Have I mentioned that I am currently on a diet? Therefore I feel like the lack of sugar, preservatives and alcohol seem to be affecting me…. did I really need to come up with a title that plays off of both areas that I will be blogging about? Maybe I feel like since last week with Ephesus and Kusadi not giving me anything to work with I had to be somewhat of an overachiever… either way you are stuck with this title….
So let’s start with Mykonos shall we? It is phonetic in the title, which may be helpful to some of you because I am quite frequently asked how it is pronounced… and for those of you that are reaching for your Atlas’ my friend Wikipedia can explain to you its location: Mykonos is a popular tourist destination in the Greek islands of the Cyclades group, situated in the middle of the Aegean Sea. Mykonos is located south of Tinos, east of Syros and north of Paros and Naxos. Gee, NOW do you know where it is? Tinos, Syros, Paros and Naxos… weren’t those the Greek reindeer?
So when you visit, what is there to do and see in Mykonos?
The Windmills, (western part of town). From as early as the 16th century, the windmills are one of the most recognized landmarks of Mykonos. Once this island was a great producer of wheat and bread. The area of the windmills has a splendid view of Little Venice and is the most popular place in Mykonos to watch the sunset.
Little Venice (Alefkandra), (most western part of town). A district located at the sea, famous for its picturesque medieval two and three story houses, which stand like a wall above the sea, and their colourful wooden balconies. Little Venice is one of the most beautiful and romantic places in the whole of Mykonos and offers a fantastic sunset. You can reach Little Venice walking from the windmills down the stairs. It is only a five-minute walk from Fabrika bus station and there is a sign for it on the other side of the square.
Are you the type that if you are on island you must go to the beach? (I am not…) then Ornos, (3km south of Mykonos Town). Is a busy family and tourist beach. It gathers many for its sunbeds and umbrellas, and bars and restaurants. The sandy beach slopes gently into the sea. There are schools for sea-skiing and surfing. Ornos is easily accessible by bus from Mykonos Town (or walk along the coast road for about 30 minutes). Or a bit north of Ornos is the beach of Korfos, suitable for wind surfing, but not for swimming or sunbathing.
Agios Ioannis (Shirley Valentine Beach), (4km south-west of Mykonos Town). Agios Ioannis is a small beach with snorkeling opportunities. The beach never gets over crowded and deck chairs are available to rent. Great tavern and cocktail bar very close. The beach offers a beautiful view towards the nearby islands of Delos and Rheneia. Agios Ioannis is easily accessible by bus from Mykonos Town. Next to Agios Ioannis is the small beach of Kapari, with a small nude section. This hidden beach is located north of Agios Ioannis, behind Agios Ioannis chapel, and then a steep walk downhill.
The beaches I mention are G – PG rated beaches and should be fine for everyone… there are plenty of R and XX rated beaches too…… I will let you find those on your own!
As you can see, the island is small, the town is small… so do you need to set up an excursion from the ship? If you just want to walk around the town and perhaps do a little shopping I would say no.. if you want to see a little of the island then perhaps taking a taxi round would be good.
Matt and I are not big shoppers so while we will be doing some walking around and will probably drop in on the Windmills we are spending the bulk of our time on an excursion to the nearby island of Delos… where according to Greek myth was the birthplace of Apollo the god of light and his sister Artemis the goddess of the moon… so you could say that Matt and I are going to visit our old stomping grounds! Delos is a UNESCO world heritage area known for its important archaeological sites.
Now Crystal does offer an excursion to Delos that lasts about 4 1/2 hours. At a cost of $132.00 pp with that including the boat ride there and back, tour of the ruins with the services of an English-speaking guide… on the face of that you would think well that is a pretty good deal considering that the island is about a 45 minute ride there and then back etc. But with a little “digging” I came up with what I hope will be a better option.
There are daily excursions from Mykonos Town except Monday, when the archaeological site is closed. (We are in port on Friday!!) Boats leave at 9AM, 10AM and 11AM from the pier at the west side of the harbor, right behind the little church of Agios Nikolaos. Boats return at 12:15PM, 1:30PM and 3PM. The excavations are open from 8:30AM to 3PM, so our arrival at 8 am to the port of Mykonos means that we should have an early start so we can see it all.
Now get this, the cost is € 17 for the boat trip plus € 5 for entrance (though free for students and € 3 for those over 65). A guided tour, departing at 10AM from the pier in Mykonos, will cost € 40 (including boat trip and entrance fee). So all we need to do is make sure we are at the pier area in time for the 10 AM boat and we can have a guided tour.. or we can set out earlier and do it all on our own… € 22 pp on our own or € 40 pp for guided… vs. $132.00 pp (which at today’s exchange rate is about € 103 pp) Every little bit helps so this is a nice savings!
Do I recommend doing this in every port that you go to? No way.. in some cities the sights are just too far from the ports. But on an island like Mykonos where everything is so close and the fact that they have tours pre-arranged to Delos that run on schedules and we are in port from 8 am – 5 pm I would say it is a safe bet that doing this particular sightseeing adventure on our own will be stress-free, fun and best of all a huge savings! Of course I will let you know how it all turns out… we know the saying “Best Laid Plans…..”
Can you believe it…the cruise is halfway over! We only have a bit of cruising around the Mediterranean Sea after this and a stop in Catania and Naples! Then we will be on our own in Rome for a couple of days. I think though that after Delos we will be ready to take a little break from walking around ruins until we get to Naples that is!
My next article will be covering our arrival to Catania on the island of Sicily! Where we are planning a little jaunt up to Mt. Etna with a side trip to Taormina…. Last time Mt Etna erupted was 2001 and before that 1983… lets hope it will be sticking to its 18 year cycle!