Nowhere conjures visions of an idyllic Greek holiday quite like Mykonos. Beaches and nightlife have assumed legendary status on this island legend, synonymous with style and sophistication. But so too does it offer peace and escape. So as well as celebrating Mykonos’ celebrity status, we’ll also introduce you to a side of the Cycladic island 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 bar, silky smooth service, family fun, sport and adventure, organised or remote… Whatever your beach style, you’ll find it on Mykonos. You’ll be drawn to the fine white sand of Psarou (deservedly a drawcard) and the aptly named Paradise and Super Paradise. For boho chic, there’s Paraga (overlooking Delos); for family-friendly Kalo Livadi; and for quiet and remote, Agios Sostis. 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 stores, nowhere more so than on Matoyianni Street. You’ll be surrounded by designer labels, elegant beach- and night-wear, 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 some of the beaches, such as Psarou.
Prepare for legendary outdoor nightlife
Don’t pretend this isn’t your main reason for choosing Mykonos. It doesn’t matter if you’re in a cocktails-and-bubbly state of mind, or in the mood for a beer or glass of wine, it’s time to sample the legendary Mykonian nightlife.
From dining to dancing under the Mykonos stars
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 and beyond, 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 right around the island. At the top end, there’s perhaps nowhere more refined and inventive in Greece. 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 twist, with goat’s cheese, dried figs and prosciutto (all locally sourced). And at the same time, you’ll find plenty of family-run tavernas with homely Cycladic dishes that are just as memorable.
Feature in your own starlit movie
You probably weren’t expecting this one. For a great alternative nighttime entertainment option, you can watch a recent release, or perhaps even a classic, under the stars in Mykonos’ outdoor cinema. It’s tucked away in a quiet square but, naturally, couldn’t just be a cinema. There’s an elegant garden and bar for a sneaky pre-film tipple and a restaurant to make a night of it.
A day cruise to Delos and Renia islands
Visiting the island of Delos will be the cultural highlight 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-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
What better way could there be to explore the magical beaches along the southern coast than a full-day sailing trip? Leaving behind the glitz and glamour of island life, you spend the day in your swimsuit, caressed by the Aegean Sea breeze.
From Agios Ioannis, past Ornos, Paradise, Paraga, Elia and other beaches and coves you go, with stops for snorkeling and an onboard barbecue. It’s a side of Mykonos you weren’t expecting and one you’ll never forget.
Village life and the other side of Mykonos
It’s time to really change your impression of the landscape 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 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, wineries with grape varietals you’ve probably never heard of, 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 extraordinary, 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.
An off-the-beaten track bike tour
You’ll have been smitten by the beauty of Mykonos, so you’ll need no second invitation to hire a bike and get exploring. You can cycle to the villages or around the coast, stopping for a swim or to pop into a church whenever the mood takes you. There are plenty of off-road trails and paths to choose from, but Mykonos is hilly so plot your route or, better still, join a group. Apart from getting up close and personal with the countryside, you’ll feel even more connected to locals going about their daily lives and understand what it’s like to live like a Mykonian.
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? Pretty hard to resist!