Despite being far from pristine thanks to its status as Europe's hippest, most glamorous party island, the Cycladic landscape has such rich variety to offer that it remains sufficiently impressive to suit every taste.
The white beaches vie with the whitewashed houses in the town of Mykonos, acting as a blank canvas for the abundance of attention-seekers who flock to the island each summer. However, the most important aspect remains the following: the people - Mykonians and island guests alike - are simply wonderful; they all love and enjoy life to the full.
AccommodationWe stayed at the unbelievably classy small luxury hotel BOHÈME MYKONOS, where time-honoured architecture and a modern take on traditional interior decoration blend with relaxed, casual luxury. It was an effort to pry ourselves away from the delightful surroundings, which included a terrace and private jacuzzi. However, this dilemma was swiftly relieved by the concierge, who knew the best beaches by day while, by night, BILL & COO, Mykonos' best gourmet restaurant located just next door, enticed us for dinner.
Chef de cuisine Athinagoras Kostakos has turned BILL & COO into one of the island's most impressive restaurants. Spurred on by his passion for cooking and always in search of new and unusual traditions and styles, he has transformed the cuisine into an artistic event. Throughout the season, Bill & Coo plays host to a range of cooking artistes, enriching its own fantastic menu with new perspectives and directions. Athinagora's gastronomic project is definitely one of the highlights you shouldn't miss. Apart from that, Bill & Coo's setting simply takes your breath away: wonderfully natural colours, subtle lighting and a staggering view of the sunset over the Aegean.
The townThe town of Mykonos is a labyrinth of narrow alleyways and ancient churches interspersed with numerous boutiques and art galleries. In the midst of the hustle and bustle lies the famous "Little Venice", one of the town's most romantic spots, which boasts stunning sea views. My evening favourite was a cocktail at the CAPRICE BAR - stylish, effervescent and with sea and sunset right on our doorstep.
The INTERNI Restaurant & Bar, where wealthy Athenians gather at the bar, while elegant restaurant guests dine outside in the open air, is a good place to spend the first evening. CHEZ KATRINE is one of the oldest restaurants and my favourite venue - admittedly not particularly trendy, but extremely charming and with representatives of the old school in the kitchens and on the waiting staff. Unique Japanese sushi with a Latin American touch is served at MATSUHISA MYKONOS, next to the Belvedere Hotel's prettily illuminated pool.
Neighbouring island of Delos
Greek mythology has it that Leto gave birth to the twins Apollo and Artemis on Delos, which is why this island was known as the Holy Island of Apollo in ancient times. I loved wandering around amongst the ruins and enjoying the early morning view of the sacred peak of Mount Cynthus. Delos is definitely a must for all visitors to the Cyclades.
Breathtaking beachesMykonos is home to a plethora of picturesque beaches with white sand and crystal-clear water. However, my preferred, rather more peaceful idea of paradise is a little to the north, in Agios Sostis: a strip of sand off the beaten track, free of crowds of people, sun loungers and disco beats, but with an idyllic location on the Bay of Panormos. Agios Sostis also has other treats to offer its guests - just above the beach is one of the best-kept secrets of Mykonos, a restaurant without a sign or a telephone number and open only for lunch: KIKI. Simply follow the scent of barbecued meat and don't be in a hurry, so you can wait for one of the coveted seats. The reward is an utterly delicious, rustic meal in one of the world's most idyllic beachside restaurants!
NightlifeThe ASTRA BAR - a jewel of a disco with its remarkable "starlight" ceiling, which pulsates to the beat of the music. The ASTRA BAR has been a firm fixture on Mykonos for over two decades, and has yet to lose any of its gloss and glamour. It continues to bewitch models, magnates, rock stars and Formula 1 drivers with its charms. This mix of rock and glamour keeps the party going strong till dawn.
All in all, I love Mykonos for its hospitality, its beaches, its myths and legends, its excellent, Eastern Mediterranean cuisine and, last but by no means least, for its overwhelming joie de vivre.