The Definitive Guide to Authentic Mykonos

While Mykonos will always offer its signature jet set lifestyle, its greatest luxury lies in harmonizing that glitzy scene with an older, wiser island life.

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Mykonos needs little introduction—its reputation as the Mediterranean's premier jet-set playground precedes it. Tales of boating magnates and A-list celebs frolicking in the impeccable waters have cemented an image of whitewashed Cycladic villages, thumping beach clubs and bronzed revelers sipping sunset cocktails.

Yet even this glamorous Greek island hotspot hasn't been immune to overtourism. After the post-pandemic travel frenzy saw visitors flocking in and prices skyrocketing, Mykonos is now undergoing a much-needed correction. According to Greek news outlet Kathimerini, the forecast is an expected 9 percent drop in airline seats for 2024 compared to 2023, with a 26 percent plunge in active bookings since early 2024—signs that demand is realigning after the island's "defamation by visitors" was turned off by inflated costs.

However, this recalibration presents the perfect opportunity for discerning travelers. As the party crowd disperses, Mykonos' true essence emerges: The winding streets of historic Mykonos Town reveal simple pleasures like traditional tavernas serving cuisine from generations-old recipes and artisan workshops preserving storied handicrafts. The island's rugged interior beckons with hiking trails, centuries-old monasteries and farm-to-table restaurants celebrating the terroir.

While Mykonos will always offer its signature jet set lifestyle, its greatest luxury lies in harmonizing that glitzy scene with an older, wiser island life. By combining boho beach clubs and glamorous hotspots with soulful experiences centered on cuisine, culture and nature, visitors can unveil the island's true multidimensional enchantment beyond the velvet ropes.

Where to Stay

Cali Mykonos

  • Kalafati, Mykonos 846 00, Greece

This Mykonian marvel by first-time hotelier Eric Mourkakos seems plucked from another celestial realm: Its powder-soft beach, craggy promontories and dramatic cliffside perch are utterly otherworldly. The 40 Mediterranean-inspired villas exude warmth with handcrafted furnishings and sun-kissed interiors. The culinary program is a locavore's dream, showcasing just-plucked seafood with Greek accents, supplemented by indulgent sushi, juice and pool bar cravings. Burn it off at the Pilates studio before melting into bliss at the hammam and ice chambers. With privileged Les Clefs d'Or concierges, Cali Mykonos provides the warmest island hospitality this side of Elysium.

Cali Mykonos Villa. Cali Mykonos

Deos Mykonos

  • Mykonos Town, 84600 Greece

The hospitality visionaries behind Myconian Collection have manifested their crowning Grecian achievement for 2024: Deos Mykonos. Perched imperiously on a hilltop, this contemporary cycladic sanctuary by GM Architects offers breathtaking vistas from its elegant suites with private pools. Rustic stone walls and indigenous flora melt into the landscape at the luxury hotel as poolside revelers drift between Aegean views and vibrant Chora, just steps away. With its holistic wellness focus and gastronomic mastery, Deos distills the very essence of Mykonos into an unparalleled, heritage-soaked experience.     

Deos Mykonos. Deos Mykonos

Villa Tama

  • Aleomandra, Agios Ioannis Diakoftis, Mykonos, Greece

Villa Tama epitomizes the exceptional vision and masterful execution of traditional cycladic architecture with modern accents and avant-garde tech. The 7-bedroom palatial estate sleeps 14 across 4.6 hillside acres with refined interiors by bespoke furnishings. Sumptuous linens adorn the cocoons while marble bathrooms evoke the landscape's serenity. Outdoor terraces sculpt the contours, framing breathtaking Delos and Rhenia sunsets. A heated infinity pool, hammam spa, massage sanctuary and a state-of-the-art gym with sea views provide sublime pampering. 

Villa Tama. Villa Tama

Katikies Mykonos

  • Agios Ioannis, Mykonos, 84600, Cyclades Islands, Greece

Having refined its hospitality artistry in Santorini, Katikies unveils this Agios Ioannis hillside nirvana with mesmerizing Aegean views. The stark-white cubist buildings at the boutique hotel cascade down with uplifting blues, floral latticework and water features. Most of the 35 rooms and suites at the Leading Hotel of the World property swathe you in contemporary cycladic luxury with private pools or sea-view terraces. The dining is a global journey at Botrini's, while sprawling pool decks, a champagne bar and Greek-inspired rituals at the spa provide ultra-refined island indulgence.      

Katikies Mykonos. Christos Drazos Photography

Santa Marina, A Luxury Collection Resort

  • Ornos Bay, Mykonos, 84600, Greece

This super-chic oceanfront enclave invites you to soak up Mykonos' glamorous joie de vivre from its own sliver of private sandy beach, home to the world's first Buddha-Bar Beach. The 114 rooms and 13 villas provide shielded Cycladic sanctuary from the island's pulsating party scene. Diverse dining experiences from modern Greek cuisine to sushi and classic Mediterranean satisfy every craving. Gingko Spa's customized massages and treatments rejuvenate body and soul. With a private marina for chartered yachts and signature wellness retreats, Santa Marina is a consummate luxury resort escape.

Santa Marina Resort. George Fakaros

Where to Eat

Rizes

  • Ano Mera, Mykonos, 84600, Greece

This secluded farm-to-table paradise celebrates Mykonos' agricultural heritage. Surrounded by fields, farmhouses and coops, Rizes resembles a rural village under a breezy pergola. Owners Panagiota and Nikos serve up biological veggies, local cheese, sourdough bread and reimagined traditional recipes like braised lamb with wood-fired oven flair. It's a rustic riot of flavors, sometimes accompanied by live folk music.

Rizes. Paul Jebara

Noema

  • Located in Mykonos Town (Chora), 84600, Greece

An oasis in bustling Chora, Noema's lush courtyard exudes bohemian-chic vibes with mineral tones and electro-ethnic beats. Award-winning chef Athinagoras Kostakos pays homage to simple Greek taverna fare using locally-sourced ingredients. From taramasalata to pistachios, these elevated classics let you indulge in authentic Greek island wanderlust.

Noema. Noema

To Maereio

  • Located in Mykonos Town (Chora), 84600, Greece

For two decades, this tiny Chora taverna has captured the Cycladic essence, and remains one of the best restaurants in Mykonos. Proud owners Isidoros and Dimitris serve up hearty meatballs, local sausages and cured meats in an atmosphere of barefoot conviviality. No secrets can be kept at almost-always-packed Maereio.

Beefbar Mykonos

  • Inside Bill & Coo Hotel, Agios Ioannis, Mykonos, 84600, Cyclades Islands, Greece

The revamped Beefbar at beachfront LHW Bill & Coo exudes Riviera fine dining luxury on Agios Ioannis, with ochre tones under a striped pergola. While evenings spotlight premium cuts, the real draw is chef Yiannis Babalis' light Aegean seafood, like shrimp ceviche paired with Santorini Assyrtiko.

Beefbar Mykonos. Beefbar Mykonos

Fokos Taverna

  • Fokos Beach, Mykonos, 84600, Cyclades Islands, Greece

On a remote north coast beach, this off-the-beaten-path hidden gem serves up simple pleasures like fried red mullets and grilled fish. After indulging in owner Marissa Taboulchanas’ rustic fare, take a dip in the pristine sea far from crowds.

La Cantine Mykonos

  • Ornos, 84600, Greece

Parisian vibes meet Japanese and Mediterranean flavors at this chic Ornos beachfront venue. Michelin-rated Japanese-Greek fusion complements the lounge soundtrack under swaying olive tree lanterns. Don't skip signature desserts like roasted honey.

La Cantine Mykonos. La Cantine

Limnios Tavern

  • Agios Stefanos, Mykonos, Greece

For genuine Mykonian hospitality, savor authentic local cuisine like grilled lamb chops and zucchini fries at this charming seaside tavern. Stunning Aegean Sea views provide the perfect backdrop for signature loukoumades honey dumplings.

Best Beach Clubs

Alemagou

  • Ftelia, 84600, Greece

This bohemian beach bar on pristine Ftelia offers a refreshing twist by cohabiting harmoniously with its setting. Athens firm K-Studio blends traditional cycladic crafts like a pergola roof and gourd lighting with minimalist flair. A true family-friendly hangout, Alemagou sees boho parents watching kids build sandcastles as tattoo-sporting Americans and friend groups sip mojitos. It's an easy-going escape from Mykonos' party island pulse.

Scorpios

  • Paraga, 84600, Greece

On the secluded Paraga peninsula, Soho House's holistic hangout perfects laidback Cycladic luxe, from Annabell Kutucu's refined interiors to Alexis Zopas' seasonal Greek fare. The Bazaar boutique peddles treasures like Yucatan dresses, while the spiritual program includes mindfulness sessions and DJ "shaman" sets seamlessly blending global sounds. If you want to hang out on the private beach, book a sun bed.

Scorpios. Paul Jebara

JackieO’ Beach

  • Super Paradise Beach 84600 Mykonos, Kikladhes, Greece

Far from the island's would-be chic scenes, JackieO' invokes a raucous sense of fun with its stylish 1990s black-and-white digs, soundtrack and sunset drag performances. But it's the authentic service from the warm staff that makes this pricey beachfront so special, along with the camaraderie between diners feasting on chef Christoforos Peskias' masterful seafood creations and famous puddings. The signature Jackie O' champagne cocktail is a must.

JackieO' Beach. Paul Jebara

Where to Drink

Bao's Cocktail Bar

  • Little Venice, Mykonos, Greece

With an unobstructed sea view in Little Venice, Bao's makes the most of its prime sundowner spot next to the famous windmills. The inventive cocktail menu covers classics alongside signatures like The Mandarin with fresh juice, gin and lime. The chic, whitewashed interior contrasts bright blue beams and rattan lamps, but the coveted outdoor tables provide front-row seats to Mykonos' evening energy as Euro beats get people dancing.

Bao's Cocktail Bar. Constantinos K

Aperanto Galazio

  • Ornos Beach, Mykonos 846 00, Greece

This chilled-out Ornos beach hangout channels island aesthetics through its airy bamboo-roofed setting, with simple white-painted furniture and glass jar lamps framing seaside vistas. The cocktail menu gets creative with concoctions like the Smoked Daiquiri with mezcal and the Greek Passion blending mastiha, basil, jasmine and cucumber. 

Galleraki

  • Little Venice, Chora, 84600 Mykonos, Greece

Just off Bao's, this tucked-away spot doubles your view-scoring chances with a prime upstairs terrace overlooking Little Venice's iconic scenery. The blue-and-white interiors, with painted wood chairs, keep things understated as guests sip classics, including champagne cocktails and fresh fruit mixes like the irresistible Peach Daiquiri amid chilled tunes.

JackieO'

  • Below the church of Paraportiani, Mykonos Town, 84600, Greece

A stylish cave-like nightlife space carved with curvy whitewashed stone and Onassis-themed black-and-white photos, this lively Little Venice LGBTQ+ hotspot heats up nightly with raucous drag shows as DJs spin dance beats. The local beer and classic cocktail menu provides fuel for an unpredictable evening among Mykonos' eccentric characters.

JackieO'. JackieO'

Astra

  • Matoyianni Street, Mykonos Town, 84600, Greece

Astra seamlessly transforms from a jewel-toned early evening lounge bar into an eclectic hip club as the night unfolds. The 2,500-light interior evoking stars and constellations provides an otherworldly backdrop that has drawn luminaries like Keith Richards. With over 30 iconic years, it remains one of Mykonos' most distinguished party haunts.

Astra. Mina Designs

180° Sunset Bar

  • Epar.Od. Mikonou, Mykonos 846 00, Greece

Soak up stellar Aegean views from this aptly-named sunset-chasing perch offering signature cocktails, Mediterranean bites and global wine and champagne lists. The nightly light show as day fades to night provides a romantic backdrop as resident DJs spin chill beats. It's the ideal spot to unwind from Mykonos's high-octane revelry.

180° Sunset Bar. John Moschovakis

Where to Shop

Nammos Village

  • Psarou Beach, Mykonos 84600, Greece

This luxury shopping village in Psarou hosts an array of high-fashion boutiques from iconic French houses like Chanel, Dior and Louis Vuitton. For Greek luxury brands, stop by Luisa. Each space pays homage to Mykonos' cycladic architecture while showcasing the brands' signature aesthetics, from Louboutin's bold red decor to Gucci's seaside blue paradise. 

Nammos Village. Area Design Office

Jardin of Mykonos

  • Mitropoleos 23, Chora, Mykonos, Greece

This lovingly converted 1680 mansion celebrates Greek artisans with an earthy, bohemian vibe set by woven chandeliers and macramé accents. The chicly curated range includes breezy kaftans, woven accessories by Ops, crochet sandals and layers of whisper-soft scarves and straw hats in natural tones.

Jardin of Mykonos. Jardin of Mykonos

Salachas

  • Kouzi Georgouli 58, Mykonos 84600, Greece

For over a century, this family-run emporium has specialized in handmade clothing, linen creations and authentic Mykonian handicrafts passed down through generations. It's a trove of traditional island heritage.

Salachas. Salachas

Ergon Mykonos

  • F. Zouganeli 23, Ano Mera 84600, Mykonos, Greece

Marietta Karpathiou's artful brand celebrates Greece's rich cultural legacy through her line of modern, minimal-yet-luxurious pieces crafted from exclusive handmade textiles. Each collection pays tribute to mythological tales and ancient techniques reinterpreted with a contemporary eye.

Ergon Mykonos. Ergon Mykonos

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