Mykonos has a reputation for being an expensive party island – a playground for rich millennials and the superyacht set. However, here are 7 things you may not know about Mykonos. I certainly didn’t!!
1. The Meltemi wind is strong!
There is a reason Mykonos has so many windmills! Every summer, heat from Africa collides with low pressure from the Balkans to create the Meltemi wind. This wind blasts the island from sun rise until sunset. Sometimes a slight breeze ruffles your clothes whilst other times its tempestuous bursts can hit you with force. On more than a few occasions, the wind threatened to dislodge us from Morris, our lazy moped. Other times, our pool water showered us repeatedly as Meltemi gusts launched spray into the air.
On the plus side, the wind is a pleasant antidote to the heat. Be sure however to lather on plenty of sunscreen as the temperature can be deceiving. It is mainly an issue in July and August and can measure between 4 and 7 on the Beaufort scale. If you plan to run in Mykonos, you will soon realise the Meltemi makes running an Herculean effort!
2. It is not overly scenic
Sorry Mykonos! The scenery is simply not pretty – not in the way that Plitvice lakes or Himalayan mountains are anyway. What is beautiful is the endless sprawl of whitewashed houses, their flat roofs basking in the sun. Shutters, in every conceivable shade of blue, adorn the windows and locals chat under sheltered terraces. Moreover, the sunsets are to die for and if that does not impress you, the clear azure waters should definitely produce a few superlatives.
The beauty of this island emanates from the architecture and the coastline rather than the inland scenery which is rather barren and dry.
3. It is the location for Shirley valentine
Ok millennials you may have to Google this film. Think middle aged, bored Liverpudlian house-wife meets sun, sand, sex and sea. When Shirley’s friend wins a holiday for two to Greece, Shirley accompanies her and embarks on a journey of mid-life self-discovery. Some of the scenes were filmed in Ornos and on the beach of Agios Ioannis.
Note, we stayed at the Horizon Boutique Hotel near to Agios Ioannis and it has stunning infinity pools and seaviews. If you prefer to be directly on the beach, the Hippie Chic hotel is a cool hotel with a fantastic bar with an evening resident DJ. It is a great place to watch the sunset and enjoy a cocktail, but prices may not be appealing for backpackers.
The beaches are not what you might be used to in other European holiday destinations. They do not have boardwalks and quaint towns lining their sandy shores. Instead, the beach is often the main attraction, with just a smattering of bars and restaurants along its edge.
Some are quite small, with beach beds strewn (reasonably socially distant) across the sand but there are a few longer stretches. Kalamatis is a lovely golden stretch of sand with just one beachside bar and plentiful beds. It is less frenetic than other beaches with crystal clear waters, lifeguards and a windsurfing school. Definitely a wonderful place to spend a day as the beach is one of only two (Ornos is the other) to fly the coveted Blue Flag.
If you prefer things more lively, Paraga has a selection of bars lining its moon shaped beach. It is ideal for young couples and the party crowd (whereas Kalafatis seems more suited to families). It is home to the fabulous Sant Anna beach club but prices are not for those on a budget! Visitors must pay to hire chairs or beds and the club imposes a minimum spend requirement.
If you would like a taste of what the club has to offer, check out the video below.
Mykonos is not just for sun worshippers. Religious visitors can worship in upwards of 600 churches, monasteries and small chapels. As you drive around the island, you frequently spot quaint chapels in unlikely settings. It transpires that many were built to house the bones of dead family members and this practice continues to this day.
One of the most popular is in the old town. Panagia Paraportiani may not look large, but it is a unique complex of five churches, four of which are on the ground floor. The fifth is on the roof. Its brilliant, whitewashed exterior make for iconic photos don’t you think?
6. The island is extremely popular
Despite being renowned as one of the most expensive Greek islands, Mykonos is extremely popular. Mykonos web estimates the local population at 15000 including 4000 foreign residents. Tourism swells those numbers considerably so you may struggle to find peace and quiet.
Between January and June 2019, 144,426 foreign visitors arrived by air and this number excluded those arriving on cruise ships or ferries.
7. Set menus can be surprisingly cheap
It is fair to say you will pay around £80 for an average two course dinner in most establishments (based on our experience). However, if you opt for a ‘daily set lunch menu’ you can feast like royalty for around €25 for two people. These menus often include a Greek salad, hummus, Pitta bread, a main course and drink and are exceptional value. Fill up at lunch and snack in the evening to keep your costs down.
Any other interesting Mykonos facts?
Maybe you have visited the island and have come across some other interesting facts. Feel free to share them below so we can all learn from one another.