Mykonos is the great glamour island of Greece and flaunts its sizzling St-Tropez-meets-Ibiza style and party-hard reputation. The high-season mix of hedonistic holidaymakers, cruise-ship crowds, buff gay men and posturing fashionistas throngs Mykonos Town (aka Hora), a gorgeous whitewashed Cycladic maze, delighting in its cubist charms and its chichi cafe-bar-boutique scene.
The island is maxed out with cashed-up (or spendthrift) visitors, hip hotels, beach bars and restaurants. There are a few provisos about visiting here. Come only if you are prepared to pay. And are intent on jostling with street crowds. And sitting bum cheek to cheek with oiled-up loungers at the packed main beaches. Oh, and partying relentlessly. Out of season, devoid of gloss and preening celebrities, Hora basically closes, with nothing but the occasional person and pelican wandering the empty streets.
Mykonos is the jumping-off point for the archaeological site of the nearby island of Delos.
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These are our favorite local haunts, touristy spots, and hidden gems throughout Mykonos.
Built between the 15th and 17th centuries, Mykonos’ most famous church comprises four small chapels – plus another on an upper storey reached by an exterior staircase. It’s usually locked, but the fabulously photogenic whitewashed, rock-like exterior is the drawcard.
A headless, almost limbless 2nd-century BC statue of Hercules in Parian marble is the highlight of this small, well-presented collection. Otherwise it's very heavy on pottery and funerary stelae (carved monuments), much of it sourced from Delos and the neighbouring island of Rineia, which served as its cemetery. Periodic exhibitions incorporate contemporary art and design into the displays.
The best beach within easy walking distance of the centre of town, Megali Ammos has a couple of upmarket resorts and an excellent taverna right on the golden sands. It's a 10-minute walk south from the windmills.
Constructed in the 16th century by the Venetians for the milling of wheat, seven of Mykonos' iconic windmills are picturesquely situated on a small hill overlooking the harbour.
This excellent little gallery is well worth a peek for its temporary exhibitions that showcase contemporary paintings, sculpture and photography.
Leaning right over the water, this picturesque cluster of arcaded Venetian houses hides numerous bars, boutiques and clubs.
Amid the barnacle-encrusted amphorae, ye olde nautical maps and navigation instruments, there are numerous detailed models of famous sailing ships and paddle steamers. You can also learn the difference between an Athenian trireme, a Byzantine dromon and an ancient Egyptian seagoing ship. There's an enormous Fresnel lighthouse lantern in the courtyard.
Housed in an 18th-century sea captain’s house, this moderately interesting museum features a large collection of furnishings and other artefacts, including a cellar full of nautical objects.
This small golden-sand beach, right on a busy thoroughfare, is not one of Mykonos' finest but it is centrally located, popular with families and good for a quick dip.