Arguably one of the prettiest islands in the Cyclades, Mykonos offers many advantages for the perfect summer holiday, including a fascinating history, tempting white sand beaches and picturesque villages, as well as delicious food and wine. Although Mykonos is sometimes labelled a 24-hour party island, with revellers flocking to the beautiful (but often crowded) beaches by day, and world-famous clubs by night, we can assure you that there is so much more to this Grecian getaway. In fact, there’s a large enough choice of beaches to suit everyone, from party lovers to water sports enthusiasts and those who simply want to relax in a tranquil spot in the sun. Below, TLTB founder Susie Marquis shares personal tips from her travels around the island, including recommended local experiences, tried-and-tested restaurants and the best luxury villas to rent in Mykonos with some summer availability.
For lovers of historyMykonos has a long and fascinating history dating back 3000 years, with the ancient Greeks, Romans, Byzantines, Venetians and Ottomans all laying claim to Mykonos for a period of time. After the Greek War of Independence in 1830, the island was once again part of Greece, where it has remained ever since. To immerse yourself in the island’s unique history, a visit to the Archaeological Museum of Mykonos, a three-minute walk from the old port in Mykonos Town, is a must. Visitors here can enjoy a vast collection of exhibits from the Hellenistic period and prehistoric times, including vessels, statues, and columns. We also recommend a visit to the nearby sacred island of Delos, revered as the birthplace of twin gods Apollo and Artemis, and one of the most important archaeological sites of the eastern Mediterranean. A magical place to visit, highlights of Delos include the remains of the Temples of Apollo, the sanctuary of Artemis, the famous Lion Street, and the island’s museum.
Sun-drenched beachesWhether you’re travelling with family or a group of friends, you must make time to explore the island’s stunning sandy shores. Many Mykonos beaches, particularly on the south coast of the island, are equipped with sun loungers and beach umbrellas to rent, as well as offering a good choice of beach bars, restaurants, and water sports activities. The famous sandy beaches, including Paradise, Platis Gialos, Psarou, Ornos, Kalo Livadi and Agrari are all beautiful, but do expect more crowds during the summer months.Recommended seaside food and wine experience: Your ConciergeFor those who are interested in enjoying some unique food and wine experiences on the shores of Mykonos, Your Concierge offers some imaginative ideas, including a Fish Meze Experience, and a Greek Cocktail Experience. On the Fish Meze experience, you will learn about the famous fishmongers in Mykonos, and how to create a unique tasting picnic, while the Greek Cocktail Experience, involves learning (and tasting) the various styles of Greek spirits, such as Ouzo, Tsipouro and Mastic. One of our favourites is their unique wine tasting adventure with an expert sommelier in a magical beach location, where you sit on beach cushions and sample local wines while taking in the sea and sunset views and listening to stories from Greek Mythology.
Sandy seclusionIf you’re looking for a quieter and more relaxing ambience, one of our favourites is Agios Sostis on the north coast, home to Kiki’s Tavern, an authentic traditional restaurant located behind the quaint Agios Sostis church. Another great option for those looking for sandy seclusion is Lia Beach, located about 14 kms from Mykonos Town and rated as one of the best swimming and snorkelling beaches on the island. There are umbrellas and sun loungers for rent here, and a beach club offering food and cocktails.Recommended villa: Villa Armenistis (9 bedrooms, 18 guests)For those looking for a large villa in a quiet location, we can recommend Villa Armenistis in the north-west of the island, an 11-minute drive from Agios Sostis beach. Benefitting from wonderful views, the villa also offers a large infinity pool with underwater bar, and a pergola-covered dining area, perfect for evening drinks and sunset dinners.
Discover Ftelia BeachAnother quieter option, the white sands of Ftelia Beach make it one of the prettiest, most unspoilt beaches on the island – it’s also excellent for windsurfing.Recommended villa: Villa Alcyone (4 bedrooms, 8 guests)Located just 150m from Ftelia Beach, the beautiful Villa Alcyone offers captivating views, spacious outdoor terraces, strikingly modern interiors, a home gym and a private infinity pool.Recommended restaurant: Ftelia Beach Club and RestaurantRecently named the best beach club in the in the world by Condé Nast Traveller, Ftelia Beach Club is known for its impressive food offering and tempting array of cocktails.
Off-the-beaten-track optionsClose to a tiny fishing village on the southeast of the island, Kalafatis Beach also feels quieter than other popular beaches on the south coast. Here you’ll find crystal-clear waters, white sands, a restaurant and umbrellas and sun loungers for rent. If you are seeking even more peace and quiet, the lovely Agia Anna Beach is inaccessible by road but can be reached on foot from Kalafatis.Recommended villa: Villa Kalafatis (5 bedrooms, 10-11 guests)Just a short drive from the beaches of both Kalafatis and Elia, this villa benefits from glorious sea views. There is an infinity swimming pool and plenty of shaded and unshaded outdoor terraces for relaxing.Recommended restaurant: Spilia Seaside Beach Bar and Restaurant at Agia Anna Beach invites you to dine inside a majestic cave.
Explore the South coastThe white sand beaches on the south coast are absolutely beautiful and tend to be quite crowded, with rows of umbrellas and sunbeds for rent and some excellent restaurants and bars to try. Depending on the atmosphere you’re looking for, with Mykonos being a relatively small island, you can always explore a quieter (or busier) beach from wherever you are staying. Lots of hotels are based very near the beach on the south coast, but many of our villas tend to be in more private locations, sitting higher on a hillside with wonderful sea views. Recommended villa: Psarou Beach View (4 bedrooms, 8 guests)Just 4 kms from Mykonos Town, this chic villa is set in an elevated position on a hillside, with stunning 180-degree views over Psarou Bay and the beach (which can be accessed by car, or a 450m hiking path). The white sandy coastline here is ideal for swimming and water sports, as well as sunbathing and relaxing. The villa itself offers a jacuzzi, guest bedroom with underwater pool views, and a separate guest house.Recommended restaurant: Nammos restaurantThere is a good selection of beachside restaurants and bars in Psarou Bay, including this eatery which is known for its incredible fresh fish.
Recommend villa: Villa Morpheus (6 bedrooms, 12 guests)Set in a wonderful quiet location, right on the edge of beautiful Ornos Bay in the south of the island, this villa is just a few minutes’ drive from popular Psarou Beach and 15 minutes’ drive from Mykonos Town. The villa offers stunning sea views and boasts a concierge service which can organise restaurant reservations, transfers and much more. Recommended restaurant: Apaggio is known for its incredible food and beautiful seaside location.
Recommended villa: Agios Ioannis(6 bedrooms, 12 guests)Located just 400m from the beach, this villa also benefits from wonderful sunset views towards Delos Island from its terraces. The villa also offers a large infinity swimming pool, and an al fresco dining area with built-in barbecue. Within the private grounds is a charming small chapel.Recommended restaurant: Hippie Fish has been serving up delectable cuisine since the 1960s, and has truly stood the test of time.
Make Memories in Mykonos TownMykonos Town is a particularly picturesque Greek island settlement, with pretty narrow streets and quaint traditional white houses that showcase colourful painted doors. The town also offers a great choice of cafés, bars, and restaurants, as well as both tourist and high-end shopping options. Little Venice, with its 18th century captains’ mansions that boast balconies perched over the sea, also offers some lovely waterfront bars and cafés. The location also provides a great photo opportunity for capturing the famous windmills on the hill in Chora, particularly at sunset. Recommended villa: Windmill View(5 bedrooms, 10 guests)Guests staying at this stunning rental villa can sunbathe by the private pool, indulge in a soothing massage under a pergola, do yoga classes, or sip cocktails while admiring the sunset. The residence staff provide a welcome dinner with wine, a daily Aegean breakfast and the services of a chef for evening meals throughout your stay.Recommended restaurant: Narcissus restaurantThere are many very good restaurants in Mykonos Town, but Narcissus is in a particularly beautiful location with a stunning sunset view. The food here is also excellent, and there is also a quiet lounge area with a fine wine list.