About Mykonos Town beaches
Mykonos Town, the capital of the island of Mykonos, is regarded as Greece’s most glamorous and expensive destination. The Old Town is a labyrinth of narrow winding cobbled streets, lined by whitewashed cubic houses with flat roofs and blue wooden shutters and balconies. Bougainvillea, geraniums and pots of basil add splashes of colour, as do the gossip-magazine celebrities who turn up here through summer – recent visitors include American heiress Paris Hilton, American rock star Madonna, and French fashion designer Jean-Paul Gaultier. The island is also a favourite destination of the gay set, who are drawn here by its reputation as Greece’s see-and-be-seen party destination, and its countless tastefully designed bars, tavernas, boutiques and art galleries. Mykonos Town’s hallmarks are its distinctive skyline lined by four white windmills and the resident pelican that lives in the harbour.
The best sand beaches lie on the south coast, with the most talked-about being the twin party beaches Paradiso (very developed, lined by beach bars playing 24-hour music, watersports facilities and a diving centre) and Super Paradiso (less developed than Paradiso, popular with male gay nudists). Closer to Mykonos Town, Ornos is a family-orientated beach with a Blue Flag, 2.5km (1.5 miles) to the south; Agios Ioannis lies in a dramatic bay and featured in the film ‘Shirley Valentine’, 4km (2.5 miles) southwest; and Plati Gialos is a well-equipped resort beach, 4km (2.5 miles) southeast.
Beyond the beach:
Landmarks in Mykonos Town include the picturesque waterside area of Little Venice, the 18th-century whitewashed Church of the Paraportiani, the Archaeological Museum and the Nautical Museum. The island’s second largest settlement, Ano Mera, which lies 7km (4 miles) east of Mykonos Town, is worth visiting to see the 16th-century Monastery of Panagia Touliani, home to a collection of Cretan icons.
Mykonos Town, renowned for its hedonistic nightlife and glamorous gay community, is not particularly geared towards families with children. However, the more family-orientated beaches are Ornos and Plati Gialos, both complete with watersports facilities, and there is a water park called Watermania near Elia Beach.
Through summer, excursion boats depart from Mykonos Town harbour, taking visitors on day trips every morning from Tuesday to Sunday (journey time – 25 minutes) to the nearby island of Delos, believed by the ancients to have been the birthplace of Apollo and Artemis, and home to an archaeological site with sanctuaries and temples. While on the boat, look out for dolphins.
Book in to the whitewashed Belvedere Hotel (www.belvederehotel.com), a member of ‘Small Luxury Hotels’ and one of Mykonos’s most luxurious boutique hotels. Centring on an outdoor pool with a sea view, it has 31 rooms, eight suites, a gym, massage therapies, and is also home to the prestigious Matsuhisa Mykonos sushi restaurant.