Mykonos, the cosmopolitan island located in the Aegean Sea is the most typical island of the Cyclades. According to Greek mythology it was created by the dead bodies of the Giants. This charming island attracts countless Greek and international celebrities who want to participate in its vivid nightlife, and enjoy its wonderful beaches and the breathtaking landscapes. The following is a list of some of the best things to see and do in Mykonos.
Peter the pelican was an emblematic figure of Mykonos and a symbol of the island during the 30 years of his life. A local fisherman found it wounded in 1958, and afterwards it was nursed and supported by the locals who named it Petros, from ‘petra‘, which means rock in Greek – petra being the dominant architectural element of Mykonos and the Cyclades‘ Islands in general. Thousands of tourists used to run after the island’s mascot every summer for a picture. To the disappointment of locals and tourists, Petros was killed by a car in 1985 and was mummified in Thessaloniki, according to the decision of the Municipality of Mykonos. Nowadays, three pelicans live in the island of Mykonos, one of which is named Petros to honor the island’s symbol.
One of the most famous and charming areas in Mykonos is called Alefkantra, or Little Venice, as its picturesque setting next to the sea is reminiscent of the Italian city. The settlement of Little Venice was created during the 18th century by rich merchants and captains. Visitors will be fascinated by the elegant and beautiful houses with the colorful windows, which stand literally above the sea. One of the best locations in the Aegean to enjoy the sunset.
The windmills of Mykonos constitute one of the most typical highlights of the Aegean Sea, famous all over the world. The impressive white windmills are located between the settlement of Little Venice and the neighborhood of Niochori. During the 17th and the 18th centuries the island had more than twenty windmills, which contributed to the wheat production, a fundamental element of the island’s economic development. Nowadays seven of them are maintained in decent condition.
Lena’s House is located in Chora, near the area of Tria Pigadia. It is an authentic sample of a Mykonian middle class family house of the 19th century. It hosts a collection of European and local furniture of the 19th century, as well as a wide range of useful or decorative objects, from mirrors to gravures and embroideries. From April until October it is open to visitors on daily basis except for Sundays, from 6.30 pm – 9.30 pm.
The Folklore Museum of Mykonos
The island’s Folklore Museum is located in Kastro, just some minutes away from the famous Paraportiani, in a two-floor traditional building. It hosts interesting collections of classic furniture, hand-made ceramics, Byzantine pictures, as well as important manuscripts and photographs. You have to visit this museum in order to get in touch with the deeper cultural identity of the island, which is so much more than the vivid beach bars.
The Monastery of Paleokastro
The Monastery of Paleokastro is a women’s monastery dated back to the 18th century, which was named after the homonymous nearby hill. It is a typical sample of the Cycladic monastery architecture, located north of the settlement of Ano Mera.
Archaeological Museum Of Mykonos
Famous for its rich collection of vases, some of which date back to the 17th century, the Archeological Museum of Mykonos is located in the heart of the island, close to the port. Except for the vases, it also hosts a unique collection of sculptures, ceramics and jewels. It is open to visitors every day except for Mondays, from 8.30 am until 3 pm.
Mykonos Town Hall
A two-floor building that dominates in the Chora of Mykonos. It was initially constructed to become the residency of a Russian earl during the Russo-Turkish war (1770-1774) and was afterwards used as the island’s Town Hall maintaining its initial classic architectural form. Next to the Town Hall was constructed an equally important and historical building, the first school of Mykonos.
The island of Mykonos hosts more than 70 Christian Greek Orthodox churches, following the tradition of the Greek islands. A large amount of them was constructed after the Byzantine period by rich families of the island in order to thank god or honor one of their relatives. You don’t need to be religious to visit some of those beautiful churches with the typical appearance. Some of the most famous Mykonian churches, known for their architecture, are Zoodochos Pigi, Agia Kyriaki, Saint Nicolas, Paraportiani and Agia Eleni.
Aegean Maritime Museum
Located in Tria Pigadia, next to Lena’s House, the Aegean Maritime Museumis a non-profit organization founded in 1983 with the goal to preserve and promote the Greekmaritime history and tradition. In this direction, it exhibits replicas of rowing and sailing ships from the prehistoric times until today. It also hosts a rich collection of maps, ancient coins and sculptures, all under the thematic umbrella of maritime life. It is open to interested visitors daily from April until October, from 10.30 am until 1 pm and from 6.30 pm until 9 pm.