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Mykonos has been attracting an international crowd like a magnet since the 1960s and has been voted a top summer holiday destination time and again for good reason. Exceptional beaches, award-winning restaurants, legendary parties, expensive yachts, dreamy villas, luxury hotels and 5-star service… if it makes you feel like a celebrity, you’ll find it on Mykonos.
Awash in its iridescent Aegean light, which it shares with neighbouring Delos, you’ll fall hopelessly in love. So if you’ve got an appetite for luxury and adventure in equal measure on a cosmopolitan island in the Cyclades, read on. You’re in for a treat.
It’s hard to imagine a time when Mykonos was a humble little island, without electricity, just a layover on the way to famous Delos. Things changed in the 1950s, with the arrival of the likes of Aristotle Onassis, Maria Callas, Jackie O, Marlon Brando, Grace Kelly, Princess Soraya, Elizabeth Taylor, Nureyev, Pierre Cardin, Stavros Niarchos… legendary names of the international jet set that became associated with Mykonos.
Mykonos quickly became the favoured holiday destination in Greece for the super-rich, artists and movie stars. And the list of celebrities continues to grow: Harrison Ford, Tom Hanks, Shakira, Lady Gaga, Steven Spielberg, Monica Bellucci, Liam Neeson, Hugh Jackman, Michael Douglas, Catherine Zeta-Jones, Clive Owen, Jean-Paul Gaultier, Giorgio Armani, Russell Crowe…
Sparkling white with an Aegean blue backdrop, the architecture of Mykonos is one of a kind. It extends into the little neighbourhoods of the island’s main town, Hora, with captain’s homes, old churches and wells. Everywhere you look, there’s a maze of whitewashed alleyways. In Gialos, you’ll find the famed pelicans, as well as Agios Nikolaos tis Kadenas, the Town Hall of 1780, and the imposing Mavrou School. Through Barkias, you will reach the Church of Panagia Paraportiani, a complex of five churches, completed in the 17th century.
One of the most-photographed spots on Mykonos, Little Venice is made up of homes that were built in the 18th century and have their foundations in the sea. It has been said that pirates would store their loot here. Today, they have been converted to bars and restaurants and the view of the sea from their balconies is dazzling. Mykonos’ other iconic attraction is its windmills, which stand facing the sea and at night are beautifully lit up. Powered by the north wind, these windmills used to grind the island’s grain into flour until the early 20th century.
In Mykonos, anything is possible, especially when it comes to the island’s dining and nightlife spots. From Little Venice to Super Paradise, from Matogiannia to Psarou, Orno, Paradise… the party’s swinging all summer long. Day and night, spontaneous and organised, with guest DJs from all over the world. Holidays in Mykonos mean fun, fun, and more fun – champagne on the beach, cocktails on balconies, dancing and flirting until the sun comes up.
Mykonos is a luxury destination that has it all: elegant villas and suites with private pools that merge with the blue horizon, award-winning design, five-star service, gourmet gastronomy served to you on dreamy balconies, on a yacht or on a private pier. Hospitality here has reached a standard all of its own.
Shopping in Hora is a high-fashion experience, during which you can find the latest collections from top design houses. Sitting in Matogianni St makes for some great people-watching. The colourful crowd comes and goes, streaming in and out of brightly lit stores, whether they’re just window-shopping or holding bags full of clothes. Could there be a more beautiful catwalk than the cobblestone streets of Mykonos’ Hora?
Mykonos boasts some of the best restaurants in the Mediterranean. Award-winning chefs bring you a medley of local and international cuisines. Fresh, local ingredients, elegant and refined dishes inspired by the latest culinary trends, all paired with wines that would satisfy even the most selective palate. So if you’re a foodie, don’t hesitate to take an agrotourism tour on Mykonos. You won’t regret it.
Green, blue and turquoise water, pebbly sand… some of the best beaches in Greece are found here. Agios Sostis, Kalafatis, Lia, Ornos, Paraga, Super Paradise, Ftelia, Psarou. By boat, car or on foot, you can get to cosmopolitan beaches or secluded coves. You’ll find all sorts of water sports: tubes, water-skiing, wakeboarding, jet skiing, parasailing, windsurfing… The choices of how to spend your day are endless.
Get the best out of Mykonos’ legendary beach life
In the 1970s, Jackie Onassis introduced Mykonos to her gay American friends. Being particularly open-minded, locals welcomed the gay community and soon it became known as the most gay-friendly destination in Greece.
The Gyzi Castle in the hills of Paleokastro, the Neolithic settlement at Ftelia, the Myconian grave in Angelika, the ancient wells and ruins … all witness to the island’s great history and worth a visit.
The most unexpected excursion you’ll make when visiting Mykonos takes you to neighbouring Delos, where you can walk amongst the sanctuaries and statues of a vast Greco-Roman settlement dedicated to Apollo. And there are other small islands next to Mykonos that will enrich your holidays in Greece: Rinia, Tragonisi, Ktapodia. They are full of tiny bays with emerald water that are perfect for long, relaxing swims.
Dating back to 1891, this is one of the most interesting lighthouses in the Cyclades. It is worth making the trip on foot and seeing the old mechanism in the garden of the Aegean Maritime Museum in Hora. Spend an evening there and watch the sunset, one of the most beautiful in Mykonos and in all of Greece.
Mykonos is a member of Greece’s Cyclades islands, the most famous island chain in the Aegean Sea.
There are regular ferries to/from Piraeus and Rafina (eastern Attica) and many other Greek islands, including the Cyclades (Santorini, Ios, Milos, Syros, Paros, Naxos, Tinos etc), Dodecanese (including Rhodes and Kos) and Crete. High-speed ferries can reach Santorini from Piraeus in 2.5hrs while conventional ferries take 5-6hrs. There are two ports on Mykonos, the Old and New Port, approximately 1.5km apart. Most ferries from Piraeus arrive at the New Port (Tourlos). The Old Port, which is closer to the main town (Hora), serves smaller vessels.
Mykonos has an airport with regular direct flights to Athens and international arrivals during the summer months.
Mykonos is known for its Cycladic architecture (whitewashed houses, alleyways and chapels), cosmopolitan vibe and luxury accommodation and services, as well as its party scene and beautiful, sandy beaches. Many beaches have internationally-acclaimed restaurants and clubs, attracting celebrity DJs. Hora is considered one of the most iconic capitals of the Greek islands, with a selection of gourmet and traditional restaurants and bars as well as galleries and shops (boutique and traditional). But you will also find plenty of hotels/villas, restaurants and shops in settlements and by beaches around the island.
The best-known landmarks on Mykonos are the windmills and Little Venice of Hora, as well as the 17th-century Church of Paraportiani, Castle of Gyzi, Monastery of Panagia Tourliani in Ano Mera and the Neolithic settlement of Ftelia.
There are so many things to do in Mykonos that you can dedicate your entire holiday (6-7 days) to the island, but you can also spend just a few days there as part of an island-hopping itinerary to get a taste for it.
There are boat tours to Delos and Rinia, which are the islands closest to Mykonos. The archaeological site of Delos is one of the most famous in Greece, with temples dedicated to the god Apollo who (according to legend) was born on the island. Rinia has beautiful swimming spots. Other Cycladic neighbours, perfect for island-hopping, are Tinos, Syros, Paros and Naxos.
Mykonos does get busy in the peak holiday months, so it is at its best in April-mid-June & mid-September-early November) when the experience becomes even more personal but the weather is usually still great.
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