Just Back From
After a scouting trip to the Island of Winds, Indagare’s Peter Schlesinger reports on news from one of the Cyclades’ most popular getaways.
Many top resorts in Greece still have availability for much of summer 2023. And as more Greek islands like Paros and Naxos rise on travelers’ radars, previously impossible-to-book spots like Mykonos (and Santorini), which reached peak occupanciy during recent summers, actually have plenty of reservations still available.
Related: What’s New on Santorini: Summer 2023
“Mykonos is a miracle,” mayor Konstantinos Koukas told The Guardian last year. “It is just a small rock in the Aegean Sea and it has managed to become an international tourist destination that brings in billions of euros in revenues.” But over the decades, the race to build has reshaped the island. The sheer volume of hotels, restaurants and vacation homes is remarkable, and some buildings have flagrantly violated local regulations. This year, the government stepped in. While I was on the island, The New York Times reported on a violent attack on a state archaeologist who’d been documenting building violations. Following the attack in March, which received widespread local coverage, Greek officials ramped up efforts to hold developers accountable. Beach clubs that had flouted the rules were forced to close. Nammos, a mainstay on the summer beach club scene, had to tear down illegally built structures before it could reopen. Development appears likely to continue (One&Only is set to open on the island next year), but the mood from locals I spoke with suggested that—hopefully—this year’s news coupled with increasing competition from more “authentic” islands will push new construction to be more sensible.
A few favorites from my recent visit:
Rizes: Opened in 2019, this charming farmstead restaurant on the island’s interior is a blissful return to Mykonian traditions (the name itself means “roots”). The family-owned and operated spot serves simple but delicious food made exclusively from produce and livestock grown and raised on property. We went for lunch, but the al fresco patio is equally popular for dinner under the stars (and string lights).
Botrini’s: New to Katikies Mykonos, this outpost of chef Ettore Botrini’s Michelin-starred Athens hot-spot serves one of the island’s most creative takes on fine-dining. The chef’s tasting menu pays homage to his Greco-Italian heritage, and tables are set on a dreamy terrace with olive trees overlooking the sea.
Souvlaki Story: For an unfussy, easy (and quick) meal in Mykonos town, this is the place to go for excellent made-to-order gyros, souvlakis and salads.
On the island’s southwest coast, Scorpios has been the see-and-be-seen beach club since opening in 2015. It’s the beach club that people save their best beach-chic outfits for, and remains buzzy into the evening. Now that Nammos is reopened, it’s a close second for glam factor. Meanwhile, the evening drag shows at Super Paradise Beach’s Jackie O’s club make it popular (all-day) with anyone looking for a fabulous time, but especially LGBT travelers.
Greek history and mythology enthusiasts should always carve out a half day to explore the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Delos, a tiny island that played an outsized role to the Ancients. It is the legendary birthplace of gods Apollo and Artemis, the twin children of Leto and Zeus. And for a few short centuries, starting in 166 BC, its status as a free trading port transformed the sacred island into an economic powerhouse as well, competing with Corinth and Rhodes as one of the most important cities in the eastern Mediterranean. Today, the extensive ruins comprise one of the most significant archaeological sites in Europe.
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