Some Greek islands hide their charms. Not Mykonos. This island’s sense of self-belief is so strong that two of its bays are called Paradise and Super Paradise. In summer it’s a party island to rival Ibiza. The stunning landscape is dotted with pretty white churches and white-washed buildings, all replete with a dose of the island’s trademark blue shutters and doors. In the 1960s it was a playground for Grace Kelly, Brigitte Bardot and Jackie O. In the 1980s movie, Shirley Valentine came there to have her stretch marks caressed by Tom Conti.
In recent years, however, the celebrity set have rediscovered this gorgeous island. Designers Dolce and Gabbana moor their yacht in the harbour and the likes of Hugh Jackman, Queen Latifah and designer Matthew Williamson have also been spotted looking fablux in Mykonos Town. But a stay doesn’t have to cost the Earth. Buses cover the island, there are plenty of modest tavernas and anyone can head to the beaches to catch the island’s spirit.
What to see..
The famous windmills… These icons of the island along the harbour in Mykonos Town have been around since the 16th Century when Mykonos was on a major sea trading route between Europe and Asia.
Petros the Pelican… The official mascot of Mykonos, Petros gave up his usual annual migration to make the town’s waterfront his home in 1954. His death 30 years later was so mourned by the locals, it was decided a new Petros was needed. The latest version still spends his days chilling by the water’s edge.
Little Venice… A beautiful part of town where the buildings have been constructed right on the edge of the sea, with balconies hanging over the water, hence the name. Most of the island’s hippest bars and tavernas are here. Paraportiani church… One of the most famous places of worship in Greece, it is the central focus of the Old Town. Construction started in 1475. In fact, it is actually five churches moulded into one, with four churches forming the base and the fifth placed on top to form a central dome.
Delos… Take your sea legs and journey over to Delos, a tiny island, the entirety of which is a national museum. One of Greece’s most famous archaeological sites, there are daily excursions from the harbour. A 20-minute boat leaves at 9am and there’s enough to see until the last boat returns at 3pm. But bring water and a hat – there’s a refreshing lack of things to buy on the island. Budget on 15 euros (£13) per person to get there and back.
Beaches.. Paradise beach… Made famous by travellers in the Sixties, it’s now less patchouli oil and tie-dye, more hard clubbing and tiny Speedos. There are umpteen beach bars, shops, discos and watersports.
Agios Stefanos… the best family beach on the island. Just 2km north of Mykonos Town, it has plenty of cafes. Or try Taverna Vasoula for excellent fish. You can expect to eat well for under 20 euros (£18).
Agios Sostis… If you’re looking for a more peaceful day in the waves, the best bet is Agios Sostis, one of the island’s more remote beaches. It’s also home to the legendary Kiki’s. The restaurant has no phone, doesn’t take bookings and you may have to queue around the block to get your hands on their signature barbecued pork chops. It’s well worth searching out, but go early if you don’t want to queue and it’s often closed by 6pm. Lunch for two costs around 28 euros (£25).
Another small and relaxed spot is Agios Ioannis beach, a must-do location for Shirley Valentine fans as large chunks of the chick flick were filmed here. For more information: vía mirror.co.uk