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From a distance, the 16th-century windmills overlooking Mykonos Town give the impression of a quaint old place with a slower pace of life, away from the fast-forward speed of today’s global world. And you can find that gentler rhythm on Mykonos, one of the Cyclades group of Greek islands – but that’s not what most people come to this sun-soaked spot in the Mediterranean for. Mainly, they come to the party. In July and August, the cafes, bars, and boutiques of the Hora (main town) of the island are teeming with sun-seeking, fun-seeking crowds, and Mykonos has adapted to serve them – pumping clubs play host to big-name DJs and swanky hotels cater to an A-list crowd. So if you visit in high summer then come prepared – pack your sun lotion, your most fashion-forward outfits, and your dancing shoes. Outside of peak season island life resumes at a more gentle pace.
The houses of Mykonos Town, with their exuberantly colored wooden doors, windows, and balconies, line the narrow streets forming a typical Cycladic labyrinth town, and mixing with beautiful churches and chapels, purple bougainvillea displaying its blousy wares against the bright white walls. The beautiful people flock to this most picturesque of backdrops to see and be seen, and one of the most popular parading grounds is the area of Little Venice. Named for its resemblance to its Italian namesake, this settlement overlooking the southwest end of the harbor with its tightly packed houses almost toppling into the sea was created during the 18th century by rich merchants and ship captains. Today, many of these historic homes have been transformed into restaurants, bars, shops and nightclubs, and the area throbs with life at all hours.
There is one building which, while still very much in the center of town, offers a more peaceful take on bustling Hora. Mykonos is home to a huge number of those simple whitewashed churches that seem to soothe the soul, but the most beloved of them all is Panagia Paraportiani, a Byzantine jewel with spectacular views of the deep blue waters of the Med. Visit at the end of the day to watch as the sun sinks below the sea, gilding the old stone walls as it goes.
Partying in Mykonos is open all hours, and if you’ve woken up keen to get right back on the party train, then there are beaches to help you find your groove. On the southern coast, Paradise Beach — Mykonos' original nudist beach — is one of the most popular places on the island, with a lively strip of hotels, restaurants, bars, and clubs – so there’s always another cold beer close to hand. Head further east along the coast and you’ll find Super Paradise Beach, where things really start to get loose. Boats bob in the bay and the sand is lined with row upon row of parasol-topped loungers that fill up with revel-ready bathers as the day goes on and the music continues to pump from the beach bar.
If you’re looking for a stretch of sand fit for all the family, then head to Kalafatis Beach. This shingle and sand beach has natural shade from a line of trees that run right along the back, so there’s plenty of space to lay out a picnic blanket for the little ones. Offshore breezes make it a well-known windsurfing spot too, and there’s a tavern for drinks and snacks if you weren’t quite organized enough to pack up the cooler.
So you’re in Greece, the birthplace of one of the world’s greatest ancient civilizations. There must be some pretty impressive old buildings close by, right? Right. From the jetty in Mykonos Town, it’s a short boat ride to Delos, one of the most important archaeological sites in the country. The mythical birthplace of twins Apollo and Artemis, this Unesco World Heritage Site was once the religious and political center of the Cyclades, and today you can wander through the ancient ruins of once-monumental structures like the Sanctuary of Apollo. Other highlights include colorful floor mosaics, villas with grand courtyards, the famous Naxian lions on their terrace, various still-standing temples, and a sweeping view over the whole lot from Mount Kynthos. Make sure to kit up for your visit and wear a hat, sunscreen, and walking shoes.
With a huge choice of villas sprinkled right across this pretty Cycladic island, from the party scene of Mykonos Town to quieter spots along the coast, you’re sure to find your ideal vacation home.
Down at the southernmost tip of the island, our Aleomandra villas have wide-open views of endless Mediterranean blue. Close enough to some of Mykonos’ best-known beaches and to the lively scene in the capital to get fully involved, you also have everything you could need for a laidback summer vacation without ever having to step outside your front door. Grab a drink, choose a sun lounger and just relax by your pool – no need to move till sunset.
When it’s hard to tell where the pool ends and the ocean begins, you know you’ve found the right place. So float in your infinity pool in one of our Fanari villas and congratulate yourself on your excellent vacation choice. Whitewashed walls, sun-baked terraces, and cool, shady alfresco dining areas make a picture-perfect backdrop and entertaining becomes a breeze with fully equipped kitchens and wood-fired barbecues. So what are you waiting for? Gather the family, or your most favorite and favored friends, and go.