The Small Venice and the Windmills

Mykonos

A small island, a great tourist destination! One of the greatest in the world!
Mykonos ! The island which attracts the fans of contradictions!
In the center of the Cyclades cluster, in the heart of the Aegean Sea!
Famous and cosmopolitan! Authentically traditional, but with modern life style!
High developed in tourism, always picturesque in its intact Cycladic folk architecture! White and blue everywhere!
Full of life and joyful days and nights, but also calm in several parts!

Land of the granite, with magic shores! Azure waters, bays and golden sandy beaches, white settlements!
Chora, the capital, fascinating! Narrow streets and windmills! Old churches and museums!
The residents friendly and open minded people! Having a free spirit, diffusing glamour, always accepting and enjoying themselves! Space for everyone! Well-known and rich people into the bee-hive of the tourists who come by planes, boats and luxurious cruise ships!

Beside, Delos ! The sacred island of antiquity! One of the most important archaeological places! The whole island is an open skies museum!

Mykonos! The pearl of the Aegean! The island of unlimited choices and every budget!

Come along!

Mykonos is one of the Eastern Cyclades, located southeast of Tenos, east of Syros and north of Paros and Naxos islands. Opposite to its southwestern point are Deles islands; the bigger Rhenia, the smaller Delos and some rocks between and around them.

Mykonos has an area of 85, 48 sq km in a triangular shape with the narrowest part on the east. Its length is 13 km and its width 11 km.
The ground is granite in most part. The hills are not very high. The highest peak is Prophetes Elias the Vorniotis at 372 m in the northwestern region; in the central part is Kounoupas at 275 m and in the eastern Prophetes Elias the Anomeritis at 351 m.

The residents number six thousand, four thousand living in the capital Chora or Town of Mykonos.

The coast, the bays and the small islands

The coastline of Mykonos is 81 km long and lacy. Capes and bays are formed almost everywhere. Inside the bays are settlements, small harbors and wonderful sandy beaches; around small rocky islands!
The two greater bays are on the western and northern coast. All along the southern coast are formed bays one after the other, well protected from the meltemi, the fresh summer wind coming from the north downwards the Aegean Sea. Mykonos is also known for its fine wealthy dry climate.

Chora and its picturesque port are located at the middle of the western coast, where the beautiful Korphos bay is formed. The open in its entrance is 350 m and the distance up to the inlet 1.300 m. On the south, near the coast, is the rocky islet Kavouronissi.
North of Chora are formed Tourlos bay, where is the new port of the island, and next Choulakia bay.
On the northern coast gets into the land Panormos, the greater bay of Mykonos. Its open in the entrance is half nautical mile and the distance up to its cove four nautical miles. In the entrance are the rocky island Marmaronissi and the rocks Moles. At the northeastern side of the island the bays Mersini and Merthias are formed.

South of Chora, on the western coast, the open bay of Aghios Ioannis stares the island of Delos. Opposite to the southwestern cape Alogomandra are the islets Prasso, Krommidi and Sphondili.
East of Aghios Ioannis on the southern coast is formed the famous Ornos bay. The open in its entrance is one nautical mile, as is the distance up to its narrow cove stretching like a natural port. In the entrance is the rocky islet Lasaronissi.
Going on east Platys Gialos, Elia, Kalo Livadi and Kalaphatis bays are opened. Near the eastern coast is the islet Dragonissi or Tragonissi and southeast in a distance the rocky island Chtapodia.

In Mykonos, we go by plane and boat. Both have frequent routes.

by plane
Daily flights from Athens. Duration 30 minutes. There are also flights from Thessaloniki. Many charter flights. The airport is located 4 km southeast of the town.

by boat
From Piraeus and Rafina port, usually in the morning and afternoon routes with ultramodern speedboats and ferries. Duration from 2.5 to 4 hours. Routes also available from Thessaloniki during the summer season.

Transportation

From Chora we can go by road to all the tourist places of the island. Those who come without a vehicle can rent a car or a scooter. We can also take a bus or a taxi; or a small boat for the beaches on the southern coast.
Those who come by yacht or sailing boat can tie up in Chora, Tourlos and the leeward bays on the south Ornos, Platys Gialos and Psarou; anchorage in the other bays.

There are two bus terminals with timetables in Chora.
One terminal is in the port behind the Archaeological Museum. Destinations are Tourlos and Aghios Stephanos, the two tourist coastal settlements north of Chora; and Ano Mera in the central part of the island and from there Elia and Kalaphatis on the southern coast.
The other terminal is in Fabrica Square. Destinations are the villages and beaches Aghios Ioannis, Ornos, Platys Gialos, Paranga and Paradise on the south.
Timetables are also at the bus stations; tickets at close by shops, mini markets.

The taxi are in Mando Square and Fabrica Square in Chora.

During summer small boat from Chora sails to Super Paradise and Elia beaches and returns in the afternoon.

From Ornos and Platys Gialos caiques sail to Paranga, Paradise, Super Paradise, Agrari and Elia. All deaprtures are scheduled.

Visitors can find anything they possibly need in Mykonos. In Chora are banks, stores, pharmacies and all the necessary services.
There are many tourist agencies, which among the usual services organize walks and excursions. Tourist agencies are also in other areas.
The National Telecommunications Company (OTE – telephone) is behind the Archaeological Museum. Open from 08.30 to 13.30.
The Post Office is in Laka area. Open from 08.30 to 14.00.
The banks are in the center of the town. Open from 08.00 to 14.30 (Friday until 14.00). ΑΤΜ machines in several points.
The shops are open daily from 10.00 until late at night. Some might be closed from 14.30 to 17.30, time for siesta.
The Tourist Police is in Draphaki area on the road to the airport. The Medical Center located on the road to Ano Mera, two km from the town.

In Mykonos we can find a possible palces we can imagine to stay. There are hotels of all classes, apartments and rooms. For July and August is better to make our reservation before arriving.
Many touristic installations are in Chora and around it, in Megali Ammos, Argyraena, Vrysi, Draphaki and other areas.
Very well developed in tourism are also Tourlos and Aghios Stephanos north of Chora and Aghios Ioannis, Ornos, Psarou, Platys Gialos, Elia, Kalo Livadi and Kalaphatis in south; there are also camping in Paranga and Paradise.

The coasts and bays of Mykonos offer the conditions for water sports and activities such as windsurfing and sailing. There are special clubs for diving.

In Aghios Stephanos we can play tennis and mini golf. In some beaches there is the possibility of horse riding which is organized by the local club.

Mykonos has its own place in the Greek mythology. During the battle between Gods and Giants the warriors threw enormous rocks against each other, which later became the Aegean islands. That’s how the myth explained the creation of the islands, the peaks which remained out of the sea when the land submerged million years ago. In the case of Mykonos at the end of the battle, Hercules, who helped Gods, covered with massive granites the last Giants and that’s how the island was created.

According to tradition Mykonos took its name from the ancient hero Mykonos, descendant of Anios, King of Delos and son of Apollo.
Mykonos has been inhabited from the end of Neolithic Era according to discoveries at the northwestern cape Armenistis and at the region of Phtelia in the cove of Panormos bay. There is not enough information about life during the antiquity. It seems there were two cities, Mykonos and Panormos.
In 1207 the Venetians ruled Cyclades and other islands. Mykonos and Tenos were conquered by the brothers Andrea and Jeremy Gisi. After the war of 1537 – 1540 between Venice and Turkey the islands were under the Turkish rule.
During the ottoman rule Mykonos had an important shipping development. From the very beginning of the Greek Revolution on March 1821, Mykonos granted its 22 boats with 450 men and 132 cannons to the revolution. In October of 1822 inspired by Mando Mavrogenous the residents faced with success a Turkish attack.

Mando Mavrogenous, the heroine of the Revolution as she was named, equipped with arms and manned at her own expense ships, took part in the battles on the mainland. She offered all her fortune for the Independence War and after the proclamation of the Greek State lived with a small pension in Mykonos and Paros, where she died in 1840.

All white, shining into the Aegean light, the town of Mykonos, more often called Chora, attracts at first sight the travelers, while the boat approaches to the western coast of the island.
A unique landscape! Whitewashed houses, cubes one after the other, white windmills, treeless hills and blue everywhere! Blue is the sky, deeper blue the sea!
Chora, around and above its picturesque harbor, is one of the most attractive island towns. It is nominated as traditional settlement as a perfect example of the Cycladic folk architecture. It is considered that at the hills southeast was the one of the two ancient cities of the island.

The first sight of the town is the town itself. A labyrinth of paved with stones narrow streets, whitewashed in the joints between the slabs; full of shops, bar and restaurants. The small houses seem like colored strokes of a paint-brush on an enchanting painting; white with blue doors and windows, wooden balconies, exterior stairs and low stone walls; among them churches, also typical Cycladic constructions. In southern hill picturesque windmills in the line stare the sea.
The first core of the town, the area of Castro (Castle), was created in the 14th Century. In its entrance is Panagia Paraportiani, the most photographed small church. After the 17th Century the area of Barkia was created east of Castro; and then the other areas one after the other.
One of the first is Alefkandra on the western side where the town touches the sea. One of the most beautiful landscapes, one of the best walks! The Little Venice of Mykonos! The houses are built at the edge of the shore and their wooden balconies hang over the water. According to the legend during the years of piracy about 17th Century this place was used for the quick loading and unloading.

Our host in the fishing-harbor is Petros, the Pelecanos (Peter, the pelican), one of Mykonos’ marks, who goes up and down, while small boats are rocking in the water; another multicolored painting.

The windmills

South of Castro stretches the area of Kato Myli (Lower Windmills). The white windmills compose another typical Myconian landscape. These windmills, well preserved as special folk constructions, are only a part of the many windmills which existed years ago.

The operation of the windmills was an inseparable element of the economy as well as island's history after the 16th Century, when it became a center for the elaboration of the grain. It was located on the main sea trade route, which joined Venice, metropolis of the commerce those wears, to Asia. Moreover the wind passed often over the island and the work could continue all the year.
For easiest access to the harbor most windmills constructed in and around it on the entire western side of Chora. But the Industrial Revolution came and the windmills lost little by little their importance. Those still standing remind a whole era. Picturesque and photogenic, typical examples of the Cycladic architecture!

In Mykonos are about 400 churches and country small churches. The locals talk about 700. More than thirty are protected monuments.
The most important is Panagia Paraportiani, famous for its original architecture and beloved by the photographers. It is composed of five small churches. The four on the ground form a base for the fifth which forms a roof like a dome. The non symmetrical shapes create incredible shadows and the total with the arched belfry is considered as a jewel of the folk architecture.

Paraportiani took this name because is located next to the entrance of the Castro area; in Greek “para ten porta” means “beside the door”. The locals often said “paraporti” meaning the “secondary door” which was the medieval door of the enclosed by stone walls area. The construction began in 1475 and finished in the 17th Century.

Among the other worth-seeing churches in Chora the most important are the cathedral Megali Panagia, the previous cathedral Aghia Eleni, Aghia Kyriaki, Panachrandos and Aghios Nickolaos by the shore, reformed in 1908.

A visit to the museums of Chora will bring us back to the history and the tradition of Mykonos and Aegean Sea.

The Archaeological Museum is located on the northeastern part of the town. It is one of the oldest Greek museums, constructed in 1905 for the important archaeological findings in Rinia, the island next to Delos. Accessory constructions and reparations in 1930’s and 1960’s gave its current Cycladic architecture.
Among the exhibits are the famous ceramics from the cemetery of Rinia and other discoveries in the same island and Myconos. Most important are the jar-amphora of Mykonos of 7th Century BC with a wrought in relief drawing of Troy’s conquest, found in Tria Pigadia area of Chora, a clay figurine of 30 cm named the lady of Myconos, found in Phtelia of Panormos, and a bronze little statue Kouros of the 6th Century BC.

The Aegean Maritime Museum is located in the center of the town, near the area Tria Pigadia (Three Wells) which until 1956 was the only source for the water supply of Chora. The exhibits remind the nautical tradition of Mykonos and the Aegean Sea. There are a collection of ship models from the Early Cycladic Age until 19th Century, old sea maps, navigation instruments, paintings and other exhibits; among them the old “light-house” from Armenistis, the northern cape of the island.

The Folk Museum is in a traditional house of 16th Century, located in the area of Kastro beside the church of Paraportiani. It founded in 1959. They are exhibited collections of Myconian furniture, post Byzantine sculptures and ceramics, tools, iron and bronze house keys, local musical instruments and other every day life articles and photos. There are also archives with historic documents and a little library.
Folk Museum’s branch is Lena’s House, located in the center of the town beside Aegean Maritime Museum. It is an authentic 19th Century restored house. Inside we see how it was the middle class Myconian house at that time with all the furnishings.

It’s worth to stay for a while in front of the Town Hall. The building was constructed in 1785 to host the Russian consulate. They have been several reparations, but it keeps its original architecture.
We can also visit the Municipal Art Gallery and, if we want to learn more about Myconos’ history, the Municipal Library. There we’ll find historic, travel and folk editions, documents and photos.

North of Chora, two of the most known coastal settlements of the island stretch with beautiful beaches. First, in three km distance, is Tourlos in the cove of the bay with the same name. Northwest, after one km, is Aghios Stephanos; its houses climb on the slope over the beach and the view is wonderful towards Tenos northwest, Syros west and Renia southwest.

The road near the coast leads north of Aghios Stephanos at the bay Choulakia; here is another beautiful beach. A little further gets into the sea the northwestern edge of Mykonos, the cape Armenistis; one of the most enchanting landscapes of the island. On the rough coast, one hundrded meters high is the Light-house of Armenistis. It was constructed in 1889 and keeps on lighting for the safe navigation in the channel between Tenos and Mykonos.

In the region, the northwestern part of the island, the hill Prophetes Elias the Vorniotis raises its peak at 372 m. That’s why another road from the cape Armenistis goes to the south and then again to the north leading in Panormos bay.

In the area Marathi is the monastery of Aghios Pantelaeimonas, built in 1665 like a fortress as the most monasteries in those times. Going on we see Limnodexameni (Lake-cistern), an artificial lake created in 1993 which supply with water the island.
The road ends on the western coast of the great bay. Panormos, with the islet Marmarosi in the half nautical mile opening, gets along four nautical miles into the shore forming wonderful landscapes. In the contrary to the opposite eastern coast of the bay, on the western coast are formed coves and beaches up to the inlet. There we can go taking another road from the central part of the island.

The whole southern coast of Mykonos is adorned by bays and coves with amazing sandy beaches.
South of Chora is Megali Ammos. Further, at four km is Ornos and west of it Aghios Ioannis. The tourist development almost unified the two settlements. The beaches with thin sand and clear water are of the most attractive.
Inside the Ornos bay is formed a natural port where tie up small boat, fishing boats and yachts. From here sail caiques for the other beaches on the east.

East of Ornos is opened another marvelous bay; Platys Gialos. The settlement with the same name, 4, 5 km southeast of Chora, and Psarou on the western coast of the bay stretch around their wonderful sandy beaches with shallow waters.

Caiques from Platys Gialos sail for the other famous southern beaches, Paranga, Paradise, Super Paradise, Agrari and Elia. There are scheduled departures. In Paradise and Super Paradise life doesn’t stop around the bars on the beaches; sun and sea, sand and drink, music and dance; amusement all day and all nightlong!

To Agrari and Elia we can also go by the road leading from Chora to Ano Mera, in the center of the island. We can go to the beaches of Kalo Livadi and Kalaphatis, too. The last years became popular one more beach named Lia.

In Platys Gialos is the catholic church of Virgin Mary, named also Losaria. It was built in 1668.
North, in the region Portes (Doors) are the remains of three Hellenistic towers. The one in better condition still gives an idea about these constructions, mostly used for protection from the pirate raids. They were typical buildings in Cyclades during the Hellenistic years, when the islands lived a new period of flourishing after the archaic years. Remains of towers are also in other places of Mykonos, as in the region Lenos, north of Portes.

Nine km east of Chora is Ano Mera, the second traditional settlement of the island with white houses, small churches, windmills and many taverns.
Near is the historic monastery of Panagia Tourliani, founded in 1542 by two monks who from the famous church of Katapoliani in Paros. It was built where it was a church dedicated to Panagia (Virgin Mary) and took its final form in 1627.
Its architecture, especially of the belfry, is very impressive. The nice wood carved icon screen came from Florence, Italy. In the yard is a marble fountain with a wrought in relief decoration. In the museum are religious articles, icons and the first bells of the monastery.

North on the hill Palaeokastro (Old Castle) are the remains of a Venetian castle built on an ancient wall. Beside is the convent of Palaeokastro constructed in the 17th Century. It is a typical example of the Cycladic monastic architecture.
West, in a small distance, is Phtelia with a nice beach in the cove of Panormos bay. Here the remains of a Neolithic settlement and a Mycenaean tomb of the 14th Century BC have been discovered.
From Ano Mera we can also go to the northeastern coasts, where the bays of Mersinis and Merthias are formed, and visit the eastern part of the island, where raises the hill of Prophetes Elias the Anomeritis.

The roads south and southeast of Ano Mera lead to other popular beaches.
Going south we arrive in Elia bay. The beach of Elia , on the eastern side of the cove, is 2 km far from Ano Mera and the beach of Agrari , on the western side, 3 km.
On the east is formed another magnificent bay named Kalo Livadi with wonderful beaches, at a distance of 1,5 km from Ano Mera.

Further, 2 km from Ano Mera and 12 km from Chora, is opened the famous Kalaphatis bay with marvellous sandy beaches. The settlement, near the sea, is very well organized for summer holidays and the beach is one of the most beautiful of Mykonos. Beside, smaller but quiet, is the beach of Agia Anna and near the beach Lia.
Not far is the region Divounia – Tarsanas with an amazing enclosed small port offering safe anchorage for fishing boats and yachts. Only fishermen families live in a little settlement. On the twin cape the remains of an Early Cycladic Age wall have been found.

East of Kalaphatis, opposite to the cape Goni, the southeastern edge of Mykonos, emerges the little island of Dragonissi or Tragonissi. Its length is 2 km, its width 500 m and its height 149 m. There are several caves and it is in the program of the cruises around Mykonos when the weather permits the anchorage.

Southeast, in the open sea, is the rock island Chtapodia with its height at 128 m, known to those who love fishing.

The Mykonian cooking offers many delicious local dishes based mostly in the pork meat or the sea-food.

Well known are the pork meat with cabbage or greens (chorta), louses (a kind of ham) and sausages; also, the marathokephtedes (fennel-balls), skordomakarona (garlic-macaroni), sparangia me avga (asparaguses with eggs) and prassines teganetes tomates (green fry tomatoes).
Tasty dishes with fishes and sea-food are the chouchoulioi giachni (ragout) or pilaphi (cooked rise), kolios me kapari (chub mackerel with caper), achini me ladi kae xidi (sea-hedgehogs with olive oil and vinegar) and various shells.
One of the most known Greek cheeses is the kopanisti of Mykonos.

There are delicious sweets; most known the melopita, kalathakia, pasteli and amygdalota.

Another well known drink is soumada, a refreshment based on almonds.

In Mykonos there are also a lot of restaurants with ethnic and international cuisine.

Shopping

In the market of Mykonos we can find everything. There are stores of Greek and international brand names in fashion, cosmetics and jewels.

Famous from the old times are the textiles of Mykonos and very interesting the leather sorts – sandals, belts and handbags.
Among the best souvenirs are the traditional wooden ships and windmills.

Inspite of the great tourist development the Mykonians did not forger their customs and tradition. The folk festivals of Mykonos are famous.
In the holiday for the name of a saint the responsible for the church family organizes the feast offering the meat for the barbecue. Feast means also traditional music with local instruments and dance.

The most important festivities are:
On the day of Epiphany on January 6, the BALOSIA, celebration for the start of the naval period.
On June 30, the Holy Apostles, the feast of the fishermen, big feast taking place in Chora's beach. Seafood is offered to everybody.
On 26 July the festival of Agia Paraskevi in Chora.
On 15 August the feast of Panagia Tourliani in Ano Mera.
In October, throughout the island, the custom of chirosfagia , accompanied by festivities.

During October the locals keep the custom of choirosfagia (pork meat preparation) accompanied by food, drink, music and dance.

Photo gallery

Mykonos

Enjoy the stay

The windmills

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