Mykonos in Santorini, Greece is on my list as one of the places I want to explore at least once in my lifetime. Having seen movies set on this charming island with beautiful sunsets all the more inspire me to pursue my dream of reaching it one day. That dream came true when my husband surprised me with news that we will spend our 6th wedding anniversary in Greece, where the first European civilization began. Exploring the real magic of this beauty was one of the best romantic holidays we ever had. We made the most of our two week stay at one of the islands off this southern part of the Balkan Peninsula.
A visit to Mykonos is not enough without seeing the splendor of Little Venice. This maze of busy streets sits right on the sea. It is lined with shops, old houses, clubs, and restaurants with a view of the Aegean Sea. Buildings painted in bright colors create a nice contrast with the beautiful blue sea on the island. We get to meet its famous resident, the pink pelicans that live in the neighborhood. These birds are fed by the locals; they ran purely all around this island as if they were shopping too. We stopped here for a good meal while watching the sea mills, old houses, and a privileged view of the sunset. I highly recommend trying the aperitif Zorbas, the sparkling wine with strawberry juice is just unique! From here we pass the much commercialized main street called the Matoyianni Street. I loved it. All those little white houses, cobbled streets, shops everywhere, it is a wonder. A place where time seems to stop, it’s great to wander through its narrow streets. It was fun to get lost along the labyrinthine alleys for we get to know the ins and outs of each corner during our stay. Here, every turn is a pleasure. White houses with celestial balconies, small bars and convenient gift stores that are busy during the day, but once it’s late and the streets are empty everything becomes relaxed and more enjoyable.
The next day we took a long drive to get to the other side of the island and explore the Panormos Beach. This very nice beach is located in the northern part of the island. It is a small bay flanked by two hills, a completely wild and the other with typical houses of the place. In front there is a promontory that goes down to the sea. The colors of the sea were fantastic and the beach is of fine sand. The scenery around it is equally beautiful. Both also have fine restaurants with non-exaggerated prices. Two Greek Salads, a cold beer and Italian coffee, sun beds, free Wi-Fi, and umbrella are included in our package amenities. We had a choice of eating at the table or be served directly in the lounge facing the beach where we relaxed amidst the huge pillows and windy sea breeze. Very elegant, modern, and cozy but at the same time does not lose its natural charm. It has the best atmosphere in all the beaches in the island. We relished the experience of hip lounge music and sipping our mojitos as we view the beach scene from our hammocks. The ATV experience is a must!
On our third day we rented a scooter to go around the narrow roads that lead to the Armenistis Lighthouse. The lighthouse and its context are especially attractive as it overlooks the sea. However, the lighthouse and the keeper’s house attached are in a state of neglect. We climbed all the way up to its observation deck and the view was gorgeous. It is a great photo opportunity site where we had almost twenty pictures taken along with the view of the sea as our backdrop. After a visit here we checked out the famous landmark of the island, The Windmills (Kato Milli). This symbol is always present on photographs and postcards about the island. These five windmills stand motionless on the hill by the sea. It is impossible to resist the allure of these windmills as it is visible from almost all of the island and very close to the picturesque neighborhood of Little Venice. The big cruise ships filled with tourists are welcomed by the sight of this icon. At sunset it becomes the most impressive part of Mykonos.
The following day we visited an old church near the windmills, the Church of Paraportiani. The church is usually closed and we can only take pictures of its exteriors and surroundings. Built in the 15th century, its structure has a mix of four architectural styles. The name comes from the word “doors”, because in this place once stood a castle which is the gateway to the island. Unfortunately, the castle was demolished and replaced by this church complex consisting of five really small buildings. At day, it looked brighter when its white color is illuminated by sunlight. We stroll here every day and spend a romantic afternoon to see a lovely sunset when the background, the sky, and the sea take on various shades of color and intensity creating a magical atmosphere.
We had the chance to visit and be pampered with scenic views at the Paranga Beach on our second week on the island. The water is very clean and clear, which I think is very common along this island where the water quality everywhere we go is tops. This beach is more frequented by the younger “hip” crowd and beautiful locals that freely wander in this area. In the afternoon, a beach party is held on this smooth sandy beach along with loud music and flash mob dancing. Add to this, the bars overflow with drinks served by beautiful bar girls from its line of bars and restaurants facing the beach. It was nice to just lounge around the bed with umbrellas and take a dip in its cold waters. When we got tired of too much crowd on this part, we head to the nearby beach that is more family oriented the Platis Gialos Beach. On this tranquil beach with fewer crowds we had more time to enjoy snorkeling in its crystal clear waters. The very relaxed atmosphere is ideal for late night promenade along the shores. The Jet Ski ride was a new experience for me that I truly enjoyed with my loving husband.
The next day was spent bumming around the beaches of Paradise Beach. This pebbly coarse sandy beach was crowded to capacity even during the low season. During daytime it is nice and quiet but by 5:00 pm the tourist crowd goes thicker and the DJ turns up the volume of the music and people starts to dance. It was absolute fun and the Tropicana cocktails were just fabulous! The atmosphere becomes extremely noisy and dirty with trash, not an ideal top spot for romantics. There were a lot of campers and gay couples promenading on this side of Mykonos. We have taken refuge by visiting the nearby beach called the Playa Super Paradise. There was hardly anyone around during our visit aside from the usual nudists who lay on the lounge chairs on the shore of this nudist camp. This beautiful place has shallow, clear waters and a wide selection of self service restaurants to choose from. The beach offers various forms of water sports and a platform for those who love diving. In the morning we enjoy a romantic solitude but in the evening we dance on this island that is paradise indeed.
To explore just one island in a country blessed with a hundred of strategic isles is not enough. We are raring to go back and explore the other beautiful islands we missed in Greece.