The Greek island of Mykonos is known as a floating party in the middle of the Aegean Sea—a close second to Ibiza, which some say has lost its magic. The cheaper and less pretentious Mykonos has become the go-to boho escape since Jackie Onassis first washed up here in the 1960s, smiling at the local pelicans. Nowadays, a more jet set crowd steps foot on the island, from Lindsay Lohan to Conchita Wurst and Richie Hawtin. Although the travel guides call it a haven for yachts and champagne, there is more to Mykonos than just opulence.
Among some of the more low-key hotspots outside of the loud tourist crowd includes the Dio Horia contemporary art gallery and residency with rotating exhibitions that show cutting edge, vibrant contemporary art from all over the world, proving that Mykonos is working to become a part of the global cultural conversation, too.
Rarity Gallery is another visual art destination on the island, as the multi-room gallery space carries works by artists like Julian Opie. For arty shopping, the Chora boutique sells designer housewares and custom made glassware pieces that are artworks in themselves.
For designer shopping, the low-key Alchemist concept shop sets itself apart with its space-age interior designed by Dimitrios Tsigos, who gives it a sleek, modular vibe. The racks are filled with pieces by Cyprus designer Stelios Koudounaris, Paris designer Sandrine Philippe and Barcelona designer Khourian Beer. Famed L.A. Lakers basketball player Kobe Bryant and his wife Vanessa Bryant have been seen shopping here. A quick stroll away into the neighbourhood of Kastro is a picturesque 17th century architectural icon, the Panagia Paraportiani church.
For a wonderful stay, Rochari Hotel is a special hotel that is just a walk from the old port. And it isn’t just for the views, although their rooms do offer stunning views of the island’s incredible landscape against the Aegean sea, which can be seen from the hotel room private terraces.
The vibe at this hotel is social, friendly and warm, often the guests get to know the staff and each other, as there are many returning customers. The Rochari, with its fully renovated building, has a large pool that is open all day and well into the evening, proving that it is perfect for sunset drinks and dinner at the hotel’s restaurant. The Greek food here is organic and grown on a family farm.
One of the newest restaurants which opened this summer is Ling Ling by Hakkasan in the Old Town, which fuses Asian treats with local cuisine in a minimal chic den. Try the steamed dim sum platter with lobster, king crab, prawn and seabass dumplings. For something more classic, the Remezzo restaurant, which has been open since 1967, recently re-launched both its restaurant with traditional Mediterranean fine dining and their Remezzaki bar, which has DJs who spin all night. Try the Greek moussaka.