With sandy beaches, whitewashed villages and a vibrant, cosmopolitan party scene, Mykonos adds a touch of glamour to the Greek Islands.
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.
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Kalo Livadi is less town, more farming community. It’s set in a valley spotted with cube-like homesteads, around 10 kilometres south-east of the island capital, Mykonos Town. The long ribbon of sand here is what’s put the place on the map. Like moths to a flame, it’s drawn a small band of hotels and bungalow-type apartments that spill down the hillside with the bay in their line of sight.
Agios Ioannis was used as the setting for Shirley Valentine – the 1989 box office smash which earned actress Pauline Collins an Oscar nod. The beach reaped the most fame, featuring in the movie’s most iconic scene. Today, the seafront Sunset Taverna seen in the film has been replaced by an ultra-modern spot called Hippie Fish, but you can’t miss the ‘as seen in Shirley Valentine’ sign outside the restaurant.
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.
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.
Ftelia is one of the more peaceful parts of Mykonos. You’ll find it at the northern end of the island, edged by a long, golden-sand beach that stretches out for miles. The sea’s powerful waves make it a windsurfer’s paradise. And with lots of beachfront restaurants to choose from, you’ve got plenty of ways to refuel after a day on the sand.
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.
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