My Mykonos: ‘There are too many incredible places to discover’

My Mykonos: ‘There are too many incredible places to discover’ | Soho House

Soho House member Erinoula Kallakis on all the secret spots everyone’s favourite Greek party island has to offer

Tuesday 20 September 2022  By Erinoula Kallakis 

Mykonos is named after the grandson of Apollo and, according to mythology, the islands are formed of the petrified carcasses of giants killed by Hercules. For me, though, it’s simply a beautiful island where I’ve spent most of my youth. I grew up between here and London, enjoying not only the crazy party side of the Mykonos, but also the culture, beautiful hidden beaches, traditional local dining and secret attractions that it has to offer. 
As a natural explorer, I’ve always been inclined to search for more than meets the eye, no matter where I am. And through the years I’ve cultivated a list of favourite spots away from the hubbub of the Mykonos we all know, love and are used to. There are far too many incredible places on the island to explore, so I’ve highlighted a few favourites, leaving the rest for you to discover along the way.
Veneti and Matsoukas
Our day starts with a short drive to Ano Mera, where we have breakfast in one of the island’s oldest bakeries, Veneti. The array of pastries and cakes is second to none, made every couple of hours – you can literally smell the aroma of fresh bread down the road as you’re approaching the shop – but deciding on what to choose will be hard.
Before setting off to the beach, it’s definitely worth crossing the road over to Matsoukas, the oldest coffee shop on the island where a plethora of exquisite handmade chocolates, freshly ground coffee and the famous Mykonos sweet almond biscuits (my favourite) covered in icing sugar are created onsite. Buy a few for a snack on the beach or alternatively purchase some Greek delights to take home as a present.

My Mykonos: ‘There are too many incredible places to discover’ | Soho House
My Mykonos: ‘There are too many incredible places to discover’ | Soho House
My Mykonos: ‘There are too many incredible places to discover’ | Soho House
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Fokos is arguably the best beach on Mykonos. It’s an interesting drive, and seems like you’ve taken a wrong turn and ended up in a lunar landscape for a few kilometres, but this quickly opens up to a spectacular aerial panorama of the beach. One of its hidden attractions is the ability to organise horse riding along the shore and the riverbed. Or perhaps you just want to set out a blanket on the pristine sand (remember that the advantage of Fokos is: no sunbeds or umbrellas = no tourists) and chill.
To the left of the beach, Marisa runs a family operated taverna with the best food you’ll eat on Mykonos – an open grill, delicious traditional menu and protective wind sheets for those windy days. She’s also an acclaimed potter working out of the taverna, and you can see her display of works at the entrance to the restaurant. The menu comprises of traditional Greek dishes with an emphasis on Cycladic food specialities, many with a local twist. The angel cake with fruits of the forest coulis and vanilla ice cream is reason enough to visit this authentic and rustic eatery – no imposing music, no spectacles and no nonsense makes for the best lunch on the island. Just down to earth, delicious food with an incredible ambiance and wonderful people.

Cine manto
It’s not every day you decide to go to the movies and find yourself sitting in a secret botanical garden underneath the stars and a canopy of trees in the middle of Mykonos Town. I love this movie theatre, because it’s unique and novel, especially for first timers, and so unexpected in all the hustle and bustle of Mykonos. 
The most delicious kalamaki (meat skewers) are prepared on an open grill in the garden/ restaurant of the theatre and served instead of popcorn, along with wine, salads and other traditional plates. You can stop here for a full dinner or just a snack while watching a film. This is a ‘must’ for anyone visiting Mykonos and an experience, which you’ll find hard to forget. I’m here every time they have a new film showing. 

My Mykonos: ‘There are too many incredible places to discover’ | Soho House
My Mykonos: ‘There are too many incredible places to discover’ | Soho House
My Mykonos: ‘There are too many incredible places to discover’ | Soho House

Very few visitors to Mykonos realise that just a mile west lies the UNESCO-protected heritage island of Delos, one of the most important islands on the globe and the birthplace of Apollo. A visit to the island by the public fishing boat (leaving from Mykonos Town usually at 10am) or by private charter is an absolute essential for any visitor, if only to see the spectacular mosaics, Terrace of the Lions and ancient ruins in truly excellent condition. I go monthly with friends who have come to the island and see something new each time I’m there.
When you visit, don’t follow the crowds and instead decide on your own path (unless you are with a guide), as there are some well-preserved multi-storey houses and an amphitheatre that most people never get to see on traditional tours. This is a fascinating island, as well a great day out that I’d make the time for in any itinerary, because it’s so worth it.

Soho Roc House 
Soho Roc House flawlessly combines the classic Soho House we all know and love with a relaxed, laid-back safe haven on the rocks overlooking the Aegean Sea. I come for lunch, a sensational Greek menu with a twist, and stay for the swimming, either in the pool or off their private dock into the sheltered bay, as well as the perfectly curated music. Lying on a giant bed overlooking the pool while a DJ plays is the ultimate combination for a true Myconian holiday, not too quiet and not too hectic. 
There is an air of truly being able to leave your hat at the door and completely relax here, which I find difficult in many of the hotels I visit on the island. Totally inclusive, everyone is a friend you’ll meet sitting by the pool with a Mimosa or at one of the countless events the House hosts throughout the summer. This ranges from the iconic Pride event to wine masterclasses and House takeovers. 

My Mykonos: ‘There are too many incredible places to discover’ | Soho House
My Mykonos: ‘There are too many incredible places to discover’ | Soho House
My Mykonos: ‘There are too many incredible places to discover’ | Soho House

Rizes Folklore Farmstead
It’s almost impossible to believe somewhere as serene and genuinely traditional exists on Mykonos, but hidden in the rolling hills of Ano Mera is Rizes farmstead. It’s the Mykonos of 100 years ago, traditionally decorated with authentic Mykonian antiques, family photographs and knick-knacks, where you can participate in folklore workshops, visit the farm animals, join a bread-making workshop (in their own traditional bakery) or cooking classes with the family who runs the farm.
If you’re coming for lunch, they’ll bring you a jug of their homemade lemonade, which is reason enough to make the journey, and you’ll eat in the sunflower fields and garden; it’s beautiful. This is a grounding, no-frills experience and you’ll leave feeling totally enriched – I do each time I’m there.

Limnios Tavern
An excellent dinner in an intimate environment, Limnios Tavern is renowned for having the best lamb chops on the island. This second-generation, family-run taverna offers truly authentic Greek and Mykonian food with good value for money. A favourite restaurant of mine, it’s quaint, romantic and quiet with superb views over the port of Mykonos, the sunset and the town. There’s indoor dining for the windier days and a charming garden in the back of the restaurant with a few small tables for a quieter dinner.