It’s becomes routine practically, the cruise ship docks at 7 in the morning and Roman and I wait for our excursion to start. Like Santorini, there is a tender system to get people to shore since Mykonos has not a big enough harbor. We decided to buy tickets with Royal Caribbean which gives a starting time and priority for getting off the ship. At tender ports I recommend this as it makes the tender experience very smooth.
Roman and I decided to buy the Elia Beach transfer tour which basically provides just the shuttle service from Mykonos Town to Elia Beach, a small beach about 30 minutes across the island. We were told this was the most popular tour and I can understand why as Elia Beach is probably the most beautiful of them all. We got around 3.5 hours to lay on the beach, which was plenty of time.
If you’re deciding whether to go to Mykonos or not, first let me say that the island is small and there isn’t much to do besides lounging on a beach or shopping. There isn’t even that many taxis services and more than likely you’ll need to hire a tour to take you to different parts of the islands. It doesn’t take that long to get across the island, perhaps 45 minutes from its furthest points.
We arrived at the beach in the early morning hours in the sleepy village of Elia. There isn’t really anything here except the occasional beach house, the beach itself and one or two restaurants. However it’s kind of nice and because it’s far away from Mykonos Town, it’s quiet. When we arrived there wasn’t very many people and we were able to snag chairs and an umbrella pretty quick.
The chairs and umbrellas were kind of expensive and I think we paid around 20 euros. And that was the cheaper section! But for me, they were worth it because the sand in Greece and be kind of gravely and it was nice to be up on a lounge chair underneath a straw umbrella. Plus the chairs are fancier than most places I’ve been; with buzzers for servers to come with food and drinks!
Also people should know that Elia Beach is the most liberal beach on the island and is popular with the gays! I’m a pretty liberal guy and so is Roman, somewhat. And it was nice to be around great looking guys and people not afraid to show off a little skin. While on the cruise there were several tourists concerned that it may be too liberal but if you can take a bit of skin, you’ll be ok.
My attitude for Elia Beach was to do nothing! This beach isn’t exactly known for its activity, in fact it feel rather slow in the morning. It’s also true that we showed up before most of the tourists staying on the island would have. But the water is quite beautiful and so I took a dip into the water a couple of times, and some with my GoPro to take underwater pictures. It really is quite a pretty shade of blue.
As the morning turns into afternoon, it will get busier and you’ll notice more people walking up and down the beach or enjoying the water. There are restaurants and restrooms but you can of course get served at your seat by servers. This is what I loved most about the beach and we ordered a couple of Mythos beers to get a nice buzz going.
There is no need to rush, at least that was our attitude. Our tour was 3.5 hours at the beach, which is plenty of time. The sun was hot and for me I didn’t want to get burned; plus there are more things to do on Mykonos besides laying on the beach for the entire time. At 1 pm our bus boarded back up and we headed back into Mykonos Town.
After a 30 minute bus ride back, we arrived in the town of Mykonos. By far the biggest city on the island, but by many other Greek cities, it’s quite tiny. The city is picturesque with simple white wash buildings with the occasional colorful roof or window. You could walk across the city within an hour but the real joy is to walk up and down the narrow curvy streets. There is plenty of jewelry and souvenirs if that is what are you looking for.
Roman and I decided to first stop at a gyro shop and sit down and eat. We neglected to eat at the beach and this was our first true meal for the day. This time we had a gyro wrap and it was delicious. Look for restaurants across the city but it’s hard to go wrong if there is a long line and it smells amazing. We took our time and ate outside to enjoy the beautiful weather.
Jewelry stores are pretty prevalent in Mykonos and Roman had been looking for a Greek ring with the symbol of the Greek key aka the Greek infinity symbol. Well Mykonos ended up to be the perfect place to find it. We popped into a store and the owner had a few selections. He was able to size the ring within 2 hours while we were exploring the rest of the city.
Walking through narrow streets we finally reached the other side of the harbor, in the area known as Little Venice. The façade part of Little Venice is quite beautiful with clusters of different sized buildings all with unique colors. There are places to have some lunch but we didn’t have time to sit. Right next door to Little Venice is the windmills of Mykonos.
They are no longer in use but are still preserved in their original look. At one time they would have had some sort of cloth on them to make them turn but today it’s just the wooden structure. They put the windmills in a perfect setting as the area was super windy. We snapped some photos, as that’s all there really is to do and walked back into the inner part of the city to get Romans ring. By then it was already to get back on the tender boat and head back on the ship.
For me Mykonos was one of the top destinations even though it doesn’t have much to offer. It’s small, gay-friendly, exclusive and beautiful and all of that is probably why I love it. The whole point of going to Mykonos is to relax and let loose. There isn’t huge distractions to keep you moving 100% of the time; the island forces you to slow down.
images by: shawnvoyage