Greece’s designer island
With boutique hotels, luxury villas and label-laden shops, Mykonos is Greece’s answer to St-Tropez. Its list of A-list visitors starts with Jackie Onassis in the Sixties and moves on to P-Diddy in the Noughties. But the LA faithful happily share their space with the island-hopping backpacking crowd.
The full range of beaches
Resources certainly aren’t short on Mykonos. For starters, the island is belted with beaches. While the jet-set can’t get enough of the watersports and cocktail bars at Paradise and Super Paradise, those after something a bit quieter head to the coves at Elia and Ornos. There are plenty of sunloungers on both beaches, plus a collection of tavernas at each. Plati Yialos, meanwhile, provides a happy medium. This lively stretch of sand is back by hotels and family-friendly bars and restaurants.
The after-dark scene
Mykonos has its fair share of nightlife. When the sun goes down, Paradise and Super Paradise are the most popular spots. If it’s a relaxed meal you want, Mykonos Town is the place to go. The restaurants here serve everything from Greek fusion food to bespoke vegetarian meals. For a real treat, book yourself a table at the Nobu restaurant, Matsuhisa, to sample cutting-edge dishes, like tartar with caviar and black cod miso.
Things to See and Do in Mykonos
When it comes to beaches, Mykonos has a bit of a split personality. On the south coast, nearly every inlet comes with a liberal dusting of golden sand. Make Platis Yialos beach your first port of call – it’s on the road from Mykonos Town and regular buses run between the two. Once there, you can stay put, or hop on a water taxi and chug round the coast to bays like Paraga, Agrari, Elia, Paradise or Super Paradise. All of these are pretty popular thanks to their fine white sands and bright cobalt waters. They’re sheltered from the wind, too, so they’re great sunbathing spots. Other southern belles include Ornos, Kalo Livadi and Aghios Yiannis, with the latter having provided the gorgeous backdrop for the filming of Shirley Valentine. Up north, it’s a completely different story. First off, no buses run up this way, so you’ll have to make the journey by car or foot. As a result, the beaches are infinitely calmer and much more low-key than the ones in the south. For the ultimate in footprint-free sands, it’s got to be Agios Sostis. It’s at the bottom of a rocky path so the hordes usually steer clear. Make the trek though, and you’ll be rewarded by honey-coloured sands and rolling hills which stretch off into the distance. Watersports enthusiasts, meanwhile, should head to Ftelia. Tucked into the crook of Panormos Bay, it gets plenty of wind, so it’s a favourite with surfers.
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Mykonos Town is a jumble of white houses, scrubbed and polished and accessorised with blue doors and flower-filled balconies. The whole place is a warren of narrow lanes and endless nooks and crannies hiding a little church here, a tiny boutique there. It climbs from the port up the gentle inclines of a hillside, watched over by the island’s 16th-century windmills.
Ornos is only a shoulder width away from the island capital, Mykonos Town, but it has developed in to a large, self-contained family resort in its own right. Its coarse sandy beach loops around a wide bay, which is sheltered from the island’s strong northern summer winds. Looking back, the view takes in a big range of shops, restaurants, and smart hotels. And behind them, the sugar lump-like houses on the surrounding low hills are watched over by 16th-century windmills – all part and parcel of the Mykonos landscape.
Plati Yialos is on Mykonos’ southern coast and is perhaps best-known for its long curl of golden sand. It sets the bar high, but the supporting cast rises to the challenge. A bumper crop of smart hotels and tavernas are built right up to the shoreline and give the place a real cosmopolitan vibe. Behind the front, meanwhile, cube-like houses sprinkle the countryside like French Fancies, with the low spine of the surrounding hills at their back door.