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Mykonos Magic

sunsetIt's not the first time I have been to the sophisticated and fun island of Mykonos. And I'm sure it wont be the last. There is something about this place that makes you feel you don't have a care in the world - until you get the credit card bill! White washed smooth traditional houses and narrow walkways weaving between them - all mixed in with boutique shops and lively bars and eateries.

There is always plenty going on in Mykonos Town. The port often hosts cruise ships but somehow being bombarded with visitors doesn't ruin the small town feel. Rustic windmills, waterfront cafes, the brilliant blue of the sky blending with the sea, and all those white low rise buildings huddled together, some with balconies overhanging the water...it all looks so serene but actually hides the craziness that is going on at the heart of it. Its a party town and everyone is here to have a good time.

On our last visit it was a family holiday when the kids were small and we stayed at the beach at Ornos, making sand castles and the like. That was a lovely holiday too! But as the kids are older now and our friends who live on the island run a restaurant in town, this time we wanted to be closer to the action. The teens could go awondering occasionally and hang out with the local kids thanks to our connections. It reminded me of my first Greek holidays as a teenager - the first steps of independence. Meanwhile we plotted up around our hotel pool - on the best beanbag sunloungers I've ever seen, and sipping on the occasional cocktail - having a good laugh with the other friendly guests. My son quickly spotted that there were a disapproportionate number of males in skimpy bathers, but thats the way it is in Mykonos. We befriended a few people at that pool bar including single women - on holiday in a place where they were unlikely to get hassled by guys. As a straight couple with kids we were the odd ones out - but we don't mind that!

The hotel, recommended by my local friend, I would have no hesitation in recommending to you. *Rochari Hotel*  It wasn't the most expensive or the most slick but it was good enough on all points that make a good holiday -  and far surpassed itself on many others. Notably the pool barman Cristophe was an amazing person and generally the atmosphere was very friendly and we felt at home. 

kiko

mykonostown

When choosing where to stay it is important to be close enough to take a stroll into the hub hub, but if you are on the raised rim around Mykonos Town as we were, you get the amazing view over the whole thing too and sunset each night to boot. When you get down to choosing a hotel in the right location, without a ridiculously inflated price and with a pool, there isn't a huge amount of options open to you. I would choose the same one again.

There is so much on the doorstep in the web of streets but I would recommend a visit to the sophisticated Avra Restaurant (sit in a courtyard under blossoms) and the flamboyant Lola Bar. My personal 'must have' Greek meals are a souvaki (similar to a kebab) from a takeaway bar - they remind me of my youthful travels - or octopus in vinegar, taramasalata and traditional Greek Salad - washed down with a glass of retzina (a harshly dry wine that goes perfectly with it all.)

A favourite restaurant on the other side of the island is Kikos - where tables are set under a large tree and a range of salads are offered alongside barbequed meat, all perched above the most gorgous little cove where you can sleep it off afterwards. The waiters sang Happy Birthday to my daughter in Greek and really made her day.

There are many other gorgeous corners of this island to explore. I can suggest some amazing - and quirky - hotel options to choose from.

delosSan Giorgio - at Paraga. Super stylish. No kids allowed.

Cavo Tagoo - stunning cave suites or slick white roof with a dash of colour.

Mykonos Theoxenia - in Mykonos Town and with 60s decor (but in the most tasteful way!)

Myconian Villa Collection - Exclusive, unique, chic and at Elia beach

Andronikos Hotel - in Mykonos Town. Interesting rooms.

July and August in Mykonos is absolutely packed and frantic - I would recommend you avoiding this unless it is your intention to queue and squeeze your way through your holiday, paying top-dollar all the way. We were there right at the end of the season (first week in October) and we still had perfect weather but without the crowds - plus all the shops were greatly reducing their prices!

An outing that shouldn't be missed - if you have any tolerance for ruins that is! -  is the boat trip taken from the harbour across to neighbouring Delos. An island bursting with ancient Greek history where you can more or less wander amongst it at will and imagine how things were.