A Mini Greek Odyssey with Mykonos Kayak

by Bianca Ohannessian

If you’re looking for a day of adventure with a personal touch, Mykonos Kayak Tours & Trails has got you covered.

Set up by the Siopiros family in 2012, Costas, Ivanka, Nikos and Alex know all the secret spots on the island. Luckily for us, they’re willing to share their local knowledge and show you an unexpected, more natural side to the place that’s known as Greece’s most exclusive party island. And you’ll get a bit of a workout in the process.

There are lots of jewels in the Cyclades Islands crown, but Mykonos might just be the shiniest. With its chic superyachts bobbing in the glittering turquoise waters, €100 sunbeds for rent and enough Armand de Brignac champagne to fill every infinity pool on the island, it’s not surprising that it’s gained the reputation as the most glamourous island in Greece.

Of course, the beach parties are fun but there is also more to Mykonos than that. Underneath all the glitz and gloss is the original Mykonos that the Siopiros family fell in love with years ago. The real Mykonos.

With their excellent day trips, Mykonos Kayak unveils the natural beauty of the island, in all its raw Cycladic glory. They’ll take you to the relatively untouched north side, away from the rows of beach umbrellas and bars, and lead you on an outdoor adventure that combines a bit of kayaking, snorkelling and hiking. Team Rockskippers went to investigate.

How it all started

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Ivanka, originally from England, met her Greek husband Costas on Mykonos where they ended up staying and bringing up their two sons. Sea kayaking started off as a family hobby when they bought a couple of kayaks and it soon turned into a regular pastime.

As Ivanka says, “We fell in love with kayaking and it was a great way to take time out of our busy lives and spend time all together.”

They soon started discovering beautiful nooks and crannies that they never knew existed on this island where they’d lived for decades. Fast-forward a few years, and they’re sharing their fun family hobby with people from all over the globe.

Now with a 20-strong fleet of kayaks to their name, and an expanded team of qualified kayakers, Mykonos Kayak is the original (and still the one and only) kayak adventure tour on the island. Their genuine passion for Mykonos, for kayaking and for meeting new people and making new friends shines through.

The Adventure

As you probably know, sea kayaking can be very dependent on the weather. Mykonos is a windy spot, and every August a persistent north wind, known as the Meltemi, sweeps through the island. This makes it great for windsurfing and kite-surfing, but when it comes to kayaking it means that the weather will decide on the route you’ll be taking. Fortunately, all routes are rather lovely in their own different ways.

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On a calm day, when you can literally see through to the bottom of the sea as you glide along, your adventure route might take you past picturesque spots like the famous Mykonos windmills or to the enchanting and mysterious Dragon’s Caves just off the island. Or when the wind is high, you can have some fun surfing and splashing through the waves or visit more sheltered bays.

With mid-level Meltemi gusts on the day our our Mykonos Kayak experience, the paddle path we took was the Panormos-Agios Ostis beach route, stopping off at secluded coves along the way. Many of these small blink-and-you-might-miss-them beaches can only be accessed by boat, so the freedom of kayaking is a great way to explore them.

Our day included the chance to hike to the top of a hill, giving us breath-taking panoramic views of the rugged coastline and out across the sea. There was also plenty of time for snorkelling stops in between the paddling, so you can get up close to the fish and give your arms a little break.

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In fact, the kayaking parts of the day move at a fun, leisurely pace so it’s not too strenuous on your muscles. With multiple instructors and guides joining the group, you can go at your own pace. The skill level is easy enough for first-timers and exciting enough for more hard-core sports enthusiasts.

A taste of the simple life

Our final stop before the short paddle back to Mykonos Kayak HQ was on a deserted sandy bay, where driftwood benches and a table full of homemade food was being laid out.

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At this point Nick, the Jamie Oliver of the team, gives the group a bit of background about the beach feast you’re about to tuck into. He points out the ingredients that are grown in their own family garden as well as offering some Greek-inspired serving suggestions to help you balance the flavours of the ingredients you might not have come across before.

After all that paddling, you could enjoy with the food with the satisfaction of knowing that you’d really earnt it. And it tasted all the more delicious for it.

Keep Calm and Kayak On

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A day of gliding along the sea is the perfect antidote to the buzzing beach parties and bustling summer crowds. Although you would have spent a good part of the day paddling, you’re most likely to come away feeling relaxed and refreshed.

I’ve got to be honest, this isn’t my first Mykonos Kayak adventure. I’ve been kayaking with the gang before and still want to go back for more. I’m yet to catch a day with winds calm enough to visit the spectacular caves that are sometimes on the agenda. I’ll just have to save that for next time.

Follow @Rockskippers on Instagram for more seascapes and adventure photos.

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