A Greek island belonging to the Cyclades, Mykonos lies between Naxos, Paros, Syros, and Tinos.
Mykonos is famed not only for its beautiful white sandy beaches and landscapes but also for its history. It is famed for being part of the Greek mythology as the place where Hercules fought the Giants; it is also said to be where Zeus had a battle with the Titans. It was named after Mykons who was the son of Anios, son of Apollo to nymph Rio.
Chora and Ano Mera make up the two main communities of the city.
Chora is the main town of Mykonos, thus, it is also called Mykonos Town. A stunningly picturesque town, Chora features a maze of tiny streets with churches and houses. In the Aegian region, it is one of the most crowded and most cosmopolitan towns. It is lined with little art galleries, boutiques, shops, cafes, and stylish restaurants and bars.
Despite the rapid growth and development of the island, Chora has still not lost its traditional Cycladic architectural character and style.
The Our Lady Paraportiani Church is one of the favorite sights in the area. Lying on the Old Venetian Kastro hill, this complex church is also considered a national cultural museum. Among the many churches in the island, it is the oldest and most famous.
The shore in Chora leads to a place called “Little Venice” because of the high Venetian houses that come with porches in various colors and wooden balconies.
During summer, many tourist come to the island for its exciting nightlife.
This small village is located on the middle of the island, 7km east of Chora. Ano Mera is the only on land settlement in Mykonos. It is here where the 1542- built monastery of Panagia Tourliani is situated.
Other communities in Mykonos are Agios Ioannis which is famous for being the setting of the “Shirley Valentine” movie, Agios Stefanos which is known for its many hotels, taverns, restaurants, and cafes; Platys Gialos which is popular for its beaches; Ornos famous for its markets and shops, and Tourlos which is known for its private yachts and fishing boats.
The geology of Mykonos is primarily composed of granite. It has very little natural fresh water – despite being surrounded by it – and thus relies heavily on the sea water’s desalination to meet its inhabitants’ need for fresh water.
Among the many islands in Greece, Mykonos would probably be one of those with a very interesting history as along it is a myth.
Named after Anios, the son of King Delos, descendant of god Apollo and nymph, Rio, myth has it that Mykonos was formed after Hercules defeated the Giants – which was one of his twelve tasks. The hero then threw the creatures in the sea which later formed as an island.
The first inhabitants of the island were the Carians. After them, the Egyptians and the Minoan Cretans followed. The coins in the island depict Dionyssos as their patron god.
Mykonos, during Antiquity, was part of Athenian Alliance along with the other islands in the Aegean Sea. During the Hellenestic Era, Mykonos took a neutral stand. It had its own set of currencies and lived prosperous. When the Romans conquered the island in 146 B.C., Mykonos experienced another period of prosperity. However, this was stopped when Mithridatis conquered it and Delos.
In 1207, Mykonos was conquered by the Venetians. It was governed by the Gyzi brothers until 1390. In 1537, Barbarossa, a pirate, occupied and looted the island. On that same year, the Turks conquered it. During the latter’s occupation, Mykonos became a “great navy force”.
Between 1821 and 1828, Mykonos took part in the War of Independence. In that period, the island had a good number of ships maneuvered by experienced seamen. Despite this though, many of their brave soldiers died in battle.
World War 2
Mykonos’ tourism industry started to emerge between the First and Second World War. During World War II, the people in Mykonos played a role in the Greek Resistance against the conquests of the Germans.
The architecture in Mykonos is mainly influenced by the Cyclades region. Known for having a Mediterranean climate, the island’s architecture were made to adapt with the intense and extended sun exposure, strong winds, high humidity levels, and long period without rain.
Thus, the traditional Cycladic houses mostly have cubic shapes and flat roofs for protection from the strong winds of the Cycladic region. The northern sides of the houses all have small openings to eliminate humidity and thermal loads. Its stone walls help achieve cooling, while its white-washed walls reduce the absorption of heat from its walls.
If you are explore the alleys and streets in Mykonos, you will also notice how the number of houses are distributed according to the direction and exposure of the winds – and this isn’t coincidental at all! The houses’ different heights, ledges, interior yards, recesses, and the various types of semi-open spaces and entrances are not for mere aesthetics only.
Mykonos architecture possesses the typical characteristics of Cycladic architecture. Its houses stand like “a cluster of white grapes” with tiny strokes of color. These cube-like houses feature smooth asymmetrical shape on the corners of the structure.
Aside from the houses, Mykonos’ votive chapels also make up the island’s interesting architecture. Some of these chapels are even declared historical monuments. On the other hand, the wind mills, which once were a strong component of the island’s economic prosperity, have also become an important landmark of Mykonos.
The Paraportiani, which was also declared an important monument in the island, is also a distinctive architectural structure in Mykonos. Its name comes from its location – next to the small northwest gate called the ‘paraporti‘.
As you go and travel to Mykonos, you will learn that these structures are all better in sight than in words.
Everyone Can Look Forward to an Unforgettable Experience in Mykonos!
Small but incredible. This is the best way to describe Greece’s “little Venice’, Mykonos or simply Chora for the locals. It is a small island known for its nightlife, beaches and enchanting sunset. Although the island is small, its beauty is exceptional. The island’s landscape is a beautiful sight to look at, with five windmills, churches, shops, whitewashed houses with flat roofs, colorful shutters on the doors and windows, flowered balconies and endless small streets that form a remarkable labyrinth.
The Allure of Mykonos
Aside from its nightlife, beaches and enchanting sunset, Mykonos Greece has a lot more to offer. Like the complicated design of their narrow paved streets that was intended to confuse the pirates in the eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries; the Agricultural Museum housed in a sixteenth century windmill; museums like the Archaeological and Aegean Maritime Museums that housed various ancient artifacts related to the history of Mykonos and other nearby islands; Paraportiani, one o the most architectural structure in Greece; Petros the Pelican, an old celebrity of the city’s harbor; a lot of churches and chapels like Panagia Paraportiani; waves splashing windows, creating a little Venice scenery and the famous street of souvenir shops, fashion boutiques, and bars; Matogianni.
Why visit Mykonos?
Mykonos is the most famous island in Greece and certainly one if not the most beautiful city in the Greek islands. As what many people say, “You have not seen Greece, until you have seen Mykonos.” A city that can be traveled all on foot while marveling at its one of a kind beauty, traditional architecture, endless parties and complicated labyrinth like streets.
When is the best time to come?
Mykonos, the island of winds, as the locals call it has the perfect sunny weather. Its climate is characterized by hot, dry summers, mild winters and low rainfall. You can expect rain showers between October and April but it hardly ever rains during summer. This period is usually warm and sunny, best for swimming in the beach, relaxing at cozy cafes while eating or / and drinking something, wandering or to lose your way in the labyrinth of narrow streets.
Who should visit Mykonos? Mykonos is good place to travel for anyone who wants to work on their tan, to take pleasure in the breathtaking white beaches, to marvel at the amusing architectures and enchanting sunset and to those looking for long and great cosmopolitan nightlife.
Top Mykonos Greece Attractions
Mykonos is home to many breathtaking sights you will never find elsewhere in the world. Topping this list of attractions in the island though are the following:
This small island is one of the country’s most well-known archaeological sites. Situated 2 kilometers from Mykonos town, the whole island of Delos has been declared a national museum.
The Armenistis Lighthouse
Lying on the northwestern tip of Mykonos, this lighthouse was built in 1891. It provides visitors an overlooking view of the straight separating Tinos Island from Mykonos. Armenistis Lighthouse was designed with an “octagonal cylindrical stone tower”. It stands 62 ft tall with a focal plane of 604 ft.
Located in Chora or the Mykonos Town, the Windmills have been a recognized landmark in the island since the 16th Century. This landmark is a remembrance of the once-great wheat and bread production in Mykonos.
Petros the Pelican
“Petros” has been the island’s official mascot for many years. The pelican became a local ‘resident’ in Mykonos when it gave up migrating after a storm in 1954. Thirty years later, Petros eventually died. The animal’s loss was deeply felt not just by the locals but by the tourists as well that when a replacement was found, the residents in the island established a tradition to care for pelicans in the waterfront in memory of Petros.
The Little Venice was given to the most western part of Mykonos where the “town meets the sea”. Because of it has been attracting a lot of visitors, businesses were established here and buildings were constructed on the edge of the sea. It has been said that during the 16th and 17th centuries, when pirating was rampant in the island, the Little Venice served as a loading and unloading point for goods.
This church is one of Greece’s most popular architectural structures. It lies near the main entrance of the harbor and is the central feature of the castle area, the oldest section in Mykonos. Paraportiani is a name which means, inner or secondary door. The church was constructed in 1475 and was originally a part of the five smaller churches built in the area during that time.
Of course, this list of the top attractions in Mykonos is not complete without its beautiful beaches. Among the famous beaches in the island are Psarou, Platys Gialos, and Paranga. These beaches boast of its clear cool waters and white sands.
Museums on Mykonos
Mykonos is known for its rich history and culture. If you are interested about understanding the island’s past better, visiting the museums in Mykonos will be a good thing to do. Below are some of the museums in Mykonos with their unique collections:
Archaeological Museum Mykonos
Hafenpromenade, Hora, Mykonos, Greece
One of the most popular cultural attractions in Mykonos, this museum was built in 1902 primarily to preserve the vestiges that were recovered from “Purification Pit”; these vestiges were said to date back from 426-425 BC.
This museum is also notable for its elegant architecture – thanks to its designer, Alexandros Lykakis. The museums also houses vases from the Hellenistic period.
Aegean Maritime Museum of Mykonos
Tria Pigadia, Mykonos, Greece
This museum opened in 1985 mainly to “present and study” the Greek nautical tradition’s history. It is headquartered in a traditional Cycladic building at the island’s capital. Among its exhibits are the ship models that date from the early Minoan period until the start of the 20th century. It also showcases rare engravings, maps, and historic shipping documents. There is also a library in the museum which houses about 5000 rare books.
Tria Pigadia, Mykonos, Greece
A 19th century, middle class, Mykonian house, this museum is named after its last owner, Lena Skrivanou. It stands in Tria Pigadia in Mykonos Town. The house is complete with furnishings along with a spacious drawing room, two courtyards, two bedrooms, and a dovecote. This house will give you a glimpse of the middle-class life in the island a hundred years ago.
Agiou Ioannou, Mykonos, Greece
This museum showcases an open-air setting. It allows visitors to explore the Windmills that are all in perfect working order. Its miller’s house has a vast collection of agricultural tools, which include a wine press and a threshing floor. During mid-September, visitors are allowed to take part in the celebration of its grape harvest.
Folk Art Museum
Kastro, Mykonos, Greece
This charming cultural museum is headquartered within the house of a sea captain in the 18th century. It has large collection of eclectic artifacts, which include old musical instruments, historical furnishings, photographs, and ceramics. It also has an exhibit of etchings, paintings, and vessels from the past. The admission in this museum is free, which makes it even more enjoyable to visit.
These are just a few of the museums in Mykonos. Do drop by on them and get to experience the unique offerings of the island.
All year round, various feasts and religious festivals take place in Mykonos, Greece, most of which in celebration of the feast day of the island’s many churches. During these great festivities, bountiful sumptuous food and wine are served, while dances and music events take place all night long.
One of the best times to come to the city is during summer. Aside from the warm and sunny weather (that allows you to do a lot of stroll in the beach), summer in Mykonos also offer a wide variety of art exhibitions, concerts, and theatrical performances. Organized by the island’s municipality, these events often bring together many artists coming from all over the world, which would make a visit in the island during these days truly enjoyable.
Two of the main celebrations often looked forward to by locals and tourists alike are the Greek Orthodox Easter during April and the Feast of the Assumption in August. In September, the feast of the grape harvest also takes place. During this time, tourists in the island can get a taste of the delicious grapes in Mykonos – which include wine-tasting too!
Taking part in Mykonos festivals is surely one thing to add in your things to do list in Mykonos. Most of these events can be enjoyed for free, thus, given Mykonos pricey lifestyle; these events will significantly cut off your expenses while experiencing the best of the island.
So whether you have a short stay or long weekend in Mykonos, participating in the island’s festivities will already give you better understanding of this Greek island’s culture and way of life.
The top attractions in Mykonos aren’t the only things you would be looking forward to when visiting this beautiful Greek island; its Greek cuisines, too!
Based around colorful and flavorful foods with high nutrients and low animal fats, the Greek diet is a perfect manifestation of a healthy traditional Medeterranian eating. Below are some of the common compositions of Greek cuisines:
For thousands of years now, wheat has been a staple in Greece. Many bread varieties in the country use wheat, including, peasant and pita breads. Bulgur and pasta are other wheat-based foods famous among Greeks. The first is made from cracked whole wheat and is often eaten to accompany hearty stews, salads, or soups; the latter was introduced by the Italians.
Nuts and legumes
Lentils, split peas, lima beans, and chickpeas are just some of the favorite legumes used in traditional Greek dishes. The people in Mykonos eat them either whole in soups, salads, pilafs, and stews, or pureed to be used as dip and spread.
Olive oil and olives
Olives has been part of the Greek cooking since the ancient times. The virgin olive oil, which is often used in most Greek dishes, came from the first col pressing of olives. This golden green oil is also used to as dip for crusty bread. Aside from oil, olives are also eaten as whole by the people in Mykonos. The plump kalamata olive is usually added in salads and stews to be eaten as whole.
Vegetables, fruits, and seasonings
Because Greek is famous for its warm climate, growing fruits and vegetables in the country is ideal. For vegetarians and health buffs, Greek cuisines will be a haven for you as the fruits and vegetables in the country come in abundant amounts.
In fact, the myriad of flavorful and colorful vegetables is already a fundamental part of the Greek cuisine. Garlic, zucchini, eggplant, onions, fennel, cabbage, wild greens called horta, and lettuce are just a few vegetables and flavorings often seen in Greek delicacies.
Fruits in the Greece are eaten fresh or preserved thru drying. Some of the favorite preserved fruits in Greece are grapes, apricots, cherries, dates, figs, plums, and pears.
For seasonings, the Greeks often use cilantro, mint, sea salt, cinnamon, oregano, dill, and flat-leaf parsley to add flavor to their dishes.
Desserts and beverages
For dessert, the Greeks love fresh and dried fruits. Pastries and other rich desserts are usually preserved for special occasions (during birthdays or anniversaries).
Unlike other countries, where wine is reserved for special occasions, this beverage is consumed regularly in the country. Beer and ouzo (ani seed flavored spirit) are two of the favorite alcoholic beverages in Greece as well; while strong black coffee for non-alcoholic drink.
The food in Mykonos will surely keep you full and satisfied as you explore the island.
Nightlife in Mykonos
Mykonos nightlife is another reason why the island is one of the most frequented places in Greece. Often put in comparison to Ibiza, the nightlife in Mykonos has a wide range of offerings, entertainment wise. Whether you are a male or female; straight or gay, the fun and excitement in Mykonos’ nightlife will make your vacation more unforgettable.
The party options in Mykonos nightlife is as plenty as the choices in daytime activities. Although drinks in Mykonos clubs and Mykonos bars are expensive (nothing less than 9€), this does not mean for you not to have a good drink in the island at night. In fact, if you are a little more resourceful, you’ll find a way to lessen you drink expenses in Mykonos – say, buying your drink earlier in supermarkets!
Aside from the party venues, there are also fashion shops, small supermarkets, boutiques, and jewelers in the island that closes until 1AM to give you more time to enjoy your shopping experience. And for the oldies – or even those who are just not a fan of late night parties, there are countless of restaurants in Mykonos that serves sumptuous delicacies for dinner you can forget about your diet!
To find out the best place to party in Mykonos, check out our list of the clubs and bars in the island from the link above.
Party animal or not, there is always something that everyone can enjoy in Mykonos at night. So after an exhaustive day exploring the top attractions in Mykonos, have time to let loose and be yourself in Mykonos nightlife.
Shopping in Mykonos will be a pleasure to those with enough money to spend as there are simply a lot of places to shop in the Greek island! Whether you are a jewelry lover or a wine enthusiast, an art collector, or simply one looking for souvenirs to bring home, there are a lot of shopping options in Mykonos.
For those who fancy glittering and shimmering pieces, Mykonos has got a number of shops to serve you with your interest. Among these are Gofas, Ilias Lalaounis, Marquise, and Naomi F in Mykonos Town.
Gofas is one of the most popular names among jeweler’s in Mykonos. It has been in the island for five decades already, and has thus been a trusted name for premium and exclusive jewelry brands. Ilias Lalaounis on the other hand is known for its classic Greek jewelry designs, including 3000 pieces designed by Lalounis who was an ace jeweler in Mykonos.
Marquise is a family-run business established in the 1930s. It is one of the island’s high-end jewelry shops Its jewelry pieces stand out for its archaic designs, which include handcrafted bracelets and necklaces set in 18 and 22 karat gold.
A Mykonian local, Naomi F is one of the island’s pride jewelers. She has a degree in fashion design from Veloudakis, Athens. Her jewelry pieces are distinct for its unique feminine tones.
Wine lovers should head to Cava Stamboulis. This family-run liquor store established in 1980 is located in Ano Mera in Mykonos Town. This shop is known to be among the top distributors of wine and other liquor beverages in many hotels, restaurants, supermarkets, and bars in Mykonos. Aside from local wine, Cava Stamboulis also has a collection of many popular Greek and international wine labels.
Mykonos will not disappoint art lovers either with its various shops catering to this specific market. Elizas, Minima, Pinelies, and Rarity are four of the many art galleries in the island.
Elizas is located in Mykonos Town’s Mavrogeni Street. Aside from art work, it also sells a variety of hand crafted items as well as jewelry. Minima on the other hand is a two-floor building in Goumenio Square. It was founded in 1997 to showcase the contemporary Greek’s art pieces.
As it welcomes foreign artists too, this gallery serves as a platform for budding artists to showcase their works too. Rarity Gallery in Kalogera Street also showcases the work of contemporary artists from Greece and other parts of the world. Its main objects are sculptures and paintings, which make it great for those looking for something to hang on their walls.
For those who want to furnish their homes with creative decors, Pinelies should be the shop for you. For almost decades, the shop has already decorated many of the houses, restaurants, stores, and villas in the island. It has a good range of interesting art work pieces, metal creations, and crafty furniture pieces. The imported art pieces from China are just a few of the popular items offered in this shop.
Shopping in Mykonos will surely be a worthwhile experience!
Mykonos for Kids
Mykonos may be known for its lively night spots and wild nightlife, but with creativity, research, and resourcefulness, you’ll find that there are a number of things that the family – with kids – can enjoy in this Greek island.
In the morning, you can take your kids to explore the island‘s capital, Chora. They will be delighted to see the town’s picturesque Windmills which served as remembrance of the island’s wheat and bread production many years ago.
The Little Venice will also provide a breathtaking sight for the kids with its relaxing view of the sea. You can also enjoy a walk to the small alleys in the island, while taking a snapshot of its unique and colorful houses.
If your kids are up for some educational trips, you can also tour them around the various museums in Mykonos. Bring them for a visit at the Archaeological Museum of Mykonos and let them see interesting collections of jewelry, figurines, funerary statues, and pottery which date thousands of years ago.
If your kids are interested in ships, you can also take them to the Aegean Maritime Museum, where they can take a look at a wide range of nautical instruments and ancient vessels.
Of course, kids love the beach! And if it’s beach they want, Mykonos will not be a disappointment. Blessed with a beautiful Mediterranean weather, Mykonos beaches will a great place for the kids to dip in the cool waters or bathe under the sun.
Some of the favorite beaches in Mykonos are Plati Gialos, Psarou Beach, Agios Ioannis, and Megali Ammos. Aside from taking a bath, you and your family can also enjoy beach sports and activities like doing sand castles, playing beach volleyball, and many more!
For families with kids who love Greek mythology and have a longer time to stay in the island, you can go have a day tour in Delos. Located not far from Mykonos (just a few minutes away via ferry), Delos features ruins from Ancient Greek. It is said to be the birthplace of twin gods, Artemis and Apollo. The sights in this island are ideal for those who want to do some educational adventure.
Although the nightlife of Mykonos is not for kids, you can always treat them to a good Mykonos restaurant and have them taste some of the island’s hearty and healthy Greek cuisines for dinner.
There surely are a lot of things that you and your kids can enjoy in Mykonos. So bring them to the island and let them experience the beauty and offerings of Mykonos.
The weather in Mykonos is well-known for wind and sunshine – but mostly sunshine. Because Mykonos is part of the island group, Cyclades, its climate is almost identical as the other islands – dry and hot summers with mild winters; very true for a Mediterranean climate.
Rain in Mykonos falls between the months of February and March. However, this is not too frequent. In the summer months, the temperature in the island can go high, but thanks to its cooler winds, the summer activities in Mykonos are not interrupted.
The temperature in Mykonos during winter season can go about 15 degrees. Unlike the other islands from the Aegean Sea, the temperature in Mykonos is 2 degrees cooler. This is because of the city’s geographical location. With a cooler summer and warmer winter, the vegetation in Mykonos is positively affected.
There are generally two kinds of winds in Mykonos that affect it. The first is the one during winter that blow from the south. This wind often bring along electrical storms in the island. The other is known as “Sirocco” which blows during spring and sends ‘red’ rain as the sand from the Mediterranean Sea is blown.
With a generally good weather all year-round, Mykonos offers itself to be a good tourist destination.
When to Visit Mykonos?
Mykonos is generally a seasonal destination. That said; expect your experience in the city to vary from one season to another. Many tourists though opt to explore the wonders and attractions of the island during July thru August because of summer.
If you are thinking about meeting people from different parts of the world, this could be the best time to visit Mykonos. However, you would need to book your trips months earlier because these months are considered the peak season in the island.
If you are not so enthusiastic about bumping into strangers in the little streets of Mykonos though, you may choose to schedule your trip on months other than this. The months of May thru June offer a relaxed and pleasant Mykonos; the weather is equally sublime and is also perfect to stroll around its beautiful sandy beaches and breathtaking landmarks.
The months from December thru March are the coldest times in island. Many would consider these months to be the least-likable months in terms of strolling around the island. But of course, because it is off-season, there are fewer tourists visiting the top attractions in Mykonos, thus, you’ll get a chance to experience its amazing longer.
The best time to visit Mykonos is relative. With proper planning, right information, and fun companion, you’ll see Mykonos is easy to enjoy regardless of the time and season.