The windmills of Mykonos are one of the island’s most iconic landmarks that adorn and define its beautiful landscape. These unique structures are located in various places around the island, including in front of Little Venice and Alefkantra, and are sure to captivate visitors with their charm.
Here’s everything you need to know about them.
Mykonos and Windmills: An Unbreakable Connection
Sixteen innovative mills were built on the island to take advantage of the constant gusts of air and grind agricultural produce. These mills were powered solely by nature’s breath, making them an eco-friendly solution for the island’s inhabitants.
The windmills of Chora and Ano Mera are particularly noteworthy for their snow-white hue, round shape, and pointed wood rooftops. They were a significant blessing to the local communities and were primarily used for grinding agricultural products that were exported from Mykonos. Today, they are recognized globally as a must-visit spot for travelers to this wonderful Greek island.
You can easily join an organized tour that will show you the best of the Windmills for an unbeatable price. If you prefer more convenience, you can pre-book a transfer service by taxi, minibus, or even a private VIP car directly from the port, airport, or hotel. You could also rent a car to explore Windmills at your own pace without being limited by public transport schedules.
A brief history of Mykonos’ Windmills
For centuries, windmills have been essential in Mykonos, enabling locals to grind their grains—wheat, and barley chiefly—into flour. After the farmers brought their crops to these mills, they were rewarded with an equivalent amount of flour or payment for it. This practice lasted all the way through the early decades of the 1900s.
How a Windmill is Built and Works?
Windmills are constructed in a cylindrical shape, usually consisting of three stories composed of stonewalls and high-quality wood for longevity against the wind, sun’s rays, ocean mist, and salt. Windmills were outfitted with a wooden roof featuring an intricate wheel mechanism comprised of 12 spokes and triangular sails made from sturdy cotton fabric. These sails could be adjusted so as to capture varying angles of wind, thus enabling the wheel to reach its maximum rotational speed.
By leveraging the force of a wheel, grinding stones on the roof were powered to turn grain into flour. This resulting powder was then delivered down to the second floor for collection while weighing services and storage took place on the ground level. Furthermore, windmills were built where there was a lot of wind and it was easy to transport the grain and flour. This made it efficient for the farmers to mill their grain into flour
Windmills to Visit in Mykonos
If you’re lucky enough to visit during museum hours, make sure to check out Boni’s Mill at Pano Mili. This 16th-century mill has been fully refurbished and is open for public viewing. Wander through all three floors and learn about the process of flour production, from wheat grinding to storage. Enthusiastic guides will explain each step of the process, making this tour an unforgettable experience.
Surrounding Boni’s Mill are many traditional agricultural activities to explore, such as the threshing floor, dovecote, grape treadle, and well windlass. Plus, the view from this location is simply breathtaking. On a clear day, you can see much of the Cyclades and even spot other islands on the horizon.
If you happen to be in Mykonos on the second Sunday of September, don’t miss out on the Harvest Festival at Boni’s Mill. Enjoy complimentary treats while listening to live folk music and observing traditional dances. Local storytellers will share tales from the area’s past through classic customs. It’s an experience that’s not to be missed.
Pano Mili Mykonos
Explore two of Mykonos’ 16 renovated and preserved windmills – Kato Mili and Pano Mili. Kato Mili is located near the port of Alefkandra and is known as “the mills down below.” This beautifully restored windmill offers a glimpse into Mykonian history and is a great spot for taking photos.
Meanwhile, Pano Mili is located on a hill overlooking one side of the island and offers breathtaking panoramic views of the surrounding area.
While you’re visiting these windmills, be sure to take a tour of Geronymos Mill or Boni’s Mill. These tours provide an immersive experience of Mykonian culture and are sure to leave a lasting impression.
The Geronymos Mill
At Kato Mili, you can explore Geronymos Mill, an iconic structure that was in use until the 1960s. While it’s closed to visitors on the inside, you can still capture photos of its captivating exterior and enjoy the scenic view of nearby mills and the Little Venice neighborhood. There’s even a jewelry and souvenir shop located in its storage area, making it the perfect spot to pick up a memento of your trip to Mykonos.
The windmills in Mykonos were constructed in the past to harness the power of the strong winds that frequently blow across the island. The windmills were used to grind grain and create flour, which was an important resource for the island’s inhabitants.