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Ten Suggestions for Getting to Know Mykonos

World famous Mykonos is one of the most touristy and most popular islands in the Cyclades, and in all of Greece. It is known for both its natural beauty, which includes gorgeous sandy beaches, and a vivid lifestyle that offers something to suit any taste, with plenty of shops, restaurants, and bars, and high-quality touristic infrastructure. Numerous celebrities spend part of their vacation on the island every year. Mykonos is closely associated with Delos, a small rocky island just 2 nautical miles southwest of it, in the center of the Cyclades. According to myth, Delos is the birthplace of the god Apollo (Delian Apollo). It was a religious, cultural, and commercial center of the eastern Mediterranean for more than 500 years, and in 1990 Delos was proclaimed a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Below we present ten suggestions for those who would like to become better acquainted with the island.


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1. The Gorgeous Beaches

Gorgeous beaches, many of them sandy, help make this island a unique holiday destination. Despite the fact that the intense touristic development has reduced privacy and in some cases even blocked access to beaches, there are still places (mainly in the northern part of the island) where we can enjoy the wonderful sea and sun of the Cyclades far from the crowds. The area of Agios Sostis is one example. Then again, if you want the exact opposite, you will certainly not be disappointed! The most famous beach on the island for wild parties, Super Paradise, is about 6 kilometers southwest of Chora (the island's main town). It has golden sand, wonderful water, and sunbeds and umbrellas to rent, while there is of course space to lay down a towel free of charge. Beach bars, rooms for rent, and all the usual tourist facilities are on the beach and around it. Mykonos is also a good place for surfers. Very close to Ornos, the sandy beach of Korfos is a meeting point for surfers because of the strong winds that hit this spot, making it ideal for this water sport. The beach is also attractive to those seeking quieter areas, since there are no sunbeds or umbrellas. There is easy access from the main road that also leads to Ornos.

2. Night Life and Entertainment

The island's well-known good times start early in the morning with coffee and relaxation in the sun. As time passes, the music changes and intensifies, and the night grows wild with explosive parties. Many of the famous bars on the island have a distinctive history that goes back several decades. In addition to entertainment, Mykonos is also a place of culinary delights, with many fine restaurants offering different types of high quality cuisine.

3. A Visit to the Archaeological Site of Delos

Delos, a small rocky island in the center of the Cyclades, birthplace of the god Apollo (Delian Apollo), was a religious, cultural, and commercial center of the eastern Mediterranean for more than 500 years. Reaching its high point in the Roman era, it had more than 30,000 inhabitants from all over the Mediterranean in 90 BC. It was one of the best examples of multiculturalism and peaceful coexistence in antiquity. Its decline began with its destruction and plunder in 88 BC by Mithridates VI, King of Pontus, and continued during the pirate raids of 69 BC. Since 1990, it has been a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

A tour of the archaeological site of Delos is a unique but tiring experience, especially during the summer, with the heat and the sun. Among its many advantages, Delos is one of the sunniest islands in the Aegean! When visitors enter the site and purchase a ticket, they receive a small guide and map designed to offer them the best possible experience at the archaeological site. There are three routes to choose from, depending on the visitors’ time and ability: 1) the blue route (about 90 minutes); 2) the blue - green route (3 hours); and 3) the blue - green - brown route (about 5 hours). Places with panoramic views are marked with red squares (A, B, C, D, E); at those spots, there are signs with the floor plan of the site. There are also informative signs by the most important monuments.

4. Sunset at Kato Mylous and Little Venice

Southeast of Chora, between Alefkandra and the district of Niochori, we find the lower windmills (Kato Mylous). Facing the sea, the imposing mills are the hallmark of the island, reminding us of the role they played in the economic growth and prosperity of Mykonos, grinding the local grain. Below the windmills, almost in the sea, the southern district of Chora, which is also known as Little Venice, stretches in front of us. A crowd of people gathers here at sunset to admire the splendid colors of the sky above the unique Mykonian landscape.

5. A Visit to the Dimastos or Divounia Peninsula

The Dimastos Peninsula, also called Divounia or “Aphrodite's breasts” because of its two hills, separates the bay of Kalafati from the bay of Agia Anna. The little fishermen's harbor on the small peninsula and the whole landscape remind us how the island was before its rapid touristic development. Here we single out the small churches of Saint Anne (Agia Anna) and of the Archangel (Taxiarchi), built in 1885, the iconostasis of Saint Nicholas (Agios Nikolaos), the quiet sandy beaches of the peninsula, and our short walk to the top of the hill with the beautiful view of the surrounding area. According to experts, there is evidence of a prehistoric settlement here.

6. Get to Know Mykonos on Horseback

Get to know Mykonos in a different way, by riding horses! The headquarters of the company that offers this alternative activity is located in Doubakia in Ano Mera, just below the southern end of the water reservoir. The route starts at the southern end of the reservoir (which is also a wetland), moves north along it, and ends up at the very beautiful secluded beach of Fokos, at the northern edge of the island. Packages of two and three hours are offered.

7. A Visit to the Castle of Gizi

On the top of a hill in the northern part of Ano Mera, we find ruins of the Venetian Castle of Gizi (or Gyzi). In the 13th century, the island was under the jurisdiction of the Venetian Gizi brothers, and what we see now is what is left of the fortified settlement of that era. On the hilltop with Gizi Castle, we will find the little church of the Holy Trinity (Agia Triada), with its unusual, ornately decorated metal bell tower. A traditional cistern (well) stands out in the interior space of the castle. Across from the main entrance leading to Gizi Castle (on the road), we will see a little church with a red roof and a blue door, the church of Saint Vlassis (Agios Vlassis or Ai-Vlassis). Next to it, there are two dilapidated stone buildings that housed the castle guard during the time of Venetian domination; notice the windows with the embrasures.

8. Circling the Lake by the Dam at Marathi

We recommend a walk or drive around the lake of Marathi. This is a beautiful route, mostly on a smooth dirt road. In addition to being one of the two water reservoirs on the island, this is an important wetland. The best place to start is on the road that crosses the dam by the northern part of the lake and moves around the reservoir for about four kilometers.

9. Hidden Beach in Agios Sostis

Entering the settlement of Agios Sostis, the northernmost village on the island, we can proceed until the road ends. A stone wall rises up on our left, and if we look closely at its left side, we can discern a little footpath through the vegetation that leads us to a very beautiful, deserted, and naturally quiet little sandy beach, one of the pleasant little surprises we encountered on the island.

10. Agricultural Museum – Mill of Bonis

Built in the 16th century, the old Mill of Bonis was named after its last owner, miller Georgios Bonis. Today it is an annex of the Folklore Museum of Mykonos and is open daily as an agricultural museum. Inside the mill, visitors can see the traditional farm facilities used for the production and processing of agricultural products: the areas for weighing the sacks of flour, the storage rooms, and the milling machines.

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