In Travel

How To Party Like A Local In Mykonos

On this infamous Greek island, the restaurants are world-class, the beaches are idyllic and the party never stops.

A party playground since the 1960s, frequented by the likes of Jackie Onassis, Marlon Brando and Grace Kelly, the Cycladic island of Mykonos is an extrovert’s idea of heaven. Outside of its busiest months, there are plenty of low-key activities to keep you entertained (beaching, eating, exploring), but during high summer, the island really comes alive.

In fact, it’s not uncommon to find the cost of a helicopter transfer listed on the drinks menu of a Mykonos club. Whether it’s to appear lavish, or because enough people genuinely want to know, it’s a sign of what life is like when you call this Greek island home – whether it’s for a week, or just a day. Small in size, but spread out enough to make a hiring a car (or a driver) worth your while, there’s a paradasical mix of wholesome and excessive on offer.

9am: Breakfast at Gioras Wood Medieval Mykonian Bakery

In Greece, 9am is an early start. Odds are, there will be no Greeks out and about at this hour. But you’ve got a lot to get through, so head off through Old Town’s charming cobbled streets in search of a bakery. There, you’ll be tempted by mouth-watering, flakey, cheesy, utterly indulgent baked goods (it’d be futile for us to suggest just one, but bougatsa – layers of phyllo pastry, filled with custard, mince or cheese – ranks pretty highly). First timers might be surprised to learn that the Greek coffee culture is a world unto its own – and can be quite confusing. The shortlist includes frappe, freddo cappuccino, espresso, freddo espresso, “Greek coffee”. If you’re not fussy, just ask the barista to point you in the right direction.

10am: Explore Delos

Mythology posits that the island of Delos, off the west coast of Mykonos, is the birthplace of Apollo and Artemis. The UNESCO world heritage site is covered with ancient ruins and traces of civilisation from as far back as the third millennium B.C. One of the only structures on the island is the Archaeological Museum, which provides a fascinating close up of the excavation and restoration that has taken place on the island. A visit to Delos is especially worth your while if you bypassed Athens on your way to Mykonos, but will finish your holiday feeling guilty if the only things you do are eat, drink and lay horizontally on a beach (each to their own).

1pm: Lunch at Kiki’s

Kiki’s Tavern Photo: Trip Advisor

The reason everyone talks about Kiki’s Tavern is because it’s pretty much the best thing about Mykonos. You’d miss the tiny, electricity-free restaurant if you didn’t know to follow the smells, sounds and crowds making the same pilgrimage as you. Officially it opens at 1pm, but if it’s high season you’ll need to arrive before 11am to get in line for a table. Next to Kiki’s is a set of stairs; follow them down to a quiet cove of pure blue water which calls you to cool off while you wait (bring a buddy who’ll hold the place in line). The fresh ingredients are cooked in a wood-fire oven, the rose flows and you’ll probably make friends with your table mates. It’s that kind of wonderful. Not willing to wait? Head instead to Spilia, a wholesome seafood restaurant on the south-eastern corner of the island, which makes the best lobster pasta ever.

4pm: Swim at Platis Gialos

Platis Gialos Photo: Wikimedia

There are many factors to consider when it comes to choosing a beach in Mykonos. Au natural, or full-service? Brag-worthy, or affordable? Peaceful, or pumping? Platis Gialos has our vote as the beach that falls somewhere in the middle of every ultimatum. There’s a small area at one end where you can BYO towel if you’d rather blow your cash on a Dom Perignon later, and just the right amount of beachgoers that means it’s lively but not overrun. Grab a lounger outside one of the cafes, order yourself an Aperol Spritz and bask in your excellent decision making.

7pm: Drink at Little Venice

Seaside seating at Caprice of Mykonos

This charming, waterside drinking spot is a favourite of Instagrammers and postcard photographers for good reason. There’s no better place to grab a table and a cocktail and watch the sunset (and Mykonos is known for its epic sunset). Some of the bars have an open terrace where you can watch the water lap the stone wall, while others are built over the water and feature windows looking out to the sea and famous Mykonos Windmills. Try nab a spot at one of the outdoor bars – like Caprice or Semeli – and save the indoor-only Montparnasse Piano Bar around the corner for later in the night when you’re feeling vocal enough to join the lounge singer in a rendition of “Sweet Caroline”.

9pm: Dinner at Interni

There are plenty of excellent places to have dinner in Mykonos. Celebrities flock to the island, and have been doing so for years, so savvy developers know that the tourist crowd demands something a little more upmarket than the culinary experiences you’ll find on smaller Greek islands (still delicious, but way more rustic and with a charming dose of language barrier). In Old Town, Interni lies behind an unassuming exterior, but step through the double doors and into the open, all-white courtyard and you’ll see why the east-meets-west restaurant is a favourite of tastemakers. The best part? After dinner, the party really gets going, so you can really make a night of it.

11pm: Party at Scorpio’s

On the southern tip of the island, Scorpio’s is the immaculately-styled, bohemian playground of the rich and famous, hidden from plain sight but with a spectacular view out across the Aegean. It doesn’t have the all-out flash of nearby Nammos, but the beauty is the subtlety. By day, the bar and restaurant is like your most fabulous friend’s living room. By night, the never-ending flow of good vibes (and magnums of champagne) create a party utopia. Devoted party-goers mingle with those just looking to peacock in a way that proves Mykonos is the party island you have to experience at least once in your life.

2am: Bill & Coo Suites

At the end of a long but spectacular day, crawl into bed at one of the island’s most chic hotel hotspots. The 30-suite hotel Bill & Coo looks out over Megali Ammos bay, a quiet spot that’s close enough to the action of Old Town (in case you need to make a gyros run). The design is contemporary, but nods to the quintessential Cycladic style where white walls, pale timber and minimal decor take priority. The infinity pool, a stylish spot to spend the daylight hours, is lined with LED lights that twinkle like stars after dark. The service is super premium too; they can provide a personal shopper, or arrange a yacht charter, in a flash. When in Mykonos…

Published 21 December, 2017