The Greek islands are known for their epic beauty, sunny beaches and calm waters. Mykonos certainly lives up to this reputation, but offers so much more.
The longtime haunt of the super-rich, Mykonos attracts all types of people from the backpacker to the jet setting dilettante. Whatever your persuasion, you will find plenty to do on this remarkable island.
Reflective of the diverse travelers who visit Mykonos, the beaches here have something for everyone. Two beaches are within easy walking distance of town: Ayios Ioannis and Tourlos. Though close, they are somewhat unremarkable.
If you have a family in tow, be sure to visit either Platys Yialos or Ornos, which have tons of restaurants and activities for all ages. For the more adventurous sort, not-to-miss beaches include Elia, Paradise and Super Paradise. All are nude-optional and also cater to both gay as well as straight visitors. Paradise and Super Paradise also offer some of the best nightspots where you can dance until dawn.
Start your day with a tour of Mykonos town proper, which has plenty of shopping for all budgets. If shopping isn’t your thing, trek to the islands’ most famous landmark, the Mykonos windmills.
Starting in Little Venice, walk up towards the iconic windmills, once used for grinding grain. Even though they are no longer functioning, many have been refurbished and the Bonis Windmill has become a nice little museum. After your walk, take some time to relax at a nearby café for afternoon mezes and a light wine.
Mykonos is perhaps best known for its nightlife, attracting some of the wealthiest people in the world just for the parties. For those who love to dance, Paradise and Super Paradise beaches have techno clubs that keep the beat going all night long. For GLBT friendly, there are many clubs and bars, but the best are the Katro and Ikaros. If dancing with the young and beautiful is not for you, there are numerous bars and restaurants in the main town where you can enjoy live music, good drinks and even better hospitality.
Where to stay
Given the islands’ popularity, there is no shortage of places to stay. From the ultra-high end to backpacker style hostels, there is something for everyone. Some of the best hostel bets include Argo Hotel, Mamas Pension and Studio Eleni.
Day trip – Delos
After a few days of sunbathing and enjoying the night scene in Mykonos, you will surely want to get out and explore some of the nearby islands. One nearby archeological wonder that is not to be missed is the legendary island of Delos.
A holy sanctuary for millennia, Delos is the mythological birthplace of Apollo and Artemis, which made this an important pilgrimage site for ancient Greeks. Not only a sacred religious destination, Delos was also an equally important financial and political centre. The Delian League, whose name is derived from the island, was an alliance of city-states formed to guard against Persian attacks. This loose alliance soon became an economic powerhouse and quickly turned into an empire.
What to see
Today Delos, as it was in antiquity, is little more than a barren rock with scrub vegetation. However the island is now home to one of the most remarkable archeological excavations in Greece. The French School of Archaeology began excavating in 1872 and amazingly enough work continues today. It’s not surprising really, since this four square-kilometer island is covered in ruins.
Tourists arrive via boat at the main docks, where they then proceed to purchase their tickets. There is little in the form of direction, so be sure to grab a tourist map or get one in advance.
There are two main walking loops. The first will only take you a couple of hours and includes some of the highlights of the island, ending at the archeological museum. The second walking tour is much longer and will take most of the day, but you will get to see everything the island has to offer. However, there are no trees and little shelter from the harsh sun so if you do take the longer tour, make sure to bring along water, a hat and sunscreen.
How to get there
Boats leave from Mykonos several times every day to Delos for about €12. If you want a more in-depth tour of Delos, any of the numerous travel agencies on the island provide day trips to the ancient isle.