Popular as a tourist destination since the 1950s, Mykonos is very much an island with a split personality. During peak season, as the temperatures soar, tourists from every corner of the globe descend on Mykonos to soak up the sun and take advantage of the glorious beaches and superb Greek hospitality.
A favourite haunt of celebrity A-listers, the glamour and contemporary summer vibes in Mykonos draw in affluent crowds of party revellers each year between May and August, however, it is later in the season when the island really comes into its own. After the throngs have dispersed, the locals claim Mykonos back, and the islands natural charm without the tourist hype really shines through. With 300 days of sunshine a year, there is no such thing as a bad time to visit!
Lose yourself in the labyrinthine streets of the old town with its whitewashed cobbles and cubic houses. Experience a friendly welcome in a local taverna and sample some of the traditional culinary delights of the island whilst watching the sunset over the Aegean. Whatever type of holiday you’re looking for, Mykonos can provide it. So why not surprise yourself this summer?
The average holidaymaker’s main objective when travelling abroad is to find a beach they can sunbathe on whilst keeping up a steady flow of cocktail consumption. With a range of spectacular beaches across the island offering these things in abundance as well as water sports, boat trips and scuba diving, Mykonos has got it covered!
If you’re after a slice of culture, however, look no further than Mykonos’ main town, also known as Chora. With a history dating back to 7th-century Byzantine times, there is much to discover in this charmingly quaint fishing town. The Church of Paraportiani, in particular, is worth a visit. It took over 200 years to build and its quirky architecture has made it one of the most photographed landmarks in all Greece.
The iconic landmark of Mykonos, however, has to be the windmills of Kato Mili. Overlooking the crystal blue Aegean, set on a hill above the town, the striking scene of these seven, 15th-century windmills all in a line is well worthy of a photograph or two. If you prefer your adventures on lower ground, however, why not spend an afternoon around the port and try to spot Petros the Pelican? The original Petros crash landed in Mykonos injured from a storm back in the 1950s and became to some extent a mascot for the island. Although he died in 1986, the tradition of naming a local pelican Petros has continued.
Eating out in Mykonos has grown to be quite typical of many of the tourist destinations in the Greek Isles. Catering to the tourist trade, in some of the major resorts such as Paradise Beach, you can find restaurants serving everything from Italian cuisine to sushi!
However, for a taste of traditional Mykonos, try a local café or beachside taverna where you will more than likely find island specialities on the menu, made with locally sourced produce. Because of the minimal rainfall on the island, agriculture is not a huge trade on Mykonos, and the majority of the cuisine on offer reflects this.
Like most islands, fresh seafood is an essential part of the locals’ diets, with delicacies like octopus tentacles featuring as a resident favourite. Mykonos is also the original producer of the barley rusk. Traditionally a food used by the fishermen on long voyages because of its excellent shelf life, barley rusks have become a staple in traditional cooking on the island, and are widely sought after in restaurants across Greece.