The most popular of Greece’s islands, Mykonos, needs no introductions, unless you’ve been living in a cave. Its reputation as a cosmopolitan destination began in the 1960s, when international celebrities started spending their days and nights at the island’s restaurants and bars. Locals have endless stories to share about this or that jet setter or movie star who was seen shopping and partying around Mykonos town. The island is a destination for party lovers, with top international DJs scheduling stints at the mega clubs of Paradise beach. The clichés you’ve heard about Mykonos are true. It’s cosmopolitan, picturesque and pricey, its nightlife is second to none and every other dirt road leads to a sandy beach with sparkly blue waters. It is also –together with Ibiza– one of the main gay friendly destinations in Europe. This open mentality means that people who come here feel free to express their sexuality and enjoy what the island has to offer.
Having said this, travelling to Mykonos does not necessarily mean you have to forego peace and quiet. In fact, if you choose June or September for your holidays, or stick to the quieter parts of the island, you could be excused for thinking you’re in Amorgos or any other low profile destination. As a regular visitor commented, Mykonos combines different lifestyles. Depending where you stay, swim, shop, eat and drink, you may collect experiences worthy of a Hangover movie sequel, or a National Geographic nature documentary. It’s really up to you.
What to do
The boat will bring you at the new port, Troulos, and from there you can begin your exploration. The island has just two towns (the others are just seaside resorts); its namesake and Ano Mera with the main sights scattered around Mykonos Town. The labyrinth of alleys and back streets are confusing at first, but once you get the hang of it you will be able to stroll down the street with the confidence of a local. Back-to-back boutiques line the main thoroughfares and are open all day for business. Four small museums are worth your visit: The Archaeological Museum (near the northern bus station, Tel: +30 22890 22325, open daily 08:30-15:00 except Mondays) houses items from the prehistoric to the late Hellenistic period, like pottery, vases and stelae dug out in uninhabited Rinia island. The Folklore Museum (close to Church of Paraportiani, Tel: +30 22890 22591, open daily from 16:30-20:30 except Sundays) has a beautiful collection of embroidery, old wooden furniture, maps, pictures and more. Lena’s House (Tria Pigadia, Mykonos town, Tel: +30 22890 22390), an annexe of the Folklore Museum, presents the interior decoration of a typical 19th century middle class house. Next to Lena’s House is the Maritime Museum (Tel: +30 22890 22700, open daily 10:30-13:00 and 18:30-21:00) which houses nautical instruments, vessels, maps, and coins from antiquity until recent times.
At the western edge of the town stands Panagia Paraportiani (Kastro district, Mykonos Town) an awkwardly shaped Byzantine church and the most photographed site on the island. It is made up of five smaller churches – four on the ground floor and one on top. The construction of first church started in 1425 and the whole building was completed in the 17th century.
When it comes to beaches you will be spoilt for choice. If you crave attention and want to flirt, head to beaches like Paradise (real name Kalamopodi), Super Paradise (real name Blidri) and Paraga, all of which are packed with half naked people, sun loungers and umbrellas. Parties here start as early as 4pm and alcohol runs plentiful at the numerous beach bars. The idea is to swim, eat and drink your cocktail without moving more than 100 metres from your seat. Super Paradise has its own website for info on upcoming events and tell-tale pictures (www.superparadise.com.gr).
If dance music is your thing, don’t leave Paradise beach without joining revellers at Cavo Paradiso (300 metres up the hill, Tel: +30 22890 27205) and Paradise Club Mykonos (also on the hill), two open-air mega clubs, where you can party until the sun comes up. Regular super star DJs include Tiesto, David Morales, Paul Oakenfold, David Guetta, Armin Van Buuren and Bob Sincar. At the south, Psarou beach is a meeting point for Greek celebrities and people who are there mainly to show off their tan rather than swim. Women parade up and down the beach wearing little more than lip gloss and colourful Ray Bans. The beach’s popularity is such that, at high season, people call from Athens to book sun loungers and umbrellas. If the possibility of arguing with an over tanned, half-drunk, muscular man over a sun lounger is not your idea of fun, head towards the quieter beaches at the north which have been spared the onslaught of lined umbrellas and blasting techno music.
Unspoiled Ftelia beach is popular with wind surfers because its northern exposure ensures strong winds almost all year round. Every year, the island hosts the Wave Tour, an international windsurfing games which attract all the big names in the sport. The seclusion you will enjoy here means it’s a good spot to go skinny dipping and bring your dog (Greeks are not too keen on seeing dogs swim next to their kids). Agios Sostis is also popular with nudists, but cannot be reached by bus, so it’s best to rent a car or motorcycle. For even more privacy, head to Fokos, or Kapari (which is right next to it), two beaches with no facilities, which can be reached with your own transport. Fokos taverna (Tel: +30 6945 828561, open from 13:00-19:00) on the namesake beach deserves a special mention for its excellent Mediterranean food. The best way to find it is, after Ano Mera, to follow signs to Fokos and take it from there. Kalo Livadi is an organised beach, but it’s quieter than the others and is thus preferred by families. Agios Ioannis, more famous as the backdrop for the 1980s movie Shirley Valentine, is a relatively quiet beach with facilities for snorkelling and a great tavern on site.
Of course, no beach is complete without some sporting facilities, and in Mykonos you will find plenty on most organised beaches (Kalafatis, Elia, Platis Yialos). There’s skiing, windsurfing, kite surfing, jet-skiing, parasailing, scuba diving and any other water sport you can imagine. For dry sports –until you start sweating– there are several tennis courts in Mykonos Town which can be rented for a game, unless your hotel has a court. For information, try tennis coach Vaida Martinkute (mobile: +30 6976 795747, +30 6972 663434, email: [email protected]). Two tennis courts (one hard court, one with artificial grass) are rented out between 8am and 11pm at Mykonos tennis club at Drafaki area, 200 metres out of the main town (Mobile: +30 6974 4667678, email: [email protected]). A different kind of ball game is played at Big Boys Park, which you can rent out for a paintball game (Ftelia, for reservations call: +30 22890 25544, +30 6981 744004, email: [email protected]). There’s even a company to arrange horseback riding (the only reason why there’s no elephant riding is because bringing such a mammal to Mykonos would be a bureaucratic nightmare).
Mykonos Horseland (Ano Mera, Freephones: +30 6957 407875, +30 6945 778962, www.horseland.gr) organises 1-5-hour horse riding tours around Mykonos and some beaches, depending on your wishes. Prices range from 50 euros per person for the one-hour tour to 130 euros for the five-hour tour. For more experienced riders, the company offers longer riding tours which include stop-overs for a swim, or lunch (price 150 euros). If you’re a sucker for clichés you may choose the sunset ride for two, which comes complete with picnic at the beach (300-400 euros).
Mykonos is a sartorialist heaven. This is the only island for which women pack high heels. Any new trend set abroad is bound to be tried out here, so all the crazy shopping you did back home will pay off. Hipsters and fashionistas compete for attention at Matoyannia in the afternoon, the town’s main thoroughfare, while middle-aged, well-heeled couples stroll around town in search of the best upscale restaurant. If you’re itching to use your credit card you will have no trouble doing so in one of the big-name luxury brands who have set up shop in town. There are also shops selling local delicacies, Greek herbs, natural cosmetics, leather sandals and of course beachwear. Concept boutiques like The Jars of Brands (43 Kalogera street, Mykonos Town, Tel: +03 22890 7895) sell clothes and apparel from up-and-coming designers. For jewellery, head to Minas Studio (Mykonos Town, Tel: +30 22890 27320) for one of his iconic moulded necklaces.
If you didn’t have time to complete your beauty regimen back home, don’t worry. Fancy ZS Golden Spa (Ano Mera, Tel: +30 22890 23501) offers a long list of face treatments, depilation and of course manicure and pedicure.
You will be spoilt for choice when it comes to food as this is one of the few islands which can boast a variety of restaurants with international cuisine. Apart from the usual tavernas serving traditional fare, you may also try Italian, Chinese, Japanese and even Argentinian food while in town. Many restaurants offer a fusion of Greek cuisine with international favourites. Most restaurants are located in Mykonos Town and the following list is only indicative of the type of food you may find. For Greek food, choose the family run tavern Apostolis (Ano Mera square, Tel: +30 22890 71760), which serves honest home-made specialties like stuffed vegetables, cod with skordalia (garlic puree), grilled sausage and juicy pork chops at reasonable prices. If you’re trying so save money on food, then souvlakia is your best option and some of the best can be found at Kalamakia (Ano Mera, Tel: +30 22890 71740). The place has the added advantage of having a playground at the back to keep the kids busy. For fresh fish and stylish atmosphere al fresco, go to Sea Satin Market (Harbor at the windmills, near the Metropolis Cathedral, Mykonos Town, Tel: +30 22890 24676) with tables right on the seaside. The best dish is the grilled fish and veggies served on a large, flat glass plate supported on four cups. Those who want to splash out should head to Uno Con Carne (Panachra, Mykonos Town, Tel: +30 22890 24020), an Argentinian steak house which serves, among others, hamburgers and steaks with Black Angus beef. The large venue also houses an oyster bar with several clam, scallop and lobster dishes. If you prefer some Italian flavours, Casa di Giorgio (1, Mitropoleos, Mykonos Town, Tel: +30 6932 561998) is there with its three chefs making the freshest thin crust pizzas and the best pasta in town. Interni restaurant and bar (Matoyiannia, Tel: +30 22890 26333) is a gorgeous open garden inspired and designed by renowned designer Paola Navone, combined with a personal touch from owner Nikos Varveris. It serves Mediterranean dishes and cocktails at the bar.
Your sightseeing wouldn’t be complete without a day trip to Delos, where excavations have uncovered the second most important ancient sanctuary in Greece after Delphi, dedicated mainly to god Apollo. The uninhabited island is 3.5 km off the coast of Mykonos and is included in UNESCO’s World Heritage list. According to the myth, the island is the birthplace of Apollo and Artemis, two of god Zeus’s many –illegitimate– children. The site has five focal points: the maritime quarter, the theatre, the temples of Apollo, the lion terrace and the house of Dionysos. Boats leave daily at 9, 10 and 11am from the pier at the west side of the harbour, right behind the little church of Agios Nikolaos. The boat trip takes about 30 minutes. Boats return at 12:15, 13:30 and 3pm. Boat trips to Delos are also organized from Platys Gialos and Paranga beach and you can book a tour guide on the spot. The site is closed on Mondays.
When the sun goes down, there’s no better place to watch the sunset than Little Venice, whose scenic houses and windmills featured in the movie Bourne Identity. All the bars there are very touristy and the quality of service and drinks will vary, so look at what is being served before you sit. Katerina’s Bar (Agion Anargiron street, Little Venice, +30 22890 23804) is a safe choice and so is Montparnasse (24 Agion Anargiron street, Little Venice, Tel: +30 22890 23719), the piano bar with great views of the windmills. Later on, the fun moves back to Hora, where throngs of tanned revellers show off their dance skills in stylish bars and around the alleys.
The gay scene includes classic bars like Porta Bar (Ionni Voinovich street, +30 22890 27807) the nights’ first meeting point and Pierro’s (Matoyianni Street, Tel: +30 22890 22177). For more action, head to Jacky O’ (close to Paraportiani, Tel: +30 22890 79167) where happenings and drag shows are on the daily agenda. Babylon (right next to Jacky O’, Tel: +30 22890 25152) is a newer dance club with heavy beats and drag shows. Diva (Little Venice, Tel: +30 22890 27271) may seem like a quieter bar at first, but things turn much livelier later in the night. For more information on gay and gay friendly venues, check www.gaymykonos.gr .
Your options in Mykonos are unlimited, so your real criterion is price. For budget accommodation: Mykonian Inn (Mykonos Town, Tel: +30 22890 23420, www.myconian-inn.com), Carbonaki Hotel (23, Panachrantou street, Mykonos Town, Tel: +30 22890 24124, www.carbonaki.gr), Anamar (Ftelia beach,Tel: +30 22890 71811, www.anamar.gr). Mid-range: Aeolos (Mykonos Town, Tel: +30 22890 25004, www.newaeoloshotel.com), Agios Ioannis Beach Resort (Agios Ioannis beach, Tel: +30 22890 28752, www.saintjohn.gr) and Marianna (Glastros, Mykonos Town, Tel: +30 22890 22072, www.marianna-mykonos.gr). Pricey: Cavo Tagoo (600 metres from Mykonos Town, Tel: +30 22890 20100, www.cavotagoo.gr), San Giorgio (Paraga beach, Tel: +30 22890 27474, www.sangiorgio-mykonos.com).
There are many daily ferry and catamaran services connecting Piraeus and Rafina ports with Mykonos. Mykonos Airport is also served by two Greek carriers –Olympic Air and Aegean Air– and many international airlines fly directly to the island. The airport is situated 4 km from Mykonos Town and you can reach it by taxi. Check the “Getting to and from the islands” section for ferry websites.
Ekaterini Jewellery Design
Matoyianni, Mykonos Town, Tel: +30 22890 78876, facebook: Ekaterini Jewellery Design
The shop sells clothes from designer Ekaterini which are produced in Greece, but also has a wide range of foreign brands. The youthful design and great value for money are present in the hottest trends in accessories like earrings, necklaces, colourful watches etc.
14, M. Mavrogeni Street. Myconos Town, Tel: +30 22890 24255
One of the best jewellery stores in Mykonos with high quality jewelleries and precious stones.
Lakka, Agios Athanasios, Mykonos. Tel: +30 22890 78918
A workshop of handmade jewellery of high quality, made with a lot of attention.
17, Agiou Gerasimou street, Mykonos.Tel: +30 22890 77231
The store in Pireaus has now opened in Mykonos as well, in a beautiful space with Cycladic decoration. In the brand new store you will find unique collections of international brands like Alexander McQueen, Mykita etc.
Art Tattoo Mykonos
Fabrica, Tel: +30 22890 77035, facebook: arttattoomykonos
One of the best tattoo studios in Mykonos. The tattoo is painted in sterile, rooms by experienced and talented staff, who can create any designs you have in mind.
The jars of Brands
Mykonos Town. Tel: +30 22890 78955
A store housing international brands and unique styles and designs. This year, a new room has opened its doors right next to the old store, where you will find brands like Mi-ro, Nizal Fashion, Ratt, Blue de Genes etc.
Mykonos accommodation centre
10, Enoplon Dinameon street (upper floor) end of Matoyianni Street. Tel: +30 22890 23160, 22890 23408, 22890 28160
Α reservation and travel agency with the largest choice of quality hotels and furnished apartments with private pools. The centre provides all travel services, booking for surrounding islands, Athens and the rest of Greece as well as ticketing for domestic and international airlines.
Panagia Panahras, Mykonos Town. Tel: +30 22890 77166, eshop: www.heel.gr
A remarkable and enthusiastic clothes workshop which uses fashion as a means of expression. Its philosophy is based on change, creation and ecology. The clothes are designed in Greece in a way that respects the environment and the city.
One of the oldest and best-known clubs on the island. It is difficult to find someone who has travelled to Mykonos and has not passed through its doors. The beautiful summer atmosphere and good music make it special.
Adva Beach Bar & Restaurant
Panormos. Tel: +30 22890 23950, www.adva-mykonos.com
It is located in Panormos, at the northern part of Mykonos. An all-day venue with comfortable sun loungers and tables next to the sea where you can enjoy a swim together with a good coffee, great cocktails and delicious food made of Greek ingredients.
Super Paradise Jakkie o’ & 12 Matoyianni str., www.facebook.com/sotrisshop
Sotris has landed in Mykonos with a womens’store in Matoyiania in collaboration with Topshop and another super concept store in Super Paradise inside Jackie O’ club with avant guard men’s and women’s brands.
Galleraki cocktail bar
Skarpa, Tel: +30 22890 27188, galleraki.gr
The bar is located in the heart of Little Venice, right next to the sea. It’s a historic cocktail bar housed in a traditional Cycladic residence, where you can drink coffee during the day and refreshing cocktails in the evening.
Matoyianni street, Tel: +30 22890 26037, Ag. Efthimiou street, 22890 22188, Water front, Tel: +30 2289022427, www.mykonos-jewelry.com
Since 1990 their craftsmen create daily exquisite handmade jewellery with the finest materials. In the store you will find a huge variety of more than 9,000 jewelleries and watches to choose from.
2, Κambani street, Αgia Kyriaki, Mykonos Town, Tel: +30 22890 78801, www.facebook.com/pages/Amades
A small, playful taverna with a friendly atmosphere, very close to Mykonos’s Cataract. The cuisine is local and other regional Greek recipes served to the background of traditional island folk songs and rebetika.
Rock ‘n’ roll
Matoyianni, Tel: +30 22890 78270
One of Athens’ legendary venues has in the last few years found a second roof in Mykonos. It’s a cosmopolitan hang-out venue with Cycladic architectural and decorative elements, strong music, perfect drinks and non-stop entertainment.
Fetish Ink Tattoo Mykonos
Tel: +30 22890 77236, www.facebook.com/fetisinktattoo.mykonos
The talented and experienced tattoo artists which can satisfy every demand in clean, sterilised, private rooms and the exotic body piercing are only some of the services which make Fetish Ink stands out among other tattoo studios.
Meletopoulou, Mykonos Town, Tel: +30 22890-78140, www.koursarosmykonos.gr
In wonderful, atmospheric scenery which resembles a pirate ship, the restaurant Koursaros promises an unforgettable gastronomic experience with Mediterranean and Greek cuisine and an emphasis on fresh fish and seafood.
Goumenio, Tel: +306948238286, www.lights-on.gr
At one of the most scenic alleys of the island, at Goumenio, the young artist Thana Samiotaki light sources and materials like wool to create original and elaborate works of art which can decorate any space.
26, Kalogera street, Tel: +3022890 27827, www.facebook.com/melivia.boutique
Located in an old mansion in one of the busiest alleys of Mykonos, boutique Melivia offers complete outfits to impress with your look from morning till night. Here you will find Fabiana Filippi, Roberto Collina, Marisa Padovan, the French swimsuits Eres with their amazing fit, Flavia Padovan, Chloe Mare, Kristina Ti and wonderful sandals from Emanuela Caruso and Mystique.
Drafaki. Tel: +30 22890-24231, www.andronikos.gr
A luxury, boutique hotel with views of the Aegean Sea. Andronikos hotel has rooms with excellent aesthetics, flawless, incomparable design and unique facilities to enjoy your food like the restaurant Lady Finger Gree and the popular Orange Blue Bar.
Actipis- Sea Pebble Jewellery
Αg. Spyridonos & Ag. Annis str., Tel: +3022890 25747, www.actipis.com
Since 2002 artist Spyros Aktipis has always been inspired from the natural beauty of sea pebbles to create unique handmade jewellery which he combines with materials like silver, gold, metal, leather etc.