The Best Of Mykonos

Cooling winds throughout September temper the blazing summer heat, making it the ideal time to visit this breezy branch of the Greek Cyclades.

Cooling winds throughout September temper the blazing summer heat, making it the ideal time to visit this breezy branch of the Greek Cyclades.

Written off for years as a gay ghetto, Mykonos has metamorphosed into one of the most glamorous of the Greek islands with its many fine beaches, bars, boutiques and restaurants. Plane loads of fashionable French, Italian and German tourists enjoy life on this playground - we British need to catch on fast.

Best hotel

Hotel Belvedere (00 30 22890 25122; www.belvederehotel.com) is to Mykonos what Hotel Byblos is to Saint Tropez. Commanding a superb position at the top of Mykonos town in the School of Fine Arts District and just five minutes' walk from the glamorous, cosmopolitan Matoyianni street, it attracts a glitzy international crowd which parties around the exotic multi-level pool area and lounges on oversized daybeds. The staff are friendly and attend to your every need. Double rooms from £187 per night, including breakfast.

The newly opened Mykonos Theoxenia (00 30 22890 22230; www.mykonostheoxenia.com) is just a stone's throw away from the famous windmills, with a great view across the bay to Little Venice. This former 1960s low-rise building has been transformed into a hip boutique hotel and is a minimalist triumph. With its stone-clad walls, hanging basket chairs and orange wool textiles, staying here is like living between the glossy pages of Wallpaper*. Double rooms from £87 per night, room only.

The Saint John (00 30 22890 23160; www.greekhotel.com/cyclades/myconos/agiosioannis/saintjohn/home.htm) opened last year to much acclaim. Tumbling down a hillside into the turquoise Aegean in Agios Ioannis, just outside Ornos and a 10-minute drive from Mykonos town, the five-star Saint John resembles a traditional blue-and-white village, complete with chapel. Popular with young couples and holidaying Greeks, it has a vast seawater infinity pool, chic sun terraces, aprivate beach, and sensational sunsets with views of Delos. Double rooms from £182 per night, including breakfast.

Best restaurant

You know a destination has arrived when chef Nobu decides to open an offshoot. Matsuhisa Mykonos (00 30 22890 27362) at Hotel Belvedere is Nobu's latest worldwide venture. Hobnob with the jet set who dine alfresco around the pretty pool and tuck into signature dishes such as black cod with den miso. Helpful staff are on hand to make suggestions and to put together a meal for you. The food is great for a special occasion. From £75 per person for a seven-course meal including wine. Booking at least a week ahead is essential.

The Plate (00 30 22890 22230) at Mykonos Theoxenia has a varied menu and is hard to beat for stylish dining. The King prawns on wild rice with light pernod cream sauce are not to be missed. Around £35 per head including wine.

Join the queue at Taverna Nicos (00 30 22890 24320), which serves everything from seafood to pasta and pizza. About £18 per head.

Best cultural attraction

Mykonos Archaeological Museum, Agiou Stefanou, Mykonos town, houses a vast collection of vases from prehistoric to the late Hellenistic period, jewellery from the 1st century BC and funerary statues and clay figurines from the 2nd century BC. There is also the Mykonos Folk Museum, Paraportianis, Mykonos town, dedicated to the history of Mykonian culture with fine examples of embroidery, costumes, ceramics, painting, weaving and furniture.

But the beaches are where it's at today, with a wide choice for an island measuring nine miles by six.

Best shopping

The labyrinth of tiny, blisteringly white lanes in Mykonos town are crammed with small boutiques and galleries peddling designer clothes and local art.

Best nightspot

The cocktail bars in the Little Venice area of Mykonos town are popular sunset spots. After dinner, revellers head for small disco bars all over town. At Cava Paradiso, the open-air clifftop club above Paradise beach, punters queue to pay €40 (£27) for entry from 2am until dawn and beyond.

Best way to get there

Olympic Holidays (0870-429 6060; www.olympicholidays.co.uk) offers a seven-night b&b break at the Saint John Hotel from £639 per person, based on two sharing, with flights and private transfers.

Hertz (08708 484848; www.hertz.co.uk) offers seven days' car rental in Mykonos from £135.

Further information: Greek National Tourist Office (020-7495 9300; www.gnto.co.uk).

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