Mykonos, a small Greek island nestled in the Aegean Sea, is a popular destination known for its white-washed buildings, vibrant nightlife, and stunning beaches. The island has become a playground for the rich and famous, drawing in visitors from all over the world who come to soak up the sun and experience the island’s unique culture.
With so much to see and do, it’s no wonder Mykonos has become one of the top travel destinations in Greece. However, for those who have never been to this picturesque island before, it can be difficult to know where to start. In this article, we’ll cover everything you need to know about Mykonos, from its location to its must-see attractions, so you can plan your dream trip with ease.
Mykonos is a small island, covering only 90 sq km. The island has a rocky terrain along its northern coastline and a smooth sand beach on the other side. The hilly areas of the island are full of greenery in the spring but dry up during summer. The highest peaks on the island are Prophet Elias Vorniotis, which stands at 372 meters, and Prophet Elias Anomeritis, which stands at 341 meters.
Mykonos is mostly barren land, with two manmade lakes close to Panormos Bay supplying water. The coastline of the island is stunning and boasts a series of impressive bays such as Agios Ioannis bay. There are two villages on the island, Chora and Ano Mera, which offer different experiences – one is bustling with activity, while the other remains peaceful. With so much beauty to explore, it’s no wonder that Mykonos is Greece’s most popular tourist destination!
Mykonos is known for its exquisite blend of traditional cubic houses with flat roofs alongside vivid wooden doors and windows. This creates a picturesque atmosphere that reflects its local identity, which is now renowned across the globe. The Chora is a spectacular village with snow-white houses, wooden doors, and balconies that jut out over the maze of streets.
Every quarter features its own special architecture with whitewashed walls adorned with colorful windows and steps. The cobblestone roads are lined with white buildings and decorated courtyards. This beauty presents an incredible contrast to the island’s barren landscape, blending harmoniously into the red or grey rocks for a Cycladic view like no other!
Mykonos was under the rule of Venice for over four centuries (1390-1718), which left a distinct essence of Venetian culture on the island. Little Venice is a picturesque quarter with white-stone houses and their brightly painted balconies precariously perched on the edge of the ocean. Gyzi castle, located in Ano Mera, is another remarkable landmark that serves as a reminder of the island’s medieval past.
Mykonos is said to have been named after the son of Delos’s King. Its ancient history mirrors that of its neighboring deserted island, Delos. According to legend, Hercules completed one of his heroic feats by slaying the Giants and throwing their petrified bodies into the sea, forming what we now know as Mykonos!
The island was inhabited by Carians, who developed an impressive culture, with artifacts like the renowned Mykonos vase being unearthed from the island. Subsequently, Romans followed by Venetian and Ottoman Turks, all left their mark upon this small yet powerful Greek isle in due course. Mykonos contributed to the Greek War of Independence and provided 22 ships with 500 crew members and 140 cannons.
The island even had a heroic revolutionary figure named Manto Mavrogenous, who financed the revolution, aided in battle organization, joined Filiki Eteria (a clandestine resistance society), and rallied troops against Turkish forces in 1822.
Mykonos also has a strong commercial background in textiles, which helped to bolster the economy and provide an indispensable source of revenue for households. The fabrics produced were so exquisite that they were traded not only within Greece but around other countries too.
To fully experience the island’s stunning beach bars and classic architecture, as well as take some time to explore small shops, cozy bars, and local eateries, we recommend spending at least five days on the historic island of Mykonos.
Undoubtedly, the Little Venice Quarter of Mykonos is the most beautiful area on the island. The area is unique in that there is no separation between its waters and buildings, providing breathtaking views of the tranquil lagoons. You’ll find chic eateries and restaurants situated near the water’s edge, making it a popular spot for tourists.