Mykonos: Fun, but a bit late for the party.

Unlike many gays, I don’t have a love or hate relationship with Mykonos. I feel like these days, most gays fall HARD into one of these buckets. Group one absolutely adore the island, rave about its magic, and make it their lifelong dream to return every summer, regardless of the impact on their finances. Group 2, who actually secretly like the island (because no one actually hates Mykonos), constantly bitch about how fashionable, gay, overrun, party-obsessed, trashy, etc it has become and consistently remind you that there are more worthy places out there to visit, as if it were your first time to ever hear about the ‘unknown’ Greek isles. Yawn. I do not fall into either one of these categories. On a scale from 1-10, 1 being vowing to never return and 10 having JMK tattooed on my left ass cheek, I’d think I’d be a 7.9. Yeah, it is expensive as hell, for no good reason. Flights also aren’t super cheap, and the accommodation situation is a bitch. While it isn’t paradise, or super paradise for that matter, what it is an island with a beautiful old town, great for relaxation, food (if you know where to look, and yes you don’t fucking have to tell me the obvious fact that the food is better elsewhere in Greece), party (straight and gay), and simply doing nothing amongst a shit ton of people from all over the world, from all many walks of life.

Although this was my fourth time to Mykonos, I must say that I didn’t really know or understand the island that well. My trips have been relatively short, especially the last one, which was a simple stop on a Mediterranean cruise last August for 16 (wild) hours. Shortly following that, on a boring Saturday morning, the random idea occurred to me to book a refundable hotel one year later in Aug 2019 in case I decided to go to Mykonos again. I actually had alternative plans for my summer holidays, but I also wanted to have a backup in case things didn’t work Good deals on Mykonos hotels are always hard to come by, especially now since seemingly the entire gay population of NYC has decided to split their leisure time between Mykonos and Fire Island. I didn’t let this one pass and as the time approached closer to summer and my Mexico plans fell through, we decided we’d go.

After a short flight on SleazyJet from Milan, we arrived in Mykonos. I’d forgotten how ridiculously basic the airport is. This is not really a problem for arriving flights, but if you’re there early before departure to have one last glass of holiday champagne in the lounge, your dreams will be shattered. It’s mind-boggling that such a shitty airport of that size can support the number of passengers coming through on a daily basis. We checked in at the Hotel Gorgona, a pleasant two star hotel situated in a quiet part of town near the port. Rooms are basic AF, but the pool is the main draw, with beautiful views overlooking the Med.

The Hotel Gorgona. I typically don’t do two stars for obvious reasons, but in Mykonos things are different. 1. The scenery and architecture make all lodging with a pool look gorgeous 2. Two stars still means over 200 euros per night 3. Despite the beautiful settings, I actually spend little time at the hotel except for sleeping.

As we arrived (deliberately) on the day after Xclsior, a week long festival of decadent gay circuit parties, we knew going in that this trip would be relatively calm. In my opinion, this is a wonderful time to visit the island. Still enough to keep you entertained, but obviously too late for the party.

The first day was pretty chill. We made our way down to the town and began a search for a restaurant that we had eaten at last year that I really liked. Given that I had no idea what the hell this restaurant was called and everything looks the exact same (white) in Mykonos, I didn’t actually think we’d stumble on it, but you’d be surprised how far the human compass and intuition will take you.

Tom enjoying a meal at Mamalouka, an unavoidably overpriced but good quality restaurant that I’ve now saved in my Google Maps to avoid this search on my next Mykonian adventure. Don’t let the lack of people discourage you from eating here – 6:30pm was a bit early for dinner, even by Belgian standards.

We had a really quiet evening (at least by my standards), by having a couple of drinks and creps at this one random creperie perfectly placed on a busy corner ideal for people watching, and then a couple of drinks at the gay bars in Mykonos, Jackie O , Babylon, and Porta. These bars are nothing special and as the town is so small , people typically just rotate from one to the other. I’ve had wonderful times here in the past, so they do serve as good fun if you’re looking for a night out, but for a quiet drink, 14 euros for a poorly made gin and tonic is slightly pointless unless you’re all in and committed to multiple rounds and getting smashed. We actually did decide to last a bit longer on our last night in Mykonos, as we met another mixed race super fun couple from Germany & Brazil , and my friend Andrea, an Italian-born Londoner who practically lives on the island were all really up for a bit of a boogie.

I’d love to tell you every detail about this holiday, but I’m afraid I’d bore everyone to tears. Breakfast, gym, beach/pool, dinner, the same creperie over and over for people watching, a few drinks at night, repeat. But honestly, after a fantastic but hectic Berlin summer, the relaxation was very welcome. Instead, I’ll leave you with a few pictures complete with comments that sum up how our holiday was spent. Ciao Ragazzi!

My first day in the Hotel Gorgona. Selfie sticks are the absolute best. I think that trend may have died a few years ago, but I am still an avid user, regardless of how embarrasing they look. Luckily, this gorgeous pool was completely empty for no reason. Multiple takes for a nice shot? All the time in the world.

Often people dress to the nines in Mykonos, and although I did bring an assortment of nice clothing for dinners, on day one I honestly couldn’t wait to just get in a trashy tank top, comfortable shorts, and chill the fuck out. Also debuting my new Panama hat, which was given to me by my friend Gustavo, who is actually from Panama.

We actually made the gym every day. There’s a tiny, but great gym called Pump Gym in Mykonos town itself. My only criticism is that there is an overabundance of leg equipment , but the location and the energy make this place pretty fun. Coming from Germany where towels are mandatory, the sweaty shirtless men sliding along the benches did look pretty odd. Just an obversation, definitely not a complaint..

Welcome to Mykonos town, which is in my opinion the jewel of this island. The beaches aren’t the most spectacular and the dry landscape don’t always make for the most wonderful scenery, but the seemingly endless stone and whitewashed narrow walkways make this city unforgettable. By day the city is sleepy, save the tourists and hardcore shoppers who dare to brave the hot sun. By night it becomes alive, buzzing with restaurants, women in outrageous outfits, and the occassional Lindsay Lohan. I spotted her here three years ago at the height of her Mykonian obsession, bar hopping and perfectly navigating her way through the street maze.

The transportation in Mykonos. It’s actually easier than I thought. We were close to renting a motorbike, which in hindsight is a terrible idea given that I’ve never actually driven one, but instead we decided to opt for pubic transportation. Driving up and down the steep roads after a few Greek wines at the beach is never a good idea. Luckily, the bus system is excellent. While it won’t drop you off at your new friend’s villa for the 6am afterparty, it will at least get you to the most popular beaches daytime in one piece… and back.

Tom at Elia Beach. Elia Beach is a beach on mostly frequented by the gays – but also has a large straight section. This is also Tom looking damn fine post an amazing haircut that we happened to find in town. Although this was a relatively civilized beach (minimal party), there was one nudist behind me that I unfortunately didn’t capture who kept inappropriately stroking himself in hopes that someone would play. When he realized he wasn’t getting any takers, he turned over on his stomach to showcase his backside, which still resulted in failure. No surprise – I’m pretty sure there’s an app for that.

A stop at the Hotel Belvedere for a glass of wine. A perfect example of a wonderful hotel with a great pool, but definitely not worth the price to stay here in tourist season, even if there is a Nobu on site.

The food at Bakalo. Don’t let this picture fool you. This stuffed calamari has so much potential but never delivered. I actually spent nearly 30 excruciating minutes debating over this restaurant and the fish tavern as I was terrified about making the wrong decision. First world problems, but on vacation, a good meal is everything. Did we make the wrong decision? Unfortunately, yes. The food wasn’t terrible – I just wasn’t really a fan. This was also validated by me searching my restaurant archives and finding out that I had actually visited here in 2014 and wasn’t impressed. How could I not remember this? With old age setting in, I now will make it a policy to cross-reference my unstructured restaurant archives to prevent future failures.

Our view from the creperie, where Kostas served us nutella crepes (Tom) and ouzo (Rob) every evening for three days straight. The view may not look impressive, but everyone at some point passes by this corner in Mykonos – which is why this place is gold for people watching. Highlight of the evening? Spotting the two ridiculously wealthy women from my flight, seated in 1D and 1F who were dressed in something even more ridiculous than they were that afternoon for their casual two hour plane ride.

This may possibly be the cutest picture I have ever taken of Tom Claerhout.

Rob (me) feeling proud of myself for avoiding a hangover on my second day in Mykonos and having a healthy breakfast and a protein shake before the gym. Although we made it to the gym on day three, I definitely was not up this early on our last day as I finally gave into the bars of Mykonos and did what I do best – be social and enjoy life.

The beach looks crowded, but down below it’s actually quite spacious. The umbrellas are a life saver. And there’s that horribly arid backdrop I was referring to earlier.

Gorgeous town, but impossible to distinguish one building from another.

The Rochari. I was first acquianted with this hotel on my first trip to Mykonos a few years back, as it seemed to be a place to fun place to grab evening drinks. It also helped that there was a gorgeous Greek/Bulgarian bartender George, who made great negronis. This time around, the crowd seemed to be thinning a bit and George was absent, but I still loved this hotel. Why? Because I actually discovered that you can really use many pools in the daytime in Mykonos as long as you buy drinks. We had a great pool at our place, but why not hang out at the Rochari at a more central location? This new fact permanently changes the way I view Mykonos accommodation. We will now only book accommodation without a pool in the city centre and spend our days at other resorts around the town, drinking the day away, or at one of the many popular beaches – which is where people are at most of the days anyways.

Our hotel , Hotel Gorgona, which is quite stunning, but zero ambience as all the people disappeared during the day to the beaches. Luckily this gem was left for just me and Tom, who also appreciated it for a grand combined total of 30 minutes as we also spent our time at the beaches and other hotels.
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