If you want to capture the essence of Greece in one easy holiday sweep, then striking out to the Aegean archipelago of the Cyclades is always a good call. This compact cornucopia of islands sits within shimmering waters and contains all of the classic scenes that have made Greece famous; think rugged landscapes laced in flowers, rustic beaches by cute white-washed towns and ancient Grecian ruins in honour of mystical gods. The island group is also home to style and decadence, which comes in super handy for those wishing to mix culture and tradition with a slice of fashion kudos. Boutique design hotels are scattered across the isles of Santorini and Ios, while Mykonos has made a name for itself with hip bars, luxury clothing stores and big-name beach clubs for the international party elite. What more could you want for a quick summer escape? We just had to take a trip around the islands with some fashion blogger friends to find out.
If you need a perfect base that blends all of the aforementioned elements, then Mykonos is your answer. Touch down and check yourself into a design-led property featuring stylish interiors and a prime beachside locale. We opted for a stay at the Mykonos Blanc hotel on pretty Ornos Beach, which fitted the bill nicely; a refreshing blank canvas of ice-white stucco walls fused with a panoramic pool that overlooked a neat sandy bay. Mornings should of course be spent on the poolside terraces with a sweet Greek coffee as you adjust to the psychedelic colour contrasts that surround you. The ultra-marine blue skies of the island will juxtapose starkly against the typically Cycladic stucco architecture of the hotel as golden sands and olive greens from the hotel palm trees complete the postcard image. Definitely something to savour before you dress up in a summer shirt and sandals before hitting the sites of nearby Mykonos town.
Old Town Exploration
The centre of island action culminates in the Mykonos Old Town, or Chora, residing by a picture-perfect bay of cubic houses and cliff-top windmills. As you venture deeper inside the village, you will be welcomed with an adventure filled labyrinth of winding lanes lined with everything from coffee shops and heritage tavernas to a never-ending sprawl of designer fashion stores like Osklen and Balenciaga. We stopped by at Enny Monaco, a Farfetch boutique to pick up some summer style finds before wandering around town to take pictures of traditional Greek churches and berry-red bougainvillea which seem to wrap themselves around almost every white-washed building; a perfect way to take in the Greek scenery with a fashion-forward edge.
Once you’ve walked around town for a while, your mind will likely drift to crystal-clear waters and sun-drenched beaches. Transport your body over to one like Psarou Beach, with its blonde sands and stylish bars, including the infamous Nammos beach club, where dancing on the beach (and sometimes on the tables) after cocktails is almost obligatory.
But don’t get distracted by the party atmosphere and pounding chill-wave sounds as you lie on a beachside sun lounger in your bikini – other things will demand your attention like the remote island of Rineia to the south of Mykonos. We caught a catamaran to the island with Mykonos Sailing to experience a serene atmosphere after some midday beach club fun.
Make a beeline for one of the numerous coves featuring silent beaches with zero buildings or people. You can cast yourself into a daydream while sun-bathing in peace on the silky soft sands or dive into the crystalline shallows in your favourite designer beachwear. Just don’t forget to bring your Go-Pro for those island paradise selfies.
Next, captain your ship to the mythical island of Delos, where some of the most important archaeological relics of the Ancient Greek Empire remain in sparkling isolated glory. The island appears as a hilly smorgasbord of poppy-filled ravines which undulate methodically around temple ruins dedicated to the Greek gods of Apollo and Artemis. Take time to wander slowly around this living open-air museum, getting lost amidst gracious Greek columns, amphitheatres and perfectly sculpted statues. This UNESCO world-heritage site will certainly live up to its name as you ascend to the hill-top Temple of Isis to enjoy world-class sea views across the Cyclades islands.
Back to Bohemia
Bring yourself back to more earthly realms in an equally beautiful fashion as you head back to Mykonos for dinner at Hippie Fish. This chic bohemian establishment lies on the shores of Agios Ioannis beach, serving up an eclectic modern menu of Greek and sushi specialities in an intimate, laid-back setting. Food is served on traditional wooden tables surrounded by charming rattan furniture and plenty of comfy cushions as dim mood lighting lends the space a homely feel. As for the food itself, expect innovative approaches to the best comfort foods. Truffle-laced lobster spaghetti anyone?
After dessert, head back to the Mykonos Chora for sunset to take in citrus-hued views at the iconic Mykonos windmills. A drink at the nearby waterside bars will start your night off well once the sun has set, but steady on the Ouzos – you won’t want to peak too soon because the town is filled with a dazzling bar scene that could easily keep you occupied all night. Set the alarm for the next morning and let your hair down (we recommend Jackie O’s for a serious retro throw-back dance fest). Your party shoes will probably have just as much fun as you do.