Mykonos is the most famous island in the Aegean Sea as well as the most cosmopolitan of all Greek islands. It attracts visitors from all over the world including a lot of celebrities. The beautiful golden sandy beaches, the lively atmosphere and the traditional Cycladic architecture represented by the numerous small churches and the houses, along with little Venice make Mykonos an island to remember.
The windmills constitute one of the symbols of the island along with the islands mascot "Petros" the pelican who lives at the port of "Hora" the capital of the island. Although Mykonos has no real historical background there are 3 interesting museums to visit. For further educational trips you should visit Delos isle, which in antiquity was the most sacred island in the Greek world.
Housed in a neo-classical building of 1901, in the northeast side of "Hora". It contains exhibits from the nearby island of Rhenea, sculptures, pots and statuettes. Look for the big vase of clay from the Trojan War. Folk Art Museum opened in 1962, contains collections of furniture, ceramics, traditional costumes and traditional musical instruments. Among the exhibits you will see the first "Petros" the pelican, stuffed.
Opened in 1985, here you can see ships from the early Minoan period to the 19th c, maps and documents and in general exhibits from the naval tradition of the island.
The most photographed monument on the island is Paraportiani church. It consists of a complex of five churches. Four of them are on the ground level and one raised. The ground floor of the complex consists of Agios Efstathios, Agioi Anargyroi, Agios Sozontas and Agia Anastasia The church of Paraportiani is built above Agios Efstatios and actually got its name from the fact that it stands at the small entrance to the medieval fortress. The building started in 1425 and was not completed until the 17th century.
In the past there were 16 windmills serving for the grinding of agricultural products. These days some have been restored and are used as museums and others have been renovated and are used as houses.
Mykonos is a prime example of Cycladic architecture. It consists of narrow whitewashed alleyways, small churches, white houses with wooden doors and windows and brightly - coloured balconies. In the colourful harbour where small fishing boats and yachts coexist, where taverns, "ouzeris", cafes and shops are spread on the coastline, you will also see a pelican eating fish, it is one of a series named Petros. Mykonos has all the necessary facilities of a modern resort giving satisfaction both to visitors seeking an active and cosmopolitan type of holiday and those who favour a more peaceful vacation. Matogiannni with its chic shops, cafes and bars is where the island's pulse throbs. Nightlife in Mykonos is unique. Numerous clubs, discos, bars, pubs are always full with people especially during summer time.
Little Venice is one of the most charming districts of Hora and one of the prettiest places in the Cyclades. Its picturesque two - and three - storey houses, with colorful balconies, windows and doors built right on the sea, form a unique picture. Little Venice is the perfect spot from which to view the sunset.
A respectable commercial section exists in Mykonos. You can go shopping or window shopping in the fabulous boutiques which carry exclusive name brands, among them outstanding Greek jewelers, souvenirs as well as works of art.
One of the most organized beaches of Mykonos. Water sports facilities including scuba diving and a beach bar are available.
A beautiful organized beach with water sport facilities and a tavern for lunch. Elia: Another popular organized big beach of the island. It offers water sports and two good taverns.
A sandy with crystal clear water beach, perhaps the most visited beach of Mykonos. Small boats to the other southern beaches, like Paraga, kalamopodi and Elia leave from here.
One of the famous beaches in the Aegean, with crystal-clear blue water. It is preferred by people of younger age and generally people who like to swim and swing at the same time.
How to get there
•By air: from Athens airport, Eleutherios Venizelos
•By ferry: from Piraeus port
Area: 131,957 sq km (50,949 sq miles).
Population: 11.2 million (2007).
Capital: Athens and Greater Athens about 5 million.
Government: Parliamentary republic.
Language: Greek is the national language, but English is widely spoken.
Currency: The Euro (EUR) is the official currency, divided into 100 cents. Banks and bureaux de change are widely available and travellers’ cheques and major credit cards are widely accepted. ATMs are widespread and are generally the cheapest and most convenient method of obtaining Euros.
Time: Local time is GMT +2 (GMT +3 between the last Sunday in March and the last Sunday in October).
Electricity: Electrical current is 220 volts, 50Hz. A variety of plugs are in use including
The European-style two-pin and the round three-pin.
Communications: The international access code for Greece is +30.
Climate: Greece has a warm Mediterranean climate. In summer, dry hot days are often relieved by stiff breezes, especially in the north and coastal areas. Athens can be stiflingly hot, so visitors should allow time to acclimatize. The evenings are cool. Winters are mild in the south but much colder in the north. November to March is the rainy season.
Required Clothing: Lightweight clothes during summer months, including protection from the midday sun. Light sweaters are needed for evenings. Waterproofs are advised for autumn. Winter months can be quite cold, especially in the northern mainland, so normal winter wear will be required.
National Holidays: January 1, January 6, Lent Monday, March 25, Holy and Great Friday, Easter Monday, May 1, Holy Trinity, August 15, October 28, December 25, 26.
Geography: Greece is situated in southeast Europe on the Mediterranean. The mainland consists of the following regions: Central Greece, Peloponnese, and Thessaly (east/central), Epirus (west), Macedonia (north/northwest) and Thrace (northeast). Euboea (Evvia) the second-largest of the Greek islands is also considered to be part of the mainland region and is connected to it by a bridge. The Peloponnese peninsula is separated from the northern mainland by the Isthmus of Corinth, but connected to it by a bridge over the isthmus, plus another bridge near Patras. The northern mainland is dissected by high mountains (such as the Pindus) that extend southwards towards a landscape of fertile plains, pine-forested uplands and craggy, scrub-covered foothills.
The islands account for one-fifth of the country's land area. The majority are thickly clustered in the Aegean between the Greek and Turkish coasts. The Ionian Islands are the exception; they are scattered along the west coast in the Ionian Sea. The Aegean archipelago includes the Dodecanese, lying off the Turkish coast, of which Rhodes is the best known; the Northeast Aegean group, including Chios, Ikaria, Lemnos, Lesvos and Samos; the Sporades, off the central mainland; and the Cyclades, comprising 39 islands (of which only 24 are inhabited). Crete, the largest island, is not included in any formal grouping.
On the mainland the city of Athens in the south is sprawling, overcrowded and polluted but nevertheless enthrals visitors, while Thessaloniki in the north is vibrant and modern with a Byzantine flavour. Athens is dominated by its major landmark, the Parthenon: the remains of other wonders of the ancient Greek classical world are to be found mainly on the Peloponnese Peninsula, south of Corinth, the gateway to a veritable treasure trove of history.
Getting Around: Most tourist sites are within the city centre, which is easy to get around on foot, however there is an extensive public transport network consisting of buses, trolley buses, minibuses and a fast new 3-line underground metro service that requires a standard ticket for a 90-minute usage span. The metro is especially useful to get to Piraeus to catch a boat to the islands. The metro stations double as impressive archaeological art and artefact galleries. Transport is cheap, but often overcrowded especially during the siesta rush hour between 1pm and 3pm, and operates until midnight; a limited night bus service operates along major routes. Bus and metro tickets are not transferable, but a daily pass can be used on both.
History of Ancient Greece: Greece has a history stretching back almost 4,000 years. The people of the mainland, called Hellenes, organized great naval and military expeditions, and explored the Mediterranean and the Black Sea, going as far as the Atlantic Ocean and the Caucasus Mountains. One of those expeditions, the siege of Troy, is narrated in the first great European literary work, Homer's Iliad. Numerous Greek settlements were founded throughout the Mediterranean, Asia Minor and the coast of North Africa as a result of travels in search of new markets.
During the Classical period (5th century B.C.), Greece was composed of city-states, the largest being Athens, followed by Sparta and Thebes. A fierce spirit of independence and love of freedom enabled the Greeks to defeat the Persians in battles which are famous in the history of civilization-Marathon, Thermopylae, Salamis and Plataea.
In the second half of the 4th century B.C., the Greeks, led by Alexander the Great, conquered most of the then known world and sought to Hellenize it.
In 146 B.C. Greece fell to the Romans. In 330 A.D. Emperor Constantine moved the Capital of the Roman Empire to Constantinople, founding the Eastern Roman Empire which was renamed Byzantine Empire or Byzantium for short, by western historians in the 19th century. Byzantium transformed the linguistic heritage of Ancient Greece into a vehicle for the new Christian civilization.
The Byzantine Empire fell to the Turks in 1453 and the Greeks remained under the Ottoman yoke for nearly 400 years. During this time their language, their religion and their sense of identity remained strong.
On March 25, 1821, the Greeks revolted against the Turks, and by 1828 they had won their independence. As the new state comprised only a tiny fraction of the country, the struggle for the liberation of all the lands inhabited by Greeks continued. In 1864, the Ionian Islands were added to Greece; in 1881 parts of Epirus and Thessaly. Crete, the islands of the Eastern Aegean and Macedonia were added in 1913 and Western Thrace in 1919. After World War II the Dodecanese islands were also returned to Greece.
The Olympic Games were spawned in ancient classical Greece, along with democracy and the fundamentals of philosophy, science and mathematics. Modern Greece is better known as a great place to vacation rather than a centre of learning and culture. Today the country attracts by offering simple pleasures: delicious food at reasonable prices, local wine, beautiful beaches, sunshine, quaint villages, a seemingly endless lacework of coastline and little islands full of scenic surprises. Greece and Greeks welcome with open arms the thousands of visitors that flock to admire their national assets every year - no-one leaves without having been warmed, both by the sun and the hospitality.