A Mini-Guide to Mykonos
Planning a trip to Mykonos this summer? Here are a few of our favorite places to stay, shop, eat, drink and see. Kaló taxídi!
Where to stay
Bill & Coo is a romantic getaway perched above one of the island’s most beautiful beaches. The rooms are modern, fresh and typically Greek in feeling and afforded of enviable seaviews. Extensive spa and wellness facilities, plus a small high-end shopping village and several bars and restaurants within the complex make this a great option for a relaxing holiday that requires minimal effort.
Branco is one of the newest boutique resorts in Mykonos and one of the most luxurious. High end culinary delights, artfully curated shopping along side a thoughtfully planned wellness program await you here. The rooms — for when you’re done partying — are modern and minimal, but the real drawcard is the beach. Book yourself a sunbed and soak up those rays...
Kenshō is another of the latest boutique accommodation on the island, located further west (it’s all about the sunset views) on one of the island’s most exclusive beaches. There are only thirty rooms at Kenshō so if its privacy and discretion you seek, this may be your place.
We may be biased, but we think there is really only once place to stay in Mykonos, and that’s San Giorgio. The only Design Hotels™ property on the island, this boutique sized accommodation is perched on a private cliff with enviable views out over the Aegean and a priceless sunset position. The design is what all your Mykonian dreams are made of. White-washed walls, bare concrete floors, unfinished wood, floating macrame hammocks and deep low seats — making this place the epitome of barefoot luxe. The poolside restaurant serves light, fresh and healthy food and some pretty amazing cocktails plus there is a daily itinerary of activities that range from yoga to mindfulness classes. Located right next door to the famous Skorpios club, bar and restaurant so if its variety you seek, you shall find it here. At San Giorgio you can have any kind of Mykonos holiday you want — total detox, or party the nights away. Either way, this is the place to do it.
Where to eat & drink
If you’re staying in a fab resort or villa, chances are you won’t want to leave. But if you decide to venture out, these are our tips.
In a somewhat secluded spot on the north side of the island, Alemagou beach bar and restaurant is a great spot to dine at any time of the day — or reserve a lounger on the beach and stay all day. Afternoons are whiled away under the shade with long boozy lunches. Evenings start as soon as the sun heads south but only really picks up, in true Mediterranean fashion, around 9pm when the DJ warms up. The menu is heavily focused on seafood and is fresh and healthy and easily paired with something from the extensive wine or cocktail list.
If you’re spending a day wandering around the main town of Chora, then Eva’s Garden is your lunch spot. Family owned and run for three decades, here you’ll be served home cooked meals in an outdoor courtyard space shaded by a vine-covered trellis.
Nearby to Alemagou is Farma — Greece’s very first farm-to-table restaurant. Another any time of the day dining destination, here you will dine alfresco seated at oversized communal tables while the house cats play at your feet. Being farm-to-table the menu changes frequently and highlights fresh local seasonal produce to its very best.
Kiko’s Tavern doesn’t have a website, in fact it barely has an address (let alone a sign). It’s really not as hard as it sounds to find it, so don’t be put off. We recommend heading to Agios Sostis Beach on the north side of the island, walk to the top of the hill and follow your nose. The place opens at midday but there will be a queue forming a long while before that. But, never fear. Tables turn over quickly, and the charming owner often brings wine to appease waiting patrons. Their grilled pulpo is delicious, and totally worth the effort and a wait.
Located adjacent to the tranquil and secluded beach of Agia Anna, near Kalafatis, Nesaea has an organic farm to table menu, showcasing the best ingredients from all over the Greek isles. Chef Christos Athanasiadis deconstructs traditional recipes using the best produce to create comfort food like you’ve never enjoyed before.
Down the south east coast of the island you’ll find Solymar, on a scenic beach surrounded by cliffs. The restaurant spills out onto the sand and merges with luxury loungers that are accessible by the beach’s private pier. The food here is more international, and light, so you won’t feel like you’ve outgrown your swimmers after one meal. And if you’re after a bit of retail therapy there is a small boutique on site that sells everything you need to look glam while you soak up the sun.
If you’re staying at San Giorgio then you’ll feel like you don’t need to leave, but take our word for it, it is definitely worth dressing up and heading (all 10 mins walk away) to sister property Scorpios club. Under cover at the restaurant is a great spot for a meal during the hottest part of the day, while the ampitheatre style seating area is the perfect spot for an aperitif while the sun ventures closer to the horizon, before the DJ starts his set and you dance the rest of the night away...
Where to shop
Aside from the Bazaar at Scorpios (the Caravana collection they carry is utterly chic) — which is a must see — we recommend taking an afternoon to wander around the old town and soak in the sights, as well as for a spot (or two) of retail therapy.
Some of our favorite spots are: ChrisP for beautifully draped dresses, Jardin for a delectable selection of lifestyle goodies, Amnesia for a chic assortment of locally designed fashion, jewelry and accessories, a beautiful edit of casual chic must-haves at Dew, traditional hand-made leather sandals from Liontis, Kessaris for high-end jewelry, get your fill of caftans and beach cover ups at Greek label Maurizio Mykonos and Ergon for chic casual wear shoes and homewares.
What to see & do
There are two types of Mykonos holiday, plant yourself at a hip resort and don’t move unless you’re grooving to the DJ’s tunes until dawn, or the more adventurous variety which sees you explore and see more of the island, beyond just one beach. The latter is what we recommend (but then who are we to say — it’s your holiday!), in which case you should rent a car or a buggy. Public transport in Mykonos (including taxis) is almost non-existent. So unless you have endless time at hand heed our advice.
If it is beaches you want, keep in mind the islands alternate moniker, ‘the island of wind’, when planning where you’ll spend your days. The clubs and their serviced water-side cabana’s tend to be well protected, but some beaches (particularly the public areas) are definitely more windy than others — so if you’re not keen to have your hair whipped into a frenzy each day, check these out. Psarou is located on the south west of the island, very trendy, and well serviced with restaurants, Agios Ioannis is small, quiet and quite sheltered while Loulos beach is a smaller and more protected to the point of almost being hidden — and quite close to the larger and more trendy Kalo Livadi.
While it’s beaches are the main drawcard, Mykonos’ old town Chora (pronounced ‘Hora’) is worth spending a day exploring. The two ‘must-see’ tourist sights are the walk along Little Venice and the windmills of Kato Mili, but it's really the labyrinthe of winding cobblestone streets that pave a path through the white-washed houses that make the old town worthy of a day trip.
There are a number of other day trips that can be enjoyed via boat from Mykonos — in particular the neighbouring islands of Delos and Rineia. Delos is reputedly the birthplace of Apollo and Artemis, the offspring of Zeus and Leto in Greek mythology. There is a world cultural heritage archeological site and an archeological museum worth visiting on the island. The neighbouring uninhabited island of Rineia lays claim to a number of spectacular secluded beaches that are only accessible by boat.
And if you’re looking for a holiday souvenir or are only up for armchair travel, pick yourself up a copy of the Mykonos Muse tome by Assouline — it's bound to inspire.
Text / Suzy Annetta
Images / Courtesy of Assouline and Design Hotels™