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General Information for Mykonos

Mykonos What an antithesis Syros to Mykonos - one of the most popular and best-known Aegean isles. Despite its small size and dryness Mykonos, in the new millenium, is still a super cosmopolitan island. Mykonos, was the favourite place of the rich and famous for many decades and although this seems to be changing, it has throughout the years accumulated many personalities who consider the island, home. It has a reputation for its sophisticated night life, its nudist beaches, its gay life-style and extravagance. It makes up, however, with its beauty, lovely beaches, unique harbor - where you see little fish boats next to the posh yachts - its cycladic character, the dazzling snow-white of the houses and churches and the fact that is the jumping-off point to the sacred island of Delos and a base from which other cycladic isles could be visited.

Depending on one's idiosyncrasy and disposition the island will either be loved or hated. In order for the uniqueness of Mykonos to be appreciated it should be visited other than summertime. The magic of the island remains the same year after year. Everything is so tranquil, low barren hills, distinctive simplicity, numerous picturesque churches and chapels (the domes of which contrast the cubism style of the houses)- harmonized with the inspired popular architecture, charming shores, small all-white cubic houses with colorful shutters and balconies, along with the white-washed stone walkways, the interesting medieval homes of Kastro, forming a wall above the sea - and of course the famous windmills.

According to mythology, Mykonos, was formed from the fossilized bodies of giants whom Hercules had once defeated and that the name came from the hero Mykonos, the grandson of Apollo and that the islands of Andros and Thassos were named after Mykonos' two sons. Various historical facts indicate that Mykonos was first inhahited by the Cares who were followed by the Egyptians, Phoenicians, Cretans and finally the Ionians. Like most islands, Mykonos, has a long history and destinguished itself during the War of Independence of 1821 when the islanders - under the leadership of the legendary heroine Manto Mavroghenous resisted the Turkish invasion.

The lovely Mykonos Town or Hora, the capital and port of the island, - a beautifully preserved settlement with many old mansions samples of the characteristic popular Cycladic architecture (visit one of them at the Tria Pighathia district open to the public)- offers other interesting sites as well.

The great attractions: the striking windmills (great photo background); Little Venice/Mikri Venetia (along the shore- reminiscing Venice, due to the way it is built at the edge of the water and its arcaded Venetian houses), the favorite spot of artists. Its real name is Alevkandra and the district Alevkandra-Scarpa is one of the most charming corners of Hora, bursting with trendy restaurants, bars, discos, galleries and not only.

Folklore Museum (which is housed in an 18th century mansion); very close by there is the Venetian castle, where at its entrance you encounter the oldest church of Mykonos, Paraporttiani, which consists of a charming jumbled mixture of four chapels integrated into one; the Tria Pighathia fountain/three wells- where now there is only polluted water, legend has it, if a girl drank from all three wells she was destined to find a good husband ( drinking from it, it is definitely not recommended today…); the Archeological Museum, in the northeastern side of Hora, exhibits findings from the ancient town of Reneia (ceramics, idols made of clay, copper vessels and other items.

Do not miss the large clay urn, depicting reliefs of the expeditions of the Greeks to Troy, circa 670 BC, an indication of the finest Archaic art. The Municipal Gallery, where works of Greek and foreign artists are exhibited and during the summer months many cultural events take place.

Outskirts: Tourlos - Aghios Stephanos (appr. 2 and 2 ½ miles respectively, from Mykonos Town), seashore tourist settlements. Ano Mera (a little over 5 miles), a village in the interior of the island with all-white houses idyllic chapels and windmills.

Kalaphatis(7 ½ miles), a lovely tourist settlement with perhaps one of the best beaches of the island. Ornos (appr.2 ½ miles south of Hora), a confined harbor, where small boats and fishing vessels moor, offers clear waters and fine-white sandy shore. Platys Yialos (appr.3 miles south-east of Hora), a very busy coastal resort with great tourist infrastructure (extremely difficult to find accommodation during the busy season), offers crystal clear waters.

Seashores: among the afore-mentioned coastal villages with good beaches, the Meghali Ammos/big sand, offers a nice beach and pricey accommodations. Korfos Bay, nearby will not please you at all, since the dump-yard of the island is located there.

Neighboring Psaros/Psarou, is very pretty indeed offering the visitor close to 165 yards of white sand shaded by foliage and reeds (very crowded.

Here one could dive (diving club telephone : 23-579), water-ski and windsurf, if you, that is, are lucky enough to find-along with a room- equipment to rent during the busy months. If you are interested you must reserve ahead of time.

Paranga Beach and close by there is a good fairly inexpensive campsite. Follow the narrow paths to Paradise Beach(Kalamopothi) where the predominantly nudist beach is protected by a headland. It also offers a well-organized campsite with a diving club, a snack-bar and two tavernas. If you wish to go to the nearby bay, where Super Paradise Beach(Plindri) is located, you may again follow the little paths or take the caique. This is no longer regarded as an exclusive gay-nudist beach, it offers a diverse crowd and very pleasant atmosphere.

Aghia Anna, where the film Shirley Valentine was filmed, offers a nice beach and the cliffs above it bestow a beautiful view. Elia, most likely, the best shore of Mykonos, is an extended sandy beach split in two by a rocky stretch and it is almost exclusively nudist. Among other lovely shores on the island you will be fascinated by the vistas of Kalo Livathi and the gorgeous beach adjacent to a valley, it also provides a bus service-during high-season-and a good restaurant.

Shopping in Mykonos is an an adventure by itself. There are many trendy shops: stunning jewelry exhibited in the windows of the noumerous Jewellery stores (Lalaounis, one of the best); Designer Boutiques (my favorite the Giannis Galatis reasonably priced knit outfits); lovely cotton and lace curtains are sold everywhere. Copies of museum pieces flood the gift shops, the most interesting being the early Myconian and Cycladic designs.

On Nikiou 5, Aghios Gerasimos, there is a store run by Natasa Yiareni, where gorgeous items, among others, of modern ceramics-designed by a wonderful artist Katy Anastasaki-are sold. Beautiful hand-made angora wool knit items are also sold and silver jewelry (very popular with tourists ) is abundant. Thiveos, on Iglessi st. is a wonderful silver - gold workshop.