Mykonos is the most popular and sophisticated holiday resort of the Aegean, and some travelers consider it the ultimate, cosmopolitan retreat in the entire Mediterranean. Luxury yachts from all over the world dock at its harbors, ferries arrive daily from Piraeus, Rafina, and Lavrion, and more planes than ever before are now landing on the island.
Mykonos has more bars, restaurants, and discos than most other Greek islands and the quality of the beaches, food, music, precious jewelry, and nightlife is second to none.
Mykonos is a Cycladic or "White" island and is part of a complex of thirty-three inhabited islands forming an imaginary circle around Delos in the Aegean Sea. In the Cyclades, homes are chalk white and cubical and most were built by anonymous "folk builders" using materials found on the island. In Mykonos, this approach to architecture has produced a town that is itself a work of art, a masterful collection of perfect, white-washed cubes that stand in dazzling contrast to the brilliant, blue sea.
The two-story homes are graced with wooden balconies, and distinctive drains and chimneys, and by ordinance, all homes must be painted white. Windows and perhaps a railing are painted red, blue, or green, but otherwise, everything is white except for garlands of fresh, multi-hued flowers carefully arranged on the wooden stairs.
Mykonos covers an area of twenty-three square miles and has a population of about 15,000 permanent residents. There are more than 500 churches on the island, many attached to private homes. The town itself is an actual maze and was deliberately built in this fashion to confuse pirates who came to rob and pillage. Many homes, shops, and tavernas have no numbers, so it is difficult to give or follow directions. The maze, however, makes the town even more romantic and creates literal surprises around almost every corner.
As you walk through the lanes, peer inside a home if the door is open and you may see a Mykonian woman sitting beside her needlework or loom in a room sparsely furnished with simple yet artistic necessities. On the walls will be icons and the floors will be covered with hand-woven rugs. In the narrow pathways men and women leading donkeys laden with baskets of produce will move slowly in contrast to the motor bikes with carts attached, zipping rapidly through the lanes to deliver supplies. Perhaps you will meet Petros, the pink pelican, who is the good luck symbol for the island and is most often seen in the Alefkandra section.
Much activity in Mykonos happens in "Taxi Square" near the harbor front where the statue of Mando Mavrogenous proudly stands. She is the famous heroine who gave all her fortune to support her country during the 1821 Greek War of Independence. One can purchase the English language "Herald Tribune" at the International News Stand just off Taxi Square, buy a cheese pie and other delicious treats at the bakery, scoop fresh yogurt into a take-away container, have an inexpensive, cafeteria-style lunch in a small cafe, or buy a take-away souvlaki at a stand.
The town is made distinctive by its huge, round windmills, which once were working mills used to grind wheat. Now they are the island's most famous symbols and their paddles share the skyline with the churches' domes and crosses, creating dramatic contrasts to the cube-like homes hugging the ground. The windmills are located in the beautiful Alefkandra section of town known as "Little Venice."
Alefkandra is the loveliest corner of Mykonos. It has been painted and photographed by artists from all corners of the world and is why Mykonos is called "The Venice of Greece." In this precious spot, rows of chalk white, square homes have turned their backs toward the sea, hunching their wooden terraces and brightly painted balconies over the creamy sea foam. Restaurants in Alefkandra become part of this incredibly romantic landscape by placing their tables as near as possible to the sea and covering them with tablecloths matching the brilliant red or blue colors of the balconies and terraces.
At sunset, the rosy fingered sky kisses the wine-dark sea, and the seduction is complete. The mortal savoring his glass of nectar in Alefkandra at sunset is favored by the gods.
NIGHT LIFE ON MYKONOS
If you like discos, being in the company of beautiful people, and staying up until dawn, Mykonos is the island for you. There are two major places you must visit for the Mykonos experience and they are Hotel Phillipi in the center of town and the Alefkandra section, on the sea. All of the celebrities who visit Mykonos will eventually end up partying at the Phillippi and if you want to see the rich and famous, this is the place to go. It is a rather large restaurant with an indoor "garden" that serves as a dance floor. If you are lucky, you can sit at a table above the garden and see the celebrities down below.
The Alefkandra section has an abundance of night spots, bars, and tavernas, and it is here that you can "taverna hop" with ease. A popular place is The Mykonos Bar, famous for Rhembetika music and as a place where you can see spontaneous, Greek dancing. Alefkandra is a very romantic place and one can try to find a private, quiet spot to sip wine with a loved one, but only in the early evening and perhaps just before dawn. The place rocks at night and into the early morning hours.
Another excellent way to see Mykonos at night is simply to follow your ears. Music comes from everywhere and as you walk about you will see revelers everywhere dancing to mostly live music. "Hot spots" change from year to year, but news of favorites is passed along on the beaches and sometimes notices are placed on trees and posts calling attention to special parties.
TRAVEL TO MYKONOS
Olympic airlines has regular flights from Athens to Mykonos and if you prefer to travel by ship, you have a choice of ferries, flying dolphins, hydrofoils, or catamarans that leave from Piraeus, Rafina, and Lavrion. Rafina, a popular departure port about an hour's drive from Athens, is now being used less for ferry travel as the boats are leaving from Lavrion, close to Sounion.
On Mykonos, you can travel to other nearby islands, such as Tinos, Paros, Andros, Ios, and Naxos, and you can also travel twice weekly to Santorini and Crete and connect to Samos, Sifnos, Serifos, Folegandros, Skiros, Skiathos, and Thessaloniki. Three times a week, boats leave Mykonos for Rhodes, Kos, Amorgos, and Koufonissia. All travel by sea depends upon weather conditions and the Meltimi, the wind.
Our travel agents can help you with all of your travel needs, including accommodations, travel, and cruises. The agency can help with packages for individuals, groups, and honeymooners and will arrange tours, transfers, car rentals, yacht rental, and private plane charters.
We have a wide variety of accommodations ranging from very modest to luxury. If you are coming to Mykonos for the night-life, then you should find accommodations in town, where you can walk about and be in the center of everything.
If you want to stay on a beach, Plati Yialos is a good choice because you are only ten minutes by bus from Mykonos town and the buses run every half hour from early morning until 1 or 2 am. Remember, however, that night life on Mykonos begins about 11, so if you are planning to have a night on the town, Greek style, you will want to arrange for a taxi to take you back to Plait Yialos in the early morning hours.
This Guide to Mykonos is written by Aurelia, author of A Lone Red Apple. It's a lovely novel set in Mykonos and Delos and makes a delightful read for your trip to Greece!
GREECE TOURS & TRAVEL
MYKONOS HOTELS & RESORTS
GREEK ISLANDS •
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Alefkandra section of Mykonos
also known as "Little Venice"
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Aerial View of Mykonos Town, Mykonos, Greece
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