Mykonos villa holiday guide
Mykonos has changed over the years, from quaint Greek fishing community, through up-market celeb-magnet and gay paradise, to full-throttle party destination—and it retains elements of all these things. The capital Mykonos Town is so picturesque that it is sometimes hard to believe it is real; the thumping disco beat at Paradise Beach on the crowded south coast is a delight for party-people; the ancient Greek architecture on the UNESCO-protected museum-island of Delos is eerie and diverting. Because of this variety, Mykonos villas allow you to create your own bespoke experience.
Towns and Villages in Mykonos
Bewitching and strangely familiar Mykonos Town is the only large settlement on the island, and even first-time villa holidaymakers will get a feeling of déjà vu. The Cubist buildings of Little Venice rising from an azure sea, fine museums, whitewashed and slightly dishevelled Parapotiani church, and the thatched windmills on the skyline never fail to delight. This is the stage upon which visitors can enjoy hectic nightlife all summer. Mykonos Town is like an ideal partner: not only good looking, but fun to be with too.
Countryside in Mykonos
Ornos spreads across a neck of land beyond which is the almost-island of Agios Ioannis. North is the island’s highest point—Profitis Ilias Katomeritis—from which you can see the whole of Mykonos, and to the east is the huge bay of Panormos, where you will find the best of the north coast’s sheltered beaches. Largely untouched by tourism, the village of Ano Mera—second in size only to the capital, and a haven of untouristy Greek normality—lies at the centre of the island. Wherever you choose to rent your villa, the photo opportunities seem almost endless: whitewashed churches, beached fishing boats, and theatrical sea views.
History in Mykonos
History enthusiasts are well-served on Mykonos. The Archaeological, Maritime, and Folklore Museums and Lena’s House between them cover finds from Ancient Delos and the burial island of Renia. Just to the west of the island is the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Ancient Delos—boats shuttle you there from a dedicated dock in Mykonos Town. Take a day out away from the comfort of your villa to visit its ancient houses, Sacred Way, and the Lion Terrace, whose proud stone felines are the Greek equivalent of the Egyptian sphinxes.
Active pursuits in Mykonos
Given that beaches are such a large part of Mykonos’s attraction, it is no surprise that water-sports are the most popular pursuit. Add to the pleasures of splashing around in the shallows or pootling around in pedalos by at least using snorkel and flippers. You can hire boats and sailing dinghies from most beaches near to your villa. If you prefer somebody else to do the hard work, sign up for a day cruise along the coast to some of the inaccessible beaches.
Eating and drinking in Mykonos
Such is the choice of restaurants and tavernas in Mykonos Town that trying them out is one of the main pleasures of a villa holiday here. How to narrow it down to manageable proportions? One useful criterion is the setting: intimate bistro hidden in a Little Venice back-street? West-facing seafront balcony for a glorious sunset? Garden restaurant for food under the stars? Tavernas sited on Mykonos’s many beaches? The patio of your villa? Everywhere, look out for the blackened dome ovens and smoke-wreathed charcoal grills, enjoy sizzling freshly-cooked lamb or pork souvlakia (kebabs), oven-baked lamb and potato kleftiko, delicious sheftalia (spiced sausage), or grilled fish fresh from the sea.
Arts and culture in Mykonos
Tiny Delos is a treasure island of art and architecture. The Minoan Fountain, the columns of the House on the Lake, the Temple of Isis—indeed, the whole site—could fill a textbook on Ancient Greek buildings. Intricate mosaics offer insights into life as it was lived thousands of years ago, and statues in the House of Cleopatra, the bust of Hermes that caps a tall column, and the carved Lions that guard the Sacred Way attest to the high standards of their ancient sculptors.
Shopping in Mykonos
Unlike most Greek islands, Mykonos offers a layer of serious shopping above the usual mass-produced souvenirs. High-end clothes and jewellery shops, stores selling reproductions of ancient and Byzantine designs, smart designer sandals and traditional textiles, even original art, all are available in the capital’s winding streets. Wines (Paraportiano is a name to look out for) and niche foods like olives, preserved fruits, and Greek confections, too, are worth buying to take home or enjoy back at your villa. Just remember that Mykonos attracts a lot of money, so you will often be paying top whack.
The Mykonos Coast
The nearest good beach to Mykonos Town is Agios Stephanos. Ornoshas a decent south-facing strand, and boats serve other beaches on the Agios Ioannis peninsula. The south-coast beaches pull in the summer crowds. Best of the bunch are the aptly named Paradise Beach and Super Paradise Beach.