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Suggestions for Several Halfday Itineraries

Mykonos & Delos

Suggestions for Several Halfday Itineraries

I devised this guide for people like me, well-traveled, well-read, middle-aged Westerners, willing to spend quite a bit to experience Greece on a certain level. All of the following suggestions presuppose your ability to rent and drive a small, sturdy car for the duration of your stay, and a willingness to venture off the beaten track. You will need a good map of the island, and be able to locate certain beaches on it. In my Practical Information section, I list my recommended maps, but your hotel concierge and/or rental car representative will also be helpful in plotting these straightforward routes.

Suggestion 1:

For those interested in an upscale beach with umbrellas and water sports, spend the day at Psarrou, on the island’s south coast (a good place to be when the Meltemi is blowing and the northern beaches are blustery). Depending on when you get to the beach, have either lunch or dinner—you’ll need to dress up a bit for the latter, and call for reservations—at Nammos (Tel: 22890 25798), a superb restaurant (which specializes in fresh fish) overlooking the sands.

Psarrou Beach

Suggestion 2:

A couple of years ago, Dean and I had our favorite off-season beach, Fokos, all to ourselves in October. It’s a wilder sort of experience at that time of year—no umbrellas; no organized anything—but it’s Mykonos as I remember it in the 1970s, and that ain’t bad. You reach Fokos via the highland village of Ano Mera. Combine a stop in Ano Mera (coming or going) and a visit to the Monastery of The Virgin of Tourliani situated on the square there, plus lunch (or dinner) at Taverna Vaggelis (Tel: 22890 71577), also located just on the square.

Stavros Stavrakopoulos & Father Theologos Vaggelis Taverna

You’ll note one of my eccentric little paintings (“We Serve Greek Salads”) somewhere inside: the owner, Maria Stavrakopoulou, is my adopted grandmother, and her son, Stavros, is a longtime friend. The Greek salads, traditional kopanisti cheese, lamb chops, and grilled octopus here are fabulous. Just around the corner, too, is daughter Irini’s sweet shop (now rented out): try her ekmek, if it’s on offer, and burn the calories off later. At the beach, you have another option for dining: Taverna O Fokos, aka The Last Retreat (www.cyclades-odigos.gr/fokos.hdm; Tel: 30 6945 828561), Chronis and Kate’s idyllic beach-side grill, is a wonderful place to let the cares of the world slip away as you sip your ice-cold Mythos beer. (Please give Kate a hug from “Bebe.”)

Fokos Beach

Suggestion 3:

Another wonderful unspoiled beach is Panormos, with its Restaurant/Bar of the same name. Mr. Demos Saklaras, of Evia island, runs the Panormos (22890 27640)—but there’s a delightful pig named Achilles who may also still have the run of the place. Never fear: Achilles is harmless, and the restaurant looks like something out of a North African pipe dream, circa 1969. The beach is stunning, comparatively undeveloped, and vast. I’d combine this jaunt, again to the north of the island, with a visit to Mykonos’s only organic winery, run by Mr. Nikos Assimomitis (call for an appointment at: 6945972076 or 22890 71927; Fax: 22890 72360; www.mykonos-wines.gr, and tell him Elizabeth sent you).

The vineyard’s located in the Maou district just north of Ano Mera, and the fields are full of (Syrah and Cabernet) grapes, naturally, but also door and window frames and roses. Roses succumb first to the same diseases that afflict grapes, and thus serve as Nikos’s canaries in the mine: I’m not sure about the door and window frames. Nikos serves visitors samples of his wonderful organic wines, labeled “Paraportiano,” along with nibbles: xinotyro, kopanisti, and louza, the three traditional hors d’oeuvres of Mykonos. You’ll also notice classical music being piped into the vineyards: Nikos believes it makes the grapes grow better and, having sampled his wines, I tend to believe him. (You’ll also find “Paraportiano” wines in Mykonos restaurants if you don’t make it out to the winery.)

Nikos Assimomitis Sampling His Vintage

Suggestion 4:

For those wanting a distant, distant beach where few others are likely to tread plus a fabulous restaurant, there’s faraway Lia Beach, beyond Kalafati Beach to the northeast. And, on it, is Taverna La Luna (Tel: 22890 72150), a divine Italian beach bistro owned by Mr. Ioannis Tsakalis, and presided over by Chef Andreas Karakanis since 1997. The bar is exquisite too.

Ioannis Tsakalis And Andreas Karakanis Taverna La Luna

Suggestion 5:

In town, on Plateia Limni—and I’m afraid you’re going to have to ask your hotelier to mark the spot for you on your 3-D map of Hora—there is a wonderful, magical, outdoor cinema, open only in summer, of course, called Cine Mando (Tel: 22890 26165). You sit in canvas-backed chairs in a beautiful municipal garden (take a sweater, even in high season), under the stars. There are chicken- and pork-souvlakia, popcorn and beer, and two shows of recent releases, at 9:00 and 11:00 p.m. The ticket is pricey. Afterwards, you can wander round the town, and take in the late-night club scene. In summer, Hora rocks away till dawn.