We went to Mykonos at the end of October, catching it during the last week before the tourism industry was to completely shut down for winter on this beautiful Greek island. The famously hedonistic party season which usually draws in the hordes and packs out the island had clearly ended, so once more, it is a relaxed, peaceful, almost sleepy island paradise. The weather was still warm and pleasant, in the low 20°C. A perfect place, for those who are after idyllic moments with sandy white beaches, friendly locals and brilliant white facade shops and dwellings.
Day 1: Check-in to the Ultimate Beach Resort – Myconian Imperial
From the airport, we boarded a Mercedes minivan for a complimentary 20 minute transfer to the southern end of the island to our hotel. The Myconian Imperial, a luxury resort perched on the hill on the eastern end of Elia Beach – the longest fine sand beach in Mykonos.
This hotel is one of four interlinked sub-brands or concept hotels on this hill from the Myconian Collection. At the top of the hill is Avaton, with sophisticated grand and bold designs. Then you have Utopia which has more of a natural, earthy and softer design touch. Next is the Royal Myconian which is a dramatic, theatrical modern-art infused resort.
Closest to Elia beach is our Myconian Imperial – an expansive resort in a more elegant and contemporary design . There is an impressive selection of 111 luxuriously appointed rooms, suites and villas, most of which have sea view with private pool or jacuzzi. The highlight for me was the huge swimming pool with the panoramic view of the Aegean Sea. Avaton and Utopia’s pools are infinity pools with starry-lit floors, which turns the place into a magical fairyland in the evening after the sun goes down. One to look into for my next trip back.
Buffet breakfast was plentiful with sumptuous selection of food from a multitude of cuisines and you know its this meal is taken seriously when there is free flow prosecco on offer too.
This resort is about 10mins drive from Mykonos Town and for those who opt not to rent a bike, quad or car (or walk this distance in the sun), the hotel provides a regular coach shuttle service. Lastly, it is great value at £450 for three nights in one of the Classic Rooms.
Enjoy the Seabreeze and Fresh Seafood on Elia Beach
As we are on Elia Beach, it made sense for us to start with it. At peak season this beach would have been filled with people, the sand lined with deck chairs and beach beds and music occupying your headspace. During our visit we experienced something very different, only a spattering of tourists relaxing on this long stretch of white sand with clear seawater.
We managed to catch Elia Beach Restaurant, the only restaurant on the beach, on the last day of the season. This is a chic, open and relaxing restaurant with plenty of alfresco seating on the beach steps away from the sea. You will find a mouthwatering selection of seafood on the menu, from fried or grilled squid, monkfish, salmon, shrimps and even lobster. If seafood is not what you are after, they also have a large selection of Italian pasta, local greek, salad and grilled meat. Beer or wine to enjoy the lovely autumn sun and the seaside breeze.
We pottered about the beach, built sand castles and dipped our feet into the tingly cool sea after the satisfying lunch, sated, we walked back, bare foot to the hotel to explore a bit more and for an afternoon nap, why not since we are on a holiday…
Dinner was at Camares Pool Restaurant in the Royal Myconian Hotel. Executive Chef George Oikonomou was there to introduce some of the amazing dishes. It was right next to the pool with the magical starry lit floor and swimming pool. Unfortunately I didn’t manage to any photos of the dishes because of the romantic dim lighting.
Day 2: The Hunt for the Best Beach in Mykonos
After our dinner and before heading upto our room for the night, we requested our hotel to organise a simple 4-door rented car for the next day. As requested a 4-door Opel Corsa from Hertz awaited us outside the lobby at 10am the next morning, it was so easy, paperwork was signed, €50 paid, and away we went.
Kalo Livadi Beach, the 2nd longest beach in Mykonos, is a short 10 min drive from Elia Beach. As with Elia Beach on off peak travel season, you will have the whole beach to yourself. The water will be calm and clear, the sand is white and gorgeous making you feel worlds away from everyday life. As there are no deck chairs nor sunbeds, make sure you pack a picnic map or towel to enjoy the sun. During peak season, this beach is home to the Blue Marlin Ibiza Mykonos, an amazing beach club.
We then drove 10mins in-land to Fisherman Giorgos & Marina Taverna for some alfresco lunch. This is a top-rated no-frills focus-on-the-food seafood heaven. On the menu are grilled sardines with lemon sauce, grilled octopus/squid, pasta with prawns/mussels, deep fried calamari, greek salad, sausages, lamb chops and more. A beautiful place to savour simple great food and enjoy the afternoon sun.
There are a couple of market stalls selling handmade souvenirs around the square of this little town.
Next, we headed for Fokos Beach, which is 14 mins northeast of the island. It is known as “hidden beach”. There are no public buses to Fokos, you can only get there with a rented car or taxi. As this beach is on the northern part of the island, it is quite windy and the sea is choppy. The sand is not as fine as the beach on the south, but still beautiful. There is a little hill there if you fancy a bit of hiking. Fokos Taverna is only restaurant on this beach. Although, it is set back quite a bit from the beach, it makes it up with amazing food, spacious alfresco seatings and friendly service. I could see Fokos Beach being appealing at peak season for some peace and tranquility, but as most of the other beaches are equally quiet during this period, I would recommend giving this beach a miss if you are limited for time.
Hopping back back in the Opel, we drove 30 mins west past the airport to Psarou Beach. Here we found a street lined with designer boutiques – Gucci, Dior, Louis Vuitton – leading straight onto Psarou Beach. This is a celebrity spotting beach at peak season, hence, attracting a beautiful crowd who wants to be seen. In October, it is quiet with a few tourists sunbathing on their towels. The sea is calm and the water is clear.
Last stop on our days beach-hop was Platis Gialos Beach. This was the most busy beach by a long mile. It clearly did not get the memo that the season was over. The beach was still packed with row upon row of sunbeds and a stretch of upscale waterfront bars and restaurants were still clearly open for business . A great place to enjoy a couple of cocktails and people-watch, chilling out before dinner time.
We had dinner at top-rated Blue Myth Restaurant. It is a large restaurant with a wide selection of Greek and Mediterranean food. Service was prompt and pleasant. A perfect end to the night.
Day 3: Getting lost in Mykonos Town
Our final day was all about Mykonos Town, a labyrinth of streets lined with white and blue shops and houses. Every corner is an Instagram worthy view, hence, make sure you leave plenty of time for it. We spent the whole day here and it was just fabulous.
Visit the Mykonos Windmills
1st stop on the list is the iconic Mykonos Windmills. It is a mesmerising view. Five chunky but stubby towers perched up on a hill against a backdrop of soft deep blue sky. Look the other way and you get a panoramic view of Mykonos Town in all its glory.
Cuddle up and Enjoy the Sunset at Little Venice
After all the walking and shopping, make sure to make your way to Little Venice at least 30 mins before sunset to get a good spot. Sunset was at 6.30pm during our visit. We found the perfect spot at Breeze Cocktail Bar, the windmills to our left and the sunset in front of us. With a cocktail in hand, life is complete.
Dinner by the Harbour
After the romantic sunset, we trotted over to the waterfront harbour, where is a stretch of 4 to 5 well rated alfresco restaurants. This is also where the ferry would have dropped you if you came from Santorini or one of the other Greek islands.
We chose Captain’s based on local’s recommendation. It is a small, relaxed restaurant with capacity for approximate 50 pax. We received superb service even though they were busy. The menu is a selection of meze or small plates, and it encourages us to “share and make conversations”. It carries a very wide selection of meat, seafood and salad. From the “Meze of the land” you have lamb chops, chicken saganaki, meatballs, local pork sausages and grilled/fried cheese.
From the “Meze of the Sea” section you can choose from grilled prawns to swordfish souvlaki, steamed mussels, pan-fried cod, marinated anchovies and a few more. If its too difficult to choose, there is the seafood or meat sharing platter, which is what we went for. It was another delicious meal. All the dishes was so fresh and well cooked. Perfectly spiced and seasoned.
And that’s it, 3 amazing days on this mesmerising white and blue island. Enjoying the last of the summer sunshine with clear blue calm sea and fine sandy beaches. Let me know what you think. As always, love to hear about what you got up to while you were out in amazing Mykonos. I will leave you with some practical tips below.
Rent a car
The roads are not busy and there is plenty of parking everywhere you go in the off peak season. The island is not big but there is plenty to explore.
Plan your restaurants
Most of the restaurants in Mykonos Town shut for the season from end of September. There is certainly benefit in planning ahead if there are particular ones that you must try.
Pack your own
Bring your own towel or picnic mat and pack some wine/beer/food/snacks when you head out to the beach. Most taverna/restaurants are closed for the year.