'The best part of beauty is that which no picture can express.'
A gasp of surprise and a sudden desperate yearning to reach the port - I will never forget the moment I first locked eyes with Mykonos Town.
A ferocious gust of wind chased the boat across the water as the rain pelted us from every angle. The skyline ahead was grey and disconcerting, and yet I hardly noticed. My heart had already been stolen, and was in the process of being picked up by the windmills on the horizon and tossed high above the clouds. My breath caught in my throat at the sheer delight of the sight in front of us...
From a distance, Mykonos Town looked like a scattering of sugar-cubes; a tumble of white-washed building blocks doused in merry flashes of colour, adorned by a craggy hillside.
Even on the stormiest of days, Mykonos had me at ‘Xaipete.’
The instant I clambered off the boat and stepped into the narrow labyrinth of the depths of Mykonos Town, I was mesmerised. Very rarely had I seen so much beauty combined and compressed.
Quite suddenly, the persistent rainfall faded into oblivion - an oblivion infused by lashings of bursting flowers in the boldest of shades, strewn across the streets above the cobbles underfoot. The canopy of flowers shielded me from the rain. Never before had I beheld the surreal and precious privilege to walk beneath a sky of flowers. Petals from the flora above sprinkled the cobbles like confetti, leading the way to the next unexpected indulgence.
Each and every abrupt turn presented me with a different prize for the eyes.
On that damp morning, the strong smell of opulent blooms reacted with the fresh scent of the rainfall; a tantalising mixture carried and caressed by the sharp breeze.
Finding the right words to describe the true magic of Mykonos is something I am finding difficult to express. No amount of fancy descriptive jargon or airy adjectives are enough to bring the true splendour of the island to life on paper.
The maze that makes up Mykonos Old Town is something I will never, ever allow to seep from my memory. That rainy dawn spent dodging puddles amongst the cobbles as I glanced around in wild enthrallment is a time of my life I wish to return to over and over again. And truth be told, I’m sure I could return to that moment one thousand times over, and still feel an intense rush of awestruck love for the island.
Allowing the weave of tight cobbled streets to whisk you away gifts the belief that one is drifting into another world entirely. The colours of the town collide and explode like a kaleidoscope, even on the dreariest of days. The range of colour is so diverse, and I found myself frenetically trying to grasp at every single surrounding view as my eyes danced out of control in untamed joy. From the burst of the blue church roofs, to the messy tangle of striking red flowers draped earnestly across the balconies up above, the cobbles on which you walk suddenly transport you into a completely different dimension.
Mykonos is the ultimate showstopper.
The immaculate whitewashed buildings are made even more striking by their bold doors, window shutters and balconies in a sensational array of colours. Each balcony frame overhead is painted a different shade, which really complimented the greying sky that was casting its shadow across the Aegean sea.
The balconies interact with the flowers, creating a blissful wildfire effect of startling, heart-stopping nobility right before your eyes.
You think you’ve seen it all; you think you’ve been wowed to the point of having no more soul to spare the island, but Mykonos is determined to continue surprising.
Churches stand in stock disguise alongside the tiny townhouses, their appearances only obvious at last minute, given away by their vibrant roofs and humble little steeples. They come in their arrays, all different, all charming. Each one presents as much of a pleasure as the previous.
Mykonos is one of those unique places that just flourishes more and more with every discovery. Astonished describes how I felt upon arrival at the tiny port of Mykonos Town at the very start of my trip. Utterly enthralled describes my mindset after spending just one day in the company of the island.
This gorgeous Greek getaway portrays the sort of scenery one would only ever expect to find in the most elaborate of day-dreams. It completely defines the term ‘hidden gem.’
The thing that makes Mykonos so charming is the fact that it is so modest. Despite being one of the most stunning places I have ever seen, it tends to go a little under the radar in comparison to its neighbouring counterparts – a thrilling factor that means it so wonderfully retains its shy charm.
I took temporary shelter from the gathering storm in a cosy little cafe overlooking the rising waves opposite Little Venice. The cafe was packed with Saturday morning locals, and accompanied by the comforting sound of laughter and chatter, I watched the rain bounce off the cobbles beyond.
Oh, and a generous slice of baklava was an absolute must to enhance my Greek cafe culture experience!
That well-renowned Greek hospitality greeted me at every corner of the island. Everybody I encountered was so friendly and convivial!
Truthfully, you could explore the twists and turns of the streets of Mykonos Town all day and not have any desire to do anything else. If, however, you did want to extend your discovery of the island, there is so much that you could take into consideration, from walking up to the quirky, old windmills on the hill above the town, to exploring the perfectly picturesque secret coves, fringed by an organised chaos of wild flower. There is, of course, also the infamous ‘Little Venice’ section of the town. A wonderfully mismatched jumbled of colourful houses cluster together slightly above sea level to make up Little Venice. It is actually quite intriguing to watch the unfolding scenes on a stormy day, as the feral waves rise up from the slate sea and climb the backs of the buildings like rapidly growing ivy.
Before I was blessed with Mykonos, the island I had been most excited to explore during my Greek expedition was Santorini. Now, having visited both, and a handful of other Greek isles, I can confirm that Mykonos is a cut above the rest, in every aspect. While Santorini boasts ‘that view’ – the infamous sunset of tumbling houses cascading down the mountainside – Mykonos is exceptional in the way that every view is breathtaking. It oozes charisma and authenticity.
Santorini is a ‘been there, done that’ kind of place, whereas Mykonos offers a different perspective and experience at every turn, and has the power to call one back time after time.
To me, Mykonos is Greece. Warm and welcoming in ambiance, Mykonos is a diverse, cosmopolitan island that keeps its beauty close to its chest.
Cara Jasmine Bradley ©