General Information on Mykonos
Mykonos is one of the top tourist destinations in Europe. It belongs to the Cyclades group and it is located between Tinos, Syros, Paros and Naxos. With a surface area of 86km² and a population of approximately 6,200 (2002) inhabitants, it is considered one of the smallest islands of the group. Mykonos, except for being the most famous island of Greece, is also the most expensive one.
It is the favorite destination of Greeks from all over the country, of tourists from all around the world and of celebrities. The island gets overcrowded during peak season, and it is an ideal destination for those who enjoy crowds, fun and night-long entertainment. Mykonos is also considered one of the top gay destinations in Europe. The island is very beautiful with a wonderful mountainous landscape, clear waters, long sandy organized beaches, churches, chapels and windmills.
History of Mykonos
In Greek mythology, Mykonos was the location of the battle between Hercules and the Giants. When Hercules killed them, he threw them in the sea where they turned into huge rocks, forming Mykonos. Due to its proximity to the once prosperous and spiritual island of Delos, only a few things are known of the island during ancient times.
The first inhabitants of Mykonos were Cares, followed by Phoenicians, Egyptians, Minoans and Ionians. In 1207, like the rest of Cyclades, Mykonos came under Venetian rule. In 1537, the island was conquered by the Turks. When the War of Independence against the Turkish domination started, in 1821, Mykonos offered important help to the revolution by offering their 22 ships.
Towns & Villages in Mykonos
Hora: It is the capital of the island and a typical Cycladic village. Whitewashed houses with colored doors, windows and balconies, narrow alleys, lovely churches and small chapels. The best time of the day to walk around Hora is early in the morning when most of the visitors are either on the beaches or still in their bed after a long night of clubbing. In the capital of Mykonos, everybody can find everything; cafes, chic boutiques, souvenir shops, jewelries, taverns, international cuisine, bars and nightclubs.
Ano Mera: It is the second biggest village after Hora, located 8km away from the capital and it is one of the oldest villages of Mykonos. Here, the locals continue their everyday life as the village is not a tourist resort and has only few hotels and rooms for rent.
Beaches in Mykonos
Paradise: It is a sandy beach with many popular bars and loud music almost all day. When the sun goes down, the beach is transformed into a huge club with music and people dancing on the sand and the rocks until dawn.
Super Paradise: It is located right next to Paradise Beach and has crystal clear waters and soft golden sand. It is smaller and not as well organized as Paradise Beach. Still, it is always crowded and neither here, does the party ever stop.
Platis Gialos: It is one of the most popular beaches of Mykonos on the south side of the island, at a distance of 4 km from Hora. The beach is well organized with golden sand and turquoise crystal waters.
Elias: It is located 8 km away from the capital. It is a quiet sandy beach, the longest on the island, fully organized and almost exclusively nudist.
Agrari: It is located right next to Elias Beach, 10km from the capital. It is less popular and much calmer than Elias, ideal for those who want to avoid the cosmopolitan beaches of Mykonos.
Psarou: Near the settlement of Ornos, 2 km from Hora, lies the beach of Psarou. It is a beautiful organized beach, sandy, with clear waters that attracts thousands of visitors during summer season.
Agios Ioannis: It is 4.2km from Hora and is considered to be one of the most beautiful beaches of the island of Mykonos. The beach is small, with soft sand, crystal blue waters and sun loungers.
Agios Stefanos: It is very close to the capital of the island. This beach becomes very crowded during summertime. It is long, sandy, organized and it is protected from the winds.
Agia Anna: It is a quiet sandy beach, not organized, on the southeast part of the island, excellent for those who wish to swim.
Kalo Livadi: It is a very long beach, organized with one tavern, 10 km from the capital.
Kalafatis: This beach is known for its water sports. Here you can dive, ride jet skis, windsurf or even take lessons and generally you can do pretty much every sea activity you can think of.
Ornos: It is located in front of a small fishing village, 2.5km from Hora. It is a sandy beach, well organized with an excellent view to houses built on the cliff, which becomes very crowded during summer season.
Ftelia: it is in the north side of the island and, because of the meltemia (north winds), it is very popular among surfers.
Top Things to Do in Mykonos
1. Little Venice: One of the most beautiful parts of the capital is Little Venice. Built on a peak of land, it consists of two-storey Venetian houses of extremely bright colors, one right next to the other, with colored wooden porches and balconies, lining the seafront. It is a lovely place for walks with many cafes and bars.
2. Windmills: The windmills constitute one of the characteristic sights of the island. Some of them are on the height above Hora and others on the level area near Alevkanta. Either way, you can see them from almost every spot of the capital. In the past, the windmills were 16 and all in operation. Today, they are no longer in use, but their position and importance remains. Some of them have been restored and operate as museums and others have been renovated and are used as dwellings.
3. Panagia Paraportian: The Panagia Paraportian is the most photographed monument on the island. It is actually an inspired architectural complex of four little churches that look like one. It is thought that the complex was built during the 16th and the 17th century, or even earlier. The interplay of light and shade on the multifaceted structure catches your eye.
4. Archaeological Museum: The archaeological museum of Mykonos was built in 1902 near the quay in Hora. It houses pottery from Delos, ranging from the prehistoric to the late Hellenistic Period (25th – 1st century B.C.), some grave items and jewelry from Rheneia and very few finds from Mykonos.
How to Reach Mykonos
By air: There are regular flights to Mykonos from Athens (45m), Thessaloniki and Santorini during summertime.
By ferry: Mykonos has daily routes to Rafina (4.5 hours) via Tinos and Andros and to Piraeus (6 hours) via Tinos, Syros and Paros. Daily services also connect Mykonos to Ios. On a weekly base there are ferries for Thessaloniki, Santorini, Amorgos, Iraklia, Grete, Donousa, Patmos, Samos and Ikaria.
Getting Around in Mykonos
The capital of the island has two bus stations. The northern station has frequent departures to Ornos, Agios Stefanos, Ano Meria, Elia, Kato Livadi and Kalafatis. The southern station serves Agios Ioannis, Paraga, Platys Gialos and Paradise Beach.
Weather in Mykonos
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Map of Mykonos