Athens is one of the oldest cities in the world with history dating back thousands of years. Mykonos is one of the biggest up and coming party islands in Europe. So what happens when two cities that are polar opposites collide on a trip through Europe? A glamorous explosion of culture and adventure, that’s what.
At first glance, I was truly questioning how Mykonos could be talked up so much. It genuinely looked like the backdrop of a Flintstones movie. My scenic views were covered in large, brown boulders that made the earth look lumpy. All I could think was, “Google image searches deceived me!” But as I gave everything a chance to woo me, I slowly began to discover a beauty beyond the brown. Mykonos turned out to hold some of the best and most beautiful memories of my trip.
Accommodations and night life
The accommodations were a give and take while staying at Paraga Beach Hostel – Mykonos Camping. Though the comfort level wasn’t exactly the same as a five-star Hilton, we gained so much in its location. Within a five-minute walk, one of the largest night life beaches was at our disposal. I never had to wait in line for a hot shower at their facilities and the pool area was one of the nicest I used during the Topdeck trip. The bar/restaurant was located right off the beach and was great quality for a perfectly reasonable price. And if on the rare chance I didn’t find anything I wanted on the menu, they also had a medium-sized convenience store filled with food, drinks, and beach supplies.
The night life in Mykonos revolved around Paradise Beach. At any given time, day or night/weekday or weekend, there’s a nonstop party happening there. We ended up being in Mykonos on a random Monday night during a slight off-season, and we still had an epic time. All of the bars and clubs are right on the beach, and the ocean breeze would gently sweep through the room reminding me that I’m in Greece.
Old Town, Mykonos
The next day in Mykonos, we had a full day to explore the island. For just 10-30 Euros, you can rent either a four wheeler or scooter for 24 hours. This is something I highly recommend. I found that this was the best way to truly discover the beauty of Mykonos. We drove the four wheeler out to Old Town, which is an absolute must see. This is where you’ll find cute shops in tiny, twisting alleys surrounded by white washed buildings and blue shutters. It’s pure magic. The cobblestones led us from cafes to waterfront views that made our eyes drown in the blue waters. After we spent a few hours wandering Old Town, we headed out to find the windmills and ended up stumbling upon the Armenistis Lighthouse instead. This lighthouse gave us some of the best views of Mykonos and is another high recommendation.
The city of Athens turned out to be extremely different than I was expecting. According to an article released by the NY Times back in April, Greece’s unemployment rate is above the 25% mark. In 2014 the city of Athens had an estimated population of 4,013,368 which is about 40% of Greece’s total population. All this to say, Athens is a struggling metropolis. Though signs of hardship and poverty are evident, some things about Athens are inherently rich and bountiful. The food was delicious, and the people were beyond friendly. When visiting Athens, remember to appreciate all forms of beauty and not just judge it by its outer appearance.
On my last night of the Topdeck tour, several of us Topdeckers had dinner in a small area of Athens called Psiri. Imagine walking down cobbled roads with buildings pressed close around you. On your left you pass charming restaurants with live music inside and on your right is an old, neighborhood church. That’s Psiri. It’s calm, delightful, and romantic. If you continue further south, you’ll run into Monastiraki Flea Market, which has some of the best shops in town. It also has some pretty great views as well. That’s where I bought a small necklace to remember my trip by because I’m hopelessly sentimental.
When I visited Greece, Athens helped me appreciate the past. I appreciated the past traditions and history. I appreciated the people’s way of life that was built upon centuries of devotion. Mykonos, however, helped me appreciate living in the present. The island enveloped me through all of my senses. Living in the moment was the anthem song that Mykonos played day and night.
What I ate in Mykonos and Athens:
- Gyro – However you want to pronounce it, it’s delicious. I’m not sure why, but the Greeks love adding fries (also known as chips) to practically everything. I’m not going to complain.
- I had a fruit smoothie in Old Town, and it was so flavorful. Unfortunately, I spent several minutes desperately trying to get a blackberry seed off my front tooth.
- Roast Beef – This meal was actually a slight mystery. I ordered roast beef in a mushroom sauce, but the waiter swayed me into trying a lemon sauce instead. When I got my plate, I didn’t taste lemon or mushrooms. But whatever I ate, it was pretty yummy.
And this concludes the last stop of my Road to Athens tour with Topdeck! Stay tuned for my final review and thoughts about traveling with Topdeck!