No question! Mykonos Town has probably one of the most perfect and picturesque cityscapes you could imagine. It is beautiful, it is stylish, it is a Jet Set hotspot. Gucci, Prada, Louis Vuitton, you name it, it´s all there. It is a photographer´s paradise and if you like to take snapshots, this is the place where you can romp about! Let me take you on a visual walk through the small alleys of one of Greece´s most popular destinations.
Mykonos, also known as the Island of Winds, belongs to the Cyclades and is one of Greece´s tourist hotspots during the summer. The island is reachable by air (around 25 minutes flight from Athens) or sea, making it a very popular port of call for cruise lines in the main season.
Because of the strong winds that Mykonos carries its nickname from, it can happen from time to time that smaller cruise ships may not be able to access the port (about 10 minutes by bus from Mykonos Town) or even anchor in the bay in front of it.
It happened to us in July that our itinerary had been changed to Milos instead (read all about it in my previous article). Yet, having been to Mykonos already in May, we very much enjoyed the alternate port.
The pier in the port allows a maximum of two mid-sized vessels or one large one at a time. So most cruise lines prefer to anchor offshore and offer tender service to and from Mykonos Town. The advantage: You can start your exploration right away as the tender boats land downtown. If your ship docks at the pier, shuttle buses are offered mostly at no extra cost. The drive to Mykonos´ marina is about 10 minutes. From the parking lot, it is only a stone´s throw into downtown Chora (Mykonos Town).
If you are into lifestyle shopping, Mykonos will cater for your needs. The world´s most luxurious brands have a branch here and there are tons of independent Greek fashion labels selling their individual and elegant designs. Should your ship stay overnight, it might be a good idea to put the island´s well-known nightlife to the test. Mykonos is particularly popular with the LGTB community!
If this is your first time to Mykonos, I highly recommend to you to simply explore the town by wandering the endless side streets and back alleys that wind downhill to the shore. To enjoy great panoramic views, first walk up the streets to the deserted windmills just a about 15 minutes from Chora´s marina. You will enjoy beautiful vistas over Mykonos Town, the sea and the surrounding islands! Gorgeous!
From up here it really is fun to slowly stroll down the narrow streets towards the town´s center. There will be tons and tons of possibilities for beautiful snapshots and selfies and you will get a good insight into the local´s lifestyle. As there are plenty of little shops and cafés on the way, there is always a reason to add a little window shopping on the way.
Just like the island itself, Mykonos can look back onto a quite colorful history. While first real settlements seem to range back to the early 11th century BC by the Ionians from Athens, Mykonos had seen quite an array of sieges afterwards. It belonged to the Roman and later became part of the Byzantine Empire until the 12th century. During the 4th Crusade, Mykonos was occupied by a relative to the Doge of Venice, then was taken by the Catalans and finally ended up in 1390 under direct Venetian rule.
Over the following centuries, many more cultures thought over the control of Mykonos. Since 1830, the island belongs once again fully to Greece, yet in some parts of town you will find architectural evidence of foregoing cultures.
Probably one of the most well-known landmarks of the island are the famous windmills. These masterworks made of wood and straw can be found all over Mykonos. The five most popular ones stand in a row right at the sea to harness the strong Norther winds. They had been built by the Venetians in the 16th Century to mill flour and were in use until the 20th century.
Another hotspot is Little Venice. An area of fishing houses standing in line right at the shore with balconies hanging over the sea. These days, they have been converted mainly into restaurants and bars as well as shops and galleries, back then, they served as homes to rich merchants and captains. Their houses´ basements gave direct access to the sea and some myths proclaim, a few of these house owners may have been pirates.
There is no doubt, that Mykonos Town surely is one of the most romantic spots in Greece. Particularly in the late afternoons, when the sun slowly begins to sink into the beautiful Aegean Sea. When the bright white houses are dipped into shades of orange, purple and pink and the air is filled with the smell of Bougainvillea.