Your guide to: Mykonos
Unlike many resorts, Mykonos has retained an air of exclusivity that ups your status to A-list the moment you step off the plane. What's great about Mykonos is this exclusivity comes attitude free and once you're on this cosmopolitan island, the friendly atmosphere instantly relaxes even the weariest traveller and you know your holiday has begun.
International jetsetters have been visiting Mykonos since the 60's when the island created a liberated paradise away from gay oppression. Very little of the island has changed since then and the unspoilt resort remains as idyllic as ever. A trademark quartet of windmills overlook the town and the picturesque Paraportiani Church (described as 'an organic masterpiece of accidental architecture') is bound to get your shutters clicking. The Mediterranean climate provides long, hot summers with very little rain so pack your skimpiest outfits and plenty of sun cream.
As you stroll through the main town you'll see every pair of designer sunglasses available this season, but Mykonos has been home to pleasure seekers for many years and extravagance is all part of the charm. For those of you with money to burn, follow your fashion AtoZ: Mykonos has every label from Alexander McQueen to Yves St. Laurent and everything in between. While life on the island isn't cheap, sophistication rules without the feeling of superiority and breaking the bank isn't essential - just lots of fun. Chichi boutiques and galleries provide the perfect place for shopaholics but reasonably priced bars and cafes allow you to relax in style. It's easy to spend those Euros wisely while still soaking up the atmos, just ask our reps to point the way.
Mykonos Town is the gay hub and your time could easily be spent without ever leaving its confines. Row upon row of gleaming white-washed houses line its labyrinth of streets which are too narrow for cars but wide enough to wander. Stepping into these buildings reveals something of a time warp as the ancient and beautiful architecture deceptively shroud stunning interiors that are bang up to date. While the centre itself is no bigger than Soho, the wide variety of distractions make it hard to cross the same path twice, so enjoy meandering while soaking up the sun.
Mykonos has condensed everything that's great about the 227 inhabited Greek islands into a space just nine miles long and six miles wide, so most accommodation is within easy reach of the town. Quieter resorts are available; San Stefanos, for example, offers a few cafés and a regular bus service into town. If you're a movie buff, you may want to stay in Ahios Ioannis, for the chance of spotting an extra from Shirley Valentine.
When eating out, most people gravitate towards Little Venice, a clutch of charming restaurants perched on the seafront of Mykonos town. Here you'll also find a selection of romantic bars where candlelight flickers and live music floats along the sea air. But it's not just the couples who head here; Little Venice is a great place to start the evening's talent spotting as guys pass by on their way to and from town.
A short walk and you'll find the gay venues concentrated in three locations near the old harbour front. Don't expect Gran Canaria though; the venues here are more suited to unwinding; small, stylish but still sassy. Pierro's, Manto and Icaros are the most popular and they're easy to find - just squeeze through the immaculately dressed guys who spill out on to the streets near taxi square.
There are around ten gay bars and clubs on the island but they still create a varied scene. Cocktails can be quaffed at Kastro's at sun-set before dancing the night away at Pierro's. You can take in some show tunes at Montparnasse, steal a starlight kiss on the roof terrace at Icaros or try your luck in the testosterone-fuelled Porta Bar (located in a small alley at the opposite end of the harbour). Late night pursuits of a sexual nature can be found, rather ironically, next to aforementioned Greek Orthodox Paraportiani Church but cruising here is a bit more discreet than at other gay resorts.
While the pink pound funds much of the island's upkeep, Mykonos also attracts a chic crowd of straights. Everyone is here to enjoy themselves, regardless of sexuality and as very few bring along their ankle-biters, Mykonos remains child free most of the time. The mixed venues are welcoming and friendly and you'll feel as at home in these bars as you will on the vibrant scene.
When it comes to beaches, Mykonos has hit the button - well all of our buttons at least. Not content with infamous but now straight Paradise they've taken things one step further (literally) and the aptly named Super Paradise is a sheer delight. There are three main beaches, Paradise, Super Paradise and Elia and while they may not be right on your doorstep, they are easily accessible. All of these beaches are kitted out with all you'd expect and more. Protected by rocky headlands and thatched sunshades, the gay sections are strewn with naked bodies basking in the sun and small bars and restaurants catering to your every need. The crystal clear waters lap delicately on the shore and this gentle sound shifts up a gear at evening time as the bars become packed with revellers partying well into the early hours. Travelling round the island, there are a number of small secluded beaches which can often be found empty, so if you've always dreamt of a beach all to yourself, Mykonos is for you.
While hiring transport is possible, it takes away the fun of travelling to the beach by public transport. Mykonos has some of the gayest busses in the world, ferrying hotties from the bus station in the town centre to all the main beaches. Travelling aboard can be a very pleasurable experience. There's also the boat from nearby Plati Yialos with frequent services allowing scantily clad guys and gals to stop off at their next port of call. Hiring a bike is also an option, as are taxis, although these can be few and far between.
Paradise Beach is more mixed than its Super counterpart (again with clothed or naked options but a more traditional feel with water-skiing, jet-skiing and the like) and Elia tends to be quieter, although its popularity is clearly on the rise.
If you do manage to find yourself with a spare few hours (as unlikely as this is) there's plenty to keep you occupied, from an outdoor cinema during the summer evenings to helicopter flights around the islands. There's also a magical side to Mykonos that's steeped in history. Mykonos is chock full of tiny churches crammed with mosaics, frescoes and extravagant chandeliers, which are well worth a look. A short boat ride to Greece's spiritual centre, Delos, is sure to capture your imagination; the entire island has been declared a national museum under Mykonos' jurisdiction. This birthplace of Apollo is littered with statues and monuments that serve as shrines to gods of old. The marble amphitheatre is a jaw dropper too, if not for its size then for its ostentatious architecture.
If you are travelling to Mykonos, it's worth booking early. With very few direct flights from the UK, places fill up fast.