So much more to the Aegean than sunshine, sea and sand
There is plenty to enjoy in the Greek islands – Jane Walsh focuses on part of the Cyclades, where you can enjoy the history as much as the weather
MYKONOS is known locally as the windy island – just perfect for keeping holidaymakers cool as the sun beats down. The Greek island is a mixture of contemporary, swanky places to eat and drink, but with rustic, traditional Mykonos firmly intact around the edges. The landscape includes old, thatched-roofed windmills and pristine, white, cubed buildings dotted randomly around the dry, grassy fields and hills.
A good tip would be to hire a car to explore the island, but make it a small one!
Mykonos Town itself is a little classier and smarter than the average old town; yes there are the usual boutiques and windy, ‘get-lost-in’ cobbled streets, but look out for designer shops, such as Chanel and Louis Vuitton.
Dining standards here are high and there is a big push for locally sourced, organic produce. A great place for supper and cocktails is Little Venice by the waterfront – but get there early.
There is a party vibe too and you can feel the beat coming out of the beach bars from late afternoon.
Mykonos is perhaps the most cosmopolitan in character of all the Greek islands and never fails to enchant its visitors.
With its all-white villages, little churches, traditional windmills, inspirational colours and a lively atmosphere, combining with unique natural environments of dramatic rock formations, crystal-clear Aegean waters and golden sandy beaches with stunning effect.
The capital, Chora, lies beside a picturesque harbour of yachts and fishing boats.
A visit to the historic neighbouring island of Delos, reached by a local boat service, is well worth it, especially if you like archaeological sites.
You must have seen the photos of the scattergun white buildings peppering the hillside with dotted sky-blue domes. Santorini is famous for these spectacular views, particularly at sunset, as well as for its cobbled streets and many tiny chapels.
The island’s capital, Thira, sits amid this scenic beauty, where small hotels and restaurants spill over the edge of the caldera. Here you can enjoy a cable car ride all the way to the bottom of the now extinct volcano and back again.
To the south-east of the island are the seaside resorts of Kamari and Perissa. Both have very long stretches of fine volcanic-sandy beaches, water sports, and lively bars and tavernas right along the strip.
In a little village south of the capital is a charming and quirky hotel – Santorini Kastelli – which is a little more personal than some of the bigger hotels. Nearby are cobbled streets, boutiques, traditional tavernas and one of those iconic blue-domed churches.
Enjoy breakfast by the pool and dinner in a beautifully lit cave (renovated catacombs) that has a well-stocked wine cellar.
There are so many sunset viewing spots on the island. Oia, on the northern tip, attracts hundreds of tourists to its narrow old town, so, instead, head down to Amoudi Bay at the foot of the town, as fewer people know about this spot.
Of course, if you just wanted to visit for the day you could take a cruise around the Mediterranean and do exactly that.
Mykonos harbour at dusk and, right, sunset over the blue-domed churches of Santorini
Classic Greek-style houses dot the hillsides around Santorini
Kalamari hanging from boat rigging in Mykonos harbour; below, the tempting crystal clear waters