MykonosCopyright: Martin M303/Shutterstock.com
MykonosMykonos is an eclectic place–pristine beaches, elegant boutiques, fine dining, and rowdy bars are all packed onto one tiny piece of land, a mere 15km long at its widest point. Partying is a round-the-clock affair here, against a scenic backdrop of whitewashed houses and Little Venice, Mykonos Town's most charming neighbourhood.
The IslandThe tiny Cycladic island of Mykonos sprung to blossom as a tourist destination in the 1960s and 1970s when it was first discovered by the global glitterati and became featured in magazines as the new hot place to be for the "it" crowd. The island today has kept little of its past exclusivity–although celebrities do make appearances at some of its fashion boutiques every now and then–and welcomes diverse crowds every summer season. July and August are the busiest, with late spring and early fall allowing visitors to discover a quieter, more tranquil side to the island. During high season, avoid the narrow streets of Mykonos Town (also referred to as "Hora", or "Chora") during the daytime to escape cruise ship crowds and venture out to one of the island's many beaches, or try scuba diving under the careful supervision of professionals from the island's many dive centres. The island, along with its tiny neighbour of Delos, featured prominently in Greek mythology and was first settled in the 11th century BC. Excursions into the past may be made via the island's several tiny museums and the well-maintained Archaeological Site of Delos.
Do & See
The entire island of Mykonos is only 15km at its widest point–a small but intimate place, where it's possible to see everything in a relatively short period of time. Start off by strolling through Little Venice, the waterfront bar and restaurant strip of Mykonos Town, and make your way up into the maze of narrow streets dotted with shops and eateries. Take a photo against the backdrop of the island's iconic windmills, and of course, make the most of its many splendid beaches.
The sheer number of eateries for an island as small as Mykonos is dazzling, with the majority of restaurants and tavernas concentrated in Mykonos Town and along the waterfront of Little Venice. Mykonian cuisine is defined by pork and fried fish dishes (red mullet and skate are most common), octopus meze (small tapas-style plates), and goat milk and onions in cooking. The Greek classics, such as moussaka, are readily available on most menus.
Cafes dot the island of Mykonos, their numbers peaking in the Old Town area and along the beachfront. Greek souvlaki enjoys special popularity among visitors looking to grab a quick bite with an authentic flair, and so do the sweet and savoury pancakes. For dessert, do not miss a local almond-based treat called 'amygdalota'–a bell-shaped cookie with a soft core that is crunchy on the outside.
Bars & Nightlife
The party never dies in Mykonos, where day-time beach entertainment often precedes the "classic" nightclubbing experience. Some of the loudest, rowdiest beach venues are to be found at Psarrou Beach (popular with Greeks) and the Paradise/Super Paradise Beaches. In Mykonos Town, pre-sunset pastimes are much tamer, with relaxing waterfront bars of Little Venice getting packed with patrons savouring slightly overpriced cocktails in the evenings. At night, the island's many clubs open their doors to those still ready to paint the town red.
Shopping in Mykonos is–perhaps, a bit surprisingly–a high-end affair, with multiple upscale boutiques selling all manner of items from brand-name clothing to jewellery to Swarowsky-encrusted shoes dotting the historic town. Art lovers will surely enjoy the galleries and design stores displaying–and often selling–works by Greek artists. Local crafts to shop for include hand-woven items such as rugs, scarves, and tablecloths. Not to be missed are Mykonian treats (almond cookies), organic produce, and natural cosmetics.