Mykonos was, hands down, my favorite port we visited on our cruise last year. Thank goodness! My desire to visit the island, and it’s little sister, Delos, were what prompted the whole cruise in the first place. See, back in the early 1990s, I was a huge Christopher Pike fan, and the setting of The Immortal really spoke to me. Since Royal Caribbean’s Splendour of the Seas was one of a relatively small number ships stopping in Mykonos, that’s how “we” came to choose that itinerary. Now on to pictures and potentially useful information!
Cruise ship: Well, we got there on a cruise ship, so, obviously, that’s an option. I’d say it’s a good one, but… I totally feel like I was ripped off only having gotten to visit Mykonos for a day. That’s a place you can visit for weeks. Oh well – it was worth it to get to see it at all and to get to see the other places we visited. Anyway, there are two places where cruise ships drop folks off.
(1) Our boat was first in, so we got to actually dock instead of tender. The port was a little ways from Mykonos Town, so we had to take the shuttle bus in (no, no taxis at the port when we arrived). Of course there was a charge for the shuttle. Ugh. Well, I guess it might have been worth it to see the mama cat and her playful kittens pictured above.
(2) If we’d been a little later, we might have dropped anchor closer to Mykonos Town and tendered in. I think that would’ve been better despite the hassle of tendering because we wouldn’t have had to pay for the shuttle to get into town.
Flying: To fly to Mykonos, you’re going to have to go through Athens, and you’ll end up on a Greek airline (Aegean, Olympic). Luckily they partner with airlines that are active over here in the US, so it shouldn’t be too tough to get there. It might, however, be pretty pricey.
Ferries: During the summer, there are daily ferries between Piraeus (port nearest Athens) or Rafina (port nearest Athens airport) and Mykonos. There are also regular ferries between Mykonos and Andros, Syros, Tinos, Kalymnos, Kos, Leros, Patmos, and Rhodes. If you decide to take ferries between islands, you should consider booking in advance to guarantee your spot. If you don’t book in advance, make sure your arrangements are flexible just in case the ferry you’d like to take is sold out and you have to wait a day or two.
What to See/Do
Mykonos Town: There’s a lot to check out in Mykonos Town, so, if you’re just visiting for a day, you may be satisfied spending the entire day here. I know I would love to have had more time to take pictures – it’s adorable! The specifics – there are a couple museums, Aegean Maritime Museum and Archeological Museum of Mykonos. Since we got plenty of history and archeological discoveries on other stops, we spent our time wandering the town, having baklava, and checking out Little Venice and the windmills. I wish we’d had a bit more time so we could’ve also found the Church of Paraportiani, which is widely recognized as the most beautiful of Mykonos’ hundreds of churches. Don’t miss the pink pelicans!
Paradise Beach: While there is a little beach in Mykonos Town, the bus trip to Paradise Beach is well worth the trip. From Mykonos Town by the sea, climb up up up the hill, occasionally asking for directions towards the bus stop. It’s easy to find. Then purchase a round trip ticket at the little shop by the station. The ride isn’t long, and, once you’re there, it’s heaven. The water is cool and refreshing, the pebble beach is gorgeous, and the drink options are great at the bars right on the beach.
Delos: This tiny island is about a 30 minute ferry ride from Mykonos and one of the most interesting archeological sites in Greece. The history of the island is as fascinating as it is sad. It’s so important, and you’ll be glad you went even if just briefly and kinda miserably. To do a real visit would take several hours. If, however, you can’t stand the utter lack of shade for that long, it’s possible to visit for just an hour. Tips: Wear sunscreen, take water, and take your own shade if possible (ideally a parasol but a hat will help some). If you want to keep your visit short due to heat or other concerns, do NOT go on the first boat over. If I remember correctly, the first return trip is at noon. You’ll see the times when you get to the pier; just don’t rush over if you want a short trip to Delos. Also, be advised that you’ll have to queue again once you get to the island for entrance, so try to be off the boat as quickly as possible so your line time will be shorter. And be warned that the last boat back to Mykonos can be ridiculously crowded, so you probably want to avoid that one if the weather is warm.
Have you been to Mykonos? What was your favorite spot? I do so look forward to visiting again someday.