Mykonos (Part 1) – Meandering through the alleys of Mykonos

Are you a party person? Are you someone who enjoys nightlife to the tee? If answer to all the above questions is “YES”, then Mykonos is for you. The alleys of Mykonos along with its beaches will keep you entertained even after the sun goes down, rather more so then. Charm of the Island continues beyond the dusk.

Mykonos is an island in the Cyclades group of islands in the Aegean Sea which boasts of other islands like Santorini, Naxos, Paros, Anafi….etc. But of course, Mykonos and Santorini are its most famous ones. During the summers Greece attracts maximum tourists and travellers and these 2 islands allure most of them making these islands the busiest ones.

Mykonos Landing

After a lot of contemplation during the finalisation of itinerary, we decided to keep a day and half for Mykonos. After we bid adieu to magical Santorini, we landed in Mykonos at around 1 PM. This was one place where we were super confused. There was no clarity on public transport and way too much chaos. Since hordes of tourists land in Mykonos and most of them book their excursions with tour operators you can find lots and lots of luxury tourists buses lined up at the port. Most of them had private tours organised as well, so there were quite a lot of private cabs available too. So amongst all of these, we could find no sign of any public transport.

We had booked our stay at the Rhenia Hotel in Tourlos. So we googled and figured out that our hotel was merely 750 mtrs away from the port. Worst case we would walk to our hotel, we decided. But in that heat and sun right above our head and with the luggage that we had with us to drag along, we were in no mood to walk. Losing no hope, we still were confident that we would find something which would drop us right at the doorstep of our hotel.

Walk to the Hotel…

This is when things turned a little funny. Mainly because of the language problem. Somehow whoever we tried to ask questions to had decided to talk to us in Greek even after we were asking them in english. Slowly with a lot of persistence they moved onto the broken english. We asked them which way is Rhenia hotel and they pointed us in the complete opposite direction of where the google was directing us. We were totally confused. The place that they were pointing to was about 15-20 kms away and with no public transport in picture it would have been impossible for us to reach there.

Finally we looked up the phone number of our Hotel on our mail and called at the reception. The hotel guys were really great. They informed us that the Rhenia which port guys were telling about is the Rhenia island on the other side. It was a big sigh of relief for us. They told us that they can send a cab for us but it would cost 50EURO which was very expensive. They suggested it would be easier if we walk the distance.

Finally dragging our luggage we started walking towards the hotel. The route to the hotel was uphill for the last 300 mtr. With a backpack and a suitcase to lug around we huffed and puffed our way up and at last reached at the entrance of our hotel. And there we saw the hotel staff waiting for us :-). That was a very gratifying experience.

Check-in…

We were both dripping with sweat and trying to catch our breath, but the staff was very considerate. They gave us a bottle of water to cool ourselves down and helped us with our luggage as well. Check-in was smooth, our room was already prepared. We were to stay here for 2 nights.

The owner of the place gave us some quick instructions on how to go about the town and little tips for sighseeing, informing us about the wind patterns and the beaches to go by accordingly. They also gave us a map of the Mykonos town which helped us plan our 2 days there. It felt really good to be there.

View from our room in Rhenia

 

Rhenia is a beautiful property, overlooking the sea. Its on the other side of the town. You need a ferry to go into the town of Mykonos, so you can imagine that how serene and calm the place would have been. We loved the place. Room was spacious and had a small porch where you could just sit and chill and relax and look into the horizon. There was a small pool as well for a quick swim and sometimes to just relax.

We settled ourselves and freshened up quickly and set about planning our day further.

Finding a ride into the town…

For today we had decided to just roam around the famous and beautiful streets of Mykonos. So we were thinking of options to travel to the other side of the town. Either we could get a self drive car or a self drive Motor-bike or use water taxi as a public transport option. We started enquiring about the self drive options.

On this side of the town, near our hotel there were 2 options available. Car was quite expensive – almost 80-100EUROS a day, so we ruled out this option completely. Man – Mykonos is expensive! In Santorini, we had taken the car for 40EURO a day. It was more than the double here. Our next best option was moto-bike, in the range of 25-50 EURO per day based on the model we selected. But we wanted to explore more. One is never satisfied with the initial options that are given – right 🙂

Bad Experience…

When we went to the other shop (Maistros Rent-Bike), the manager there turned out to be a little rude. The moment he heard we were Indians, he started asking all sorts of questions. We had the international license which we had already used in Crete and Santorini. But this guy was not ready to accept it. He saw our license and said this won’t work in Mykonos – which surprised us a lot, since we had just been to a travel agent who had agreed to rent us a Moto-bike based on the same license. This guy was just playing hard on us.

Then he called up someone to check on the authenticity of the international driving license that we were carrying. We think the response was in our favour, because after that he did show us the Moto-bike options but quoted 100 EURO a day for 150CC bike. Can you beat that? This was unacceptable and outright rude on his part. He had already made up his mind to not entertain us. So finally we said no to this erratic guy and went back to our first option.

By now we had decided to use water taxi to go into the town of Mykonos and take the Moto-bike for our island tour the next day.

Mykonos …

Fare on water taxi per person is 2 EURO one way. So overall it cost us 8 EURO to and fro. It was a pretty decent deal. It always feels good to save money wherever you can and spend it on something more worthwhile.

The route to the town is quite scenic, on one side you see Tourlos amidst the small hills with white washed houses spread across the landscape while on the other you see the buzz of the town. It takes 10 minutes via water taxi (ferry) and is the fastest route. Also the frequency is every 30 min, which is pretty good.The other route is to drive your way into the town, which is about 5km and takes around 15-20 min.

Mykonos town is also known as Chora (which means Town). The moment we got down we could sense the active vibes of the town. There are lots of eateries and sourvenir shops by the port side. But we moved on towards the other end. We had heard so much about the streets of Mykonos and were eager to explore them. The town starts just a few meters from the port. All you need to do is choose one of the streets and start your exploration.

Streets of Chora/Alleys of Mykonos…

The meandering alleys take you through the smallest but beautiful routes. The whole town is like a maze of well decorated streets. It seems as if its a theme-based town with white washed houses and dash of blue color thrown on them. There are tiled pathways which are also adorned with white paint. And though there is such a similar style throughout the town, still every street stands out in itself.

We were so lost wandering through them that we lost track of time. An hour had already past before we realised that we had lot more streets to cover. Even though they all look the same but the traveller within never satiates. We wanted to visit every nook of that beautiful maze.

As far as the shopping is concerned, we found it a little expensive and were not  very keen on it. Also, after having visited Rhythemno in Crete and Oia in Santorini – which we found much more shopping friendly with all the more varieties and light on the pocket – we skipped the shopping part in Mykonos. So with all that time saved, we were able to spend in more on the streets and by the sea.

Also you can visit beautiful Churches around the town. As compared to Oia, churches are far less in Chora but the one that we passed by was quite different than what we saw in Oia. So if you are someone who wants to visit them can also spend their time exploring them.

Windmills…

Windmills are the iconic feature of the town of Mykonos. As history has it, there were around 26 windmills on the island between 18 to 20 century. Constructed by the venetians, these windmills went out of business and now none of them are in working condition. 1 of them has now been converted into a museum (the bonis windwill) which educates you about the history of these windmills. If interested, you should defnitely give it a try.

7 of these windmills are in the perfect location, standing on a hill looming over the sea. Its the most visited spot on the island.

Probably during the say you might not find them quite alluring but as the sun goes down, the grace of this rocky landscape comes to life. It adorns a different charm altogether.

Travel Tip – Visit the windmills during the sunset. You will love it.

The famous “Little Venice” of Mykonos

 

Little Venice…

Just below the windmills, by the sea in a perfect setting is a conglomerate of houses, bars, cafes and bistros also knows as Little Venice because it resembles the real Venice. All of these face the beautiful, pristine and crystal clear waters of the Aegean sea.

Because of its setting, this is one of the most expensive part of the town but also the most in demand.

Sunset…

Windmills and the little Venice give you the perfect opportunity to capture amazing pictures and the golden hour of sunset.

The Sun here sets in the Aegean sea, the beautiful colors of the sunset makes a perfect canvas frame. A frame to cherish for the years to come by. This was definitely one of the best sunsets that we have seen in all our travels so far.

One of the most beautiful Sunsets we’ve seen

 

We reached the spot a good 1 hour before. So we thought to check the surroundings and went around that area. During our walk we found an abandoned church which had one of the best location overlooking the sea. It was such a surreal spot with a light cool breeze blowing. Touch of the wind against our faces felt very refreshing and so we just sat there for a while.

Finally sun beckoned us by giving hints about its last rays for the day.

 

So we started walking towards the sunset point. We found a perfect spot by the small hillock and waited to get mesmerized by the play of nature.

Dinner…

Dinner in Mykonos is an early event. By the sunset time, people start to occupy the hotels to get a perfect view along with a perfect meal. So as soon as the sun sets, the bistros are at their full capacity. We found it really overwhelming and it was also really difficult to find a good place for dinner.

Also being vegetarians it was a little hard to find a cafe or hotel to suit our taste buds. We used to go through their menus before even going into one.We had to roam around some more before we found a small and cute bistro which was by the corner of one of the streets, serving burgers and sandwiches.

One interesting fact – the streets that you roam around in the afternoon don the look of a restaurant by the evening in Chora. The same alley that might have amazed you with its tranquil and serene look in the day, would be found lines with chairs and tables and benches for the evening dinner. And believe us, alleys of Mykonos are all abuzz with activity. None of them goes without business.

Our sandwich dinner with a beer and a white wine

 

Pretty amazing things we saw there. Finally we had our dinner of Sandwich and burger with some beer and wine to slosh it down.

Way Back to Rhenia…

It was almost 8:30 by the time we finished our dinner. We had to catch water taxi back to Tourlos. We walked to the port of Mykonos and had to wait for the ferry. The way back was as beautiful as we found it in the day, just with a difference that right now the whole town of Chora was gleaming.

Back at hotel, we spent some time by the pool since we had reached a little early. We ended the day with a few glasses of Rose wine – a memoir that we got from Santorini.

We had already planned our second day in Mykonos. With excitement galore we finally conked off for the day !!

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