Mykonos is one of the most well-known destinations today. Located in Greece’s Cyclades islands, every summer it attracts the world’s most discriminating travellers.
An island featuring stark and rugged terrain, during the summer it can be breezy. A labyrinth of streets in downtown Chora, the capital, is lined with whitewashed houses and packed with delightful surprises. There are well-organised beaches for fun and dancing, and unorganised ones for moments of utter peace. It is no surprise that it has been making waves ever since the 50s. But, why? Well, the local residents will cite the majestic colours of the golden sunlight reflecting off the sea. The Greeks will tell you that it is the perfect combination of Greek tradition and culture, fused with the highest levels of service and hospitality to be found, and visitors will tell about all of this together. Opa! It sounds like a dreamy location, and it is.
The local Mykonians have always been broad-minded, and keen businessmen too, or the island would not be where it is now. It all started in the 50s, when everything was much simpler. Sophisticated and bohemian visitors were still exploring Mykonos in search of another form of expressive living. The party scene started out quietly with those intellectuals, who here found a paradise for free and creative thinking and expression.
Mykonos impressed the jet set
The iconic windmills of Mykonos were transformed into the perfect backdrop for swimsuit and resort wear in the 50s, signalling an era when fashion was no longer just about clothes, and became symbolic of a whole lifestyle.
Later in that decade Aristotle Onassis visited Mykonos, followed by Stavros Niarchos and Queen Frederica. All of them were very impressed by this small Greek island packed with surprises. Mykonos received its first press coverage then, which brought it more attention. By the 60s it was all over the magazines and newspapers, and celebrities like Grace Kelly, Richard Burton, Marlon Brando, and Jackie Kennedy visited the island and became fervent enthusiasts of our little Greek heaven.
By the mid 1960s Mykonos was already a favourite travel destination for celebrities and the international jet set. During the 70’s, 80’s and 90’s Mykonos became a fashionable mecca for influential artists, politicians and businessmen of the era. Aristotle Onassis, Maria Callas, Jackie Kennedy Onassis, Brigitte Bardot, Jean Moreau and Grace Kelly are just a few of the many celebrities that visited this Aegean island on a regular basis.
In the 70s Mykonos caught the attention of the gay community. The locals had always been open-minded, so it was no surprise when they welcomed them and took them in. The gay community had historically harboured a great passion for the arts and fashion, which they brought to the island. Thus, another wave of influential and creative people began to visit, making them the “in” crowd and those to be seen with, including poets, writers, singers, designers, architects, actors and models. The island’s liberal vibe was refreshing, new, exciting and magnetic, with the most beautiful and interesting people living and expressing themselves unreservedly. This elegant freedom marked the start of an enduring love aﬀair between Mykonos and its visitors.
There is a “cool vibe” on the island that you rarely find elsewhere, and it attracts a very diverse and upscale crowd that relishes its stylish nightlife. Known in some circles as the “Ibiza of Greece”, the glitzy summer club scene draws large numbers of tourists every year, some coming just to hear world-renowned DJs perform in this spectacular setting.
Fast forward to today, when the island stands at the forefront of summer destinations worldwide. In our next article we will interview the most influential island locals, explore how the island has changed, bring you the best spots to visit for an international and Greek experience, when it is best to go, according to your type of holiday, and so on !
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