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MYKONOS: there is no middle ground for Mykonos, you either love it or you hate it, and those feelings almost never go away.

The island is Greece's playground and one of the top holiday destinations in the world. Some people think you have not really seen what Greece has to offer until you visit Mykonos.

The island is definitely the most upscale area of Greece, and its real estate is, by far, the most expensive. The main roads are among the best paved in Greece, and it is served by an adequate, clean airport that was recently renovated and is slated for further expansion in the next few years. The chronic shortages of cleaning water were tackled a few years back, with the building of a dam, and the island boasts a new, huge harbor, east of Mykonos town, where cruise ships can dock easily. The building boom of the last 5 years was fuelled by the Greek stock market boom of 1998-2000 that financed many Greeks' dream of owning a summer home in Mykonos. Land prices were driven to the stratosphere but that did not lead to haphazard building styles and loss of the island's architectural chartacter. Although many more buildings dot the barren island's landscape today, zoning rules were adhered to almost religiously, and Mykonos retains its Cycladic charm. One- or two-story whitewashed houses, many with swimming pools, and small size luxury hotel units have sprung up all over, mainly near the beaches. The town was affected by this growth mainly through the renovation of old homes and the opening of even more upscale boutiques and even more gourmet restaurants. Nobu Mykonos, at Mykonos town's Belvedere Hotel, was the first restaurant of the Nobu chain to open in Greece, in the summer of 2003.

Mykonos has always attracted the local and international rich and famous not only because of its barren, haunting scenery and pretty town, but, mainly, because it is lucky to be endowed with crystal clear waters and scores of truly beautiful beaches. Super Paradise, Agrari, Lia, Kalo Livadi, Panormos, and many more, are the main magnet that attracts hundreds of thousands of people every summer and keeps prices quite high. The island is both a 24-hour party island, and an elegant and quiet retreat. You can choose to have an around-the-clock rave party holiday, or relax in a luxury hotel, on a uniquely beautiful island, swim in stunning, but not crowded beaches, and go to bed early after enjoying a world class dinner. Oh, and everything in between those two extremes. A typical day in Mykonos starts around noon, with breakfast at Aigli or Astra, in the Matogiannia main street of Chora. The scene then moves to the beaches, with all-day laziness, maybe a few drinks at the beach bars, and water sports. Many beach bars on the island serve on the beach and send their waiters to the umbrellas by the surf to take and deliver orders.

Then, around 7 pm, many head back to Chora for the sunset. Caprice Bar and next-door Vagelio's bar, in Little Venice, are the center of activity at this hour. Caprice has the crowd and the ambience inside, but Vagelio's drinks are much cheaper. Many cognoscenti buy a drink at Vagelio's and hang at Caprice. The partying goes on until 10 or 11 pm, when it's time for a shower, a cup of espresso, and off to dinner and more partying. Until the wee hours of the morning. That's Mykonos!

 

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