Mykonos is the wild child of the Cyclades, and, much like Ibiza, it’s an island that really comes to life between 1 a.m and 5 a.m. Compared to any other Grecian island besides Santorini, it’s also expensive, with visitors paying a 1,000 percent mark-up for their proximity to some of the best nightclubs in the world. The displays of wealth here can occasionally veer towards the obnoxious; this is a place where signs reading “PRIVATE FLIGHTS THIS WAY” dominate the airport, and there are rumors of villas with Evian-filled pools.
And yet there’s so much more to the island than Elon Musk wannabes downing Cristal on superyachts. Underneath the Tinder Swindler-ness of it all, this is a place drenched in myth: Hercules is believed to have defeated the Giants here, while Delos, a 30-minute boat ride away, is revered as the birthplace of Artemis and Apollo. It’s also said to be the mystical source of Mykonos’s rose-gold light, which is nearly as fabled as that of Provence and more flattering than a dozen Instagram filters put together.
From the Second World War onwards, Mykonos played host to a wealth of artists and writers, too—many of whom immortalized their experiences of its rugged landscape and turquoise sea in their work. Despite the crowds (and his tendency to get “irremediably lost” wandering its winding streets), Lawrence Durrell wrote that, “however many tourists come with their chatter and their litter, little Mykonos will not let the stranger down”—a statement that still holds true. Le Corbusier, on the other hand, was wholly enamored with its white-washed buildings and sky-blue shutters: “Whatever architecture had to say, it said it here.”
It’s Jackie Kennedy, though, who transformed this rocky, windswept island into a magnet for the beau monde. After visiting with her sister, Lee Radziwill in 1961, she vowed to return—a readily achievable dream after she married Aristotle Onassis, with their combined celebrity luring everyone from Grace Kelly to Mick Jagger to Scorpios and its surrounds. Below, find Vogue’s guide for where to stay, eat and shop on Mykonos now.
Where to stay in Mykonos
Mykonos felt busier than ever over the summer of 2022, with travelers ready to indulge in a little carefree hedonism after years of being grounded on decidedly less sunny shores. And while the island may be slightly less crowded this year, it’s still a good idea to book your accommodation sooner rather than later.
The best hotel in Mykonos for… the fashion crowd.
It seems as though everyone with even the vaguest connection to the fashion industry made their way to Cali Mykonos last summer and posted an irresistible shot of its cliff-top infinity pool, the largest on an island that’s not exactly short of them. Opened last year about a 20-minute drive west from Mykonos Town, its sleek, minimalist suites—of which there are no fewer than 40—are perched above the (relatively) quiet Kalafatis Beach, with a private cove for guests. Designed to resemble a traditional Greek village by Athens-based architects STFN Labs, rooms feature acres of marble from different areas of Greece—Volakas, Tinos, Dionysos—along with saltwater plunge pools boasting views of the Aegean. For those tempted to explore the nearby Cyclades (or sail between Mykonos’s innumerable beach clubs), Cali’s fleet of yachts is available for half-day and day-long trips, but you would be forgiven for never leaving the property. In contrast to most hotels on the island, the food here is truly excellent. Mixologist Nikolaidis Nikolaos has developed a list of nine signature cocktails inspired by ancient Greek muses, each of which demands to be tried, while chef Thanos Karaolanis oversees the kitchens, delivering dishes such as baby calamari with an ouzo reduction and one of the best Greek salads on the island.
Bill & Coo Coast Suites
The best hotel in Mykonos for… seeing and being seen.
Bill & Coo now owns two properties on Mykonos, both of which have become a favorite with the A-list. The original, Bill & Coo Suites & Lounge, sits just 15 minutes from the Old Town, and got a revamp in 2016 courtesy of Athens-based K-Studio; its 32 suites are accessed via tiny, winding paths lined with cacti, and have all of the amenities you could wish for, down to miniature Diptyque toiletries. It’s worth visiting just for the Gastronomy Project, where chef Ntinos Fotinakis puts a fine dining twist on the staples of the Mediterranean diet. Bill & Coo Coast, though, has the edge when it comes to location—managing to feel both exclusive and welcoming, pristine and relaxed all at once, with 10 additional suites and a reimagined beachfront pool opening this summer. Its club on Agios Ioannis beach is what people have in their mind’s eye when they book a trip to Mykonos—gorgeous, bronzed clientele sipping ice-cold rosé in between dips in the Med, before heading into its waterfront Beefbar restaurant for sea urchin linguine. You can, and should, book a massage in one of the gazebos overlooking the water, a picturesque Greek Orthodox church visible across the water.
The best hotel in Mykonos for… a boutique escape without the hefty price tag.
In Mykonos, boutique hotel Kensho Ornos is that rarest of things: a relative bargain. Set above Psarou Beach, its nicest rooms come with views of the yacht-studded bay. Kensho takes its name from a Japanese word for enlightenment, and everything here is designed to foster a sense of tranquility—a particularly attractive proposition if you’ve had your fill of the island’s pounding house music. Even the air in the hotel’s common spaces is delicately perfumed with a calming fig-based scent developed specifically for the hotel by an Athens-based specialist. The interiors are built around neutral tones and natural materials; the pool is lined with olive trees, fragrant lavender, and enormous wicker loungers scattered with cream cushions; and the on-site spa is designed to mimic a natural cave—albeit one with state-of-the-art treatments available. Reserve a table for dinner at sunset at the hotel’s namesake restaurant, helmed by chef Ippokratis Anagnostelis, to watch the sky put on a show while taking a culinary journey through the Cyclades. The signature 10-course menu, paired with Greek wines, celebrates the best ingredients sourced from the island’s soil (think a molecular gastronomy-esque take on the traditional Greek salad) and sea (say, lobster with saffron, lemon leaves, and almond foam). Also of note on the food front? The classic hotel breakfast; try the Mykonian eggs, scrambled with local Kopanisti cheese, before lingering over an espresso freddo.
The best hotel in Mykonos for… anyone traveling with children.
Children will love the “clubhouse” feel of Kivotos, perched above Ornos Bay. This is a family-run hotel, and you feel that everywhere you go. Rooms are clean, light-filled, and spacious, with individual “aquarium-style” pools attached to the majority. The décor is quirky rather than sleek—thousands of unusual antiques are dotted across the property (Murano glass knick-knacks, Baccarat chandeliers), which feels like a Lilliputian Greek village. There’s also a bougainvillea-filled courtyard for little ones to tear around in, along with an enormous central pool down by the sea (with a swim-up bar for the adults). The warm and helpful Kivotos team keeps colorful floaties and sandcastle kits on hand, with in-room babysitting available on request. It’s worth availing yourself of the nanny service to dine on the hotel’s candlelit private dock, one of the most romantic places for dinner on the island, too. Speaking of the hotel dock: Kivotos owns a 25-meter schooner, The Prince de Neufchâtel, which can be chartered for private trips to Mykonos’s most secluded coves and rocky islets (if you need a break from heaving beach clubs but don’t want to miss out on a minute in the Aegean sea, this is a must).
Where to eat in Mykonos
Mykonos is a place where it’s easy to spend 300 Euros on a completely forgettable dinner (foams and gels appear with depressing regularity on menus here—as does bland produce flown in from around the world), which is why it’s essential to do some research before you go.
Particularly in the high season, Mykonos Town can be somewhat overrun with tourists; take one night off from partying until dawn, wake up while the rest of Mykonos is still asleep, and head to Gioras, a traditional bakery that’s been serving wood-fired pastries since the 18th century, for breakfast. When you’ve been fortified with some homemade biscuits, savor a relatively quiet moment taking in the waterfront of Little Venice, and wander up to Mykonos’s much-Instagrammed windmills.
On the north of the island, Kiki’s Tavern is hardly under-the-radar anymore, but this internet-free taverna on Agios Sostis Beach is still one of the best restaurants on the island; there are strictly no reservations, so be prepared to queue to sample its grilled octopus and fresh artichokes.
Even the most committed beach bums should also drag themselves inland to Rizes, meaning roots in Greek. The menu here is built around produce from the surrounding organic farm, with cookery lessons available in a family-style kitchen filled with dried oregano and copper pots while herds of goats bleat cheerfully outside.
If you’re keen to sample some Mykonian wine, make a post-lunch detour to the nearby Mykonos Vioma Organic Farm, which inherited part of its vineyards from a monastery and produces everything from Athiri to Mandilaria—available for tasting on a bougainvillea-covered terrace overlooking the vines themselves.
More of a beer person? Head to Mykonos Brewing Company, where founders Angelos Ferous and Janos Bako will pour you cold glasses of their small-batch brews—ideal after a sun-drenched day at the beach.
Where to shop in Mykonos
Set in a white-washed building dating back to 1680, Jardin exclusively stocks Greek designers whose aesthetic leans towards macrame dresses and raffia totes—perfect for sundowners at Caprice in Little Venice—while Liontis is the place to go for handmade leather sandals, produced by the same family since 1956. And for a dose of luxury? Head to Nammos Village, where the likes of Burberry and Cartier host seasonal pop-ups.