Although one of the smallest islands of the Cyclades complex,
Mykonos is definitely the most famous, thanks to its treasure
of natural beauty, rich history, cosmopolitan character
combined with a wild nightlife, as well as plenty of local
color. A dry, arid island, it is covering an area of barely 90
square kilometers and it is situated in the middle of the
Aegean, about 94 nautical miles from Piraeus port.
The island's landscape is a symphony of blazing bare rock,
blinding white peasant architecture and, in contrast to its
small size, numerous lacy stretches of the most beautiful
sandy beaches, all these accentuated by the wonderful
Mediterranean light and set against the deep blue background
of the Aegean.
Today it is estimated that the population amounts to 11.000
people (4,000 are foreign residents), who have a reputation of
being friendly, tolerant to the island's wild lifestyle, and
very adaptable to changes.
Mykonos owes its name to the son of the King of Delos.
According to the mythology, Hercules, in one of his twelve
tasks, killed the Giants and threw them into the sea where
they petrified and turned into huge rocks, forming the island
During ancient times, Mykonos, due to its proximity to Delos,
which was then highly populated, became very important as a
supply island. The short 2-kilometer distance between the
islands was frequently travelled, since religious rules
specified that no one should be born or die on Delos.
Around the time of Alexander the Great the island became a
commercial centre for agriculture and maritime trade.
In 1207, like the rest of the Cyclades, Mykonos came under
Venetian rule which lasted until 1537, when the Turks
dominated the islands along with the rest of Greece. The
inhabitants were great sailors, so they provided important
help to the Greek Revolution against the Turkish yoke, in
1821, offering 22 ships, crew and ammunition. After the
country's independence in 1830, the island's economy and
commercial power were slowly but steadily reestablished.
In the period between World War I and II, visitors were
attracted here mainly by the archaeological site of Delos.
During the '50s, modern-day tourism started to grow, along
with the island's population, but it was in the following two
decades of the '60s and the '70s that, thanks to the likes of
Jackie O and numerous other jetsetters, the island was turned
into one of the most cosmopolitan holiday resorts of the
Mediterranean, if not of the world.
Attracting people from A-listers and millionaires to
backpackers and ravers, it is still at the height of its
popularity, and the amazing thing is that, despite its rapid
development and numerous, as well as drastic changes, it has
managed to preserve its color and character intact.
Chora, the island's port town and capital, is still considered
by many as the Greek Saint-Tropez and it never fails to allure
the crowds that flood it every year, thanks to its unique
character that locals have managed to preserve almost intact
to this day.
Around narrow, whitewashed streets there are white cubicle
houses clustered, with their tiny balconies, colored windows
and liliput yards lined by bougainvillea and pots of
basilicum. Numerous little churches and chapels, hidden
minuscule piazzas and water wells, as well as the multitude of
colorful shops are there to further accent this chaotic
picturesque setting, where a simple stroll can turn into the
most exhilarating experience.
Perpendicular to the harbour is the main street, called
Matoyanni, and that, along with its neighboring or continuing
streets, consists the town's commercial core, full of shops,
cafes and bars for every budget and every taste. Walking down
these settings is a must, but make sure you also wander around
the more quiet labyrinth of the little streets behind, where
you can feel the aura of times past.
The central harbor is another multi-photographed attraction,
with a lot of traffic going on along the esplanade, lined with
numerous cafes, bars and shops. At the western end of the
harbour stands one of Chora's landmarks, the Church of
Paraportiani, a whitewashed group of four chapels in
vernacular architectural style.
Little Venice is a picturesque neighborhood at the southwest
end of the port and owes its name to the fact that many of the
island's wealthy early captains built their houses directly on
the sea here. It is the town's most idyllic spot, especially
in the late afternoon, where one can enjoy a wonderful sunset
on one of the stylish bars overlooking the water.
On the high windswept hill that rises nearby you can see
another of the island's famous landmarks, the Mykonos
windmills. If you wish to see the authentic interior of such a
windmill, dating to the 16th century, visit the Mykonos
Agricultural Museum, on the road connecting Chora and Platis
Yalos (open 16:00-20.30, June to October).
Mykonos is world famous for its beautiful golden sandy beaches
and transparent waters. There is a beach for every taste and
mood. Nudists, round-the-clock party people, families and
those seeking a break from the madness of Mykonos will all be
able to find a beach that fits their taste.
The beaches on the south shore of the island have the best
sand, view and are protected from the Meltemi, the local
Cycladic wind. Keep in mind that most people begin to arrive
in the early afternoon, and you can avoid the worst of the
crowds by going in the morning. The north coast beaches are
less developed but just as beautiful. They are less organized
and crowded and most suitable for those in search of a bit of
Psarou: Situated within walking distance and just to
the right of the Plati Gialos bus terminus. Fully organised
beach offering water sports (including a diving school)
attracting thousands of visitors during summer.
Platis Gialos: About 4 km from the center of Mykonos
town, a very popular beach on the south side of the island. It
is also one of the longest beaches on Mykonos.
From here one may hire a small boat to visit other beaches
like Paradise, Super Paradise etc.
There is a very good connection by bus with Mykonos town, till
very late at night.
Paranga: One of the island's smallest beaches, it is a
combination of two sandy beaches separated by a headland.
Although organised, it has a new-age feel about it, with fine
sand and huge rocks juxtaposed with blue water. The beach can
be reached by bus or by a 15 minute walk from Platis Gialos.
Paradise (Kalamopodi): One of the most famous beaches
of Mykonos, nudist friendly, attracting mostly a young crowd
by its 24 hour music and its day and night beach parties.
Water sports, diving centre and beach bars are available. It
is located on the south, between Paranga Beach and Super
Paradise Beach, and is reachable by a footpath from Plati
Gialo, by bus or by small boat.
Super Paradise (Plintri): Just as famous as Paradise,
it lies on the south side of Mykonos, next to Paradise beach.
The setting truly is paradisiacal but don't come here for a
peaceful family picnic - music blares from huge loud speakers
and during high season the beach partying often continues all
day long. Full nudity is permitted.
Is reachable by local bus and small boat.
Agrari: Located right next to Elia beach, they form
together a huge sandy beach. Agrari is less popular than its
neighbour and much calmer. It can be reached by local bus and
Elia: Elia is in a distance of about 3 km away from Ano
Mera. The largest of the southern beaches, it has good
restaurants, hotels, bungalows.
In the area just before Elia beach, there is "Watermania", a
60,000 square metre water park with dare devil chutes, a host
of water-based activities, music and dancing.
The beach is accessible by bus service from Mykonos Town and
boat service from Platis Gialos.
Kalo Livadi: Kalo Livadi lies 2 km from Ano Mera. It is
the perfect place for those who look for a peaceful
environment. If you like to stay overnight, there is one hotel
and a few rooms to let. Buses run frequently from Mykonos Town
to Kalo Livadi.
Ornos: Only two kilometres from town, located on the
south west. Perfect family beach with all amenities. Access to
and from town is easily made by frequent bus service. Daily
boat services to other beaches as well as excursions to the
island of Delos are available from this bay which also
provides a good anchorage for yachts.
Korfos: Only two kilometres from town. Attracts mainly
wind surfing enthusiasts, due to the frequency of good
on-shore winds. Not suitable for swimming or sunbathing.
Agios Ioannis: Situated on the south-west coast of the
island, 5 km from Mykonos Town, Agios Ioannis is fully
organised, wind-protected beach, ideal for families. You can
enjoy a wonderful view over the island of Delos.
Agios Sostis: On the north part of the island. Suitable
for those who want to avoid crowds and enjoy calmness. One of
the most secluded beaches on the island, since access is
limited to private vehicle and taxi.
Ftelia: North facing beach, most suitable to
windsurfers, since it is exposed to strong northern winds.
There is a restaurant to serve the needs of those who visit
and access to this beach can only be made by taxi or private