^ had to include this photo because we set our camera up on a step in an attempt to get a photo of the two of us together, and this cat photo- bombed us every. single. time. We tried to shoo it away multiple times, but apparently the self-timer beeping was irresistible. I have about a hundred more photos just like this one.
Last week, we got back from Mykonos and decided pretty quickly that we wanted to put together a travel guide for anyone who follows along here and might be heading there this summer. I like our more “informative” blog posts to be list-style and straight to the point, so this one will stick to that model. I also embedded our Mykonos travel video up above, which I think I’m going to do as we travel along throughout the fall, too. I debated whether it should go at the top of this post (before the photos) or at the bottom (after them), and went with the bottom, but am open to opinions! Here we go:
1.The flight from Athens is a lot shorter than they say.
I think our tickets said touch down to touch down was around 40 minutes. We were in the air for all of 18. If you’re on your third flight of the day, this is a great surprise.
2. There are only 31 cabs on the entire island.
This means that in high season your chances of getting a cab are usually going to be zero, unless you plan hours ahead and have your hotel call one for you in advance. There are so few that they actually refer to each one by number (as in, “14 is on its way for you”). Because we were there before the summer crowds, we didn’t have too much trouble, but if you’re heading over there this summer it’s definitely important to keep in mind that taxis aren’t usually an easy option. Which leads us to number 3…
3. You’re going to want to rent either an ATV or a Vespa.
If you’re intimidated by this, don’t be. ATV’s are very very easy to learn how to drive, there’s a good amount of road space in Mykonos, and the driving isn’t as frightening as other areas of Europe (I’m looking at you, Rome). Also, a huge perk is that they only cost 20 euro to rent for an entire day, and they run on barely any gas, which means they end up being way more cost effective than the taxi you couldn’t manage to get. Also, they give you the luxury of exploring the island, beaches, and little towns at whatever pace and in whatever order you want.
4. The locals are going to encourage you to try whatever’s “Greekest” on the menu. Do it.
Whether we were out to dinner or having breakfast at our hotel, inevitably something we asked for a waiter or waitress would say, “don’t get that, get this” to. This isn’t done in a rude way, but more of a happy, encouraging kind of way. Everything anyone ever suggested was amazing, and we were happy we tried it. Be especially wary that they’re going to give you a hard time if more than one person at the table is ordering the same thing.
5. The waterfront restaurants are beautiful but touristy.
Wanting to eat in one of the most popular sections of Chora, “Little Venice,” makes sense because you get to watch the sunset, it’s lively, there are lots of restaurant options, and the outdoor seating is beautiful, just be aware that this is the “tourist trap” section of town, and better tasting, more authentic food can be found elsewhere.
6. If you’re looking to party, go during high season (about the second week of June through to the first week of September). If you aren’t looking to party, don’t.
From what we’ve been told, Mykonos is essentially two different places on and off season. Keep this in mind. If you’re going to relax or with family, avoid the high season. If you’re going with your college friends on holiday, head there in July.
7. The sun is stronger than you think.
Even in late May and with 50 SPF on, I had tan lines within two hours of laying in the sun. We both tan pretty easily, but that was fast even for us. If you’re fair skinned or burn easily, you’re going to need to get the heavy duty, water-resistant kind of sunscreen and reapply.If you don’t, you will fry. We wore fifty for the first two days, then thirty for the rest of the trip. Our favorite is SunBum because it smells incredible, and is free of chemicals.
8. The mornings are slow, and the coffee is strong.
I think I mentioned this in our last post, but people take the mornings really slow in Greece. We went to breakfast downtown around eight thirty a few times, and it was a ghost town. Things are open, but the energy doesn’t really kick up until around ten. Also, the coffee is incredibly strong. I gave up caffeine for lent and haven’t had much since, and just having three or four sips I felt like I had just downed a venti latte. Porter had three one morning, and his hands were shaking pretty much for the rest of the day.
9. You can go anywhere you want via water taxi, but for a higher price.
A cool way to explore new beaches or areas of the island is via little boats or “water taxis” that can pick you up basically wherever. This is usually about 20 euro higher than whatever you would be paying a cab, but it’s definitely worth doing once or twice because being on the water is fun and relaxing, and getting a sense of where you are on the island from the ocean was interesting.
10. Be careful where you lean if you aren’t wearing white.
One thing I loved about Mykonos was how every morning locals and store-owners were touching up the paint outside their homes and restaurants. Everything is so pristine and the upkeep is incredible, but what this does mean is that lots of paint is fresher than you think, and if you’re sitting outside, leaning back, that dusty white chalk kind of paint tends to get on your elbows or the backs of your legs. Not a huge deal, but if you’re wearing something really difficult to clean, be cautious.
11. Water is expensive.
Because it’s an island and you can’t drink the tap water, your hotel will overcharge you (about 5-6 euro a two liter bottle). The same amount in town is 1 euro. Stock up while you’re out to dinner.
12. There are local cats. Lots of them.
Local cats roam basically every street. They’re friendly, but if you hate cats or are allergic maybe bring some extra Claritin.
13. You don’t need to get to the airport very early on departure day.
The airport is teeny tiny and usually only two flights can be going out at once. If you get there about a half an hour before take-off that’s more than enough time.
14. If you’re looking to bring home ethically-made gifts, go for sandals or linens.
There were lots of tchotchke gifts, like any other touristy place, and some beautiful but tremendously high end shops (kind of like St. Barth’s), but the best things to shop for, we found, were locally-sourced, handmade linen shirts and pull overs and caftans, and authentic Greek sandals (ethically made by brands like Kyma, who paint all their sandal bottoms bright blue for the Aegean sea, or Isapera, whose designs I loveeee).
15. Be prepared to stop and ask for directions. Even if you’re a man. Multiple times.
Porter’s pretty good about asking for directions, but a few times he’d tell me he knew exactly where we were going and definitely did not. We played the “are you sure you know where we’re going?” “yes” “are you sure you know where we’re going?” “yes” “are you sure you know where we’re going?” “no” game one too many times and realized it’s just a whole lot easier to continuously run into gelato or coffee shops and just reconfirm that we’re heading the right way.
We’re going to attempt to do these guides (& vlogs) as we travel this fall, so I hope they’ve been helpful!
Anna Lisa & Porter