Although one of the smallest islands of the Cyclades complex, Mykonos is definitely the most famous, thanks to the winning combination of its natural beauty, rich history and cosmopolitan character along with a wild nightlife and plenty of traditional color. A dry, arid island, Mykonos covers an area of barely 90 square kilometers, situated in the middle of the Aegean, about 94 nautical miles from Piraeus port. A symphony of blazing bare rock, blinding white peasant architecture and lacy stretches of the world’s most beautiful sandy beaches compose the island’s landscape, accentuated by the wonderful Mediterranean light set against the deep-blue background of the Aegean. The local population of approximately 11,000 are friendly, tolerant to the island’s wild lifestyle and very adaptable to changes.
When exploring the history of Mykonos, it is difficult to find an accurate beginning as its development is richly entwined with fact and legend dating back thousands of years. Due to its proximity to the sacred island of Delos, Mykonos in antiquity became very important. The short two-kilometre distance between the two islands was frequently traveled, since religious rules specified that nobody should be born or die on Delos. Today, Mykonos enjoys a success unparalleled in its history by having become one of the world’s most famous vacation islands.
Totally whitewashed organic cube-like buildings fit closely together to form a kind of haphazard maze of narrow alley ways and streets. The island’s many well preserved windmills and hundreds of tiny red-roofed churches add a flavor of culture and custom to the landscape, enhanced by numerous museums.
A true shopper ‘s delight, Mykonos Town is full of small shops that carry anything from trendy designer labels to traditional ceramics and from exquisite jewellery to fine antiques. Capital Chora’s incredible local color is what makes shopping a quite laid-back experience, with things displayed across a background of white-washed walls and thatched ceilings in clustered, narrow alleys. Apart from a gorgeous tan and a relaxed mood, visitors can take back home some fabulous artwork from the numerous art galleries, fine jewellery, nice hand-woven items, icons from one of the Byzantine art shops or a small handmade windmill as a souvenir of the happy days on the island. Mykonos is famous for its large community of artists.
The island’s infrastructure has seen a great development over the years, while an emerging off-season tourist industry makes visiting comfortable during the non-summer months. Frequent air and sea connections together with heated rooms and good tavernas in and around the main town, allow the adventurous traveler to properly experience the island’s natural beauty. Since Chora has been proclaimed an architectural landmark, motorized traffic is prohibited on its streets, with the exception of a few small delivery vehicles. The only way to get around town is to walk, while the rest of the island is served by a good transportation system.