The Magic of Mykonos

In Destinations, Europe by Susan Watkins

The picturesque Greek island of Mykonos rests like a gem in the middle of the Aegean Sea.  The lure of Mykonos has captivated visitors for as long as we can remember, and the island’s former sleepy little fishing village of Mykonos Town – called Chora – has grown up.  Despite the passage of time, Mykonos, with its classic whitewashed lanes, houses and churches accented with traditional bright Greek-blue trim, still retains its charm.

Our recent evening stop on this fabled island was short but full of memorable moments.  Like a kaleidoscope of sight, sound, color and music, Mykonos is a feast for the senses. Here are a few special moments which stand out in our memory – but you really must go to Mykonos and discover your own!

            A Table By the Sea – A little white wooden table perches next to the sea wall.  Turquoise water crashes dramatically against the stone wall, spraying its warm mist on your face.  The sun is setting, and the glass of crisp white wine at your table invites you to savor the moment.  At your little table by the sea, take in the sweeping view as vermilion, gold and violet hues reflect their shimmering lights upon the waters. The sun paints the sky and sinks gracefully beyond the horizon, and the lights from “Little Venice” begin to twinkle.  The hush of evening settles in around you.  Magic!

            A Church Altar – Tucked away along the streets and alleys of Mykonos are myriads of tiny churches.  Tonight, church bells are ringing against the fading sky.  We come upon one diminutive church of plain white stucco capped with a bright blue roof.  A peek inside the unassuming stone building reveals unexpected jaw-dropping grandeur – a magnificent gold-leafed altar, painted frescoes, a marbled floor and Byzantine art.  Just as the spartan exterior belies the treasures inside, so also the quiet here masks the bustling activity just outside the small church door, providing a moment for the faithful to light a candle or reflect on the blessings of the day.

            A Stroll Through the Maze – Winding this way and that, the narrow corridors of Mykonos town are a maze of characteristic black and white cobblestoned pathways.  Nestled into the streets are shops, posh boutiques, art galleries, souvenir kiosks, stylish bars and quaint restaurants.  Paradoxically, simple craft shops coexist with sparkling high-end designer stores such as Chanel, Dior, Ferregamo, and Louis Vuitton.  Surrendering to the labyrinth, we meander hand in hand up and down one delightful byway to the next, stopping to admire custom leather sandals in one store window, or dazzling jewelry in another.  We ponder colorful local crafts and sway to music floating out from a corner cafe.  After wandering like this for awhile, you may feel as if you’re lost, but the soft evening breezes wafting up will always point you toward the tiny harbor of the town.

            A Glimpse of Windmills – The first sight of the famous windmills of Mykonos, standing like soldiers on the hill, will take your breath away.  The stout white stucco bases, thatched roofs and stick-like sails reaching their spindly arms to the sky are iconic to the island.  Once you’ve seen them, you will never forget the moment!

            A Dinner Under the Stars – On an enchanting interior pathway of the island we happen upon Nautilus, a chic little restaurant housed in simple white stone.  The setting is romantic, exotic and seductively charming.   We have no reservation, but we are welcomed like family.  “Yes, we have a perfect table for you, right here on the street under this little tree.”  We sit in the moonlight, feasting on the freshest of seafood, lamb and eggplant, and watching the promenade of fashionably dressed revelers pass us by.  Is there a more pleasurable way to let the evening drift by than this?

We must leave this captivating place all too soon.  The lights of Mykonos glisten on the hillsides, bestowing us with a parting picture of a memorable evening.  “Antío -Goodbye” Mykonos, until we meet again…