But this island paradise is real, and its LGBTQ+ scene is thriving. Its community quieted for a bit in the early to mid-2010s, but a new generation of travelers have reclaimed Mykonos, perhaps the most famous of the Cyclades—a chain of Greek islands between Athens and Crete in the Aegean Sea. You’ll find most of the island’s activity in Mykonos Town, where the streets are charmingly narrow—if you’re feeling adventurous, try navigating these on a rented moped—and the mindset is anything but! Around Mykonos Town’s “gay square” near the Little Venice neighborhood, welcoming LGBTQ+ bars and clubs are the norm, not the exception, so expect fabulous drag performances and a vibrant party atmosphere that can last from 10 pm to sunrise! XLSIOR draws an international crowd of 30,000 music lovers in late August, ending summer with a bang. Keep in mind that Mykonos definitely has an off season (don’t we all, darling?), so from October to April, some of these hotspots take a break. The upside to the off season? Accommodations can be easier to find and less expensive.
By day, hit the beach! Elia, Paranga, and Super Paradise are the main community beaches on the south coast, each accessible by boat service from Platys Gialos beach. Paranga and Super Paradise are party hotspots, lined with bars and tavernas playing loud, danceable music, while Elia is a little quieter... apart from its jetskis! You can’t go wrong at any of the island’s 30+ beaches popular with friendly sunbathers. Bathing suits are optional here, and so are tan lines! Of course, remember to bring sunscreen: from spring to mid-fall, the Cyclades enjoy warm, sun-drenched weather tempered by summer breezes. The sunny paradise of Mykonos is just a 30-minute flight from Athens. If you’re running on island time, opt for the 5-hour ferry ride from the port of Piraeus in Athens, which leaves you plenty of time to get close to a new friend!
However you get to Mykonos, save time for sunset snapshots of the town’s iconic windmills, themselves overlooking the picturesque Little Venice. Head inland to the village of Ano Mera and admire the Panagia Tourliani, a 16th-century monastery with whitewashed walls set off by cerulean skies. Mykonos is easily one of the prettiest spots you’ll ever visit (seriously, it’s one place that looks just as perfect as its photos—rather like Maria Callas). With its accepting community spirit, Mykonos’s beauty goes way deeper than a pretty face.