Mountainous, rugged landscape as far as the eye can see, rocky cliffs and practically no vegetation or wildlife at all, where does this remind you of? It sounds like Morocco or another barren wilderness, but in fact it is Mykonos, much more like North Africa or the Middle East than anywhere in Europe. Along with its harsh exterior, this island has a reputation as a party destination. So as well as not being much to look at, is anything other than full on hedonism possible here? I recently took a trip round some of the beaches to find out.
By far the best way to travel around the island is by quad bike. Most people do and although the Greek drivers can be a bit scary with their blind bend overtaking and the steep uneven roads down to the beaches are a bit precarious, you get used to the roads in no time. But helmets are advised!
Ornos Beach in the south west was my first stop out of the capital Mykonos Town, a buzzy beach, surrounded by boutique hotels. I spent the day at Kuzina, a beach lounge bar recommended by a friend. It is well worth a day here, with double day beds to share with your nearest and dearest and a great restaurant with open kitchen.
Travelling east, Psarou Beach on the south coast turned out to be my favourite spot. This beach is accessed through a tiny sandy track so leave your quad bike or moped further up the road. The best place to head for here is Nammos, a super-cool beach club with sunbeds, glamorous staff, pumping tunes and a restaurant/bar serving the crispest rose and amazing food. I ate the most incredible squid stuffed with peppers and feta – delicious and a surprisingly large portion given the uber trendy don’t usually eat!
Moving a little further east is Paradise Beach – probably the one that conjures up the most typical thoughts of Mykonos. There are two extremes of bar here – Tropicana which is a cheap and cheerful beach bar with sunbeds, restaurants, and very loud cheesy music, and Cavo Paradiso – a huge house music club famous across Greece with hardcore clubbers.
Right round to the very east of the island, pretty much directly opposite Mykonos Town in the west, is a very quiet bay, Kalifatis. Famous for water sports because it is windier than other parts of the island, there are wind surfers and kite surfers out most days riding the waves. There are two restaurants walk-able to the beach – I preferred Aquarius – a small, rustic restaurant with friendly staff and excellent food. Try the shrimps with ouzo and cream or the grilled halloumi with sunblush tomato pesto for a lovely lunch.
There are plenty of other beaches of course but this gives you a flavour of Mykonos and shows that different types of holidays can be catered for. You certainly don’t have to be a clubber to have a great time here!