Tradition with a twist: why Mykonos is a place of myth and legendary nightlife
There are two sides to Mykonos. By day, you can dive into centuries-old ruins and ancient myths, not to mention shimmering blue waters. After dark, the spotlight turns on its contemporary beach retreats that become sleek, sophisticated party spots – the stuff of modern legends. Start your Grecian adventure at Mykonos Riviera Hotel and Spa, a boutique retreat overlooking the glorious Aegean Sea.
BY DAY: BEACHES, BLUE HORIZONS
With 25 beaches on Mykonos to choose from, you're never far away from holiday-perfect sand and sea. Head to Elia if you like your beaches family-friendly and generously sized. Platys Gialos or Kalafatis if you fancy windsurfing or diving around the island's many rocks and caves. Or the north shore's pebbled coves for top tranquil spots – Agios Sostis and Fokos are wonderfully serene. You can even hire a scooter and explore the island's hilly interior on your way, earning a spot of sun-lounger time.
The island's capital Mykonos Town (Hora), is as enchanting by day as it is lively at night. Stroll down narrow bougainvillea-scented lanes past rustic whitewashed buildings before dropping into a café for coffee. Hora – and Mykonos island itself – is a haven for delicious Greek and Mediterranean cuisine with recipes passed down through the generations. Park yourself in one of its many family-run tavernas for a platter of grilled octopus or calamari. To get closer to the source, head to the local early-morning market on the Yialos waterfront to buy fresh seafood and sweet apricots. Then find your perfect pair of gladiator sandals or an original watercolour in one of the town's chic shops and art galleries.
FROM ANCIENT HISTORY TO MODERN DAY
While you're here, take a chance to breathe in this tiny Cycladean island's captivating history. Hop on a boat to the nearby island of Delos, the mythological birthplace of Apollo and Aphrodite. With its Doric temples, grand amphitheatre and Terrace of Lions, this UNESCO-listed archaeological site has ruins to rival that of mainland Greece. To glimpse the island's seafaring stories, visit Mykonos' Aegean Maritime Museum. Sweeping panoramic views of the Cyclades can be had from the Armenistis Lighthouse. Finally, catch the sunset, camera in hand, at the Church of Panaghia Paraportiani.
BY NIGHT: COCKTAILS, CINEMA AND CYCLADEAN RHYTHMS
Evenings – and nights – on Mykonos can be as relaxed or as high-octane as you want. Mikri Venetia (Little Venice) in Hora is an irresistible spot to sit back and people-watch. Sip a refreshing melon katerinaki cocktail in a waterfront bar as the sun goes down behind the hilltop 16th-century windmills. For a roof-raising bassline during the summer months, tune into the Paradise beach clubs, which host international DJs – and legendary parties – into the early hours. If your moves are more maritime than 'big fish, little fish', hire a luxury yacht for the evening and watch the bright lights of Mykonos from afar. Prefer to keep things chilled? Seek out Cine Manto. This intimate open-air cinema hosts regular film nights under the stars, with souvlaki and cold beer to keep you company.