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Paces West Travels: Guide to Mykonos

If you read my recent Guide to Santorini, you know that Max and I took our much-delayed honeymoon to Greece this summer! We spent the first half of our trip in Santorini bringing new meaning to the word “relax,” before heading over to Mykonos for the second half. We quickly learned that the calm of sleepy Santorini does not carry over to Mykonos.

In Santorini, we spent our days lazing by the pool and having early dinners to watch the sunset. In Mykonos, there are beach clubs featuring DJs playing house music, and dinner starts after 10PM. Although they could not be more different, we absolutely LOVED our time on both islands and enjoyed the opportunity to have two completely different experiences within the same country.

As with Santorini, the people in Mykonos were beyond friendly and the city felt so safe. We wandered around the town each night after dinner and the streets were alive well into the wee hours of the morning. Mykonos is all about having fun but still manages to maintain a laid-back, chill vibe.

Below are some of my favorite photos from Mykonos! Scroll down for the full guide with all of my trip details and recommendations!  

paces west guide to Mykonos

paces west guide to Mykonos

EARRINGS / TOP / PANTS / BAG / SHOES

platys Gialos

platys gialos

mykonos town

mykonos town

mykonos town

STAY

In Mykonos, the majority of the hotels and resorts are located along the island’s numerous beaches. We chose to stay in the Myconian Ambassador Relais & Chateaux hotel, which is located on Platys Gialos beach. This hotel is super close to several beach clubs, including Nammos and Scorpios, and also features a gorgeous pool of its own. It is a short taxi ride to Mykonos Town, where many of the best restaurants and nightlife are located. We stayed in the True White Suite which has a private jacuzzi and sunbeds on the terrace. The room was very spacious and modern and had a fantastic view of the sea. The only thing I would change would be to book a room with a private pool rather than a jacuzzi, but they were completely booked at the time we made our reservations.

The staff at the Myconian Ambassador could not have been more friendly and helpful. All of the front desk agents were extremely knowledgeable and more than willing to assist us in making reservations or suggesting activities for us. They seemed truly invested in making sure all of their guests had an amazing experience in Mykonos!

One last thing I’d like to highlight about this hotel is its unbelievable CHAMPAGNE breakfast! It is truly one of the best breakfast spreads I have ever seen in a hotel. Served poolside, the buffet includes almost every breakfast food you can imagine, and a few you would never think of. There were mountains of fresh cut fruit, pastries, and, you guessed it, ice cold champagne! There was also a long list of cooked to order options including omelets and fresh smoothies. It was so luxurious to wake up to such a delicious breakfast before heading off to the beach for some sand, sun, and, of course, more champagne!

EAT

After a long breakfast of eating everything in sight, we usually ate small lunches and snacks at the beach clubs during the day. At night, we took a short taxi to Mykonos Town to have dinner and enjoy some of the famous nightlife.

On our first night in Mykonos, we went to Interni. This upscale restaurant is enclosed in a charming courtyard with tables surrounding a central bar and stone walls climbing with bougainvillea. The staff wears matching fedoras and black and white striped aprons, and you definitely get the sense that this is the place that the beautiful people come to see and be seen. Early on in the night, the music playing is the restaurant’s own mix of classic, Frank Sinatra-style tunes. However, at the stroke of midnight the proverbial beat drops and the staff parades around with sparklers and the patrons dance on the tables. This atmosphere is second to none and we stuck around long after we finished eating to enjoy drinks and dancing! This was one of our favorite restaurants ever and I highly suggest you try it if you are heading to Mykonos anytime soon. Reservations in advance are a must (this is true of everywhere in Mykonos!) and the best time, in my opinion, is between 10-10:30 PM in order to enjoy the best atmosphere.

One restaurant we kept hearing about was M-eating, so we knew we had to try it out during our trip. Situated in a century-old, traditional Myconian building, this open-air restaurant is rustic and minimalist in décor with a menu that is anything but. Each dish is thoughtfully prepared with fresh, local ingredients and blends unique flavors together seamlessly. Despite being in such a popular spot, we never felt rushed during any part of our meal. We sat outside on the covered veranda which made for great people watching on the bustling streets. Though the restaurant’s atmosphere is calm and casual, the sounds of Mykonos coming alive as the hours go by are never far away!

On our last night in Mykonos, we opted for an earlier dinner since we had an early flight the next morning. We picked the famous Katrin’s for this meal since it is situated on a quiet side street away from the livelier nightlife spots. Family-owned and operated for over 40 years, this quaint spot is known for its amazing service and elegant cuisine. The white washed walls, painted wooden chairs, and canopy of bougainvillea set the stage for a beautiful evening. White-clothed tables spill out into the narrow street and the atmosphere is reminiscent of a Parisian bistro, which is fitting because the menu features largely French dishes with a Mediterranean twist. Even though it is one of the most famous spots in Mykonos, since we arrived early, we got our pick of the tables and had a chance to chat at length with the owner and chef. We learned all about the history of the restaurant and family and by the end of our meal we felt like we were part of that family! This is the type of place where they are proud of the food they serve and checked in with us during each course to ensure that every small detail was perfect. What was supposed to be an early night turned into an hours-long meal. We couldn’t think of a better way to end the trip! Katrin’s is delightful at any hour, and if you are going to Mykonos this is a must-try!

Katrina

katrins

Katrin’s in Mykonos Town

ADVENTURE

DAY

Unlike Santorini, Mykonos is known for its beaches – more specifically, its beach clubs. The day parties at Nammos and Scorpios are the stuff of legend and even the lesser famous beaches have live DJs spinning house music. Needless to say this is how we spent most of our days in Mykonos (when in Rome, am I right?).

On our first full day we took a short walk from our hotel to the Branco Mykonos beach club in Platys Gialos. We booked two sunbeds with umbrellas and selected a spot right in front of the water. The live DJ and all white décor created a festive vibe and the drinks and service were fantastic. If I so much as dared lift a finger to adjust my umbrella, a polite attendant rushed over to assist me. The service was attentive but not pushy, and the staff was always happy to provide extra towels as well as complimentary, ice cold bottled water (a rare luxury in Europe). We whiled away the day sipping cocktails and contemplating how best to commandeer one of the mega-yachts off the coast (conclusion: the pirate’s life is not for me). The club also offered private showers and bathrooms which were well stocked and clean. Ultimately, we felt that this spot is seriously underrated and was our favorite beach day in Mykonos!

We could hardly say we went to Mykonos if we didn’t experience either Nammos or Scorpios. These two beach clubs are known for their parties and celebrity visitors. We opted to visit Nammos, the older and slightly more famous of the two. We booked two sunbeds and ate lunch in their restaurant in order to get the full experience. While we had a perfectly pleasant day, we did not feel that the club was any different than the Branco, except for the fact that it was famous and therefore had a much higher price tag. The chairs were also much closer together since they have to accommodate more guests due to the popularity. In future, I would opt to skip the beach club but would return to the restaurant for lunch. The restaurant is located slightly away from the main beach and sits beneath a canopy of trees with the sand as the floor. Next time I’ll also plan to visit my sun sign namesake, Scorpios, and investigate whether it can live up to its hype!

During our stay, we did manage to peel ourselves away from the beaches long enough to explore Mykonos Town during the day. The town itself is pedestrian-only, with specific drop-off points for taxis at different entrances. The town’s picturesque, labyrinthine streets are easy to lose yourself in – and I don’t mean in an “not all those who wander are lost” kind of way; I mean in a panicked “why is Siri not working” kind of way. Even Siri can’t navigate the twists and turns of these narrow alleyways, trying to get directions from your smartphone in Mykonos Town is similar to when you’re trying to use it to navigate out of a parking lot – it’s all “proceed to the route” and “recalculating.”

Our hotel concierge happily offered us a map when we told her we were setting off for the town. I tried to politely decline while thinking I’ve probably never held, much less used a physical map in my life. We went back and forth a few times about the necessity of the map while she probably exercised some serious restraint to keep herself from saying “if you don’t take this you’ll never be seen or heard from again.” I kid. The streets may be difficult to navigate, but there is no shortage of helpful strangers willing to point you in the right direction. The streets are lined with shops and restaurants and there is so much to see and do that you’ll go into complete sensory overload! It is honestly one of the prettiest places I’ve ever been and I wish we’d had more time to explore. Pro tip: leave your high heels at home, bring your map, and leave early for your dinner reservations!

NIGHT

Aside from its beaches, Mykonos is most known for its nightlife. After midnight, the streets come alive with music and revelers. Many of the shops are open until the wee hours and even the restaurants, which often sit empty until past 10 PM, take on a distinctive party vibe as the night wears on. It wouldn’t be unheard of to see a sunrise or two while you’re staying in Mykonos!

As I said previously, Max and I ate dinner each night in Mykonos Town so we could see for ourselves what all the hype was about. Upon leaving dinner, we immediately saw that where there were previously quiet, narrow streets there was now festive bars and clubs who’s music was winding its way through the alleyways. During the day, you would never notice these places because they are closed, but at night the tiny spots open their doors and the partyers spill into the streets. We “visited” so many different places without even stepping into the physical bar because people literally dance in the streets and the servers come around to take drink orders! These places are impossible to miss since you have to walk through them as you leave the dinner restaurants. We had a great time just wandering from bar to bar and taking in the scene. Even if you’re not typically a night owl, I highly suggest planning to sleep in one day so you can have a late night enjoying Mykonos Town!

If you’re heading to Mykonos anytime soon, I hope this information is helpful to you and helps make your trip as amazing as ours was. If you have any lingering questions, just let me know in the comments! If you haven’t already, check out my Guide to Santorini!

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