Lots of people believe Mykonos, probably the most popular Greek island of the Cyclades, is a Paradise to be and to spend the summer holiday on. It seems like I am from those 0.1% who do not share this statement. On the contrary – it’s not my place and could never be. As you can imagine, I am kind of biased, which means the good things I can say about Mykonos count on the fingers of one hand.
We started our trip in a great mood, celebrating my friend’s birthday in the plane. Smooth flight, a few great sips of white wine, temporary cookies instead of a birthday cake, gifts giving, super pre-holiday spirit. We were foretasting a fabulous vacation on the Greek islands.
My poor experience began with the arrival at
Mykonos airport is the only International one that serves the Southern Cyclades and provides access for foreign tourists to the islands nearby – Syros, Paros, Antiparos, Andros, Tinos and a few more. The airport had been originally built in 1971 but the new renovated terminal just opened in 2021. It is still, though, super tiny and can’t cope with passengers’ volume. I chose to land in Mykonos in July 2021 with the idea it’s COVID-19 pandemic and the island is not going to be over occupied, as usual. But I was totally wrong. It was packed.
Landing at midnight didn’t make it look better. The terminal was full of arrivals even at that time. And here I faced a super humiliating attitude of the airport staff to the arrivals. All vaccinated tourists were let getting in with no issues. The rest, coming as per the Greek requirements and actual instructions with negative rapid antigen or PCR test, were taken aside, disposed in a line with no distance between, for taking second COVID – 19 swaps.
My negative certificate was clearly showing to be issued 12 hours only prior the aircraft landing at Mykonos. So, I found myself on a queue, tight in a fun-size area with lots of other passengers, felt like a criminal, forced to make another test (this time free of charge). I just do not get it, why should I pay for another test before departure, if Greece is anyway testing me upon arrival complimentary? Super ridiculous.
The nurse who took the swap explained in a very poor English, I should be waiting inside the terminal for the result. If I do not get up to 15 minutes any SMS on my cell phone, that means I am negative and free to go. After midnight, being tired and sleepy, I was waiting with the other unlucky non-vaccinated bunch to get “my after 15 minutes SMS”. The deadline was over, so I just left the airport, and no one stopped me. 35 minutes later I got a SMS, I am negative and free to go. That’s all about the Greek hospitality and warm welcome that caused my frustration at arrival.
At the time of my arrival in Mykonos, there was a lockdown announced from 1 am till 6 am. Reaching the Mykonos city after 00:30 am, we found the town boiling of night-life. Full moon, crowd in the streets, heavy traffic (any kind of vehicles), restaurants, and bars operational, but no music (I guess the music somehow spreads the COVID – 19 virus, so it was banned 24 hours a day on Mykonos, along with the lockdown hours).
We sat at a semi full restaurant to eat Gyros and drink a glass of beer. Then left about 1:30 am. No one stopped, checked, chased, or fined us. I am still wondering how the poor and obviously strict anti-COVID – 19 treatment at the Mykonos airport corresponds with the non-existing but loudly announced lockdown on the island?
Two days later, the lockdown was lifted. The officials probably realized it doesn’t work at all.
I already mentioned a lot about the ferry trip in my previous article “Syros – a divine travel choice”. The terminal is crowded as well, but at least everything happens outdoors. No doubt, the best way to get from Mykonos city (Old Port) to the ferry terminal (New Port) is by water taxi called SeaBus. Highly recommended!
While the regular public bus schedule is not reliable, the buses are crowded with standing in the lane passengers, the SeaBus is quick, comfortable, a few people aboard, polite staff that helps with the luggage and is quite an attraction with its high-speed ripping the sea waves. Also, while the bus could be easily stuck in the Mykonos traffic jam (happens daily), the SeaBus has no issues.
One way ticket costs 2 Euro per person only. You can hop on the SeaBus in direction of the ferry terminal (New Port) at the Old Port, near the bus station in front of Faro Café.
The same is applicable on the way back. Usually, SeaBus staff could be seen at the ferry terminal carrying a board with the transfer offer to the town. 2 Euro per ticket again. Embarking from the ferry terminal at the Old Port is just pleasant walking distance from the promenade and the famous Mykonos windmills.
Faro Café luggage drop
I can’t miss this information out because it was crucial for my trip. Faro Café is the only place on the island where you can drop luggage safely for the entire day and explore Mykonos streets and sightseeing. Highly recommended! I had a great experience with them. They charge 4 Euro per suitcase only, for the whole day. On the top of it, there is a large terrace with a sea view – an enjoyable venue to drink a coffee or two. Also, both, espresso and cappuccino are good tasting and well served.
Another great advantage is the Faro Café location. Just steps away from the Old Port Bus station and SeaBus disembarking pontoon. As I mentioned above, walking distance from the main features of Mykonos town, the colorful paved streets, windmills, and the sea promenade.
While I was preparing my trip, friends of mine, who have already been in Mykonos, advised me it’s popular for three things – the night-life, the wind, and the gays. I don’t mind either of them, but should admit the wind is too strong, even harsh, it’s permanent and super unpleasant. I met a lady who lives for 20 years now on Mykonos, and she said that everyone on the island is used to it, and they get worried only when the palm trees are totally bend down. It means when the wind turns into a hurricane.
Well… while I was already on Mykonos, the palms were non-stop half bend. The sand was constantly flushing my eyes. My friend lost her scarf, blown away by the wind. The windiest place, expectedly, is on the top of the hill where the windmills had been built. The feeling there is like you will be gone with the wind, so severe it is. We were warned that if the wind is seven (I am sorry, I have no idea what kind of scale it is), like in our case, the situation is under control and the ferries are still running.
If it grades to eight, then it’s up to the captain to take the decision if the ferry will float away. Hitting nine, though, means it’s forbidden for any vessel to leave the port. It seems like the usual wind scale for Mykonos is indefinite seven, so if you are fine with being blown away daily, then Mykonos is just for you.
As expected, they are triple higher (at least) compared with the islands nearby. To be honest I have no idea why because the quality that Mykonos offers is the same level as the other Greek islands. In July 2021, during the pandemic, a standard double room on Mykonos couldn’t be found below 250 Euro per night. I paid much less for four nights in Syros Island in a beautiful studio.
Same with the restaurants on Mykonos. My experience is with the ones facing the promenade and windmills, the most visited and popular sites of the island. Super pricey with questionable service quality. It’s a miracle if the waiter notices you in the first 10 minutes to provide you with a menu. You are starving…well, that’s your problem. Waiting forever to get your order served is the local game. No one cares about providing you with proper attention because lots of other customers are coming, so with or without you…doesn’t change anything for them.
The most stupid act is to take a taxi on Mykonos. From the airport to the city, it is minimum 30 euro (the distance is 4 km). It’s a specially designed price for tourists only. On the top of it, if you take a taxi during the day from the ferry terminal (New Port) to the Airport (the distance is 6 km only) it could take you about 40 minutes to arrive because of the terrible traffic and the traffic jams on the super narrow but crowded roads of Mykonos. The vehicles are barely crawling, especially between the New Port and the roundabout next to the downtown.
The souvenir shops in the beautiful downtown streets of Mykonos are insanely expensive. They are meant to catch the stray visitors who have never traveled abroad before or are willing to buy something expensive for bragging themselves back home. You are not such a type of traveler? Then I would recommend staying away and keeping your wallet closed while walking through Mykonos downtown.
The conclusion – Mykonos is a typical place where the travellers go to just check it out on the map. Being a fancy spot, it attracts lots of tourists who are eager to touch the celebrity stellar way of life after the island became famous for being favored by celebrities for their vacation.
Mykonos is a destination where the girls and guys come to show off. To escape their real life and to pretend being someone they are not. Fake lashes, fillers, Botox, silicon, hair extensions and weirdly dressed loud vacationers could be encountered at each step. My feeling was for something super artificial, thousands of miles away from anything natural, somehow greedy, arrogant and even vulgar at moments.
Of course, it’s my personal opinion, and I am not loading anyone with the same. But if you are my type of traveler, off the beaten track, Mykonos is not going to be your instant travel choice and once visited, you would forget the island. For me, it was and will remain an artificial anti-paradise travel destination that I am not willing, neither planning, to repeat again.