A BIT OF ALL WHITE

IT’S THE PARTY ISLAND TO RI­VAL IBIZA. LAURA IVILL EX­PLORES THE EX­TRAV­A­GANT GREEK ISLE WITH LOW- KEY AP­PEAL

Solihull News - - TRAVEL -

FOR a small island, Mykonos has a big rep­u­ta­tion – $ 300m su­per- yachts come to play in its clear Aegean wa­ters, chic night­clubs pulse with tanned lithe bod­ies and lazy days are spent at beach clubs serv­ing cock­tails to the well-( un) dressed.

But why do they choose to come back to Mykonos year af­ter year? Per­haps it has some­thing to do with its freespir­ited, un­spoiled bare­foot- lux­ury charm.

At less than 41 square miles, there is only one town, with a pretty sandy har­bour and sun­drenched white­washed build­ings lin­ing nar­row, car- free lanes – per­fect for brows­ing myr­iad stylish bou­tiques.

From May to Septem­ber, glo­ri­ous weather is guar­an­teed, and vis­i­tors in search of a laid- back ( but never sleepy) hol­i­day vibe of sun, sea, sand and good times choose to hire one of the hun­dreds of dune bug­gies in town that give them the free­dom to buzz has­sle- free around the island.

Wan­der­ing the pris­tine stone- paved lanes of Mykonos town, I dis­cover lit­tle blue- domed churches and chapels. Most of the buzzing bars and restau­rants can be found around Ma­toyianni Street and the har­bour’s es­planade.

The tra­di­tional Cy­cladic ar­chi­tec­tural style of pic­turesque white­washed cubes is found all over the island ( not a high- rise in sight) and, thank­fully, any new vil­las are in keep­ing with this low- rise look.

Cas­cades of cerise bougainvil­lea add vi­brancy to the sim­ple land­scape of blue sea, soft sand beaches and low hills criss­crossed with some old stone walls.

Lit­tle Venice is where the wealthy sea cap­tains of the past built homes near the port, and where hol­i­day­mak­ers to­day meet in the late af­ter­noon to en­joy a long, cool drink in one of the stylish bars and watch the sun­set.

On the hill above the town, the fa­mous 16th- cen­tury wind­mills still stand, and the colour­ful story of the island’s strate­gic im­por­tance and past in­hab­i­tants comes to life in the town’s open- air agri­cul­tural mu­seum ( which sells tick­ets to see in­side the Boni Wind­mill) and the mar­itime mu­seum.

For cul­ture lovers, the neigh­bour­ing island of De­los is the myth­i­cal birth­place of the twins Apollo and Artemis and is one of Greece’s must- see ar­chae­o­log­i­cal cities of tem­ples, houses and even an am­phithe­atre.

The only pri­vate beach on Mykonos be­longs to the Santa Ma­rina five- star re­sort at Ornos Bay ( santa- ma­rina. gr). El­e­gant, stream­lined and cool, the re­sort’s colour scheme echoes the nat­u­ral beauty of the island, us­ing a pal­ette of white and sand.

Take home a lit­tle of this style by the Greek de­signer Themis Z. Grow­ing up on the island, Themis Zouganeli has in­fused her in­ter­na­tional life­style prod­ucts of din­ner and cof­fee sets, cush­ions, bas­kets and fashion ac­ces­sories, with the re­laxed yet stylish vibe of Mykonos.

As well as her out­let at Santa Ma­rina, Themis Z ( themisz. com) is stocked at bou­tique ho­tel The Belvedere, in the heart of Mykonos town, with its Six Senses spa and Mat­suhisa by Nobu restau­rant ( belved­ere­ho­tel. com), and at the beach­club Nam­mos at Psarou beach ( nam­mos. gr), where the mil­lion­aires an­chor.

If you want to re­treat to the pri­vacy of your own villa dur­ing the day, try rentals through shar­ing sites such as Airbnb. co. uk and HomeAway. co. uk, or villa com­pa­nies, such as Whitekeyvil­las. com, Mykonosvil­las. com or CVvil­las. com.

And pack­ing is easy – ev­ery­one wears white.

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