Mykonos is to be found between Tinos, Syros, Paros and Naxos, also belonging to the Cyclades island group. It has 9,320 permanent residents (2001) most of whom live in the largest town, Mykonos (also called Chora), which lies on the west coast.
Mykonos has been inhabited through all history first by the Carians, then by the Ancient Egyptians, the Phoenecians, followed by the Cretans and finally by the Ionians.
Due to the major importance of nearby Delos (about 2 km away) in ancient times, Mykonos became very important as a supply island and possibly as a getaway location for Delian citizens.
In Greek mythology Mykonos was the location of the battle between Zeus and the Titans,and the island was named in honor of Mykons, son of Anios who was a son of Apollo and a nymph named Rio.
Since the 1960s, the island has been a popular tourist destination and today tourism is a major industry on Mykonos. The island is quite cosmopolitan and simultaneously offering great ways of chilling out in picturesque cafés and restaurants offering delicious specialities. Mykonos by night offers a great variety of night clubs, dancing clubs and bars. The island, known for its famous bars, has become a big party destination for tourists around the world.
The island’s airport is located 4 kilometres southeast of the town of Mykonos and it is served by international flights during summer.
The Mykonos windmills are an iconic feature of Mykonos. The windmills can be seen from every point of the village of Mykonos. The windmills are the first thing to be seen when coming into the harbor, as they stand on a hill overlooking the area. There are currently 16 windmills. Most of them were built by the Venetians in the 16th century, but their construction continued into the early 20th century. They were primarily used to mill wheat flour. They were an important source of income for the inhabitants. They all have a round shape, white colour and a pointed roof. Such windmills are found in almost all Cyclades islands. One of these windmills has been transformed into a museum. The whole village of Chora and the harbour are visible from the mills.
The Church of Panagia Paraportiani is situated in the neighbourhood of Kastro, in the town of Mykonos. Its name means “Our Lady of the Side Gate” in Greek, as its entrance was found in the side gate of the entrance to the Kastro area.
The building of this church started in 1425 and was not completed until the 17th century. This impressive, whitewashed church actually consists of five other churches attached all together: the four churches (Saint Estathios, Saint Sozon, Saints Anargyroi and Saint Anastasia) are all on the ground and constitute the base of the fifth church that has been built on top of them. This architectural spottiness has made Panagia Paraportiani the most photographed church on Mykonos.
Petros the Pelican
Petros was a Great White Pelican, which was the official mascot of Mykonos.
In 1958 a wounded pelican was found off the coast of Mykonos shore by a local fisherman. The pelican was nursed to health and remained on the island supported by locals. It soon adopted the name “Petros”, as a joke between the locals. To great disappointment by locals and tourists alike, Petros was hit by a car on 2 December 1985 and failed to recover.
Subsequently, three new pelicans reside around the main town of Mykonos. One, honorifically, was given the name Petros.
Beaches on Mykonos
Psarrou is one of the most cosmopolitan beach-villages of Mykonos island, mainly among Greeks. Every year thousands of tourists and celebrities visit this sandy beach, which is organized offering luxurious sunbeds and umbrellas. Due to Psarrou’s popularity, specially during August, which is the peak of high season, there is a waiting list for the sunbeds and umbrellas. Many luxury hotels are also built around Psarrou, which is located 4 km from Chora and close to Platys Gialos.
Things to do
Scuba-diving: Mykonos has four different diving centers. With the whole area full of traces from the ancient Greek world at the bottom of the sea and a visibility which reaches 30-40 meters it is like diving into a different era. Everywhere the antiquity is present, both Greek and Roman, canyons and an intact flora and fauna where you can find squid, grouper and many shoals of barakoundas and mackerels. Diving here is also wreck diving: Ships from newer times have sunk here as well.
You’ll find diving centers at Kalafati, Paradise and Ornos beaches
Kalafati Dive Center
Windsurfing: Mykonos is characterised (as many of the Cyclades islands) by strong northern winds, in Greek called “meltemia”. The beaches of Ftelia and Kalafati are perfect for experienced windsurfers, offering ideal conditions for windsurfing.
For the beginners, most of the organized beaches on Mykonos provide windsurfing courses, at beaches protected from the violent winds.
Windsurfing Mykonos Kalafati Beach
Kitesurfing: Within a distance of 2,5 km from Mykonos Town, you’ll find Korfos bay, one of the most popular spots for kitesurfing in Mykonos. Kiteloop is the first kitesurfing school in Mykonos operated by three Brazilian instructors. The training method includes theory lessons and practice with trainer before going in the water. It also provides the latest equipment and safety gear to ensure the protection of the body, in all cases. There are kite lessons for everyone in spite of the level or fitness ability.