Sun Yourself Like Apollo

from shore

Travelers come to Mykonos for the glorious sun, the beautiful beaches and the inexplicable, ever-changing color of the sea.  If you approach Mykonos by ship, you immediately notice the whitewashed houses dotting the cliffs.  At night from a distance, the houses look like pearls sprinkled in the sand.  If you fly in to Mykonos, you see a scattering of endless rocky islands as far as the eye can see.  Who comes to Mykonos? It has a reputation for attracting jet-setters, cruise ship travelers and honeymooners, but truthfully, the island has something for everyone.

mykonos beach day 1

Let’s start with the beaches. After all, Mykonos is a great place to relax and bask in the glorious Greek sunshine

I have to confess I worried about bringing my extended family to an island that has a party reputation, but the London weather report promised a week of cloudy skies with a chance of misery and the Mykonos weather report in promised a week of cloudless, sunny skies and a balmy 85 degrees.  The decision was made.  After a week on the island, we realized Mykonos has a beach for every agenda…partiers, families, couples, jet-setters and those looking to get away from it all.

Paradise Beach photo by PnP

Paradise Beach photo by PnP! on Flickr

In general, beaches on the south side of the island have amenities like lounge chairs, umbrellas and table service. They also tend to be crowded, especially on weekends.  If you are looking for quiet, secluded beaches and you are willing to forgo some amenities, it’s best to head north to the less populated areas.

Paradise Beach is on the souther side of the island and is considered “party central” on Mykonos.  You have endless choices for chair and umbrella rentals, beach-side clubs and easy access to bar and food service.  You could bring children to this beach and people do, but the party atmosphere and younger crowd tends to ramp-up as the day goes on.  Paradise Beach hits full party mode by 5pm.  If you don’t want to explain grinding or the various shapes and sizes of human anatomy to your kids, consider a different beach. It’s easy to get to by taxi or shuttle buses running from the town center (20 minutes from town).

Psarou Beach

Psarou Beach

Psarou Beach is the place to see and be seen.  Reservations are recommended if you would like to secure a sun lounger and a primo spot.  Although Psarou is also on the south side of the island, it is quieter than Paradise and attracts a more sophisticated crowd.  Prices for loungers, food and drink match the high-end clientele.  Best to drive or take a taxi from town. (20 minutes from town)

Agios Sostis Beach

Agios Sostis Beach

Agrios Sostis on the north part of the island has a small, rocky swimming cove and a large, sandy beach.  The small, family-run taverna at the top of the hill (Kiki’s) is excellent.  If you come during peak hours, be prepared to fight the locals for a table. No, you can’t make reservations. Bring your own towels, sunscreens, drinks, etc. to this beach as there are no loungers, umbrellas or services available.  Very family friendly, although it is Greece….nudity is always a possibility. A car is necessary, but a taxi is a possibility if you can talk them into taking you. (30 minutes from town)

Fokos Beach, Mykonos

Fokos Beach, Mykonos

Fokos Beach is also on the north side of the island.  You bounce down a long and winding dirt road through the hills and past a dam before you see two beautiful things…a big sandy beach and the lovely Fokos Taverna.  This is also a BYOBS (bring your own beach stuff) beach.  This beach is rarely crowded.  A car is necessary. (45 minutes from town).

Things to Know:

With a car and a few days to explore, you can discover dozens of hidden beaches along the island coast. Car (ATV and scooter) rentals are available in town.  While ATVs/scooters are popular, renting a car is a better bet for reaching the more remote beaches.  Based on the number of emergency clinics, orthopedic clinics and the multitudes of walking wounded we saw in town, a car will also increase your chance of survival on the unpaved roads.  Just saying.

Cash is king at many of the tavernas and cash machines are few and far between outside he city.  Stock up on Euros before you head out for the day.  I still owe the nice man at Kiki’s 5 euros.  Embarrassing.