It might seem like an oxymoron, but in fact, one can practice social distancing in Mykonos, provided that they choose to take the road less travelled.
At the time of writing, Mykonos, normally the Mediterranean’s party central, is uncharacteristically empty, quiet and serene. Blame it in on the pandemic. But thanks to a hefty mix of timely measures and preemptive actions all over Greece, Mykonos shall -hopefully- be soon returning to its typical buoyant self with the reopening of the hotels, the restaurants and the bars and the resuming of international flights on June 15th. This is excellent news for all Mykonos lovers out there.
Yet social distancing, in Mykonos even, is still the desideratum for many, including the staunchest party makers and the most determined bon vivants.
So the even better news is that the island of the winds has another more tranquil, peaceful and private side that is almost secret to most. Contrary to mass belief social distancing in Mykonos is quite possible. One can actually get away from the usual maddening crowds and here’s the lowdown:
Where to go for social distancing in Mykonos
Mykonos might be synonymous to cosmopolitanism and glamour but it also boasts another significantly more picturesque, authentic, serene and almost zen-like, facade. For even in the high season there are still beautiful, empty beaches, without fancy cocktail bars or selfie sticks in sight to discover. And so are a host of traditional tavernas with honest, good food; significant archaeological sites; old mines and shipwrecks that beg for underwater exploration.
Social distancing in Mykonos secret beaches
There are cosmopolitan, organised beaches where you’ll dance to the latest tunes-and there are beaches where the only soundtrack is that of the splashing of the waves and the singing of the seagulls. Here you’ll find shelter, not in luxurious sunbeds, but on the warm sand, under the sparse trees or the large granite rocks; and you’ll quench your thirst not with fancy concoctions but with the water you- thoughtfully- remembered to bring along.
- Capari, west of Agios Ioannis, is a tiny bay with a magnificent view of Delos and the magical sunset, favoured by those in the know.
- If the wind doesn’t blow too much, it is certainly worth to pay a visit to Phanari, after Houlakia beach.
- Agios Sostis is another “must” for the more adventurous types. No sunbeds here either, only a majestic, imposing scenery with lava’s brown clashing beautifully with the golden sand. Once you find yourselves here, you should definitely eat at Kiki’s taverna on top of the hill. It has no electricity, so everything is prepared on a charcoal grill.
- Merchia is a spot of paradise lost for peace and quiet seekers: This is a tiny, serene beach, tucked in the northeastern part of the island, 8 km away from Ano Mera, with no sign of organized facilities. Make sure you bring water and supplies with you and keep in mind that it requires driving on a dirt road. Yet this isolated pebbly beach, probably the most remote one on the island, will recompense you with its crystal clear waters and beautiful vistas. Stay till the sun goes down and watch the scenic fishermen’s’ houses and the chapel of St Nicholas at dusk, lying right on the rocks at the tip of the cove. This is a sight you’ll remember forever and will probably want to come back to. Good news is that the Semeli Mykonos Luxury hotel group will be launching its novel establishment at Merchia.
Social distancing in Mykonos secret sites
Intensive night-and day-life aside, Mykonos has a host of other attractions for those willing to go off the beaten path.
- Deserted yet fascinating, the old mines on the island’s northeastern side beckon those willing to explore the crumbling buildings that once housed the island’s miners. Tread carefully among the ruins, listen to the howling wind and look out for the sole surviving inhabitant: the small crocodile, also known as the mykonian lizard. Though not as famous as his counterpart, Peter the Pelican, in fact it is Mykonos’ real mascot!
- There are two wrecks on the island that remain almost intact on its seabed. Anna II is a cargo ship that sank in 1995, very close to Lia beach. Resting at a depth of 20 to 30 metres, it functions as an artificial reef attracting many marine life species. The Peloponnese, on the other hand, lies on the northeastern side of Mykonos at over 55 meters. The boat which sunk in 1926, is cut in two and is prefered by more experienced divers, due to the location’s harsh weather conditions and great depth.
- Next stop is Tragonissi, also known as Dragonisi, about a mile from the northeastern coast of Mykonos. A protected area and refuge of Monachus Monachus, Tragonissi is a beautiful, small rocky island, with a unique system of caves and caverns, which make it ideal for underwater exploration.
- Ano Mera is a beautiful, picturesque village 8 km from vibrant Chora that stands out for its old fashioned charm and authentic Cycladic character. The main settlement is organized around the historic monastery of Panagia Tourliani, once an important economic paragon of the region. Take a stroll in its quaint, narrow streets and discover its little traditional tavernas. Unique and unpretentious, they serve homemade delicacies prepared with the freshest, locally sourced ingredients. Authentic taste here is complemented by the inhabitant’s warm hospitality.
There is certainly more to Mykonos than meets the eye. Adventure and pleasure take many shapes and forms, especially for those willing to take the road less travelled. Yet Mykonos is tantamount to luxury. Which means that to fully experience it, you deserve a befitting accommodation. Nestled in a fairly central, albeit quiet corner of the capital (Chora), sporting mesmerizing vistas over its characteristic whitewashed, sugar-cube houses, the Semeli best 5* boutique hotel in Mykonos Town, is an optimal choice for a multitude of reasons. Premium rooms and suites, indulgent amenities and some of Mykonos’ best restaurants and bars for starters. Plus this small, intimate and very welcoming, design Mykonos hotel shall be operating again from June 15th in accordance to a new, strict safety protocol. Containing a comprehensive set of measures, including physical distancing, high cleaning and disinfecting frequency, 24/7 on-site medical coverage and a super flex cancellation policy, the Semeli’s covid 19 protocol is designed to ensure your safety and peace of mind from check-in to check-out. This will definitely be a different summer in Mykonos, but you can still live the dream without cutting back on safety, indulgence or comfort!