Christopher André Marks, a Greek-American film director and the founder of Cinéma Nolita, has been traveling to Mykonos every summer for as long as he can remember. He shared his personal hit list for eating, sleeping, sunning, and partying on the glamorous Greek island.
GREECE – Mykonos is summer to me. It's where I've been going with my friends every August since I was a young. There is a certain feeling and light that only exists in this part of the Mediterranean — as if summer holds endless possibilities. Visually, the combination of blue sea, whitewashed Myconian architecture, and dry rocky terrain is beautiful, but the lure comes from the juxtaposition of a traditional Greek village and a thriving international nightlife scene. On the surface, Mykonos appears to be a party island, but if you know where to look, you will find much more. These are my favorite spots.
Located on the northeast part of the island, the expansive beach with crystal clear water is a refreshing change of pace from Scorpios and Nammos, which have more of a party scene.
BEST TRADITIONAL TAVERNA
Agios Sostis Beach
Perhaps the best restaurant on an island full of great restaurants. It is simple and classic, and they don't take reservations. At the family-run taverna with no electricity, the food is prepared with recipes that feel as though they've been passed down through generations of Greek grandmas. While you inevitably wait for an hour or more for a table from Vassili, the eclectic maître d', you can go for a swim at Agios Sostis and sip on complimentary wine. Bring cash. They're open from 1-7 p.m. If timed right, Kiki's makes for an ideal first day on the island.
The restaurant and beach club are located on a deserted natural cove in Ftelia. You can easily spend a whole day at the European hipster paradise. Half the charm is getting there — a short walk down a dusty dirt road off the main highway is rewarded with the beautiful sight of the Mediterranean sea at its end. The beach club is natural and cool, with military outpost tents and canvas beach cabanas. It's the place to relax at sunset among a tanned crowd that looks like they belong in Williamsburg.
BEST OFF-THE-BEATEN-PATH SCOOTER TRIP
At one time, the lighthouse was used to alert boats coming into the harbor. Now abandoned, it affords unobstructed, 360-degree views of the island. The roads are unpaved and dusty, so go with plenty of gas and fully functional ATVs. Motor scooters and ATVs are readily available for rent at a number of outlets for an average price of €25 per day. They are the easiest and most efficient way to navigate the traffic and tight roads.
BEST HISTORICAL DAY TRIP
The closest island to Mykonos is easily accessed by ferry from the old harbor. One of the most extensive excavation sites in the Mediterranean, you'll find it has a very different pace than lively Mykonos. There are ancient ruins and beautiful historical sites dating back to the 3rd millennium B.C.E.
BEST SUNSET PARTY
The perfect mix of bohemian and cool with a jetset, international party crowd. They have an excellent selection of fresh fish and use natural ingredients to create a menu that caters to the well-traveled clientele. Go on Tuesday, Thursday, or Sunday for Rituals, a showcase for various one-of-a-kind collaborations and record labels from around the world. It starts at 5 p.m. and lasts until 2 a.m. The Sleepy Sundayz and Ceremonia parties are personal favorites.
Little Venice; +30-2289-024676
A classic Greek-style taverna with a twist. After a traditional dinner at the waterfront, midnight turns a calm dining atmosphere into a table-dancing, plate-crashing, Greek celebration. The tables are well enforced, as everyone in the restaurant is soon dancing above bottles of mastiha and the impossible-to-finish platters of fruit and watermelon. The sophisticated crowd throws inhibitions and attitude to the wind, and everyone partakes in the celebration.
EVENING STARTING POINT
Little Venice; +30-22890-23541
The not-so-secret "dive" of Mykonos for decades. After a recent renovation, Caprice has become the perfect combination of great drinks and excellent people-watching. Start your night off by the water listening to the sounds of crashing waves while taking in a memorable view of the sunset over the old harbor.
CLASSIC HOTEL CHOICE
Ornos Bay: +30-2289-023220
The beach at Santa Marina is great for families and friends alike. Most days, the idyllic private bay is filled with mega yachts, but somehow manages to retain a clean, natural, and sophisticated vibe with high-end clientele and an unpretentious atmosphere. Above the beach, is a perfect place to grab lunch and waste away the afternoon.