MYKONOS ISLAND | cyclades | GREECE

A world class destination

Mykonos is a world class destination. It is Greece’s party island! Here you’ll find the international jet set mingling with the rest of us and not being given special treatment, whether seeking an umbrella on the beach or a table in the trendiest restaurant. Mykonos combines its gorgeous beaches with dazzling Cycladic architecture and an endless variety of places to stay and things to do.

You have to go to Mykonos at least once in your life. Only if you can’t bear crowds or the idea that the island has been transformed into one big entertainment centre would you be justified in not going. But visiting the Greek islands without seeing Mykonos is like travelling to the United States and bypassing New York.

Mykonos in Brief

Mykonos, one of the northeastern Cyclades, lies in the centre of the Aegean and is home to 9,300 permanent inhabitants. Its climate is typically Mediterranean, with mild, fairly dry winters and blustery north winds in summer that make the heat more bearable. An island of low hills, it is stony and arid with very little vegetation.

For centuries Mykonos lived under the shadow of its neighbour, Delos, which in antiquity was the most sacred island in the Greek world. In our own day, it is a major archaeological site. In the past, travellers used Mykonos as a base for visiting Delos, until they were eventually bewitched by its own charms and natural beauty. It gradually began to be known abroad and the rapid growth of tourism soon made it an international summer resort. Now, the tables are turned and Delos is in the shadow of Mykonos.

Today the island is exceptionally well equipped with facilities for tourists and offers an enormous range of entertainment possibilities. Most of its beaches are among the most beautiful in Greece. And among its habituates are some of the planet’s most famous personalities, not a few of whom have built lovely vacation homes. From the architectural point of view, only the Hora (main town/port) is of particular interest. Nevertheless, Ano Mera, the island’s sole village apart from Hora, and the new, small summer settlements built on protected coves, are worth a look. These include Ornos and AiGiannis, with its restaurants, hotels and bars, Agios Stephanos, Tourlos and Platys Gialos. 

HISTORY OF MYKONOS ISLAND

Mykonos was one of the first Greek islands to attract tourism in the mid 50's.

The island took its name from a legendary ancient hero called Mykonos. Like most of the Aegean islands, it was a member of the 1st and 2nd Athenian Confederacy. In 166 BC the Romans conquered the Cyclades, after which Mykonos enjoyed a certain prosperity, which came to an abrupt end with the destruction of the sanctuary on Delos by Mithridates (88 BC). After the fall of Constantinople to the Franks, the Venetians governed the island (1207-1537) until it was devastated by the notorious Turkish admiral, Khaireddin Barbarossa. During the Ottoman occupation, the islanders were engaged in shipping and trade and dabbled in piracy on the side. Led by the heroine Manto Mavrogenous, they sent their experienced crews to fight in the war of Independence. After the liberation of Greece, in the early 19th c., the Mykonians rebuilt their merchant fleet and slowly began to grow wealthy. The replacement of sails by steam nipped their economy in the bud and many islanders were forced to emigrate in order to survive. Mykonos was one of the first Greek islands to attract tourism in the mid 50s and has held its popularity ever since among sophisticates.

Hora | Mykonos Town

This is a gem of a town, a prime example of Cycladic architecture. Even the noted architect-town planner Le Corbusier admired its harmony and the artistry of the self-taught master builders who constructed it over time. Today a listed settlement, it consists of narrow, whitewashed alleyways, tiny churches, white houses with brightly painted woodwork and marvellous windmills.

The pelican you’ll see eating fish in the port is one of a series named Petros; he’s the island’s mascot.
The main street, Matogianni with its chic shops, cafes and bars, is where the island’s pulse throbs. Apart from the attractive things you’ll see as you stroll around the Hora’s winding lanes, you’ll also have the chance to shop or window shop in the fabulous, but pricey, boutiques, which carry all the most exclusive name brands. Among them are the outstanding Greek jewellers.

By day the pace in the Hora is slow and calm. But once the sun sets, the picturesque alleys fill to bursting with the people who come to Mykonos just to check out its celebrated nightlife.

what to see and do in mykonos

MYKONOS ARCHAEOLOGICAL MUSEUM

Housed in a neoclassical building of 1901, south of the harbour, it contains exhibits of pre-Classical and Classical pottery, figurines from various periods, Hellenistic and Roman sculpture and inscriptions. Many of the finds come from the necropolis of Rinia, the island next to Delos. Look for the clay jar with scenes from the Trojan War (7th c. BC).

MYKONOS FOLK ART MUSEUM

An interesting museum which opened in 1962 in the former home of a Mykonian sea captain. It contains collections of local weaving, knits, embroideries, pottery, traditional costumes, maritime instruments and old furniture. Among the exhibits you’ll see Mykonos famous mascot the first Petros the pelican, stuffed. He was the island’s mascot for three decades. Also part of the museum are the restored 16th c. windmill, the threshing floor and the dovecote, all in the vicinity.

MYKONOS AEGEAN MARITIME MUSEUM

Opened in 1985, Aegean Maritime Mueseum is housed in a traditional Cycladic building of the 19th c. Here you’ll see models of ships from the early Minoan period to the 19th c., maritime instruments, maps and documents, ancient coins with naval motifs of the 5th c. BC, as well as marble copies of grave steles from Delos and Mykonos, among other things.

MYKONOS WINDMILLS

Near the castle erected in the 13th c. by the Venetian ruler of Mykonos, Andrea Ghizi.


THE MYKONOS TOWN HALL

A neoclassical building constructed in 1785 to house the Russian consulate, and Ta Tria Pigadia (the Three Wells), which were, until 1956, the town’s only source of water.

VISIT ANO MERA VILLAGE

A small Mykonian inland village with tavernas on its pretty plateia where you can eat meat grilled over charcoal or fresh fried loukoumades (doughnut relatives) and honey in one of the sweetshops. Near the square you’ll see the monastery of Panagia tis Tourlianis, which was founded in the 16th c. but took its final form in 1767. It has an attractive belltower and interesting relief scenes on its carved wooden iconscreen. The monastery’s modest museum contains relics, ecclesiastical treasures and Byzantine icons.

best beaches in mykonos

The beaches of Mykonos rank among the best in the Aegean, in Greece, and perhaps in the world. July and August are surely the worst time to visit them, but in June and September, you’ll find the weather better and the crowds reduced. Some may even be deserted. Most of the best beaches are on the south coast, sheltered from the prevailing northerly winds, the “meltemia”. You can get to these beaches, including Paranga, Paradise, Super Paradise, Agrari and Elia, by caique from Platys Gialos.

AGRARI BEACH MYKONOS GREECE

AGRARI BEACH

Perhaps the most picturesque beach in Mykonos, Agrari has coarse sand and organized facilities for water sports and sunbathing. It is also one of the least crowded, a favourite with celebrities.
ELIA BEACH MYKONOS GREECE

ELIA BEACH

The island’s most beautiful, this beach offers water sports, umbrellas, and tavernas.

AGIOS SOSTIS BEACH

An exquisite, large sandy beach, one of the few on Mykonos that is not organized. It’s a paradise for nudists and boat owners.
SUPER PARADISE BEACH MYKONOS GREECE

SUPER PARADISE BEACH

One of the most famous beaches in the Aegean. This very pretty beach is preferred by the gays and the younger set. If you like swimming and swinging at the same time, music blasting from the bars and you’re not put off by crowds, then this is the place for you.
PSAROU BEACH MYKONOS GREECE NAMMOS

PSAROU BEACH

The most famous beach on Mykonos, this is a big favourite among Athenians and celebrities. Organized sandy beach, fairly protected from the wind with luxurious sunbeds and umbrellas. During the peak season there is a waiting list for the sunbeds and umbrellas.

KALO LIVADI BEACH

Kalo Livadi is one of the longest beaches in Mykonos and quite popular for the facilities and the parties.

PARANGA BEACH

Lounge chairs and umbrellas in the sand. A lot of foreigners come here.

PANORMOS BEACH

A beautiful sandy beach with a bohemian style beach bar-restaurant.

FRANGIA

One of Mykonos best and most deserted beaches, with coarse sand. You can only get here by boat or rented caique.
KALAFATIS BEACH MYKONOS GREECE

KALAFATIS

One of the most organized beaches on Mykonos, it has water sports, a scuba diving school and a beach bar. Popular with the younger set.

FTELIA

The windsurfers’ favourite beach on Mykonos. We don’t recommend it for swimming, but it’s ideal if you like the challenge of strong winds.

RHENIA ISLAND (MEGALI DELOS)

Rhenia island is one hour away by excursion caique from Mykonos. It has wonderful beaches and is a great place if you have your own boat.

TRAGONISSI ISLAND

A deserted island, 1 mile east from Mykonos, it has sea caves where monk seals hide.

FTELIA

The windsurfers’ favourite beach on Mykonos. We don’t recommend it for swimming, but it’s ideal if you like the challenge of strong winds.

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