1. The story behind the island
Mykonos is definitely the most famous of the Cyclad islands, thanks to its treasure of natural beauty, rich history, cosmopolitan character and all this combined with a spectacular nightlife.
The island’s landscape is a symphony of blazing bare rock, blinding white architecture and, in contrast to its small size, laced with numerous stretches of the most beautiful sandy beaches which are accentuated by the wonderful Mediterranean light and set against the deep blue background of the Aegean.
Greek mythology has it that Hercules in one of his 12 tasks, killed the Giants and threw them into the sea where they petrified and turned into huge rocks, forming the island of Mykonos.
Mykonos owes its name to the son of the King of Delos.
During ancient times, Mykonos, due to its proximity to Delos, which was then highly populated, became very important as a supply island. The short 2-kilometer distance between the islands was frequently travelled, since religious rules specified that no one should be born or die on Delos.
Around the time of Alexander the Great the island became a commercial center for agriculture and maritime trade.
In 1207, like the rest of the Cyclades, Mykonos came under Venetian rule which lasted until 1537, when the Turks dominated the islands along with the rest of Greece. The inhabitants were great sailors, so they provided important help to the Greek Revolution against the Turkish yoke, in 1821. The national heroin Manto Mavrogenous sacrificed her personal fortune for the Greek cause and the island offered 22 ships, crew and ammunition.
After the country’s independence in 1830, the island’s economy and commercial power were slowly but steadily reestablished.
In the period between World War I and II, visitors were attracted here mainly by the important excavations on Delos. During the ’50s, modern-day tourism started to grow, along with the island’s population, but it was in the following two decades of the ’60s and the ’70s that, thanks to the likes of Jackie O and numerous other jetsetters, the island was turned into one of the most cosmopolitan holiday resorts of the Mediterranean, if not of the world.
Mykonos will just take your breath away. An international hotspot that mixes to perfection the cosmopolitan lifestyle of the island with a sophisticated nightlife, covered in beautiful sandy beaches with spectacular sunsets and the historic treasures of nearby Delos all combined with its stunning natural beauties and picturesque villages give you the recipe for an unforgettable holiday.
2. Mykonos Town (Chora)
The whitewashed cubic houses of the capital with their wooden colored doors, windows and balconies, its narrow winding streets forming a labyrinth, the beautiful churches and lovely chapels with flashes of purple bougainvillea’s will mesmerize you.
During the day take a stroll. With an unlimited number of trendy cafes, chic boutiques, souvenir shops and fine jewelries, it will make you forget time. At night it offers you a wide selection of restaurants numerous bars and nightclubs that stay open until the early hours.
The heart of the town is closed to traffic during most of the day which make the walk among the streets particularly agreeable.
3. Little Venice
Little Venice is one of the most romantic places in the whole of Mykonos with amazing sunset views.
In years gone by, many distinguished sailors had built their houses right on the picturesque shoreline many of which have today been converted into chic bars which are still very conspicuous by their old world charm.
The beauty of Little Venice is such that it has and still is highly acclaimed by artists who have made this charming neighborhood of Mykonos their home. In fact many an artist has portrayed the magnetic beauty of Little Venice in his priceless artworks, etchings and paintings thereby promoting the reputation of this neighborhood of Mykonos to the outside world.
Apart from the mesmerizing sunset it offers thus a wide variety of art galleries and exhibitions, bars and discotheques.
No wonder, Little Venice is today among the most photographed holiday location in the whole of Europe
The windmills of Mykonos are among the most recognized landmarks of the island as early as the 16th century.
Due to its geographic position, Mykonos found itself on the major sea trade-route which at one time joined Venice, the gateway of Europe, to Asia. The need to refine grain and compact it for transport combined with an ample year round supply of wind made it therefor the perfect location.
Today 16 windmills are left on the island with the most famous ones situated in Mykonos Town and known as the Kato Miloi (Windmills on a lower spot). Marked as one of the most popular monuments of the Cyclades Islands their pictures have become a trademark and have travelled around the world.
Round shaped with small windows, all facing north and white as snow they follow the architecture of most Cycladic islands and make the perfect setting for your holiday sunset pictures.
None of the windmills are operating nowadays but you can visit one which operates as a museum and is located close to the church of Paraportiani.
5. Delos (A UNESCO World Heritage Site)
The island of Delos is among the first important Greek sites in the Aegean world to have captured the attention of archaeologists. Delos had considerable influence on the development of architecture and monumental arts during the Graeco-Roman period; this influence was matched later by the important role it has played since the 15th century in furthering our knowledge of ancient Greek art from a widely renowned site.
According to Greek mythology, Delos was the birthplace of Artemis and Apollo, the twin offspring of Zeus by Leto. When Leto was discovered to be pregnant, Zeus’ jealous wife Hera banished her from the earth, but Poseidon took pity on her and provided Delos as a place for her to give birth in peace.
Excursion boats depart Mykonos Town in the morning and return in the early or mid-afternoon.
The Archaeological Museum of Delos, Mykonos Town: The Archaeological Museum of Delos was built way back in the year 1904. The construction of this famous museum was carried out under the aegis of the Archaeological Society of Athens. Initially the museum was spread over just five rooms. It was much later in the year 1931 and again in 1972 that further rooms were added. At present the historical artifacts are on display in nine rooms. There are six exclusive rooms where rare historical
The Archaeological Museum, Mykonos Town: The Archaeological Museum of Mykonos was erected in 1902. The Museum was set up primarily to preserve the vestiges recovered from the Purification Pit which dates back to 426-425 B.C. With a beautiful collection of marble and clau figurines as well as vases it is certainly one of the highlights of your cultural visit.
The Aegean Maritime Museum, Mykonos Town: The Aegean Maritime Museum of Mykonos opened its doors in 1985 and it is housed in a traditional Cycladic building of the 19th century in Mykonos Town, in the neighborhood of Tria Pigadia (Three Wells). The aim of the museum is to present and study the history of the Greek nautical tradition presenting prehistoric ship models, nautical instruments and coins up till the 20th century
The Folklore Museu, Mykonos Town: The Folklore Museum is ideally located in Kastro neighborhood of Mykonos, in close proximity to Paraportiani. The museum is a storehouse of antiquities belonging to the 19th century.
The Agricultural Museum, Ano Miloi: The Agricultural Museum of Mykonos is an open-air site, although part of the display is housed in the Boni windmill, dating from the 16th century and belonging to the Folklore Museum of the island. This windmill is placed on a hill in the area of Ano Myloi, meaning “Upper Windmills”, overlooking the bay of the capital town, to the east of the island.
Named after the last owner of the house, Lena Skrivanou, Lena’s House Museum is a 19th-century, middle-class Mykonian house, complete with furnishings. A branch of the Folklore Museum, Lena’s House is located at Tria Pigadia in the town of Mykonos and it is an authentic middle-class Mykonian residence of the 19th century, representing a typical internal arrangement of space.
7. Mykonos Town Hall, Mykonos Town
The Town Hall of Mykonos is a typical building of local architecture. It was originally built in 1785 primarily to serve as a residence of the then Russian Count by the name of Ivan Voinovich during the Russo-Turkish War.
Inside the premises of the town hall, there are six well stocked libraries with a rich collection of books and manuscripts. The Town Hall being an old edifice, has been renovated a number of times as a precautionary measure, but the best part of this magnificent edifice is that, it has still retained its elegant architectural features.
The Taxi square is at the main square of the island, next to the statue of Manto Mavrogenenous. Keep in minds that, especially at night, as there are a limited number of taxis available on the island it might take some time before you get one.
There are two main bus stations which service the tourists’ transportation at the most popular villages and the well-known beaches. North Station is located behind the archaeological museum, near the telephone company building OTE. From this station you can go to north and east part of the island: Agios Stefanos ,Tourlos, Kalafati, Elia, Kalo Livadi and Ano Mera. South Station is situated in the square Fabrika, near the Olympic airway office. From here you can visit Ornos, Agios Yannis, Plati Gialos, Psarou, Paraga, Paradise and Airport.
By Car or Motorbike
In Mykonos you will have the opportunity to rent a car, a motorbike or a scooter. It is the quickest way to get around.
By Boat (refered to as “kaiki”, caique)
It is the ideal mean to visit beaches at south and west part of the island. From Platis Yialos Beach and Ornos the boats leave for Paranga, Paradise, Super Paradise, Agrari, Psarou.
The island will amaze you and will make you never want to leave again; and when you do you will want to come back!
9. Useful Tips
Mykonos enjoys the typical Mediterranean climate, which is marked by extended periods of sunshine throughout most of the year, warm and dry summers, and mild winters. Please be advised of the weather forecast during your stay.
A sweater/jacket is recommended, as evenings occasionally bring cooler temperatures.
Tap water is not drinkable on the island. You can brush your teeth and have a shower but bottled water is suggested for drinking.
The electricity supply in Greece is 220-250 volt, 50-cycle, alternating current.