The Cycladic island of Mykonos is full of contradictions. The natural beauty mingles with manmade party hubs in the form of high-end resorts and dazzling beach clubs. And the wonderfully simplistic and authentic Greek lifestyle gives way to the hectic, overcrowded summer months – a lifestyle that is gently rediscovered again as the seasons change.
Mykonos is never more alluring than in spring. In winter the island takes time to recover, settling back into its natural state, then manoeuvring smoothly into a period of seasonal transition. Fields and roadsides radiate with colour as greenery intertwined with native wildflowers emerge, marking the beginning of the new season. The glittering aqua Aegean provides a backdrop for red, yellow pink and purple blooms transforming the normally moonscape-like scenery, bringing it, and the locals alive after a period of contemplation.
Holy week customs
As if prompted by nature to help contribute to the brilliance that comes with spring, locals are like busy bees whitewashing, renovating and cleaning up in preparation for Easter, slowly but surely ushering in a new tourist season. Greek Orthodox Easter in Mykonos is a magical time, with the anticipation of what feels like the beginning of a new year. Happy faces fill blue and terracotta-domed churches, and the tiny streets in town come alive during ‘Holy Week’, bringing young and old together to celebrate traditional Easter customs.
This period is the indicator for many tourist operators, business owners, hotels and resorts to re-open and a harmonious way of easing into the madness summer will bring with it. Authentic island activities are wonderfully enhanced during this special season as cooler temperatures, and the fresh sights, smells and sounds of spring make the local tours just a little more enchanting.
Riding horseback to the beach via fields of wildflowers scattered with baby goats and sheep atop one of Mykonos Horseland’s magnificent horses is unforgettable at this time of year. You really do get to appreciate how generous nature is to Mykonos in the springtime. Horseland’s therapeutic riding tours cater to visitors with or without riding experience, so even novices can relax and take in the scenery.
The unassuming organic winery Vioma offers visitors wine tours and traditional food tastings at its cherished vineyard. Tiny red poppies scattered throughout the vines in spring are a delight, as is the time-honoured Greek hospitality you will sense during a visit there.
One of the world’s most important archaeological and historical sites is just a 30- minute boat ride from Mykonos. According to Greek mythology, the sacred island of Delos is the birthplace of Apollo and his twin sister Artemis, and is literally scattered with artefacts, statues and architectural ruins from its rich history.
Inhabited since 2,500 BC, Delos has, throughout history been recognised as a significant mythological, religious, commercial and trading centre. There’s a lot to take in when you visit and to stroll through ruins and artefacts with fresh wildflowers pushing their way into the new world is quite beautiful. Take a guided tour of Delos to get a real feel for how momentous this place is.
Cycle and kayak
If cycling is your thing, Yummy Peddles offers cycle tours to the beach through a typical Mykonian landscape, where you can sniff the aroma of wild mint and fennel as you ride along, and maybe even see a few locals foraging for wild asparagus, mushrooms and greens.
Experience Mykonos from a different perspective as the weather warms up toward the end of spring. A tour with Mykonos Kayak offers a memorable connection with the incredible crystal Aegean Sea and its marine life. Sweeping views of the island in all its glory and access to coves, caves and hideaways unreachable by land make this just one more wonderful springtime activity.
As the last month of spring emerges from April, so do more local taverns, impressive beach clubs, and bigger resorts open their doors. The beginning of the season is the best time to get a taste of what’s to come in the summer, without the crowds and while the staff are eager to welcome you with open arms and that famous Greek warmth.
As a relatively new Mykonian resident, I’m constantly surprised at how very different the island is in all seasons. It literally has something to offer everyone, depending on the time of year. As I’m sure you have gathered by now, spring is most certainly my favourite season.