If you are considering a trip to Mykonos this summer, you may need to consider options for getting around the island. However, here is one way you should not get around Mykonos.
Let me introduce you to Morris (originally Marvin until it was agreed that he simply was not joyous enough). Morris is a little lazy and prone to whining. He is also inclined to tantrum, refusing to move an inch further until I move my ass from his rear and stomp up another hill in disgust. To be fair, I suspect he has taken an equal dislike to me. After all, I have already called him more than a few names. The most frequent seems to be ‘useless sxxt’.
Morris the moped
As you may have gathered, Morris is a decaying red scooter (or moped as my mother would say) with a 50cc engine. He snarls as we attempt to ascend anything approaching a gradient. If I am honest, in a race between me and Morris I think I’d beat him hands down! He is slightly more frivolous and childish on the descents and as the breeze gusts through my hair, I pretend I’m enjoying myself. For most of my time, perched on the rear of Morris, I am however terrified. My wild imagination has visions of me in a heap on the floor with broken bones and blood gushing from deep gashes. As we lean on the corners, I imagine the ground racing towards me and a crush of bones. Such visions are not the best way to kindle a love affair.
Trip to Armenistis Lighthouse
We decide to put Morris to the test (he fails miserably) and drive out to the Armenistis Lighthouse on the north west tip of the island. The road climbs through hair pin bends and a rugged, dusty landscape dotted with sprawling villas and panoramic views over the coast and neighbouring islands. Asphalt gives way to uneven tracks interspersed with pothole craters that make it difficult to fully appreciate the stunning coastal views.
I lose count of the times however that I must unceremoniously clamber off Morris’s rump and stroll up another hill. With hindsight, I can laugh but that’s probably because I am simply relieved to have survived my Morris encounter.
We do however make it to the lighthouse, a crumbling edifice with peeling white paint and rusting railings circling its base. It is perched on a high cliff with a sheer drop to the ocean below. Other islands shimmer in the distance and a cool breeze dances across the hillside. We admire the views for a short while before tentatively descending. It is a Hercuelan effort to avoid the myriad of ATVs, crazy jeep drivers, ravers on BIG motorbikes and impatient locals.
A foolish excursion
It is strange how maturity changes perception. When I was sixteen and on holiday in Mallorca, motorbikes seemed exciting and powerful, rather than potentially dangerous machines. I could not wait to hitch a ride with one of the locals. With no helmet and at speed, we hurtled along the road hugging the cliffs. It never entered my mind to be concerned about my safety – either because of the dangers of driving without a helmet at speed or because of an amorous teenage Spaniard.
Little did I realise that my chaperone had interpreted me straddling his bike as an opportunity for him to try to straddle me. Talking my way out of that situation with no mastery of Spanish and he none of English was my first lesson in youthful idiocy. I managed to safely escape from his lecherous clutches however and learned a valuable lesson. Never get on a bike with a young testosterone fuelled man!!
Now I am older, even Morris the moped seems menacing. But older clearly does not mean wiser. This article from the BBC warns against hiring a moped and reminds me that my fears are all too real.
Greece has the highest motorcycle fatalities of any EU country. In 2017 Greece had 20.1 deaths per million inhabitants.
Furthermore, many insurance policies may specifically exclude such activities so check your policy before you sign on the dotted line.
If you still decide to go ahead with hiring a Morris, it might be wise to splash a bit more cash and go for the 125cc engine to avoid our mishap. However, if these tales are enough to dissuade you, then what other options do you have to get around Mykonos?
How to get around Mykonos
There are regular bus stops around the island with timetables affixed. You can also find these online at Mykonos Bus and tickets cost between €1 and €3. Services seem reasonably frequent although these only operate in the summer months.
These all-terrain vehicles are essentially quad bikes and more stable than scooters. However, the hire costs were considerably more than the cost of hiring a car and all the sites I looked at.
If cost is a determining factor, it is less expensive to hire a car (and safer!) Again, please check your insurance to ensure it covers quad biking activities before you reserve.
To get the best deals on car hire, you need to book as far in advance as possible. Given the current pandemic, it is wise to make a refundable booking in case you are unable to travel due to changes in quarantine or travel restrictions.
Car hire for seven nights from 12th September from Kronos airport starts from £88.25 for a Kia Picanto on holiday extras
Alternatively, if you have a stash of air miles, and subject to availability, you can also book a hire car using your AVIOS.
Of course, many hotels will offer private transfers. For instance, our hotel, the Horizon Boutique Hotel in Agios Ioannis offered transfers to the old town of Mykonos for €10 each way. These costs will soon add up if you plan to make multiple daily journeys however. Many of the hotels are spread out across the island, so ideally you need your own transport.
But back to our Mykonos Morris adventure. Whilst I find Morris a fearsome creature for most of the time, he provides moments of humour which you simply cannot replicate in other modes of transport.
Take, for instance, the Meltemi winds pummelling us from above as we valiantly try to slog up another hillside. Jason and I crouch forwards, trying to streamline our silhouettes as much as possible whilst I howl with laughter. We clearly look like something from a ‘Carry On Film’ as locals and tourists shout unflattering comments at us. 🤣🤣
I would love to hear your thoughts on scooters and other transportation around Mykonos. We did not travel by bus so cannot comment on how reliable they were. If you can fill in the blanks that would be awesome. Feel free to pop your thoughts in the comments below.