M is for MYKONOS – the first Greek Island paradise we set out to explore, found in the heart of the Cyclades.
Arrive – a €34 Blue Star Ferry ticket, booked on the day, got us from Piraeus Port in Athens to Mykonos in 6.5 hours.
Stay – we pre-booked at Paraga Beach Hostel via hostelbookers.com. On our arrival at the port, we were met by a representative from the hostel who provided us with a free minivan transfer across the island, via some very narrow, windy, hilly roads, to Paraga Beach. For €13 a night we were installed in a 2-man canvas ‘cabin’ (think army barracks style) with use of a communal shower/toilet area. The hostel (which could really be better described as a camping ground) boasted a fabulous outdoor pool and bar area with tunes pumping from the early afternoon until well into the night. The location was tops – literally right on Paraga Beach (watch out for the nudies down the far end!!) which is a glorious wee stretch of sand lined with several beach bars and restaurants.
Do – Get lost in the narrow white-washed maze of streets in old Mykonos town*, or ‘Chora‘, perusing both tacky tourist shops and gorgeous high-end boutiques along the way. Walk from the old windmills up on the hill, past ‘Little Venice‘ (a picturesque row of old fishing houses with their balconies overhanging the ocean) around to both the old and new ports. Sun-bake on one of the many stunning beaches around the island and swim in the crystal-clear waters of the Aegean Sea.
* public buses depart regularly from Paraga Beach into Mykonos Town, and vice versa, and tickets (purchased onboard) cost next to nothing.
Party – Drinking games started on the pool terrace at the hostel from mid-evening, with young people from all over the globe getting involved. Once the sun disappeared, the crowd made their way down to the poolside dance floor where a live DJ was posted up, spinning some excellent summer party tracks. From around midnight, groups started peeling off to make the trek (a clumsy clamber around the seriously rocky coastline, peppered with nasty prickle bushes at every turn, in the pitch-black darkness after several cocktails) over to Paradise Beach, where you can dance your heart out at any number of the several beach clubs located there. The summer club scene hadn’t really kicked off yet, given it was early June when we visited, but when it gets cranking Mykonos is known as the ‘Ibiza of Greece’.
Eat – You simply have to indulge in a natural Greek frozen yoghurt drizzled in real Greek honey and sprinkled with fruits and nuts in Mykonos Town. Try a big bowl of fried calamari drenched in freshly squeezed lemon juice and served with a tomato-onion-cucumber salad from a waterfront restaurant with a view of the old windmills. Sip a cocktail from one of the bars near ‘Little Venice’ and watch the sun go down over the water.