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General Info

Mykonos, situated in the middle of the Aegean Sea, south of Tinos, east of Syros and north of Paros and Naxos, is the most popular tourist destination in theCyclades group.It is also one of the most touristed islands in the Mediterranean, widely recognised as one of the few great travel meccas of the world. Mykonos' main communities are Chora, the island's port town and capital, and Ano Mera. Chora is a breathtakingly picturesque Cycladic town with a maze of tiny streets and whitewashed steps, lanes, traditional houses and churches, gathered around its harbour, in the middle of a wide bay. Despite the island’s rapid growth and development, its traditional Cycladic architectural style and character has remained intact. Ano Mera is a small, equally beautiful village in the middle of the island, around a large central square. On Mykonos international celebrities, college students and families experience the best of the Greek summer. Whether you are an entertainment seeker out for a  good time, or a visitor who yearns to explore the island’s history and tradition and relax, Mykonos will certainly exceed your expectations.

History

According to mythology, Mykonos took its name from the grandson of Greek Olympian God Apollo, and it was formed from the petrified bodies of giants killed by hero Hercules. The ancient city of Mykonos was founded in the 11th century by Iones from Athens who settled in the place of present day Chora. Mykonos had close ties to Delos, an ancient holy sanctuary and birthplace of Apollo and Artemis, and was a member of the Delian alliance. During the height of Delos, Mykonos experienced prosperity due to the economic development of the neighboring island but with the disaster of Delos it fell into obscurity. After a Byzantine period many have passed through the island: Catalans, pirates occasionally, Turks of course and, for a short period during the reign of Catherine the Great, the Russians as well - it was liberated in the Greek War of Independence of 1821.

Around the 1950s - 1960s, Mykonos` charm and beauty were discovered by Greeks and foreigners resulting in it becoming one of the most loved touristic sites in the world. The Mykonians adapted easily to the new popularity, a fact which produced the successful tourist model of the island. Led by their love for their island - and hard work - the people of Mykonos ensured their island`s reputation and wealth.

Today the island has an excellent infrastructure, that improves constantly. It is a favourite holiday spot of the international jet set, beautiful beyond words and well known for its nightlife,  amazing sandy beaches, white country chapels and  Cycladic architecture.

Must see

Chora is one of the best and most representative examples of Cycladic architecture. Walking around its narrow streets one admires whitewashed houses with colourful doors and window frames, bougainvillea trees in purple bloom and hidden little churches. Do pay a visit to the church of Panayia Paraportiani, the Town hall and the castle situated above the harbour. Make sure to visit the Archaeological, Folklore and Maritime Museums to take in a little history. Wander around the pedestrian shopping streets of the Chóra – they are always colourful and busy. The most famous of all is Matoyánni Street, full of brand name stores, charming cafés and stylish, top-class restaurants. Experience the atmosphere along the lively waterfront and see the fleet of fishing boats casting magical reflections in the azure waters. One of the most scenic corners of the island is Alefkántra or “Little Venice”, the 18th century district of grand captains’ mansions with colourful balconies and stylish windows. With balconies hanging above the sea, images of the famous Italian city spring to mind. And do not forget to relax at a waterfront café and admire the view of the quaint windmills standing calm on the hillside above, against a luminous blue backdrop.

Things to do

The main Mykonos attractions are its beaches, where you can sunbathe, relax, snorkel — and of course party like there is no tomorrow! Paradise Beach is considered the must-see option here, and you should expect to be one of many tourists enjoying its soft sand. Away from the beach, tour Panagia Paraportiani in Chora, take pictures of the Windmills, and visit the island of Delos to experience its archetypical charm and see the many archaeological findings. You cannot but love Little Venice for its restaurants, shopping and postcard views. Do save a bit of energy for an evening out, as the island has long had a worldwide reputation for seaside gatherings and thrumming nightlife. Mykonos is a paradise for water sports enthusiasts as well. And do taste the island’s gastronomic trademark - the pepper-flavoured kopanistí, a delicious soft cheese seasoned with lots of black pepper.

Beaches and nature

Mykonos is all about fun and entertainment but do not miss the opportunity to discover the natural and architectural beauties of the island, in particular, its world famous, sun-kissed beaches, which are a postcard come-to-life. The most cosmopolitan ones you will find along the southern coast, where wild parties keep the crowds dancing and having fun day and night. Paradise and Super Paradise are probably familiar to everyone. Órnos and Psaroú are favorite spots for families. Do pay a visit too to Platis Yalós, a well-organized beach where you can enjoy the Cycladic sun on a sun lounge. However, if you are looking for a serene beach on which to unwind with a novel, you should definitely pick a less organized one on the northern coast of the island - such as Ayia Ánna, Houlákia, Kápari, Agrári or Ayios Stéfanos. Most of the beaches have tavernas and restaurants and are well equipped with deck chairs, parasols and other facilities.

Need to know

Mykonos can be reached daily by air from Athens or by ferry from many ports on the mainland, including Piraeus near Athens, or other islands. Delos, the small uninhabited island close to Mykonos, and a UNESCO world heritage area known for its important archaeological sites, is a must for all visitors. It is a short ferry ride from Mykonos - but remember, it is closed on Mondays. Sunglasses, hats and a sun protection cream are absolutely necessary during your Mykonos vacation. But, as strong winds called “meltemia” can be a regular phenomenon in late summer, especially in August, make sure you also bring a sweater.
Mykonos´ nightlife focuses mainly on bars, but there are a number of notable dance clubs to be found on the island, some of them attracting world-famous DJs. Do your shopping or window shopping in the fabulous small boutiques with exclusive name brands, among them outstanding Greek jewelers, producing souvenirs as well as works of art. Most shops are open seven days a week. Mykonos is also home to a large artists' colony, so there are a number of fine galleries offering original works of art.

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