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How to talk about Mykonos when you’ve never been

How to talk about Mykonos when you’ve never been

Top tips for armchair travellers

Top tips for armchair travellers

Jason Goodwin | June/July 2019

Getting there Best to say you love the ferry from Piraeus: it took you past Tinos, home of the God of Winds, and you entered the Cyclades like an Odyssean hero, approaching the island across a wine-dark sea.

go Late spring or autumn, before it gets too windy and the Mykonotes head off on their own glamorous holidays. You’ve seen high summer: cruise ships, sharp elbows in the lanes of Hora, the beaches a meat rack. Never again.

stay Long ago, with a lover, you found a card in the window of a whitewashed village house for a room to rent, and you took the bus each morning to a near-deserted beach. These days you escape the pumping night rhythms of Mykonos Town (aka Hora) at Myconian Ambassador Relais & Chateaux Hotel near Psarou, the smartest beach for a swim and a party.

Eat You know dozens of unnameable tavernas, perfectly OK, rather pricey, but Ma’ereio in Hora is always good for louza, the local ham, and kopanisti, that scrummy dip made of fermented cheese. All round the harbour and Little Venice – too much choice! You like to slip away to Ano Mera, a village en route to the eastern beaches. It has a nice old monastery and a little taverna called To Steki tou Proedrou, that serves real Mykonos onion pie and spit-roast offal, kokoretsi, and only takes cash.

See Delos, of course, one of the great religious centres of the classical world (below). You love its mosaics and statuary, but most of all its inimitable position. And Hora early, which means any time before 11am, wandering the lanes between the whitewashed houses and admiring the famous windmills. Any later and it’s pandemonium: then the only sane and philosophical creature in town is Peter the Pelican, down by the harbour. His latest incarnation, that is – wasn’t the first Peter run over by a car?

buy The last time you were on the island you told a man in the harbour that you’d just come from Syros, where the food is the best in Greece. Ah, he said, the food in Syros, it’s like the jewellery on Mykonos. Would you like to see my shop? But Drakoulis Meat is the greatest butcher shop in Greece, and perhaps in the Mediterranean. Perhaps in the world?