The yearning to visit the Greek Islands was triggered by a movie. Not the Australian production “Wog Boys”, which I have never seen. Nor “Shirley Valentine”, although I admit it cemented my desire to go there one day. “Summer Lovers” is certainly up there as a favourite but it was “Boy on a Dolphin” starring Sophia Loren that triggered my fascination for the Greek islands, especially Hydra, Poros, Rhodes, Delos and Mykonos.
“Boy on a Dolphin” opened in cinemas way before my time but I do remember watching it on TV one lazy Sunday afternoon. Filmed before technicolour hit our screens, the black and white movie stays firm in my mind. The hot burning sun. The glistening Mediterranean waters. Monty would probably only remember Sophia Loren, but that’s a story for another day, maybe.
Fast forward a few decades and Monty and I were in finally in Mykonos. We were told not to waste our time to go there; instead stay on another island that’s not so touristy. We preferred to find out for ourselves. So, does it measure up? Is it still the pleasure-seeking playground? Has it lost its allure?
We flew from Brisbane Australia to Greece, landing in Mykonos. A private bus took us to the picture-perfect Cycladic port town, Chora (also known as Hora). It’s Mykonos’s capital city with whitewashed houses and churches merging into a maze of tiny streets. We stayed in Korfos which is about 3km from Chora, easily accessed via the local bus. Our bus pick up was from Ornos Beach (literally a few minutes on foot from our villa) which dropped us off at the main entry to Chora’s labyrinthine shopping and dining precinct. 1.80 euro per person one way.
Chora is known as the party destination; families head to Ornos or Platys Gialos; honeymooners hide out in Agios Ionnis or Psorou. Our travel agent booked us into a villa in Korfos which is directly behind Ornos, far enough from the craziness but close enough to still enjoy the action when desired. In the evenings we would sit out the front of our villa and look across the large stretch of water to Chora, sparkling like a jewel amongst the blackness of night. It was our sanctuary.
Getting around: plenty of options to see the sites. Bus. Taxi. Car. Scooter. ATV (all terrain vehicle). On foot. Mykonos is small; 12 to 15 km long and about 10 km wide. We used the bus. Central bus stations are located in Fabrika (south station) and Old Port (north station) in Mykonos Town (Chora). Taxis are limited and expensive.
Food: Every morning we would walk to Ornos Beach and enjoy beachfront breakfasts at Aperanto Galazio. It was here we ate creamy-rich Greek yoghurt drizzled with honey. Beyond imagination. The Grilled octopus was particularly good – al dente without the gristle-like chewiness you may find in restaurants. A fave of ours, off the beaten track was Apaggio Restaurant at Ornos Beach.
Drink: Rose was our drink of choice while in Mykonos. Head to Little Venice (6 mins walk from Fabrika central bus station) – it’s full of bars, both waterfront and in back streets. Top spot to enjoy the sunset: Kastro Bar. We sat in a private balcony cantilevered above the deep blue sea. Magic, The staff, service, drinks, food…excellent all round. If you’re not desperate for a waterfront view, head to super cool Bonbonniere (opposite LV boutique) – a great spot for people gazing. (We also went to Sunset Bar in Little Venice but found the staff to be less than appealing. Maybe they’ve picked up their game since CoVid.)
What to do: Apart from enjoying the perfection of it all, shopping in exquisite boutiques, drinking and eating in very cool bars and restaurants, swimming at any of the many beaches, zipping around the island free as a bird, checking out the historic and cultural attractions such as the famous windmills, Panagia Paraportiani Church, the Archaeological Museum, the Aegean Maritime Museum, and Lena’s House, a day trip to the ancient UNESCO World Heritage site Delos Island is highly recommended. Accessible by boat, Delos is a vast uninhabited archaeological site and boasts a impressive museum housing an extensive collection of unearthed statues and ancient pottery.
Island hopping: We travelled from Mykonos to Santorini by high speed WorldChampion Jet ferry. It’s also easy to make day trips to nearby Tinos, Paros, Naxos, Syros and Milos Be mindful of the ferry times or you may end up having to stay the night on one of the islands. You can take the ferry to Delos but a paid tour via private boat is better.
Buy: When we were in Mykonos the “Greek-style” dresses hadn’t really hit the fashion scene in Australia, now they’re everywhere. In Mykonos they were affordable and perfect for hot summer days. The upmarket boutiques are expensive but the clothing and accessories are highly desirable and good quality. Try Jardin boutique with its billowy kaftans or head to Liontis for handwoven traditional Greek sandals.
Addresses to note
During our time on Mykonos Island, our booking was GT Suites Korfos but when you google this location a different website comes up. We arrived at what we thought was our accommodation only to discover there are two GT Suites. We stayed at GT Korfos Bay Suites. Important to get the name right from the start. (Also known as GT Suites Corfos Bay). The location was unbeatable – away from the throngs of night-time revellers in Little Venice (Chora) but easy to access all main sites via the local buses.
Kastro Bar. Google the website for the location www.kastrosmykonos.com Book a balcony to avoid disappointment.
Bonbonniere. For location check out www.bonbonnieremykonos.com
Aperanto Galazio, Ornos Beach – perfect for breakfasts www.aperantogalazio-mykonos.com