During the halcyon hippie days of the 60’s, Mykonos was a pristine paradise that lured jet setters and artists in search of their own shelter in the middle of the Aegean: Long haired boys and girls with no shoes, traipsing the whitewashed alleys of Chora and dancing their worries away next to Elizabeth Taylor, Rita Hayworth or ‘sad princess’ Soraya; while no one raised an eyebrow.
This uniquely liberating-no judgment held- atmosphere is what also attracted America’s first lady, Jacqueline Bouvier Kennedy. Who came with her younger sister Lee Radziwill in 1961 and declared, upon leaving, that she would one day own a house in Mykonos. Her wish was granted, albeit her base was to be waterborne rather than on Mykonian soil: In fact no less than her second husband’s, Onassis, super yacht (he too had long been a Mykonian aficionado). But by becoming one of the island’s most devout fans and supporters, Jackie placed Mykonos firmly on the gay travel map. After all her inimitable style -as well as turbulent personal life- had turned her into a quintessential gay icon. So since the 70’s, the gay -couples or singles-followed Jackie O’s lead and started flocking to Mykonos.
This brought about the creation of more and more establishments catering for the booming, free spending gay market. One of them was the legendary Pierros. It first opened its doors in 1973 as a cocktail bar but soon after added drag shows with the famous Jack and Karlos, thus becoming the toast of gay Mykonos.
Though residing in a Christian Orthodox country, locals are rather open minded, with fewer inhibitions; and unlikely to judge on the basis of sexual preferences. They have been therefore welcoming the gays and the lesbians, since their advent, with open arms. The latter in turn have left their indelible mark in the island in just about everything: from the entertainment to food, décor, and that’s not to mention the parties.
Gay Mykonos: a concise guide
Nowadays gay Mykonos is still going strong, as the island continues to magnetise the international LGBT community with good reason: Life is one big celebration in gay Mykonos; as holidays here mean fun from dusk to dawn– champagne on the beach, cocktails on seafront balconies, dancing and flirting until the sun comes up. Plus anything that happens in Mykonos, stays in Mykonos; so it is basically a worry- free zone. Read on for what’s hot in gay Mykonos:
Gay Mykonos: XLSIOR Festival
One of the biggest, feel good, clubbing events οn the planet takes place in Mykonos every summer. Hosting some of the best artists in the gay circuit, in handpicked, breathtaking locations since 2009, the XLSIOR, attracts over 30,000 people from all over the globe for a glorious week of fun and delicious abandon. Astonishing music, hot events, beautiful faces, huge smiles; loads of love, friends old and new alike. This is what it is all about: a bacchanalian extravaganza that will blow your mind.
Gay Mykonos: Beaches
Paradise, the original nudist-gay haunt, remains clothing optional and draws the beautiful and the bronzed; while Super Paradise – reached by a small boat from its neighbour – is an anti-conformist, out-and-proud gay beach. Though void of hotels it boasts the gay exclusive Jackie O’ Beach club (she’s after all the one that started it all!); and the infamous Super Paradise beach bar geared towards anyone who’s up for some serious fun under the sun, whether gay or straight; fully clothed; scantily clad; or not at all. Elia furthermore hosts an eclectic crowd of hetero and homo sun worshippers in its long sandy strip.
Gay Mykonos by night
Come sunset and it’s time to hit the town. The best place to begin your nighttime escapades is none other than the idyllic, vibrant seafront neighborhood of Little Venice-home to some of the island’s best bars and clubs, addressing party animals and esthetes, regardless of their sexual orientation. Your best bets include the emblematic Semeli the Bar, one of the most well-known-and beloved- establishments among Mykonos patrons; Bao’s, hosting the world’s glitzy, champagne sipping, paparazzi snapped, crowd; newfound, super eccentric Secret of Baos-the drag show/live here is not to be missed!- uber fashionable Toy Room, the playground of models and celebrities; and as the evening draws to a close, Mykonos Bar, the celebrated landmark of Mykonos nightlife; the place that in effect started it all.
Gay Mykonos hotels
This dionysian mixture of sun, fun and endless partying, may however take its toll. Good news is that Mykonos boasts some of the most luscious hotels in the world. And thanks to the trademark non judgemental disposition of the locals, most are gay friendly. A great option, conveniently tucked in a quiet corner of Chora, just a few minutes walk from all the action, is the Semeli. Cool, stylish and uber friendly; it shall restore, pamper and revive you in its state of the art rooms or suites; with its amazing breakfast -thoughtfully served until noon-or superb food at Thioni and Krama restaurants; and that’s not to mention the luxurious treatments at the OIKO spa-the signature recovery package, does wonders for the complexion and overall health, after too many late nights!