Mykonos the party island of Greece
This is the Ibiza of Greece. A beautiful island in the
Cyclades, which looks just like the postcards: white little
houses with flowers and blue windows and doors, hand painted
streets, windmills, pigeon keepers, chimneys, lots of little
churches and wonderful restaurants and cafes.
Many of the Greek "jetsetters" either have a house here or visit every summer, and the nightlife is very developed. You will see a lot of eccentrics especially at night time. Even though it is a party-island, it is not as loud as for example Ios and Kos, so you can get sleep at night.
Mykonos has a reputation for being a summer resort for mainly gay men, which is not entirely true. The gay audience is present, but it is also a glamorous place for the rich and famous, which is painfully clear to whoever has a look at the prices on the menus.
The island was once very poor, and the people tried to survive on fishing and stock breeding on the harsh land. A major industry was also ship construction. Tourism has turned the economy over since it started in the 1950's and the locals have a double attitude towards this: it may have saved the economy but some also feel that it has taken over too much.
Architecture: With the exception of Mykonos town, Chora, all over Mykonos you
will see the typical Cycladic cubist style of architecture. Small, often single
storey white cubes
sprinkled over the landscape like little iced cakes. Mykonos town however offers
a different architectural style that is unique in the area. Here, flanking the
narrow winding streets are
buildings reminiscent of a medieval style.
Every house is reached via a flight of straight steps, parallel to the road, whilst the space underneath these steps was traditionally kept for storage. Atop the steps is a wooden painted balcony that sometimes projects over the road to nearly touch the balcony of the house across the street. Here too, you will find a change from the ubiquitous blue and white decor of Greece. In Mykonos town the wooden structures of every house are painted in a rainbow of colours, against the whitewashed walls and blue sky, the effect is absolutely delightful.
Landscape: Outside of the capital Chora there are very few densely populated areas. Villages and hamlets scatter the hillsides. In some areas there is fairly intensive development of holiday complexes, although it must be said, in a very low-key and sympathetic way. Being an island that receives the four winds head on, there are very few trees in the landscape. this, together with the rocks and boulders strewn across the terrain, give a strange and desolate feeling to the island that contrasts starkly to the sophisticated busyness of its main town.
Mykonos according to mythology, was the place where
Heracles killed the giants. The rocks around the island are
supposedly their corpses!!!
Mykonos was the first ruler on the island according to tradition, and the first known settlers we know of were the Ionians in the 9th century BC.
The island was to fall under Athenian, Macedonian and Roman rule in the years to come, just like the surrounding islands.
The Venetians conquered the island in 1207, and their Duchy later until the Turks invaded in the first half of the 16th century. All Greek school-children have read about the heroine Manto Mavrogenous who success-fully fought the Turks after they tried to land on the island in 1822, a year after the war of Independence had broken out. Her house can still be seen on Mykonos.
Mykonos was liberated in 1830. It was quite exhausted after the war, and it was not until tourism started pick up that the island got on its feet economically again.
What to see in Mykonos
The town Chora is a place you should really explore. Walk
around, go to the windmills, feed the pelicans Petros ('Rock" and Irini
("Peace"), have a drink in the little harbour and visit the Parapotiani
church. And of course, go shopping. There are also five museums: an
archaeological, a folk museum, a maritime, a cultural and a private one with
old rooms and furniture.
Most of the museums of Mykonos are located at Enoplon Dynameon Street which is one of the busiest streets of Mykonos town during the summer. To reach this area is fairly straightforward, At the seafront, turn right by the ferry ticket office into Matogianni Street, walk the length of this street and turn right at the end - this is Enopolon Dynameon Street. Here you will find the Aegean Maritime Museum (opening hours 10.30-13.00 pm and 18.30-21.00 pm), next to it is the Folk Museum, the House of Lena, (open 18.30-21.00 pm). Another interesting building just before these 2 museums is the house where the Greek Numismatologist and Archaeologist, Giannis Svoronos, was born .
Further down just before the 3 wells are the churches of Saint George, that was built in the 15th century BC, and St Barbara and Saint Fanourios built in 1883.
Behind the primary school of Mykonos is the main square of Chora "Laka", a green oasis in thewhitewashed Mykonos town with Eucalyptus and Palm trees and all kinds of shops and eateries around, here also you will find the post office. Walking up from there to the west you will reach the plateau where the famous windmills are located. These are one of the most popular landmarks of Mykonos. In olden times the people from all over the Cyclades would bring their wheat and barley to these mills to be made into flour.
Just beneath the windmills is the area of Alefkandra, or 'little Venice'. Its original name Alefkandra derives from its original use as a laundry and it was here that the women of Mykonos washed their clothes.
If you keep on walking through the winding small streets of Little Venice towards to the north, soon you will find the Paraportiani church another famous landmark of Mykonos.
The Paraportiani church in fact is 5 churches all built in a compact complex. It is one of the most photographed buildings of Mykonos and an amazing combination of white against the blue of the sky and the sea. Its structure over time has metamorphosised into an organic mass that resembles at one point a sparkling white iceberg stranded on the shore or at other points a huge cake dripping with icing sugar. From Paraportiani, the Kastro and the western part of the promenade are very close. In this area is the municipality building with its red clay roof. From this location the visitor can enjoy a panorama of the promenade of Mykonos. On the other side of the promenade at the taxi station in Manto square is the Statue of Manto Mavrogenous a Myconian Heroic figure of the Greek War of Independence equivalent to Laskarina Bouboulina of Spetses island.
The little village Ano Mera is worth s visit: small, pretty and quiet. Visit the monastery and the little church museum from the 15th century.
The seafront in Mykonos town
Traditional street in Mykonos
The picturesque Matogianeika
The famous windmills of Mykonos
The town of Mykonos
Panoramic view of Chora
The cosmopolita beach of Psarou
The Paraportiani church
The wonderful church of Paraportiani
What to do in a Mykonos
There are lots of water sports offered, as well as diving, horse riding and swimming pools. There are also daily excursions to the beaches, as well as to Delos and Naxos. The best hours to enjoy Mykonos town is early in the morning when all the party crowds have been retreated in their hotels to gain powers for the next night. Strolling in the winding whitewashed streets of Mykonos in the morning is an unforgettable experience. Go for a coffee in the Little Venice and take photographs of the spotless white church of Paraportiani. As the noon approaching head for a swim at one of the numerous sandy beaches of Mykonos
There are daily excursion to Delos, a small island which used to be the holiest island in ancient Greece. Leto gave birth to Apollo and Artemis here, holding on to a palm tree. You can not spend the night on this island, but a daytrip is definitely a must: the island is cluttered with archaeological remains.
You can also go to another neighbouring island, Tinos, which is the holiest island of modern Greece. The church of the Virgin Mary is a goal for thousands of orthodox pilgrims every year. It is also a very beautiful place worth visiting.
The beaches are generally very busy. It is worth exploring the little bays on the south side. Platy Gialos and Elia are very popular beaches. Further from Platis Gialos are the famous nude beaches of Paraga, Paradise and Super Paradise, you can go there with boats that departing from Platys Gialos. Other beaches are in Agios Stefanos in the north, Kalafatis beach recommended for the lovers of wind surfing. Ornos beach, Agios Giannis, Agrari, all of those beaches and more that you can explore have made the island of Mykonos the most visited island of Greece.
Most of the bars and clubs are in Mykonos Chora. They are quite stylish and the prices can sometimes be outrageous. There are also beach parties going on all through the summer so keep a lookout for advertising posters. For the Greek Music fans (Ellinadika) among the most popular is the Thalami next to the town hall and the Mykonos Bar. The Giuzel 9 Muses at the east side of Akti Kambani and the Argo bar at the square of Manto. At the Three Wells you will find the famous Aegli one of the hot spots of Mykonos nightlife and on the other side of the road the Asteria bar and the Coo restaurant bar. At The Caprice bar in Little Venice, from early afternoon, you can enjoy amazing sunset views. Nearby is located the famous Scandinavian bar . The well- known gay bar of Pierro's start its wild parties after midnight, behind the square of Agia Kyriaki, while Remezzo with its new name El Pecado Remezzo still has its top spot in Mykonos nightlife, just under Remezzo, the bar restaurant Kavos stays open 24 hours, so there is no problem if you want to eat something after the night clubbing. The night party can go on until the morning and be continued in the famous beach bars of Mykonos like Cavo Paradiso and Tropicana in Paradise beach, Super Paradise bar, in Super Paradise beach, Sol Y Mar in Kalo livadi,and Elia bar in Elia beach.
Food and Restaurants
There are both Greek and international restaurants and most of them are situated in Mykonos capital, Mykonos or Chora. The island's specialty is the Louza loukaniko - a special kind of sausage and Kopanisti a special kind of soft goat's cheese with lots of pepper. Actually any kind of eatery can be found in Mykonos, from souvlaki and Gyros to Italian pasta and pizza, crepes, fish taverns and haut cuisine restaurants . You will find many locals eating at the cafeterias and taverns along the promenade, particularly at Vasiliki's "Yalos" snack bar right oposite the fish market where you can enjoy Greek meze with ouzo, Calamari (squid) , fried fish and huge portions of local sausages at very reasonable prices.
Restaurant Aneplora at Kalafatis bay Mykonos. This elegant but simple restaurant is beautifully located overlooking the Agia Anna Bay of at Kalafatis. It specialises in all kinds of seafood including Class A fish and lobster at very reasonable prices. You can also find more unusual seafood such as sea urchins, mussels, oysters and scorpion fish as well as the more traditional fare such as squid, tuna and bream, etc. For diners not wishing to eat the fruits of the sea, the restaurant also offers a wide range of alternative tantalising cuisine. Aneplora Restaurant is very popular amongst Greek people. The decor is clean and bright, choosing a colour scheme which harmonises with the surrounding nature. The service is excellent - fast and polite even at the busiest times in high season.
Folklore shops are everywhere in Mykonos, and a great souvenir is a copy of ancient Cycladic art; little white figures in various positions (playing the flute, praying, thinking, families etc.) which are more than 6000 years old. The gold is also very good, and you can get clothes, ceramics, textiles and antiques if you are willing to pay the price. Many fashion shops are along Matogianni Street , including upmarket fashion and design names like Prince Oliver for clothing , costume jewellery like Folli Follie etc. Famous Greek jewellers can be found in Mykonos like Ilias Lalaounis jewellery opposite the Art Gallery of Giannis Galatis at Polykantrioti Street. If you are interested for something more local and traditional in Zouganeli Street you can buy local sweets and cakes made of almonds, the famous "Amygdalota", from Efthymiou sweet shop. Another unique shop of beauty products all made from Greek olive oil, The Olive Oil Shop, located also in the same street further towards to the town. Some of the local products of Mykonos like the cheese "kopanisti" you can find at the traditional grocers shop "Lykos" (the wolf) in Matogianni Street. In the Grill Tavern Spilia next to the primary school at Enoplon Dynameon Street you can buy local cheese and sausages from the tavern owner's production.
Hotels and accommodation
Tharroe of Mykonos Hotel De Luxe. This elegant, luxury, hilltop hotel is perfectly located for peace and tranquillity. It offers stunning views across the Bay of Mykonos the town itself the port and the windmills, also the nearby islands of Tinos and Syros while from the south part you can see the islands of Delos, Paros and Naxos. The swimming pool and bar area are particularly impressive with direct unobstructed, panoramic views of the sea, creating an illusion of being on a luxury liner. To sit here and watch the summer sun setting on the sea is a magical experience. The decor of the hotel is inspired by the historical past of the Aegean. It is comfortable, stylish and sophisticated enhanced by an excellent collection of paintings and sculptures. The sculptor Andrew Wielawski has a studio on the premises where he spends each summer producing works to exhibit at the hotel itself. The accommodation comprises 28 rooms and suites ranging from 2 bed roomed suites, to double, triple and quadruple rooms. All rooms have either a balcony or patio and are elegantly decorated in a minimalist style with tasteful original paintings and artwork complimenting the clean lines of the furnishings. All the accommodation is air-conditioned with Satellite TV, movie channels and wifi. The Tharroe of Mykonos Hotel facilities are excellent, offering swimming pool, gymnasium, wellness spa, beauty parlour. Our gourmet restaurant "Barbarossa" uses organic products and wines from our wine cellar. In the hotel you will find a fully equipped Conference Centre. There is also ample free parking space. For more information please visit the official site here.
If you want to use Mykonos town as your base
during your stay, which is quite a good reason as most things
happen there, you can find accommodation within and around the
numerous hotels, rooms and apartments. At the edge of the town
is located the Andronikos Hotel, The Andronikos is an hotel with
a cosmopolitan character built on a small hill next to the town
of Mykonos. It charms your senses with its magical spaces and
breathtaking views to the sea. Andronikos captures your
imagination with its combination of sophisticated design that
beautifully compliments its surrounding environment. The
juxtaposition of modern and classical design gives a fresh style
which, together with the hotel's beautifully chosen furniture
from well known designers such as Arad, Panton, Gehry and
Citterio, makes this hotel especially elegant. The hotel
has excellent restaurant and bar facilities located around the
delightful setting of the aquamarine
waters of the swimming pool.
All of its rooms have enchanting balconies and are also equipped with full facilities including room service and WiFi internet access. For more information visit their official site Here
Zorzis hotel is located in one of the most central places in Mykonos town only a few dozen meters from the sea front, in a quiet small lane (Kalogera street) off of Matogianni street opposite the Alpha Bank. The hotel, with its elegant frontage, is small (10 rooms) and very comfortable and well furnished. With extremely reasonable prices. The friendly hotel owner and the staff will give you all information about Mykonos and ensure your stay is a pleasant one. More information at www.zorzishotel.com
good bus connections in Mykonos, as well as many car and bike rentals.
It is not hard to get a taxi as well, and there are boat trips to many
beaches. The night though is a bit tricky if you stay far from the
centre of Mykonos town and you are looking for a taxi, you must be
patient as the taxis are limited and the people coming out from the
numerous clubs, bars and restaurants are too many. If you rent a car be
aware that you can't drive it through the town and parking has become a
problem especially in high season.
There are 3 parking spaces around Mykonos town. A good idea for a first visitor to the island is to get a taxi for a half or one hour drive around Mykonos in order to get to know the roads and the island as well. Some of the taxi drivers like Christos can be a good tour guide and get you through the most important areas and beaches of Mykonos plus telling you some really interesting facts about the island.
Getting to Mykonos
Mykonos has its own airport. There are also good Ferry connections with the other Cycladic islands, as well as with Piraeus Athens and from Rafina. Super Fast Catamarans make the trip to Mykonos within a few hours. From the end of April there are connections with small boats to Paros and other islands of the Cyclades. From Mykonos you can visit Delos with daily boat trips, the first boat departs at 10 am and returns at 1.15 am. the ships depart from the west dock near the town hall.
Facts about Mykonos
Size: 46 sq km
Population: about 6000
Cash machine: Yes
Internet cafe: Yes
Internet cafe: Yes
Tour Operators:Argo,Libra, JMC Apollo,
International code: 0030
Local code: 22890
Health center: 22222
Tourist Police: 23172
Taxi: 23700 22400
Coast guard: 22017
Post office: 22011
Telephone company (OTE): 22399