After a recent trip to Mykonos during its off season, Chris and I quickly discovered what you can and can't do on this beautiful Greek island in March. Within minutes of visiting the tourist centre, we were informed that ferries and excursions were not operating until May. It felt like a ghost town, which isn't so bad if you want to avoid summer crowds filled with tourists only interested in getting pissed drunk and partying all night long - not really my cup of tea these days, but maybe back in the heyday.
Therefore, no ferries/boats to Santorini, Delos, or any other Cyclades. No fishing boats, water sports activities, and museums were operating. Only a handful of restaurants and bar/clubs were open.
With the sun only making its appearance early in the morning and the clouds looming over in the afternoon followed by cold winds, I found little to no time for sunbathing. So what does one do on Mykonos with only a few other inhabitants around?
Here are the TOP 5 Things that I'd recommend you check out if you ever find yourself in this situation:
1. The Windmills: Situated southwest of Mykonos town, the windmills are one of the most recognized landmarks of Mykonos. It is also located in the the best spot for a picturesque view of the sunset. Price: FREE
2. Cuttlefish cooked in its ink: If you're daring enough to eat something that looks like it was thrown into a barrel of oil, you'll want to visit El Greco and order the Cuttlefish, which is cooked in its own ink! It doesn't look appetizing, but Chris says it's the BEST he's ever had. Yorgos, the restaurant owner, was kind enough to share his secret recipe with us, which we will take with us to the grave. I ordered the moussaka and was extremely satisfied - you could tell each layer was prepared and cooked with precision and care. Price: €10-16
3. Ride a horse to the beach: Luckily, Horseland is in operation all year long! We called up Fanis and he took us out for a wonderful horseback ride from Ano Mera to Pelagos Beach. If you have never ridden a horse, have no fear, Horseland will pair you up with the most appropriate horse based on your experience.Price: €65/person
4. Rent a Smart car and find the Gyzi Tower (castle): We rented a Smart car and explored the entire island in search of a "castle", which turned out to be a stack of stones on a hill! Although the castle was in shambles, the view was spectacular! It was built during the rule of the Gyzi family, a noble Venetian family that ruled the Cyclades in the Medieval times, to protect the island from pirates and enemy attacks. Price: €40/day (Pegasus)
5. Try Ouzo! After our first meal in Mykonos at a seaside cafe restaurant called Kadeva, our waitress, Anastasia, brought us two shots of Greece's most popular spirit, Ouzo. If you like anise-flavored liquor (anise resembles licorice), you'll love Ouzo.
We had such an amazing time with the locals and look forward to visiting Mykonos again (not during peak season of course)! The locals recommend visiting during May or late September to avoid the massive summer crowds. Chris - I'm ready when you are!!!
View from our hotel, Rocabella Art Hotel (http://www.rocabella.gr/)