Mykonos is one of the most expensive and cosmopolitan islands in Greece. It’s a haven for jesters, clubbers, and upscale gays, but it’s also a favorite island of the hopeless romantics, perhaps made popular by the movie Shirley Valentine (1989).
Little Venice is one of the most photographed neighborhoods in Europe and is the most romantic place on the island. The quaint houses are built very close together, accessed by narrow passageways which zigzag past closed doors and shuttered windows.
Mykonos at sunset
One of the best places to watch the sunset is from one of the Little Venice beach cafes or wooden balconies that hang out over the water’s edge.
The famous Mykonos windmills are within view and a short walk away. It’s the perfect place for a stroll after sunset.
By that time, tavernas overlooking the sea will have lit their outdoor dining areas and the smoky aroma of charcoal barbeques will entice you to try some of the local delicacies.
Tables separated by potted palm trees and plants give privacy to couples sipping local wine and nibbling mezedes, Greek appetizers.
Early morning on Mykonos beaches
After a late-night out in one of the many clubs that take their closing cue from the sunrise, head to one of the dazzling white sandy beaches for a few hours of early morning sun and playful splashing in the sea.
Midday is too hot for most people to sit at the beach, so the busiest times will be in the afternoon.
Most beaches have umbrellas and beach beds. Servers are happy to bring you drinks and snacks and teach a word or phrase in Greek.
If they aren’t busy, they’ll also tell you their pick for best taverna and club, but those usually belong to family members, so use your own judgment.
Visiting the sacred island of Delos
The only way you can get to the island of Delos is by visiting Mykonos.
Delos is a 30-minute boat ride from Mykonos and is strictly an archeological site.
You can only stay a maximum of 6-7 hours on this island, but it’s more than enough time to see the well-preserved columns, sculptures, ancient theater, and mosaic floors with dolphins, birds, panthers, and snakes.
Delos, the birthplace of Apollo and Artemis, was a religious capital in ancient times, second only to the Temple of Apollo in Delphi.
It was a place where Greeks came to pay homage to various gods at the temples and sanctuaries built there.
One of the most impressive sights on the island of Delos is the Avenue of the Lions.
At one time there were between 9 and 12 lions, crouched marble beasts, standing guard at the Sacred Lake.
The lions you see today are replicas of the marble sculptures donated by the people of Naxos.
The real ones are protected from the elements in the island’s archeological museum.
The Sacred Lake that was once guarded by the lions dried up when the water from Mt. Kynthos stopped flowing in 1925. Archeologists have kept the lake drained since then to avoid the growth of bacteria.
There are no trees and no shade, only the abundant ruins of what used to be an island with a continuous stream of pilgrims and merchants.
It’s amazing that an island whose only water comes from rain, and with no capability for producing food, timber, or other resources, could grow to be one of the largest cosmopolitan ports in the Mediterranean from 900 BCE to 100 CE.