the harbourfront near Taxi Square



cruise ships at Mykonos

While I was visiting beaches during the afternoon, the Norwegian Spirit (top left) had arrived and anchored near the Mykonos Old Port



My plan was to walk over to Agios Stefanos beach near the New Port at Tourlos, since I had been there briefly only once before, during a car tour of the island in May 2009, and wanted to see more of it. Besides, Agios Stefanos is a good spot to catch late afternoon sunshine, and several locals told me the water there is often warmer than at other island beaches. Anna’s son, Theodori, also told me that a dolphin had been spotted swimming in the bay close to the beach several times that week. He said the Greeks consider it a symbol of good luck to see a dolphin, so I was hoping I’d get the chance to see and perhaps even photograph it.

I walked down the hill to the Tourlos beach where I had been soaked by a rogue wave the previous day. Two adult couples were sitting on towels at one end of the beach while their four young kids ran back and forth, gleefully playing on the sand and rocks. Two men were fishing from a rocky point nearby. I walked the full length of the beach, without getting surprised and soaked by a wave this time, then headed back onto the main road to resume my walk to Agios Stefanos. There are no sidewalks along the two-lane road between Mykonos Town and Tourlos, so pedestrians must walk on the narrow shoulders only inches from vehicles speeding past. The route is normally quite busy, but on this afternoon I was relieved to see there wasn’t much traffic — just a few large utility trucks, several buses shuttling cruise ship passengers to and from the New Port, and the occasional car and motorbike. Had the road been much busier, I would not have enjoyed the walk.


Tourlos beach on Mykonos

Three of the cruise ships anchored near the Mykonos Old Port can be seen from this small  sandy beach at Tourlos



Tourlos beach on Mykonos

Children play on rocks at one end of the Tourlos beach. The road to Mykonos Town is visible in the upper left corner.



road from Mykonos Town to New Port at Tourlos

Approaching the New Port at Tourlos along the road from Mykonos Town. There isn’t much room for pedestrians on the edge of the narrow two-lane highway.



the New Port at Tourlos on Mykonos

Overlooking the Mykonos New Port from the road to Agios Stefanos



Norwegian Jade cruise ship

Passengers on the upper deck of the Norwegian Jade look out over the New Port and Tourlos area of Mykonos



As I passed the New Port, I saw dozens of sailboats and power cruisers, a few yachts and excursion boats, a couple of tugboats and the Norwegian Jade, but no ferries or cargo ships. Compared to the Old Port at Mykonos Town, the New Port seemed eerily quiet. It then struck me that I had not yet seen any of the Hellenic Seaways highspeed ferries or any of the big Blue Star Ferries at the New Port. Last year, I had watched big ships arrive at and depart from the New Port several times a day, but so far this trip none had made an appearance. It made me wonder if regular ferry, shipping and pleasure boat traffic to Mykonos had declined because of the economic crisis.

From the New Port, it’s just a short walk up and over a hill to Agios Stefanos. Less than 25 minutes after I had left my room at Hotel Tagoo, I was walking along the sandy beach in the warm afternoon sun. Several groups of teenagers and youngsters were playing games on the sand while a few adults sat on towels, either sunbathing or watching the Norwegian Jade as it backed away from the New Port dock, turned in the bay, and then sailed out to sea — just as yet another big ship from MSC Cruises came into view on its approach to the New Port. I noticed a few people on the shaded terrace at the beachside Epistrofi café bar, drinking beer and taking in the views.

I climbed up the short hill at the far end of the beach to take photos and look for dolphins in the bay, but all I could see was cruise ships — six in total.  As the MSC ship drew closer, I thought it might be a good idea to start walking back to the hotel so I wouldn’t be on the road when all the shuttle buses would be speeding back and forth to transport the passengers to town.  I timed that well. There was a lot of traffic in the opposite lane as half a dozen buses, several taxis and other vehicles passed me on the way to the port, but only a few cars and trucks drove past on my side of the road. I made it back to the hotel in about 20 minutes and headed for the swimming pool to get a drink at the bar and watch the sunset.

One of the people who had gone to Delos was at the bar, talking to other guests about his experience. He was happily reporting that he had managed to see the mosaic floors as well as other parts of the ruins that were supposed to be off-limits because of the wall collapse. A gate to the cordoned-off zone had conveniently been “blown over by the wind,” he said with a wink, so he and many other tourists simply took that as an open invitation to walk right in. Nobody challenged them or told them to leave, so they explored the area at their leisure and had a good time.

I chatted with other guests until sunset, which was a gorgeous golden fireball that slowly dipped to the horizon against the backdrop of a burnt-orange sky, then made my way into town for dinner.


Agios Stefanos beach Mykonos

Late afternoon sunshine sparkles in the bay off Agios Stefanos beach



Agios Stefanos beach Mykonos

The view from the far end of the beach, near the Epistrofi Cafe



Agios Stefanos beach Mykonos

The Norwegian Jade, left, is just beginning to back away from the dock at the Tourlos New Port. Four other large cruise ships are visible in the bay near the Old Port at Mykonos Town.



Agios Stefanos beach Mykonos

Two sunbathers watch from Agios Stefanos beach as the Norwegian Jade turns in the bay



cruise ships at Mykonos

The Jade steams out to sea just as an MSC Cruises ship arrives at Mykonos



Above is a video I shot from the rocks at the far right end of Agios Stefanos beach



I shot this video from the hill above the far right end of the beach. It shows the beach, the Norwegian Jade cruise ship at the New Port, and telephoto views of Mykonos Town



road from Tourlos to Mykonos Town

A shuttle bus heads to the New Port to pick up passengers arriving on the MSC ship



road from Tourlos to Mykonos Town

Approaching the Tourlos beach I had visited on my way to Agios Stefanos. Hotel Tagoo is less than a 10-minute walk away, at the top of the hill in the background.



sunset view from Hotel Tagoo

Hotel Tagoo view of a cruise ship anchored off Mykonos at sunset on May 16 2012



I went to Maria’s traditional Mykonian restaurant for dinner, and had the entire place all to myself for awhile before several other customers arrived. I couldn’t decide what to order and asked Maria’s son for a recommendation. He suggested the stuffed tomatoes and peppers, so I ordered that along with a Greek salad and wine.  (Another delicious meal at Maria’s!) A couple of cats kept me company while I ate my dinner and I rewarded them with a few pieces of feta.

After dinner I took a walk through the town, expecting it to be absolutely bustling with visitors from all the cruise ships. Incredibly, it was quiet. The streets weren’t busy, only a few people were browsing the shops, and the seaside strip of cocktail bars at Little Venice was practically deserted. It was unbelievable, especially since it was a warm, clear night with only a light breeze — perfect weather for sitting at a table near the seaside to enjoy dinner or drinks. I was tempted to take a seat at one of the Little Venice bars and have a drink, but I started feeling tired and figured I had earned a good night’s sleep after walking to seven different beaches in just one day.  So I returned to the hotel and called it a night. Mykonos had delivered up another terrific day.


Mykonos Town harbourfront at night

A night view of the Mykonos Town harbourfront from little Agia Anna beach



Maria's traditional restaurant in Mykonos Town

I had delicious stuffed tomatoes & peppers for dinner at Maria’s



Marco Bicego jewellery shop at the Mykonos waterfront

The Marco Bicego jewellery shop on the Mykonos waterfront strip. On a warm night this street should have been packed with pedestrians, but on May 16 it was unbelievably quiet.



Little Venice seaside cocktail bars

Only a few tables were occupied at the strip of seaside cocktail bars at Little Venice



a street behind Little Venice in Mykonos Town

Shoppers and browsers were few and far between on this street behind Little Venice



the road to Hotel Tagoo

It was shortly after midnight when I walked back to Hotel Tagoo. I didn’t see a single other person the entire 15-minute walk.


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