What to do in Mykonos Greece?
My one day in Mykonos came as a result of a Mediterranean cruise Tom and I were on. A lot of people see Mykonos this way and – judging from my conversations on the cruise that night – many are disappointed of how they spend the day on the island.
Tip #1: If you’re short on time and you want to really experience the island, be very cautious of signing up for a shore excursion. The 11-night Med cruise I was on stopped in 8 different ports and Tom and I didn’t do a shore excursion in any of them. Caveat: we are both well-traveled around Europe, but even for someone new to traveling in Europe, navigating your way around the cities and islands of the continent is easy to do with a little bit of planning. Shore excursions tend to be crowded and on a tight schedule, not allowing you the freedom to immerse yourself in the island where you’d like.
Tip #2: If thinking of Mykonos conjures thought of a picturesque setting such as this…
…go to Mykonos Town. Really, everyone should see the town as it’s absolutely gorgeous and is quintessential Greek isle scenery. Before arriving in Mykonos Town, I pictured it to be peaceful and soul-soothing like Oia in Santorini.
Instead, after an hour I ended up feeling like frustrated, annoyed, and wanting to see more of Mykonos than just what’s on postcards.
Don’t get me wrong; Mykonos Town is beautiful and worth exploring, but it is also a tourist trap full of gift shops and crowds. Masses and masses of day trippers are milling about and the town with its narrow alleyways, it can start to feel incredibly claustrophobic. So I recommend that you do not spend all of your time in port there as many people are inclined to do this since it’s the only place most cruise lines will offer transportation to if you’re not doing a shore excursion.
This beautiful yet claustrophobic and touristy dichotomy is why after two hours in Mykonos Town I proclaimed “I must get out of here!” and began walking to the edge of the town, which took Tom and me up a hill to a road. We reached the road and the thought of going back into the crowds and shops filled me with dread so Tom and I decided to walk up the curving road, not sure what we would come to.
After a few switchbacks in the road, I was starting to think this road was leading us nowhere and we were going to end up in some weird time-continuum vortex pushing buttons a là Lost.
Then, after one more bend, we were saved.
Tip #3: We came to a 4-wheeler and scooter rental shop.
Tom and I didn’t even need to discuss whether we should rent one or not. We were both drawn to it as keenly as if we were stranded in a desert and it was a huge pond of water.
I recommend renting a 4-wheeler or scooter to get around the island, especially if you want to head to a beach. The small pockets of beaches by Mykonos Town and by the port are rocky and, unfortunately, sprinkled with trash.
Tom and I rented a 4-wheeler from the lady who ran the shop, who seemed quite surprised we were more than willing to pay full price for a day’s rental even though we’d only have it for a few hours (cruise ships will leave without you).
And that’s when our adventure and love affair with Mykonos really started. The island is so much more than the blue doors of Mykonos town. It’s a sprawling land mass of brown hills dusted with greenery and flowers and cute little island houses. And beaches.
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