A legendary destination for jet setters and party animals. Mykonos really is the island that never sleeps. This paradise is synonymous with celebrity, style and beautiful beaches. Year after year it lands on the top of the lists of must-visit destinations in the Mediterranean. And it’s no wonder why: from the world-class boutique hotels which cater to literally every taste, to great shopping and dining, to celebrated people watching, and of course those beaches…
The uniqueness of Mykonos is that it is welcoming to the party scene, as well as the quieter visitor looking for an island location with world class amenities and endless possibilities. The Island of the Winds can’t possibly but thrill each and every one of its guests.
If you are planning to visit this Mediterranean paradise this summer, I can offer the following suggestions:
Where to stay:
Grecotel Mykonos Blu: A member of the famous and luxurious Greek hotel chain Grecotel. It is situated on Psarou, the most glamorous beach of the island, about a 10 minute car ride from the town. Spectacular views and easy access to the beach. Excellent restaurants and nightclub on the beach, but you will want to go to town at night for maximum enjoyment.
Cavo Tagoo: Walking distance from the city center (close to the old port). Expensive, amazing bar and pool. Guests will be upscale, as are the rooms and the amenities.
Belvedere Hotel: Probably the trendiest hotel on the island – minimalist style with a Greek twist. Very expensive, with 4-star restaurant (famous Nobu) and amazing bar.
Santa Marina Resort & Villas : A Luxury Collection hotel (Starwood) on the Bay of Ornos, within walking distance from town (about 10 – 15 minutes walk).
Poseidon Hotel: Mid-priced hotel in excellent location within walking distance from the town (where all the action is at night). Nice pool, good breakfast, the renovated rooms (more expensive) are nice, the older rooms are basic. Excellent value for the money.
Bill & Coo Hotel : A fabulous boutique hotel which combines Myconian classic architecture with luxurious accommodations. Its location makes it a perfect choice, as it is within walking distance to town.
Hotel Grace : Part of the Grace Hotel chain, Mykonos Grace is located in Agios Stefanos, a few minutes from the center of town. A uniquely relaxing and elegant hotel with superior service and amenities. A less expensive option.
Another option is to rent a house. Here is a selection of specialized websites to help you:
In Mykonos, the beach where you hang out during the day is just as important as where you socialize at night. Nightlife, daylife – it’s all one big blur on this Hellenic isle. So put on your shades, grab your flip flops, or your most fashionable beach outfit and join us on a tour of Mykonos’ very best bits of sand.
Super Paradise – is the celebrated beach where anything goes. Keep in mind that during the day, it’s as lively as some of the other beaches below. However, the party begins at the beach bar after 5 PM. If you want to see the craziness, that’s when you want to be there. Rubbing elbows with vacationing celebs is frequent: from Hollywood stars to fashion icons – I have run into many, among them last year, Giorgio Armani.
Paradise – similar to Super, a perennial favorite of the younger crowd. Also big party scene after 5 PM. Some people like to party. Many of those people are at Paradise Beach. Get there early for some rays with a dose of superb beach service. Load up on the nourishment, watch the sun start to set, grab another drink, and admire as the bikini-clad bodies start dancing everywhere you look. Rockin’ some of the most famous DJs that come down Mykonos’ way, Paradise Beach & Tropicana Bar are essential for noctural audio addicts.
Paraga & Agia Anna Beaches – one of my favorites because of its beach bar called Kalhua. Amazing waters and super fun. If the Mykonos winds kick up, take a boat or car over to Paranga beach. Its positioning on the island and the protective rocks on the sides of the beach provide temporary shielding from the wind and will save your beach day. Take a short walk next door to Agia Anna beach, which is a smaller version of Paranga. Fewer umbrellas give the beach a more secluded feel.
Psarou – (close to town) this is the most exclusive beach of the island. Yachts, Porsche Cayennes trying to park on the tiny parking lot, Rolexes, Gucci, blah, blah, blah. It’s a beautiful beach and must see – if for nothing else, just for the experience.
Namos is an amazing bar/fish restaurant at Psarou. If you pull in with your yacht, Namos offers delivery service without having to come on to the shore. For an umbrella and seabed, best to be prepared to spend some serious euros for the . . . maitre of the beach.
Kalo Livadi – Also a stunning beach further from the city. Afternoon party gathers lots of celebs. The beach service is supreme during the day, and for sunset, head to Sol Y Mar restaurant for a dinner that will have you leaning back in your seat, sighing, and rubbing your swollen midsection. With olive oil.
Panormos Beach – is one of the new and up-and-coming must-visit beaches on the island. Located on the northern part of Mykonos, the beach offers an leisurely alternative to the much celebrated and visited southern beaches. The Panormos Beach Bar & Restaurant is certainly worth the visit. With a purely Mediterranean vibe, this leisure spot offers a cool environment among potted plants, palms, lanterns and a summer menu which will leave you wanting to linger until the evening hours.
Elia – the largest beach on the island, this sandy stretch happens to be one of the most popular for all types of vacationers. Some tend to prefer the more secluded right side of the beach, while the celebrities and remaining folk lay out across the rest of the terrain. Packed with water sports and restaurants, Elia beach offers an array of activities for the restless. An ideal environment for the modern beach bum.
Lia – Head to Lia Beach early, as the chairs are scarce and the locals know that their secret is out. La Luna restaurant in the back offers various Greek appetizers straight to your chair, and the women walking around with baskets of beach merchandise even add a little quality shopping to your postcard-perfect beach day.
Keep in mind that, although the island is very small, the beaches are about 20 min apart. There are buses that go to each beach, but as you can imagine, in an island like Mykonos, people drive their cars or rent mopeds. I don’t know if you are familiar/comfortable riding a moped, but if you are, I would highly suggest renting one.
Kalita – New restaurant in Mykonos town. Modern international cuisine with Cycladic overtones and tastes served in palm-fringed garden serving fresh fish from the Aegean.
Uno Con Carne - Premier steakhouse and oyster bar with a twist. Located in Mykonos town, the art deco restaurant welcomes all those looking for a sophisticated cuisine coupled with an impressive scene of the jet set that has made Mykonos famous. Uno Con Carne marries the marvels of meat with the bounty of seafood from the Aegean Sea.
Interni - Perennial favorite among celebrities, Interni celebrated its 10th year in operation in 2011. Avant-garde decorations throughout the al fresco setting with its happening bar scene. The cuisine is Greek fusion with Asian influences. Among the popular dishes are the marinated salmon, grilled ginger octopus filet and if you are lucky, a fresh tsipoura grilled to perfection (one of the more luxurious Aegean fish served whole, of course).
Jimmy’s Gyros – (Cash Only) No trip to Mykonos is complete without a pit stop at famous Jimmy’s Gyros for a quick bite. These addictive gyros will have you craving for more during the wee hours of the night as well as buying Jimmy’s tee shirts to take home to friends. If you’re lucky, you’ll catch Jimmy sitting on the stoop playing his guitar. Give him a nod, he loves it.
My all time favorite spot on the island is the tiny bar called Caprice. It is a MUST. However, keep in mind that the best time to go is around 8:00 – 9:00 PM as the sun sets. It has an amazing ambiance and you will see everyone there. It’s right on “Little Venice”.
Rock n’ Roll – For years, this now infamous Athenian hotspot provided the Greek capital with one of the most difficult velvet rope (in Greek – most difficult doors) experiences in Athens. This restau-lounge-club was well-known for attracting the wealthy, the powerful and the beautiful. Just last year, Rock n’ Roll closed its Kolonaki doors (the Athens neighborhood where it was located) only to move to Mykonos. And not to be outdone, it took over the historic location of Pierro’s. A drink or two will not disappoint in this must-visit nightspot in Mykonos town. Just don’t arrive too late – Greek nightlife does’t start until the next day has begun.
The great thing about the town is that by walking you will discover so many places – you simply look in and stop if you like what you see. I also have never done Cavo Paradiso. However, this is famous in all of Europe as the biggest rave in the Mediterranean. I don’t know if it’s your thing, but you can check it out – it starts around 4 AM and goes until 12 noon.
In the evening, before going to night spots, everyone just strolls around town looking at the stores (many famous boutiques throughout). I love it.
Well, my suggestions are only a small example of the alternatives available for you on this extravagant island and also why someone who is not necessarily a party animal should still be visiting Mykonos.
Check out my full picture gallery of Jackie O’s island here