Queen Of The Islands – natural elegance with high-octane glamour and style
Dazzlingly white and windswept, waterless and treeless, but with superb thick sandy beaches, blue-domed chapels and churches, dovecotes and windmills and a sparkling streamlined natural architecture, the most beautiful small harbour/port in these islands, Mykonos epitomizes an ideal Greek island. But it is much more than that.
Inhabited and built up almost to the limits of its capacity, it still remains ravishing, especially on spring weekends. Artists were first and then a bohemian flood of intellectuals/writers/musicians, and now its reputation is for international socialites, gays, glitz and glamour. Crystal seas, wild nightlife, tension, beach umbrellas, jet-ski and windsurfing. Highly contagious. You either fall in love … or proceed to the next island! There is no in-between. It is simply Mykonos.
Even in high summer, if you do wake early in the day, you’ll find an almost deserted Mykonos save for the Mykonians. Fresh fish catches are sold on the harbour front, bakeries can be found if you just follow the tempting wafts from their ovens, the mobile greengrocer with his produce in his donkey’s panniers sells flowers too, washing is hung out, courtyards filled with plants are watered, and normal life continues. Tourist life wakes up in time to go to the beach in the afternoon. Sunset is time for romantic cocktails, then dinner, then late-night spots. The narrow streets are overtaken by human traffic, there are people-watchers, tourists, photographers, women and men made-up in style trailing chic aromas into the night. The air is cooler, the music louder, the bars in full motion, a rhythm is set that will carry on into the early morning hours.
Mykonos by day and night has a lure and energy to keep many coming back.
The beaches are justly famous – pristine, raked, groomed and furnished with great tavernas, deckchairs, palm-thatched umbrellas, cute waiters. But the easily shocked should avoid Paradise and Super-paradise where anything goes. Kalafati and Lia beaches are the least exotic and the most natural/sporty. On windy days, the whole island heads for the lee-sheltered beaches of which there are just enough to accommodate everyone.
The island of Delos is an oasis of peace, the ruins are beautiful and all visitors have to return to Mykonos by nightfall.
Solitude can still be glimpsed even in summer in areas like Agrari, Tigani and Faros.
Shops, clubs, restaurants, bars, beaches with butler service, people spotting, easy access with fast and frequent flights and hydrofoils to Athens, and connections to Paros, Santorini and Crete among other islands.
Hassle, frazzle, wind, glare, noise, parking problems, booked-out restaurants, jam-packed beaches, coaches, buses, daytrippers, worrying about what to wear.
Party groups, the Ibiza crowd, young adults, friends wanting to be part of a quintessential summer experience, swim, sun, dance, party, shop, and appreciative of a super chic sophisticated scene. Those into the music, DJ and clubbing scene? People on a Grand Tour of Crete, Santorini, Athens and one other island.
Conservatives who dislike seeing too much of other peoples bodies, more tranquil souls who want peace and quiet, a hammock and a good book in shady green tranquillity.
Menu degustation at Chez Katrin, cocktails at Caprice in Little Venice at dusk, breakfast in the old harbour watched by Petros the Pelican, lunch at Sol y Mar on Kalo Livadi beach, or for more lonesome types, a chilled beach lunch at La Luna on Lia beach. Dinner at Psarou on Nammos beach, and late-night antics according to your tastes.
Kite surfing (Psarou), wind surfing (Ftelia), boat trip to the sacred island of Delos (wonderfully atmospheric, especially in spring with its carpet of red poppies). Horseback riding, all manner of eating/drinking/dancing etc, yacht or caiki trips, tennis, scuba. There are 3 diving centers.
The meltemi northerlies blow hard. The island almost sinks under the weight of its visitors.
Wild flowers that you never imagined could exist sprinkle the land, the island is green and spring is a beautiful radiant time. The Hora will be undergoing its annual whitewash and everyone is fresh for the long season. Equally, autumn is gentle and mellow, seas are warm, and life still buzzes. The island has a long season and can offer tastes of summer until late October/November.