If you seek tranquility on a traditional Greek island, this isn't for you. Mykonos, spanning 85 sq km in the Aegean Sea, is the epitome of cool, hosting the most vibrant and electrifying parties. Despite its arid and windswept landscape, the island boasts a captivating town of white-sugar cubes and 35 beaches adorned with the softest, thickest sands.
The island's magnetic charm, accentuated by a pinkish golden light, drew the first artists, intellectuals, and jet-setters, notably after Jackie Kennedy's iconic visit in 1961. Mykonos, with its tolerant and laid-back ambiance, became a haven for gay travelers, paving the way for the influx of glitterati, millionaires, and billionaires who flock to the island each summer to unwind.
Explore the most vibrant beach clubs not only in the Greek islands but possibly throughout Europe. Lose yourself in the beats spun by top DJs on the clifftop dance floors of Cavo Paradiso. For fashion enthusiasts, Mykonos Town is a paradise with its chic boutiques and jewelry shops lining narrow lanes. Those who enjoy people-watching will find their perfect moment, especially as the evening descends and Mykonos truly comes alive.
What To Do -
Your Mykonos itinerary offers a mix of culture, leisure, and hedonistic delights. Delve into history on the little island of Delos, a UNESCO World Heritage site, just a 30-minute boat ride away. Roam through the remnants of its glorious past – the Temple of Apollo, the Terrace of Lions, an ancient theatre, and mosaic-filled houses, all remnants of a bygone era when Delos was a bustling city with 30,000 inhabitants.
Alternatively, immerse yourself in the charm of Mykonos Town. Marvel at the old harbor, befriend the resident pelicans, and take in the iconic row of windmills. Explore the Archaeology Museum and the unique Panagia Paraportiani, an amalgamation of five whitewashed chapels that seem to have melted together, reminiscent of a Dr. Seuss creation.
For those craving hedonistic pleasures, SantAnna on Paranga beach beckons with its claim to fame as Europe’s largest seaside pool. This club offers a lavish experience, featuring private islands, cabanas, bars, a spa, a shisha lounge, and even a heliport. And when it comes to Mykonos beaches, choose according to your vibe – from the wild daytime revelry and scantily clad crowds of Paradise Beach and Super Paradise, to the nudist-friendly calm of Elia Beach, the windsurfing haven of Kalafatis, or the kitesurfing paradise of Korfos. Mykonos has a beach tailored just for you.
Where to Stay
Mykonos boasts an array of opulent luxury hotels that stand among Greece's finest. However, the island caters to diverse preferences, offering a spectrum of accommodation options, from boutique hotels and stylish villas to family-friendly resorts and intimate guesthouses. You'll even find a selection of two-star hotels for a more budget-friendly stay.
In Mykonos Town, you'll encounter some of these more economical options, although be prepared with earplugs during the vibrant summer nights if you plan to retire before dawn. The vicinity around Ornos Bay, especially Ornos and the picturesque Platis Gialos beach, is a prime location for family-friendly hotels.
For fans of the iconic 1989 rom-com "Shirley Valentine," Agios Ioannis is a must-visit. This location, where the film was shot, features a cluster of boutique and resort hotels. Devotees can experience Shirley's world by staying at the Manoulas Mykonos Beach Resort and dining at the Sunset Taverna, now known as the Hippie Fish, where she found love.
At the pinnacle of luxury, Mykonos offers renowned establishments like the seaside haven Cavo Tagoo, boasting a 38m saltwater infinity pool and an aquarium bar. The Mykonos Grand Hotel at Agios Ioannis entices with a pool overlooking the mesmerizing sea. The island continually welcomes new, ultra-stylish, and extravagant additions to its luxury scene each year.
Food and Drink -
Mykonos is a culinary haven, catering to diverse tastes and hosting some of Greece's finest restaurants. From upscale dining for superyacht clientele to renowned establishments like Nobu Matsuhisa and Bill & Coo, the island offers a spectrum of culinary delights, featuring recherché Mediterranean dishes and world-class Japanese cuisine. During the peak months of July and August, securing a table, especially at beach clubs and the exclusive Nammos on Psarou beach, a hotspot for billionaires, Instagram influencers, and Hollywood celebrities, is a must, given the high demand.
Yet, even for the more modest visitors, Mykonos Town presents quintessential experiences. Enjoy a sunset cocktail in Little Venice, a picturesque row of bars in old fishermen's houses along the waterfront, with waves gently splashing at your feet. For a lively evening, head to the Skandinavian Bar & Disco, where the tables transform into dance floors at 2 am.
For a unique Mykonos lunch experience, venture to Kiki's Tavern, nestled in the trees above Agios Sostis beach. Arrive early at noon to secure a spot in the rosé-quaffing queue; this popular spot doesn't take reservations. Indulge in hefty portions of grilled octopus, stuffed chicken breast, and pork chops on the terrace. While it closes at 6 pm, spending the day there, beachside and far from the glitzy scene, adds to the charm of this hidden gem on Mykonos.
Don't Miss -
Embark on a day of exploration by renting a car and traversing the Mykonian countryside in search of remnants from the island's past. In 1939, renowned architect Le Corbusier marveled at the untouched beauty of Mykonos, expressing that "Whatever architecture had to say, it is said here." Uncover the echoes of old Mykonos, a landscape that once supported islanders in their endeavors to eke out a living from the land.
Venture to Ano Mera, the island's sole remaining village and a haven for experiencing local life. Immerse yourself in the ambiance of the lavishly adorned 18th-century Panagia Tourliani monastery, dedicated to Mykonos's patron saint. Explore the surviving rural complexes that fascinated Le Corbusier, providing a glimpse into the island's agrarian past.
As you meander through the countryside, make a stop at Vioma, a biodynamic winery just outside Ano Mera, offering a taste of Mykonos's emerging wine culture. Head north for lunch at a charmingly old-fashioned traditional taverna overlooking Fokos Bay, where you can relish the serene atmosphere of one of the island's few unspoiled beaches.
Conclude your countryside adventure in the far northwest at the Armenistis Lighthouse, accessible via the road from Agios Stefanos beach. Marvel at the breathtaking sunsets, completing a day that unveils the rich tapestry of Mykonos's history and natural beauty.
Know before you go -
While buses efficiently connect you to Mykonos's beautiful beaches, securing a rental car is advisable, but book well in advance due to limited availability and parking constraints. Taxis are often scarce during the bustling summer months, so it's prudent to coordinate transportation from the airport with your hotel, as many establishments offer shuttle services for guests. Planning ahead ensures a smoother and more convenient experience on the island.