One of the things I promised myself when I paid off my debt was that I’d reward myself with a trip abroad every year. The inaugural trip was to Spain, and this year I chose Greece. While there were so many places in Greece I really wanted to see, I decided to hit the top three: Mykonos, Santorini and Athens. And what made this trip extra special was being able to pay for my mom to come as well! I think it goes without saying that our parents play a huge role in our lives and have made a lot of sacrifices for us to live the life that we do. So it was about time I tried to pay her back for everything that she’s done for me! Now that I’ve finally caught back up to Michigan time and weened myself off my post-op drugs, more on that here, I’ve put together this Mykonos travel guide for you guys!
Things someone should’ve told us before we went:
Let’s be real. A lot of bloggers love to tell you about their picture perfect, literally every picture is perfect, trip but fail to mention some really important things that you need know before heading to your destination. So I want to take this time to fill you in on some things you should know before traveling to Greece so you aren’t caught off guard.
Plan to go through customs before connecting to your flights. If you aren’t flying directly from the US to Athens then make sure you give yourself plenty of time to go through customs before connecting to your next flight. Luckily Canada’s customs check for connecting flights is crazy efficient but other countries definitely are not. So keep that in mind when booking your flights.
You need an international drivers license. As of May 2018 US citizens are required to have an international drivers license to rent a car or drive a moped. I believe this goes for all of Europe, but don’t quote me. And your rental car agency will not tell you this when you reserve in advance! The only exception is for ATV rentals. But in my opinion it’s better to have it and not need it than to need it and not have it. So if you plan to rent a car be sure to check out how to get your international drivers permit here.
You can’t flush the toilet paper. Not at all. And not just in Mykonos but in all of Greece. So fair warning as it was definitely news to me. Please try to be respectful and make the effort to throw it out and fight the urge to just say who cares and flush it anyways. Seriously don’t be that girl.
Moped is the best way to get around Mykonos, if you’re brave. The second best is an ATV. Since the roads are narrow in Mykonos a moped is a much easier way to drive around the island. They’re cheaper to rent, gas efficient and can easily be parked. But be warned that they have waaaay different road etiquette than the US so be sure you’re really confident in your skills before going this route.
Cash is king. When going to exchange your money into Euros, cash is best. Most exchange places won’t charge you a fee to exchange cash and the more cash you exchange the better rate you get. Also some vendors will charge you a processing fee for using your credit card on top of the 3% fee that most card companies charge. Plus a lot of shops are more open to negotiating if you’re paying with cash which means better prices on souvenirs. But keep in mind that the Euro is worth more than the dollar so it’s easy to think things are cheaper and that you’re getting a good deal when you might not be.
Now let’s get into the trip shall we!
Where to Stay
Instead of opting for a hotel, we chose to stay at an Air BnB just off the beaten path in Ornos. We stayed in a beautiful studio apartment on a resort complex that had its own pool, private beach and a restaurant. It was the perfect secluded getaway for those who aren’t really into the crowds, especially during peak season. Although honestly I wouldn’t recommend the exact place we stayed as there was no WiFi, our host wasn’t very helpful and the closest bus stop was definitely a hike. If you are a first time visitor looking to enjoy Mykonos’ party scene I recommend that you stay in Mykonos Town. It’s so much more convenient, and cheaper, when things are within walking distance. Especially because you’ll have easy access to the public transportation.
Things to See and Do
I won’t lie, I’m always torn when I go on vacation. On the one hand it’s vacation and I want to relax. On the other I want to see and do everything! Which can be really stressful when you’re short on time. Thankfully we planned just enough days on our trip to do both. Here are the things we did while in Mykonos:
- Meander Mykonos Town. This is the only city that we spent any time in because that’s were a lot of the attractions, like Little Venice and the windmills, were. There’s a wide variety of shopping, places to eat and turn up spots if you’re looking to party.
- See the Windmills. A must see are the historic windmills right near Mykonos town. This attraction is free and it’s best to hit in the morning if you’re looking to take photos.
- Visit Little Venice. Just a hop, skip and a jump from the windmills is Little Venice, you can literally see them across the way. It’s a cool place to walk around and grab a bite sea-side.
- Beach Hop. Mykonos has a lot of absolutely beautiful beaches. If you’re looking to get away from the crowds head to Kalafatis beach. The water is clear, there are free beach chairs on the far right side of the beach and a nice beach front bar with bean bag chairs to sit in. For those wanting to party, Paradise beach is for you. Get there early to score a good beach chair or just throw a towel on the sand. The party usually starts around 4/5pm.
- Party. While we didn’t personally turn up, Mykonos definitely has plenty of options. Some of the nicer spots will charge a cover but others are free. Just be warned that a lot of the venues are small so you’ll most likely be in the street just outside partying.
Where to Get Your Grub On
As a lover of Mediterranean cuisine I was so excited to try to real deal. And let me tell you, I did not eat one bad thing during the whole trip! The first morning my mom and I shared the best breakfast platter at Progress in Ornos which came with a beautiful beach view. For dinner we headed to Niko’s Taverna where I had the most delicious cuttlefish with squid ink pasta. If you have a sweet tooth like me be sure to stop at Attica Bakeries, which is open 24 hours, for some of the best baklava ever! Another spot to try is El Burro, while it doesn’t have a killer view their yogurt bowl was well worth it.
What to Wear
As for what to pack my personal recommendation is breezy maxi dresses, beach cover ups and swim suits. Of course a comfortable pair of shoes is a must! Also keep in mind most of the roads are cobblestone which can get slippery so I would pass on packing any stilettos and opt for wedges if you want to wear heels for a night out. For those traveling during the summer months make sure to choose clothes made of breathable fabrics because it gets hot af by midday.
If you’ve ever been to Mykonos I’d love for you to share your recommendations below. Or if you found this guide helpful be sure to share it!