Nowhere conjures visions of an idyllic Greek holiday quite like Mykonos. Beaches and nightlife have assumed legendary status on an island synonymous with style and sophistication. But so too does it offer peace and escape. So as well as celebrating everything stellar about Mykonos, we’ll introduce you to a side to the Cycladic island that you’ve never imagined.
Stroll around the one-and-only Hora
When you first dreamed of Greece, this is probably what you had in mind. Purple bougainvillea and sugar-cube houses with doors and balconies painted the colour of the Aegean. Strolling around the cobblestone alleyways of the main town (or Hora) encapsulates everything magical about Mykonos.
Choose your world-famous beach
Equally deserving of iconic status are the beaches. Party and beach club, family fun, sport and adventure, some more cosmopolitan and some relaxed… Whatever your beach style, you’ll find it on Mykonos. From Psarou and Panormos to the aptly named Paradise and Super Paradise, the sand is silky smooth, the service flawless and the atmosphere legendary. If it’s boho chic you’re looking for, Paraga and Kalo Livadi cater to every taste, or perhaps head to Ftelia and Agios Ioannis. Meanwhile, the umbrella- and sunbed-free Agios Sostis manages to be both chilled and full of Mykonian lifestyle at the same time. But that’s just scratching the surface. Most are in the protected south, but it’s also worth exploring the quieter north coast.
Take a bit of glitz home with you
A holiday on Mykonos wouldn’t be a holiday without some shopping. The alleyways of Hora ooze style when it comes to the shops, nowhere more so than on and around Matoyianni Street. You’ll be surrounded by designer labels, elegant beach- and nightwear, jewellery, leather goods, artwork and local crafts... much of it inspired by the island. Most are open from morning till late, but if you really get the urge, there are even luxury shops by Psarou and other beaches.
Prepare for legendary nightlife
Don’t pretend this isn’t one of your main reasons for choosing Mykonos. It doesn’t matter if you’re in a cocktails-and-bubbly state of mind, or in the mood for a perfectly chilled glass of wine, it’s time to sample the legendary Mykonian nightlife.
Some places are institutions and others are cute and tucked away, but most have outdoor space that will make you feel as radiant as the stars above you. From sundown to dancefloor, the mood carries you as late into the night as you like.
From refined to homely, dishes you’ll never forget
Food is an experience in itself in Mykonos, not just in Hora but all around the island. At the top end, there’s perhaps nowhere more refined in Greece, whether it be Mediterranean or international cuisine. It’s the sort of place world-renowned chefs don’t just grill octopus… they might turn it into octopus carpaccio; and the humble panna cotta could be given a savoury spin, with goat’s cheese, dried figs and prosciutto (all locally sourced). You’ll find tavernas where classics have been given an unforgettable modern twist as well as home-cooked local dishes and plenty more.
A day cruise to Delos and Renia islands
Visiting the island of Delos will be one of the cultural highlights of your stay. Located a short boat trip away, the whole island is an archaeological wonder, said to be the birthplace of the twin gods Apollo and Artemis. You’ll walk amongst the remains of temples, marketplaces, houses, statues and sculptures – most dating from the 6th century BC - 1st century AD, the glory years of Delos. And don’t just leave it at that, a day cruise will also take you to nearby Renia isle for a spot of snorkelling and a cooling swim?
Explore the southern coastline
With so much to experience along the southern coastline, how about dedicating a full day to discovering all those magical beaches on a boat trip? From Agios Ioannis, past Ornos, Paradise, Paraga, Elia.
Name the beach and it’s yours… world-famous or more relaxed. Pull in wherever the mood takes you. Or how about anchoring in a cove where you can snorkel, taking advantage of the more sheltered conditions on this coast.
Village life and the other side of Mykonos
It’s time to really change your impression of Mykonos now as we head inland. Ano Mera is the second-largest settlement and a wonderful contrast to the buzz of Hora or a day on the beach. You’ll find traditional Mykonian homes and a community keeping local traditions very much alive. There are also a couple of handsome monasteries to visit, including Panagia Tourliani and its well-preserved bell tower.
Visit the dairies and farmsteads
And once you’ve been to the villages, why not go the whole hog and visit Mykonos’ dairies and farms? Behind all the whitewashed luxury and glamour of Mykonos, you’ll find a scene of authenticity that’s completely in tune with nature. Farm-to-fork dining experiences, where you pick your produce and cook a traditional meal with a local, cheese-makers, apiaries … the list goes on. It’s all Mykonos, but not as you know it.
Become one with the island
On an island that specialises in making you feel special, how about connecting with it on every level? It could be yoga or pilates, or maybe personal training (you’ll have no problem finding the expertise on the island)… And what better setting can you think of for morning or evening meditation, made all the more special by the backdrop of the Aegean and a milder Mediterranean climate? Simple, stylish and eternally fulfilling.
Live nature to the fullest
You’ll have been smitten by the beauty of the sea and the landscape, so you’ll need no second invitation to get active. You can enjoy kite- and wind-surfing, or perhaps scuba diving is more your thing. There’s horse riding in the countryside and cycling (individually or as part of a group) on paths between villages or around the coast. Whenever you get the urge, pull into a cove and go for a swim. It’s that kind of island.
Enjoy a generous slice of culture
Whenever you visit Mykonos, you’ll find a cultural event or exhibition in flow. The annual Mykonos Art Festival allows locals and guests to express their creativity over numerous months and you’ll be fully rewarded by dropping into the exhibitions of the Municipal Art Gallery or Archaeological Museum, or any of the numerous private galleries in town. For a great alternative night out, how about watching a film under the stars in Mykonos’ outdoor cinema? It’s tucked away in a quiet square in town, with an elegant garden and restaurant.
The island legend that is Mykonos
You probably didn’t need too much convincing to visit Mykonos, but how do you feel now? The Hora, beaches, restaurants and nightlife… all pretty special, right? But what about those unexpected highlights on an island that’s also stayed true to its roots? Hard to resist!