There is no middle ground for Mykonos: you either love it or you hate it, and those feelings almost never go away. The island is Greece’s playground and one of the top holiday destinations in the world. Some people think you have not really seen what Greece has to offer until you visit Mykonos.
The island is definitely the most upscale area of Greece, and its real estate is, by far, the most expensive. The main roads are among the best paved in Greece, and it is served by an adequate, clean airport that was recently renovated and is slated for further expansion in the next few years. The chronic shortages of cleaning water were tackled a few years back, with the building of a dam, and the island boasts a new, huge harbor, east of Mykonos town, where cruise ships can dock easily.
The building boom of the last 5 years was fuelled by the Greek stock market boom of 1998-2000 that financed many Greeks’ dream of owning a summer home in Mykonos. Land prices were driven to the stratosphere but that did not lead to haphazard building styles and loss of the island’s architectural chartacter. Although many more buildings dot the barren island’s landscape today, zoning rules were adhered to almost religiously, and Mykonos retains its Cycladic charm. One- or two-story whitewashed houses, many with swimming pools, and small size luxury hotel units have sprung up all over, mainly near the beaches.
The town was affected by this growth mainly through the renovation of old homes and the opening of even more upscale boutiques and even more gourmet restaurants. Nobu Mykonos, at Mykonos town’s Belvedere Hotel, was the first restaurant of the Nobu chain to open in Greece, in the summer of 2003.
Mykonos has always attracted the local and international rich and famous not only because of its barren, haunting scenery and pretty town, but, mainly, because it is lucky to be endowed with crystal clear waters and scores of truly beautiful beaches. Super Paradise, Agrari, Lia, Kalo Livadi, Panormos, and many more, are the main magnet that attracts hundreds of thousands of people every summer and keeps prices quite high.
The island is both a 24-hour party island, and an elegant and quiet retreat. You can choose to have an around-the-clock rave party holiday, or relax in a luxury hotel, on a uniquely beautiful island, swim in stunning, but not crowded beaches, and go to bed early after enjoying a world class dinner. Oh, and everything in between those two extremes.
A typical day in Mykonos starts around noon, with breakfast at Aigli or Astra, in the Matogiannia main street of Chora. The scene then moves to the beaches, with all-day laziness, maybe a few drinks at the beach bars, and water sports. Many beach bars on the island serve on the beach and send their waiters to the umbrellas by the surf to take and deliver orders.
Then, around 7 pm, many head back to Chora for the sunset. Caprice Bar and next-door Vagelio’s bar, in Little Venice, are the center of activity at this hour. Caprice has the crowd and the ambience inside, but Vagelio’s drinks are much cheaper. Many cognoscenti buy a drink at Vagelio’s and hang at Caprice. The partying goes on until 10 or 11 pm, when it’s time for a shower, a cup of espresso, and off to dinner and more partying. Until the wee hours of the morning. That’s Mykonos!
Ornos: About 4 km south of Chora, near Agios Ioannis. A crowded but beautiful beach, lined with hotels and tavernas.
Kalafatis: 17 km southeast of Chora Kalafatis is lined with a few hotels and is famous among tourists for its sparkling waters and the fine sand. There small cafes and tavernas.
Elia: 14 km southeast of Chora via Ano Mera. Elia is the last stop on the regular taxi-boat line, that takes bathers to all the southern beaches of Mykonos, by caique. Elia (“Olive”) is busy and favored by nudists.
Super Paradise: About 5 km southeast of Chora. Super Paradise is the most popular beach of Mykonos. There is a happening beach bar that serves drinks and food. The left end of this lovely cove is quiet popular among the gay crowd and assorted nudi…
Psarou: 4 km south of Chora and next to Platys Gialos. Psarou is an organized beach, with all the amenities and facilities you can think of, from watersports to restaurants, and, at the same time, one of the top family beaches of the island.
Paradise: About 7 km from Chora. Paradise is near the airport and next to Super Paradise. It features anumber of facilities and amenities, such as taverns, beach bars, water sports and a club.
Platys Gialos: 3 km southeast of Chora. Lined with hotels and restaurants, Platys Gialos is the top family beach in Mykonos. Here you will also find watersport facilities.
Agrari: About 7 km southeast of Chora. One of the best beaches in Mykonos, Agrari is sandy and the waters are amazing. There is a beach bar, that also serves snacks, and a couple of hotels.
Agios Sostis: Αbout 7 km north of Chora via Ano Mera. A quite beach, ideal for families.
Ftelia: 12 km north of Chora via Ano Mera. An isolated beach that is favored by surfers.
Panormos: About 9 km north of Chora. A quite sandy beach, ideal for surfers.
Lia: 16 km southeast of Chora. Next to Elia beach, Lia is a peaceful beach famous among nudists. There is a nice restaurant, La Luna, that operates from 10 am until late in the evening, and serves fresh fish and grilled vegetables…
Kalo Livadi: By Lia beach, 2 kilometers from Ano Mera. One of the best beaches on this island and one of the few with fine sand. It is favored mostly by families and the Athens rich and famous. There is a pleasant Thai restaurant right behind its west end…
Megali Ammos: About 3 km southwest of Chora. A quite, small beach close to Chora.
Agios Stefanos: About 3 km northwest of Chora. Although close to Chora, Agios Stefanos is not very crowded because the surrounding area is mainly residential, although there are some hotels and rooms.
Agios Ioannis: 4 km southwest of Chora. A small stylish cove, close to the most luxurious hotels on the island. There a few very nice taverns and cafes.
Paragka: 5 km southeast of Chora. A quiet cove with a popular tavern.
Tourist agencies serve as tourist information bureaus. The tourist police will help with tourist information (22890 22482).
The police station is in Chora (22890 22235). For emergencies, dial 100.
There is one public hospital on the island, about 2 km from Chora, on the way to the airport (2289023994).
It is located near the new marina, right next to the port (22890 22218).
Foreign Press Outlet
Mykonos is a major tourist area and there are foreign press outlets everywhere, including most mini markets.
The main bus terminal is located in Chora, on the inner ring road (22890 23360). There are frequent buses to all destinations. There are also many taxis (22890 23700 and 22890 22400).
Munchen Rent-a-car, in Ornos (tel 22890 27534, fax 22890 27534, firstname.lastname@example.org, www.munchen-mykonos.com).
Mykonos has many banks, in and around Chora. There are full-service Greek banks that handle all major transactions, such as money transfers, cash advances on credit cards, and money wires. Banking hours are Monday through Thursday 8am-2pm and Friday 8 am-2.30 pm.
• The drive from the airport to Super Paradise or Agrari, for pure barren natural beauty.
• The after-5 pm rave party at Super Paradise beach. You have to see it to believe it.
• The rave parties at Cavo Paradiso, on top of a cliff, that end with the sunrise.
• The apres-beach parties at Caprice, in Little Venice.
• Early dinner, watching the sunset, on the beach at Agios Giannis, near Ornos.
• Crowd-watching outside Pierro’s, one of the most famous and oldest gay bars in the world. Among the celebrities you may be able to spot here are the fashion designers Valentino and Jean Paul Gaultier, annual pilgrims to the Mykonos scene.
• Late breakfast with great freshly squeezed juices at Aigli, across the street from the Astra club.
• Day-trip to Delos island. The excursion boats depart from Chora, Elia, Paradise and Super Paradise at 8.30.
• Paradise Beach, below Cavo Paradiso club. It is not one of the best beaches and it is always crowded.
• Driving a scooter, especially without a helmet and while intoxicated. Very, very dangerous. Better to drink a couple of coctails less a day and rent a car.
• Trying to find parking near town at night, especially during the high season. Park 500m away and save yourself the aggravation.