disability cruising, Handicap, Traveling with disabilities

Disabled Cruiser Guide to Mykonos, Greece

Mykonos is a tender port – Mykonos cruise port dock at Tourlos serves only smaller cruise ships. Larger vessels anchor in the bay and the passengers are tendered ashore by boats. Mykonos cruise port tender dock is in the old harbor. Guests are then taken to shore by small boats or tenders. When tendering is required, guests using mobility devices will not be transferred into or out of the tender. Many tender ports do not provide wheelchair access so even if the guest can board the tender they may not be able to disembark ashore. Again the shore-side facilities, movement of the tender, weather and tidal conditions can also preclude tendering.

Mykonos, Greece

Mykonos Island is one of Cyclades Islands (Greece, Aegean Sea), located in archipelago’s center. The Cyclades form a circle surrounding the sacred Delos Island. Thanks to its proximity to the mainland, Mykonos was one of the first Greek islands to become an international travel destination. With its powder white houses, sparkling blue waters, and red-hot nightlife, the Island of the Winds is as colorful as the people who call the island home.

Disability Cruising-Mykonos-11The largest town on the island is Mykonos town, also known as Chora or Hora; a few miles inland is the village of Ano Mera. The subject of many paintings by local artists, Mykonos is a feast for the eyes, with its azure waters, houses painted white with brightly colored shutters, bougainvillea trees in bloom, iconic windmills and colorful fishing boats. Visitors love to explore the shops, restaurants, cafes and churches on the narrow streets off the harbor.

But there’s another side to Mykonos – the neighboring island of Delos. In classical mythology, Delos was the birthplace of Apollo and his twin sister Artemis. Travelers to Delos can stroll among the island’s vast ruins, which include three temples consecrated to the Sun God and the famed Lions Walk.

Mykonos is a classic Greek Island with whitewashed houses, blue-domed churches and windmills. Add a reputation for beautiful beaches and you’ll understand why Mykonos is the most popular island in the Cyclades. Mykonos pulses with irrepressible energy. Mykonos town features hip boutiques, restaurants, jewelry stores, souvenirs, taverns and cafés. The island’s famed windmills are found just south of the waterfront. Explore Greece’s maritime history at Armenistis Lighthouse, and check out the Folklore Museum’s Mykonian ship models. Join in the raucous beach party on Super Paradise’s shimmering sands, or watch the sun burn out beyond an Aegean horizon from an open-air seaside taverna.Disability Cruising-Mykonos

The disabled cruiser visiting Mykonos will encounter several challenges including cobblestones, hills, and inaccessible public transportation. The accessibility challenges will depend on how you get to shore. If your ship is docking, the port has no accessible transportation options to the attractions. Disabled access on Mykonos public buses is poor, so cruise passengers who can not ascend steps will need to arrange for transportation in advance.

Much of the commercial center of Mykonos Town is either flat or has cobblestone and flagstone-paved streets and lanes with slight inclines, though there are some lanes that have steps. Of course, the center is surrounded by hills, some of which are steep, but you could easily avoid those and still have plenty to see on flatter terrain. In Town, the streets are more flagstone (larger flat stone) than cobblestone (smaller brick-like pavements), and so should be easier for you to maneuver. I have seen people getting around parts of Mykonos Town with crutches and in wheelchairs.

If you are arriving by accessible cruise tender, you will arrive at the dock in Mykonos town. The requirements for disabled cruise passengers to use tenders varies by cruise line and you should contact the cruise line in advance. Most disabled cruise passengers will want to visit both the town of Mykonos and the beaches and villages on the rest of the island.

Where You’re Docked

Smaller Cruise ships dock at the new port in Tourlos; however, larger Cruise ships anchor in the harbor and tender passengers to the old port in Mykonos (known simply as the old port or the harbor).

If you dock at Tourlos, you won’t see anything beyond an ATM and a small canteen where you can buy water or soft drinks. Your cruise line will provide a shuttle to the edge of town.Disability Cruising-Mykonos-12

If you’re tendered to Mykonos, you’ll find a world of cafes, restaurants and shopping at your feet. You are within easy walking distance of the center of town and various highlights. You’ll also find tour operators there.

If your cruise ship is using tenders, you will arrive in Mykonos Town. The tender dock is located right in the middle of Mykonos town. There is a wheelchair accessible ramp to get from the dock to the sidewalk that curves around the harbor. The town of Mykonos has some uneven sidewalks and some hills and most of the areas with steps can be avoided. The sidewalk that curves around the harbor is one of the most heavily traveled routes in Mykonos. Unfortunately, it also has some of the worse cobblestones in town and there are steps into some of the shops along the harbor.

If your cruise ship uses the dock instead of tenders, you will arrive north of Mykonos Town. It is too far to walk/roll into town, so disabled cruise passengers will need to arrange transportation into town in advance.

Good to Know

All kinds of two and three-wheel vehicles speed around corners and up and down the narrow streets. This seems to be a chronic and serious problem, not only because scouters are a popular way of getting around, but also because many deliveries to shops and restaurants are made by mini-trucks that travel the same streets used by pedestrians.

Everything in town is walkable. Choose any of the winding streets (local legend says they were so designed to repel pirates) off the harbor and you’ll find shops, restaurants and cafes everywhere. You can easily and comfortably spend hours shopping, snacking or dining (and checking email, as free Wi-Fi is available at many cafes and restaurants).

Getting Around

Organized Shore Excursions are best for beaches and off-road adventures. You can explore Mykonos on foot but the streets might be convoluted, but getting lost in them is part of the fun.

On Foot: most of Mykonos’ attractions are within easy walking distance, no more than 10 or 15 minutes from the old port. From Tourlos, walking to town (about a half-hour) is possible but not recommended because there are no sidewalks, the terrain is not even and the road is quite busy in season.

By Taxi: If you want to venture beyond the town, there is a taxi stand at Town Square. It’s marked with a bust of Manto Mavrogenous, the heroine of the 1821 War of Independence. Rates are fixed according to destination and vary by season. There are a limited number of taxis on the island so they may be difficult to get in high season.Disability Cruising-Mykonos-10

By Boat: Small boats (caiques) are one way to visit the beaches at the southern and western part of the island. Check the travel agencies at the old port for schedules, departure points and fares.

Currency & Best Way to Get Money

The euro is the official currency. ATMs are scattered throughout town and can be the cheapest and easiest way to get money. Most shops and restaurants accept major credit cards. However, as one local said, “Cash is king.” That means you may do better offering cash to strike a bargain.

There are several bank offices in Mykonos, open 8 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. weekdays and until 2 p.m. Fridays. A passport is needed when changing money.

Language

Greek is the official language, although English is widely spoken, as are some European languages. Locals will appreciate a “YAH soo” (hello), “ef-hah-rees-TOH” (thank you) — and any other phrases you can pick up prior to your cruise.

Shopping

Souvenir shops are full of trinkets and postcards with a windmill theme. Leather items, handmade sandals, tote bags and backpacks are also popular. So are the flowing white cotton dresses and shirts that are so appropriate for the island setting.

Disability Cruising-Mykonos-9Jewelry at all prices glitters in shops windows, from the expensive 18-karat gold pieces at high-end shops to budget-friendly but stylish items. Mykonos is a hub for top designer fashions, including the world-famous Soho-Soho clothing boutique. Family-owned and operated Greek Light sells handmade jewelry with Greece’s traditional maiandros symbol. Shops usually open from 10 a.m. until late night; many close for a couple of hours around 2 p.m. When cruise ships are present, some shops stay open all day.

Don’t Miss

  • Delos Archaeological Site & Museum – Despite its small size, Delos, the birthplace of Artemis and Apollo, is one of the main Archaeological sites in Greece. These sacred grounds reveal temples and sanctuaries within their marble ruins.Disability Cruising-Mykonos-6
  • Town of Mykonos (Hora) – Situated under the Byzantine Monastery of St. John, charming, whitewashed homes and blue-domed churches are built into the hillside, and narrow, windy streets reveal shops and tavernas at every turn.
  • Little Venice & Windmills – Little Venice is the nickname of the western town part (near the sea). Photographed by millions of visitors, all the buildings in the area are constructed at the edge of the sea and the verandas are overhanging the seawater and offer a sweeping view of the Aegean. The island’s famous windmills occupy the high ground, they date from the 16th century and are among the most popular landmarks.
  • Paraportiani Church – The name of the island’s most famous church also gives its location: outside the city walls. Paraportiani is considered a prime example of Cycladic architecture. 
  • Mykonian Folklore Museum – Near the church and located in an 18th-century building is the Mykonian Folklore Museum, displaying period furniture (most from the 19th century) that shows how middle-class residents lived. Also here: tools, weapons, lighting devices, tapestries, ceramics, photographs and related artifacts.
  • Mykonos’ Beaches – The quintessential image of a Greek Island getaway, the beaches of Mykonos are known for their crystalline waters, long stretches of golden sand, stunning views, and an abundance of water sports.Disability Cruising-Mykonos-5
  • Panagia Tourliani Monastery – Founded in 1542, this church is renowned for its unique architecture and whitewashed exterior. Inside, hand-carved altar screens are displayed. A small museum includes holy icons and the original monastery bells.
  • Aegean Maritime Museum – Housed in a traditional 19th Century Mykonian building, this collection of Greek nautical artifacts celebrates the history and legacy of merchant ships that sailed the Aegean Sea.
  • Delos Museum – A showcase for the abundant finds from the excavations Delos, this museum, built in 1904, displays exquisite artifacts and marble sculpture from the early Archaic period through Roman Imperial times.Disability Cruising-Mykonos-4
  • Petros the Pelican – Petros is the official Mykonos’s mascot since 1954. The first “Petros” was found in the area after a storm. The bird left its migrating and became resident of Mykonos. It lived there for over 30 years. Now, the spirit of Petros is found in his predecessor around the seafront.

For Mykonos Accessible Excursions please click here.

Disability-Cruising.com

cjlphotos.com

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s