A Local's Guide To Mykonos, Greece
‘Dance, drink, never sleep’: that’s the ultimate slogan of Mykonos written on souvenir T-shirts. However, behind the crazy parties, the expensive restaurants and the five-star hotels, the island still features charming traditions and hidden, less-known spots to enjoy. Here are the top 5 things to discover that will make you feel like a real Mykonian.
Ano Mera | © Bgabel/Wikicommons
Eight kilometers away from Mykonos Town and in total contrast to the center’s hustle-and-bustle, Ano Mera is a low profile village visitors will enjoy exploring. The residents have their own land and animals and usually cultivate their own products. In the main square is the impressive monastery of Panagia Tourliani, built in the 15th century by two monks who arrived to Mykonos from Paros. Grand, yet simple, on the outside with impressive wood carvings by Florentine craftsmen on the inside, this famous monastery is the heart of Ano Mera. Also in the square are small restaurants, with one popular spot being Steki Proedrou, offering delicious dishes made with local meats.
One thing you can’t help noticing in Mykonos is the number of churches that appear almost everywhere. In old times, each family would create a little church, near their homes, dedicated to a particular saint. Today, the saints are celebrated on designated name days around the churches with parties featuring lots of food, drinks, sweets and music. This local festival, called ‘panighiri,’ is famous on all the Greek islands, with many events taking place during the summer. Delos, the small island near Mykonos famous for being one of the most important mythological, historical and archaeological sites in Greece, features a popular ‘panighiri’ — with dancing by the sea — that many Mykonians not only love to visit but also show-off to visitors.
Bay at Delos | © bighornplateau1/Flickr
Ouzo At The Old Port
As you may have already noticed, one favorite pastime of Mykonians is drinking, especially when it’s a beautiful day, free of obligations. Mostly on Sundays, local people gather in the Old Port of Mykonos to meet their friends, converse and have fun while taking in amazing views of the sea. After one o’clock, it’s time for ouzo, the typical Greek drink flavored with anise, and for pikilia, a variety of seafood to accompany the drinks. At Bakogias in the Old Port, you will meet many residents, fishermen, families with children and people from Ano Mera who, once in a while, enjoy the cosmopolitan Mykonos Town. Make sure to drink slowly, as this small fest may last all day long!
Bakogias, Old Port of Mykonos, Greece, +30 2289 023552
Isolated beaches are less famous, well hidden and lead you one step closer to paradise. Away from the loud music and the crowded beach bars, there are some wonderful beaches for those who prefer nature in its purest form. Passing a long and deserted part of the island at the north, you will find Tigani and Merchia, plus Fokos and Mersini. Undeveloped yet magnificent, these beaches seem to be located on a completely different island. Next to Panormos you will find Agios Sostis, which is popular with nudists. Once there, you must remember to eat at Kikis, the typical tavern working without electricity. As strange as it may sound, this small place offers unique tastes and friendly service, not to mention beautiful views of the sea. Last but not least, try watching the sunset from Kapari, a beautiful beach with fine sand, crystal waters and golden skies that is hot spot for secret couples, as locals may confirm; it is located at the south side of Mykonos.
Reservations are not possible, open until 18:00 every day
Kikis Tavern, Agios Sostis, Mykonos, Greece
Are you in the mood for a movie night under the stars? Cine Manto is one of the most romantic, beautiful places and is located in the heart of Mykonos Town. In this open air cinema, you can enjoy the best movies, including first worldwide released films and box office productions for adults and children, starting on June 1st up until September 30th. In its gardens, you will find a cool café adorned with greenery that is open all day long, offering Greek breakfast, barbecue, drinks and brunches.
Cine Manto, Chora, Mykonos Town, Greece, +30 2289 026165