See How Mykonos Changed from Sleepy Island to Superstars’ Paradise

The Mykonian beach at Elia

Mykonos was one of the first Greek islands to become an international travel destination. Famed as a haunt of the rich, its nightlife is a glittering whirl of lights, music and parties.

It’s a far cry from the days of the pure, beautiful simplicity that once characterized this Aegean island.

The super rich like Aristoteles Onassis and Stavros Niarchos began to arrive in Mykonos in the ’50s with their personal jets. In 1954, Queen Frederica of Hanover organized a cruise to the Greek islands for the princes and princesses of Europe.

Pictures of popular actors like Marlon Brando, Grace Kelly and Richard Burton together with the Greek actress Melina Mercouri, revelling in their Mykonos summer holidays were the best publicity the island could dream of. Jackie Kennedy visited Mykonos, too, eventually, in 1961.

In the ’70s, when gay couples discovered Mykonos, there were so many ships arriving at the island, they could not dock at its port. Travelers were transferred to the coast in smaller boats, and the first thing they saw were rocks and some small, white houses.

Beaches were much less crowded. And of course, there were no beach bars, beach-side restaurants or sun beds.

From then on, Mykonos has become the cosmopolitan island and famous tourist destination that we know it to be today. With its traditional architecture, the white-washed houses, the narrow streets “kalderimia” and the exuberant natural beauty that surrounds it, Mykonos remains a favorite among the most discerning travelers.