These four photos are from Mykonos in Greece. Mykonos is the classic Greek-island stop and, along with Santorini, it’s the most touristy — and the island most impacted by cruise ships. Being on Mykonos reminded me how great the Greek islands are — even when they’re extremely touristy. What’s your favorite discovered Greek isle…and your favorite undiscovered one?

Tiny Mykonos is inundated by cruisers every day through the season. There's room for one ship at the pier (with a five-minute shuttle-bus ride into town), and while we were there, two more ships dropped their anchors. It's striking to realize that each of these boats has about 3,000 passengers, making the total number of cruisers in port the same as the population of the entire island — 9,000.
The sea, the wind, the birds, and the weather-beaten little whitewashed churches all combine to give Mykonos a vibrant allure.
Everyone gathers in the cafés and pubs that line the colorful stretch of houses called "Little Venice." We were there to nurse an ouzo or other drink, and to watch the sun set to the rhythm of the sloppy, slamming waves.
We jumped ship in Mykonos three days before our cruise was over. Leaving our beautiful cruise ship early (as I had to get back to my office), we experienced the whitewashed town of Mykonos with three cruise ships in port —and then after they left. Of course, the town was touristy either way, but I thoroughly enjoyed just strolling around nearly all day. Watching the Equinox power away, glinting on the horizon in the setting sun, was both sad and thought-provoking. As it eventually disappeared in the misty horizon, it hit us that our world had changed: no more elevators that arrived with the first two notes of the song "Feelings;" no more friends that found everything "amazzzzing" and "phenomenal;" no more small talk with our crew who brought good, warm vibes from Bali, Macedonia, Nicaragua, the Philippines, and about 60 other countries; and no more new port in a new country arriving effortlessly with each sunrise.

5 Replies to “Mykonos”

  1. We took a Silversea Cruise from Istanbul to Athens and absolutely loved the small island of Patmos where John the Baptist purportedly wrote the Book of Revelation in exile. A very quiet island because most cruise ships don’t stop there. But, our favorite island remains Santorini where we spent three days following the cruise. Many wonderful sights to see beyond the tourist towns including the ruins of Akrotiri an ancient Minoan City from 3000 to 2000 BC.

  2. My favorite discovered Greek Isle is Naxos. It is beautiful, quaint, and for the most part undiscovered by the masses.

    My favorite undiscovered Greek Isle would have to be whichever Greek Island I got to next that I have not been to.

  3. My favorite touristy island is Santorini. I loved it. If you stay in the center of the island you actually may escape the tourists.

    I am not sure it’s undiscovered, but Corfu seems to be rarely visited by Americans and I really enjoyed my visit there decades ago. I loved Mary Stewart’s This Rough Magic which was based there and then there all those wonderful Gerry Durrell books including My Family and Other Animals. Both books are very evocative of the island.

  4. My favorite discovered Greek isle is the North Coast of Crete. I lived their for a year and you can find cultural remnants from every empire who called Crete home over thousands of years, from the Minoans to the Ottomans. You can find quiet beaches with small Tavernas or touristy harbors with euro disco night life. My favorite undiscovered island is the South Coast of Crete. Long … long beautiful beaches and historical hiking trails with small family owned tavernas and rooms for rent. You can even see where Zeus was borne.

  5. Patmos is my favorite Greek island. It’s not easy to get to (no airport) and the cruise ships arrive only once or twice per week, so most of the time it is blissfully peaceful…

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