Half-Day in the Stunning Mykonos, Greece
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The few hours we spent in Mykonos was our first taste of Greece and what cemented our eagerness to explore more. For our honeymoon, we were on a 9-day Mediterranean cruise that stopped at 4 ports in Greece and 3 in Italy. Our first Greek port was the gorgeous Mykonos! Prior to leaving, Mykonos was near the bottom of our list of what we were most excited for. However, after we were done exploring Mykonos town, it was our number one place to go back in Greece. It has the beautiful white-washed buildings, archeological ruins, great beaches, nightlife, and extremely friendly residents. If you are dropped off in Mykonos just for a short bit of time, here is a guide on how to make the most of it.
If you are coming from a cruise ship – skip the shore excursion.
The town itself is extremely walkable and easy to navigate. You will likely feel extremely crowded in a guided tour walking around the narrow pedestrian-only streets. Tours also go at a quick pace, limiting your ability to take pictures and enjoy all the small details of the town.
Go into town as early as you can!
The day we were there, 3 ships were in port. Mykonos town is small. Too small to accommodate 3 cruise ships' worth of people. Luckily our ship arrived first, so we got off the ship, took a boat to town, and began wandering as soon as we could. At the beginning of the day, we had the cobbled-stone alleyways nearly to ourselves. About an hour or two later, tour groups started crowded the streets and it began to get claustrophobic.
Get lost in the maze-like streets.
The first few streets closest to the port are mainly filled with souvenir shops or luxury stores. As you get past those, you will hit some smaller hotels and cafes then restaurants, bars, and apartments. They also have some art galleries and small local museums. The white-washed buildings are adorned with beautiful blue (and the occasional red) trim on the windows, doors, and railings. The crooked narrow streets near seem to meet at right angles. You will find flowering trees growing up the houses and flower pots with vines flowing down from 2nd story porches. You will likely meet a new resident in every alley busily sweeping up every single fallen petal. The residents truly care about the upkeep of their community. Despite the hordes of tourists that come daily, Mykonos town is the idyllic Greek island community.
Visit the iconic windmills.
Mykonos Town only really has one attraction: its windmills. While they do not necessarily look like the windmills you might be familiar with, they once served the vital function of grinding agricultural yields. These windmills are just outside of town, just a 5-minute direct walk from the port. If you manage to make it there early enough, you will likely have them to yourself.
Find and photograph every cat you can.
My favorite part of Greece: there are cats everywhere. You will find them chilling in the alleys or walking on the beaches. While most of them are feral, it seems like the locals have adopted them. Each cat has been named and some have their own beds in window sills or stairs of local businesses. Approach at your own risk, but the ones we interacted with were either friendly or shy.
Wander down to Little Venice.
Near the windmills is the area of the town known as "Little Venice" for its old homes right on the sea. After spending the previous week in Italy, "Little Venice" was a bit reminiscent of the actual Venice with a lovely Greek twist. There are bars and restaurants right on the water: a great spot to eat lunch. These restaurants are just as good and likely less busy than the ones you find right on the port for lunch. They do, however, get very busy around sunset. We also found a local father & son art shop in the area and bought a small canvas painting of Mykonos at sunset, since we would not be around to capture it ourselves.
If you have more time, you can journey a bit out of the town and take a bus to one of the many beaches on the island. We skipped the beach and headed back to the ship early, right as the town was getting crowded.
While there is so much else to see on the island, we were very pleased with how we spent the day. Mykonos was beyond picturesque and the atmosphere was exactly what we would hope for from a small Greek island town.
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