"NOT" OK Car Rental
If you read no further, my strong recommendation is that you NOT rent a car from OK Car Rental in Mykonos. If I had to do it again, I'd rent from Avis or Budget, both of which rent on the Island
In August 2011, I rented a car from OK Car Rental in Mykonos. I used OK because it was listed on our hotel's (the San Marco) website. The car was delivered to the hotel at 4:00 PM. I used it the first night to drive my family into town for dinner. I tried cleaning the dirty windshield but the wipers were worn and simply streaked the windshield with dirty water making it more difficult to see. Driving on the windy, narrow and unlit roads in Mykonos is difficult enough so a dirty windshield makes driving there dangerous. The next morning, on the way to the beach I first dropped by OK to have them change the wipers. I was surprised to hear from the manager that they didn't stock wipers. He told me he'd order them and that I could come by later in the day to have them changed. He then told me the car is new. I responded that it might be "new" but that doesn't change the fact that the wipers are worn and the seat back lever for the driver seat was broken and I couldn't adjust the seat. He said let me try the wipers and, as I told him before, they streaked the windows even when he tried them. When he said he didn't have wiper blades I asked if he could switch the wipers from another similar car sitting in his lot but he said that he wouldn't. At this point I was getting nowhere and told him that I'd return later (as he suggested) to have the blades changed. He then told me that he wouldn't have the wiper blades until the next day, thus, he was lying to me earlier. By now, I was completely frustrated especially having been lied to and told him to just get out of the car and I would go to the beach. He became very angry and told me not to talk to him that way, "that he's not our peasant" and then that he was taking the car back. When I said I already had paid for the car he said he didn't care and started driving off with my arm through the driver's side window. He then continued with his angry tone and threatened to "chop my head off." He demanded that my family get out of the car with all our things leaving us stranded even though I had paid for the car in full for three days.
At this point my friend, who had also rented a car from OK came by and the manager started yelling at him also. It was only after I had to apologize to him, repeatedly (I guess for getting angry when he lied to me) that he relented and returned to me the car I had already paid for in full.
Finally the car was delivered to me with virtually no gas. The gauge showed one blinking bar. I was told that was how it was returned by the previous renter but for whatever reason OK Rental did not add any gas before delivering the car to my hotel. I somehow made it to the nearest gas station, @ 5 miles away, and put in 10 euros of gas. Over the next three days the gas gauge, rather than showing fewer bars as the gas was used actually showed more bars even though I didn't add any more gas. My friend, who rented a similar car, had a similar malfunction in his gas gauge. When he tried to add gas, 12 euros worth, the gauge didn't move. As a result, OK tacked on an additional charge of 10 euros for gas. Thus, even though my friend and I drove similar cars for three days and drove with our families the exact same routes, he ended up paying 22 euros in gas while I paid 10 euros. All in all, we had a very negative experience with OK and I doubt that we would have the same experience with a more established and reputable company. Stay away from OK Rental in Mykonos.
If you drive, read this tip!
I really feel to have the most freedom while on the island, the best is to rent a car. Many people prefer to rent small motorcycles or these 4 wheeled motorcycle things. What you really need to know is that although having a car is the best way to get around, you need to be very cautious at all times when driving. The roads are very narrow in some places, such as when leaving the free parking at the port and driving away from town. There are man buses coming and going and there are curves which means there are spots where there is room for only the bus but not for the bus and the car. Other places the roads get very narrow, like when driving to Super Paradise Beach, and their are blind curves and blind hills and you really cannot see what is coming. Also, these four wheeled motorcycle things go quite slow and if you are going too fast around a blind curve or up a blind hill then you risk ramming right into one. I'm not trying to discourage you from renting a vehicle, but you need to drive slow. Many drivers also like to pass on curves and on hills and you may encounter a vehicle in your lane passing another car. I really cannot stress enough the importance of taking it slow and cautious even if some drivers get irritated behind you.
There are practically no taxis!
I hear that in other months it is not so bad, but in July when we were there, it was practically impossible to get a taxi. When we arrived at the airport, we waited for about 30 minutes for a taxi to arrive to take us to our hotel, and there was a long line. This was not so bad. In Mykonos Town there are two taxi stands, but there are not taxis just sitting there, there are so few that you just have to go and wait in line. We met people who had waited TWO hours and still did not get a taxi. Please don't come and think you'll just be able to catch taxis everywhere anytime you want, because you'll get frustrated...again, we decided early on to rent a car once we understood what the situation was like!
In the picture you see lots of people waiting at the taxi stand...but no taxis!
Beware of wind in July and August
Though it is not dangerous, you probably should know that July and August are the windy months on Mykonos, when the so-called "meltemi" winds come in. The winds are great when you are lying on the beach and it is so hot, because it really does cool things down, but keep in mind that if you plan to take a day trip to Delos Island (which you should), then the boats only go if it is not too windy. If it is windy (but not too windy), the boats do go but some people who suffer from sea sickness have a hard time even if it is only a 30 minute boat ride. Also the winds can kick up the sand into your eyes so it is a good idea to keep your sunglasses on!
Prepare yourself properly for a day trip to Delos
Recently I went also to Thessaloniki and there seemed to be all kinds of ruins all over the city..but there were no signs or explanations, whether they were Roman, Byzantine, Ottoman...and without any background, they were all just a bunch of old ruins...from...a long time ago. It really helps to have an understanding before you go.
So first, you really should go to the island of Delos. It's one of the most sacred sites in Greece. But if you go and haven't read anything about it, probably you're going to be hot (no shade) and bored (bunch of old ruins). But if you go with suncreen, a hat, food and water, comfortable shoes, AND a bit of an understanding about the significance of the place, then you'll definitely enjoy a visit. If you're really not interested in Greek Mythology, ruins, incredible mosaics, well....think twice before making your day trip over here to Delos!
It is also very very hot!
Make Sure You Know Which Port!
Having spent a pleasant afternoon and evening here in Chora I had made my way to the dock in plenty of time to catch my overnight ferry on to Samos. Just above the port, adjacent to the Pier 1 office, was a friendly little bar overlooking the ferry dock. And so there I was sitting with a beer as the night drew in, ferry ticket in pocket, awaiting the boat's arrival. The 23.10 departure time came and went and still no boat which I put down to the ferry perhaps having been held up at a previous port. Ha! It was only when I saw a ship's lights pulling out of the Island about a mile away that I realised that there were two ports here at Chora and that the bus that had arrived about 45 minutes previously had picked up the passengers from the dock to take them on to the New Port!
Such is life, the bar was still serving, the night warm and my sleeping bag ready for action!
- Beer Tasting
- Adventure Travel
Know your Greek alphabet
At the risk of stating the blindingly obvious, people in Greece speak and write Greek :-))
You will have no problem deciphering menus and the like with their English, German, Italian translations, but things like receipts from hotels and restaurants are completely in Greek. Not that much of a problem, but it was hard to tell if you were being charged the right amount for certain things.
Also, we had difficulty explaining to other people the names of nice shops and restaurants sometimes without referring to our Roman alphabet - Greek alphabet handbook.
Like this cool little kebab shop in the photo. I had a great pita... but couldn't tell others where I actually went.
Forget your map of the town
Before hitting town, we tried to study the seemingly easy-to-understand map of the historic town centre. It looked like any other tourist map, but once we got to the real thing, realised that it was hardly going to help us. The place is a maze and nothing really corresponded... especially because the maps had road names in English (or Romanised letters anyway) and everything on the actual road signs were in Greek alphabet. So we just decided to wander and get lost around the narrow, windy streets.
Super Paridise Beach
Enter if you dare,
In the middle of nowhere you'll find an insane raging beach party at all hours of the day! Not for the meek. If it's a sin you'll find it here! And in abundance. Leave your shame and your rules at the entrance my friend, what happens in Super Paradise stays in there,
You WILL get lost !
While walking around the town of Hora, you WILL get lost! The streets are narrow and winding and after walking and making numerous turns , taking it all in, you will wonder "Where the heck am I?!?" You will try to retrace your tracks and may end up going in circles. Also, there didn't seem to be any street signs. Well, it's not the worst place in the world to get lost in!
Really, all you have to do is look for the water and you will get your bearings. It is not that hard to navigate around...once you try this.
Remember, a little study before, during and after a visit to Delos will make the site much more interesting. There are ruins encompassing many different time periods with varied stories, many intertwining with each other, while others remain separate. If you don't do your homework it will just look like so many rocks.
- Historical Travel
Watch out for the Flesh!
Watch out if you bring your kids or whoever else might not like to see ALL parts of the human body. There are lots of older folks that are very comfortable with their bodies.
Mopeds are a convenient way to get around and also quite cheap.
But attention, don't drink too much before you drive!!!!!