The Greek Island Life

After a long few weeks at work, and the very changeable British weather, I was very glad to board an Easy Jet flight to Greece. My fav travel buddy, Liam, and I, were off to celebrate his birthday in one of our favourite places, Mykonos. I have visited Greece a number of times, and every time I come back relaxed, refreshed and ready to face reality again. This time would turn out to be no different! My friend visited Crete a few weeks ago and she used to rent a car. Since we were visiting Mykonos I decided we wouldn’t need to hire a car, but it’s good to have the option there.

We were delighted to arrive in Mykonos and find the temperatures still in the late 20’s C, despite it being late in the evening. This time we had chosen to stay at Tropicana, on the aptly named Paradise Beach. The service here is brilliant – they picked us up from the airport, organized our ATV within a half hour and gave us lots of information about what we could do on the island.

A note here – ATVs are a brilliant way to get around this island. They are easy to hire and affordable, as the island is full of tourists and locals using these, so the drivers are aware of them and drive accordingly. It also helps that majority of the ATVs have been fitted with many safety mirrors similar to these UTV mirrors online for example. This makes it a little less scary to drive around on the road between cars, however, it’s worth noting that some of the ATV models you can hire won’t have these mirrors installed. The only issue we have ever had, is that with two of us on it, we could not get up the hill at Super Paradise, which meant that I had to walk up – but hey, after a day at the beach, sipping cocktails, that’s good for my thighs! It’s more economical to book these on the island, than to pre-book.

Despite arriving later in the evening, there was still plenty to do. We jumped on our recently delivered ATV and headed directly into the town, centred around the port. This being our second visit, we had a good idea of directions, but the island is very easily navigated. The port town is open late – until at least midnight at the beginning of the season and then until about 2am later on in the season. There are loads of restaurants to choose from – all of them selling fresh seafood and of course our favourite, Saganaki. This is fried Greek cheese served with lemon to squeeze over it. I think over the course of this holiday, I ate my own body weight in this delicacy. Even if you don’t see it on the menu, ask, as literally everywhere has this.

The town itself is like a postcard. All of the buildings are bright white, and the streets are cobbled with lovely trees draped over them. At night, all of the stores are open, which means that you can avoid wandering through the alleys in the heat of the day. A spot of dinner and wandering and we ended up back at our fav nightspot – Jackie O’.

Named after the ever elegant Jackie Onassis, this bar is incredible. The outside area has couches and tables, with beautiful candlelit hurricane lamps, right on the seawall, creating a great ambience. If the outside area is calm, inside is definitely not. On our first trip to Mykonos, we partied here for five nights in a row, making friends with the staff and dancing until the wee small hours. As we entered this time, we were greeted by them as friends – hugs and squeals, what a welcome! This was to be a theme of our holiday, as the people on the island remembered us from last time and were so welcoming. These people must see thousands of tourists each year, so to remember us like that is pretty cool on their part!

Anyway back to us at Jackie O’ – this place is awesome. Over two levels, with both table and bar service, it’s very cool. It’s predominantly a gay venue, but is welcoming of everyone. Every evening, Priscilla performs her drag show at about 1am and 3am. The whole place erupts when she walks on. She’s hilarious and her outfits are incredible. This night we danced and partied, with the verve of those who do not have to get up early tomorrow, dancing on the tables and sipping Aperol spritz.

The next morning dawned a perfect Mykonos day. It was clear, hot and with a slight breeze. We ordered breakfast at our hotel, and had it delivered pool side. There are two pools at Tropicana, one near the beach, which our room overlooks, and another more quiet pool slightly further from the beach. We spent our morning relaxing here, swimming and tanning. I was reading my book club book, while beginning to feel that lovely holiday feeling. We grabbed a snack for lunch, then jumped on the ATV and headed to Jackie O’ beach resort. This place is the sister site to the nightclub and is every bit as magical.

We walked past the pool bar and headed down the hill to the beach, to find some loungers. The sun loungers come complete with an umbrella that has a solar panel on the top, so that you can charge your devices. There is lounger service here – which includes a massage menu, as well as food and drink. The beach is very relaxed, as most are in Europe, so there are people in various stages of nudity and it is all welcomed and permitted. The pool bar pumps out music, setting the tone for the day, and the water is crystal clear and refreshing. There are even tiny fish that brush past your legs as you swim.

As the sun moves, the night life begins. At about 5pm, Priscilla arrived. Liam and I still laugh about the first time we saw her. We were lying on the beach, sipping cocktails and all of a sudden she arrived and began performing. It’s this kind of quirkiness that made us fall in love with this place. She performed and even jumped in the pool, and we began our night. We danced for a few hours by the pool, before hunger and a need to wash the salt out of our hair sent us back to the hotel. We stopped off on the way to one of the many tiny family run restaurants on the island.

Stasi Diethnes is a tiny restaurant, but the service is so friendly, and enthusiastic. We sat out in the garden, and worked our way through a number of homemade dishes – with the ingredients growing around us. Each dish is introduced and we are told who in the family has made it. As the evening grows slightly cooler, we could feel the heat from the day at the beach on our skins – this is one of my favourite feelings. I don’t want to be burnt, but just to feel the day cool just slightly. We headed back to our hotel, after finishing the meal with wonderful chilled plums from the tree that we were sitting under. It was getting late, so we decided to call it a night. Who knew that relaxing could be sooooo tiring!

The next day did not dawn a typical Mykonos day. It was overcast and misty, so we decided to get in some culture. I’m a huge Greek myth and legend fan, as well as a history nerd, so we jumped on a boat and headed out to Delos. Delos is at the centre of the Cyclades group of islands. It’s one of the most important mythological, historical and archaeological sites in Greece. Legend has it that this was the birthplace of the twins Apollo and Artemis. Apollo being the sun god, which is why the islands surrounding it are blessed with such lovely light and sun.

A travel tip for those who would like a tour – pay €20 return for the boat and then grab a guide on the island, it works out a bit cheaper and you can then go whenever you like as you don’t have to go when the tours are only for your language. The guide that we had spoke several languages, so you would likely be fine. The island has been inhabited by a number of civilizations over the millennia, including the Egyptians and Romans. It was incredible that we were able to walk in the footsteps of people who have been there since the third century B.C. By my reckoning, that makes everything on the island well over 2,200 years old. Those kind of numbers blow my mind a bit, as it’s incredible that something that old is still standing.

The main attractions on the island are the Terrace of Lions, made of marble and gifted to the holy island by the people of Naxos, and also a number of fertility symbols. There are a number of large phallus statues on the island, as well as on the door ways to the houses. I think that it’s really interesting how our current society has such a different reaction to these symbols. Back then, they would have not made anyone giggle as they were seen as good luck for fertility and birthing. Anyway, I digress. The island is a great spot to visit, the light there does have a different quality, so I can see why it is marked as the birthplace of Apollo. The ground literally sparkles as there is a high mineral content.

Once back on Mykonos, we grabbed some lunch in the town, before heading back to the resort next to our hotel – Club Tropicana. As the sun had re-joined us, I wondered if we brought it back from Delos with us! If the vibe at Jackie O’ is considered mellow, this is the opposite. There are DJ’s from about 4pm, encouraging you to party and do body shots. The music consists of clubbing anthems and is the perfect way to begin an evening. Having a boogie whilst swimming in the sea is something that is definitely so Europe.

That night we decide to try some different bars. We headed to the famous Piano Bar. Each night there are different performers here and they sing a mixture of requests. The atmosphere is that of an intimate club – the windows open out onto the sea wall, there is a view of the windmills, with the candlelit tables making it seem like a big cozy sing-a-long. We stayed for about an hour singing along to an eclectic mix of classics.

In keeping with the theme of exploring, the next day we decided to try a new beach. You can’t really go wrong on Mykonos, the days are long and warm and the breeze is just perfect. We headed to Paraga and discover Kalua beach club. You will need to book ahead if you want a lounger here. We spent the day in the water, swimming out to a rock formation and chilling. We decided to have dinner at nearby Nikolas restaurant – how could I not when it is named after me! We sat on tables on the beach, and enjoyed the sun set as we ate fresh seafood and yet more Saganaki, of course.

The final day at the beach was Liam’s birthday. We started our day with a champagne breakfast on the terrace of our room, before getting those last rays of sunshine in. We headed to Scorpios beach resort, which is laid back and serves amazing food and cocktails. It has a number of areas for you to relax in, swimming in the bay or sunbathing on the terrace. The vibe is very chilled out and even the staff are given the option of wearing shoes or not!

Neither of us wanted to leave this warm and relaxed island. The weather in Britain can be cold and raining – and we have zero desire for that! After a day in the sun and surf, the final act of wonderful service from Tropicana, they provided us with towels and a shower before we got on the plane. It felt odd to put my leggings on again after nearly a week of running around in my togs (this is Kiwi for swimmers) or cut offs. We will keep returning to Mykonos, it’s inclusive, relaxed, sunny, clear watered and you can easily chose how much you want to party and the food is awesome. Greece, you continue to woo me, please don’t ever stop!

Be sure to follow along on my travels & get a behind the scenes look at the cultures I experience in London and around the world, by following my Instagram Account. I’d love to bring you along for #DoTheDaniel!

Luvs xx

Nicola Whyte

Photos by Nicola Whyte