After a day at sea, traveling through the strait of Istanbul, Marmara Sea, Dardanelle straits, and past Canakkale; we entered the Aegean Sea, headed for Mykonos. Cruising through these Greek aisles and past all of the cargo ships was magnificent – even more so to see the sunset over some of the islands that evening.
Still, nothing compared to waking up, docked at Mykonos – a place well-stocked with “celebrated” individuals and an abundance of money. Although inhabited for hundreds of years, it became the ultimate playground for the wealthy when Jackie Onassis proclaimed this to be one of her yearly vacation spots in the 1960s. Since then, the likes of the CEO of Mattel, Steven Spielberg, and many others have either docked their yachts or built homes there.
My family and I took a driving excursion across the entire island and made some stops along the way:
Panagia Tourliani Monastery
There are 365 churches in Mykonos with this Monastery being one of the oldest. Built in 1542, the Panagia Tourliani Monastery was founded by monks of the monastery of Katapoliani of Paros, to protect Mykonos.
We entered the grounds through a heavy, red iron door and into a courtyard adorned with magnificent purple and pink flowers, white washed walls, and a trickling fountain – a serene place to meditate or pray. Through another set of iron doors was the chapel.
Greeks are known for their over-the-top ornateness. Chandeliers, dripping with gold and crystal; ornate, hand-carved gold walls; hand-painted frescos; and framed jewels surrounded us – each having a deeply religious meaning that people pray to, depending on the need.
What was most interesting about this church is that even today, men are required to sit on one side, with women on the other. Yes, this even meant the separation of families during service.
It was the only chapel we saw on the tour and probably one of the best to see.
The next stop on our tour was to Kalafati Beach – a pristine beach that is a favorite of divers. Although a bit of a “hole in the wall”, compared to other beaches in Mykonos, the clear water of the Aegean Sea was so refreshing and inviting that it doesn’t matter the locale, you can’t help but want to dive head first into it and swim as far as you can go to see all the marine life below you, as well as the towering rocks ahead of you (supposedly the corpses of the giants that Heracles slew all those eons ago).
By far, my favorite part of my day was Little Venice – the most photographed neighborhood in all of Europe. This is where the uber chic go to dine and shop, and when it’s 3am, party.
Our first stop was Ode – a chic outdoor bar/restaurant, right across from the famous “Three Wells“, as well as Astra Bar and Louis Vuitton. It’s one of the places to “be seen”, particularly at night. With its continuous deep house music, chic decor and intimate but expansive outdoor area, it’s worth going there even for lunch, as it possesses that Miami-esque vibe my friends and I crave when we’re stateside. My recommendation on food – order the quinoa, chicken, avacado and tomato salad. It’s the best/freshest salad I’ve had. Note that for a meal with sparkling water, it’s about 35 euro a person.
We then spent the afternoon shopping throughout the town – there are a TON of well-known and local upscale boutiques to shop at. These boutiques house everything from DVF, to Maison Martin Margiela, to Louis Vuitton, to Marco Bicego. Although I didn’t pick up any new clothes (I regret not going with a bigger suitcase), I did pick up a fabulous sterling silver evil eye necklace I’ve been wanting, from a place called Ipatia.
When the day was wrapping up and there was a breeze in the air, we capped off our day with a cocktail at Remezzo – another bar/restaurant the jet set party at until the sun comes up. I ordered a Mocha Martini – I highly recommend it. Cocktails range from 10-22 euro per cocktail. Bottles of champagne range from 200 – 15000 euro.
- The island is meant for the jetsetters. As such, everything can be very expensive. The closer you are to the water, the higher the bar/restaurant prices go. And, since the shops house the aforementioned imported designer names, prices on those items are much higher than you’d find in the U.S.
- Stay for 3-5 days. It all depends on what your taste is for nightlife – it’s a young, wealthy, hip crowd. They come here to relax during the day and party at night, until the sun comes up.