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Characterised by its two simple colours: blue and white, the essence of the Aegean. With its immaculately whitewashed houses and tiny churches, separated by a labyrinth of cool, cobbled lanes leading to the famous windmills and spectacular beaches, this island is a microcosm of all the Greek islands. A holiday here is always a memorable experience.
Popular, sophisticated, an Oscar winning film set and the subject of a thousand postcards. Mykonos is all of these, but at its heart is the simplicity of two colours, blue and white, the essence of the Aegean. The contrast between the white of the immaculate houses, churches, famous windmills and the blue of sea and sky is the enduring image. The Mykonos experience is multi layered and fascinating.
Within the space of a few minutes, you can be watching the waves break along the walls of the graceful Venetian houses in Alefkandhra or Little Venice as it’s known, window shopping in Matogiannis Street with its designer boutiques or quietly absorbing the unique atmosphere of the ancient church of Paraportiani.
The island capital is a labyrinth of tiny cobbled streets, designed to confuse the corsairs of more turbulent times. Getting lost here is still an everyday but enjoyable experience. Unusually, the town has two cathedrals, Roman Catholic and Greek Orthodox; Mykonos was a cosmopolitan island long before being discovered by tourists. Here too, you can enjoy a sophisticated nightlife, with a wide choice of excellent restaurants and bars. Alternatively, you can wander up to the famous windmills and quietly watch the sun set beyond the silhouette of their silent sails.
It is the contrast and variety that makes a holiday on Mykonos such a unique experience. It is a simple matter to spend one day on such famous and popular beaches as Paradise, Super Paradise or Elia and the next at the stunning and much quieter Kalo Livadi and Lia beaches. Whichever you choose, there will always be the same crystal clear water and magnificent views.
Though justifiably famous for its beaches and the simple, timeless beauty of its architecture, the interior of the island is less well known but equally rewarding. Here and there in sheltered valleys you will come across a patchwork of small fields, an oasis of greenery amongst the bare rocks and brown hillsides. In the centre of the island is the second main village, Ano Mera, a traditional Cycladean community, with its houses clustered around the main square or ‘plateia’ and the striking red-roofed Monastery of Panagia Tourliani.
A little beyond is the Paleokastro Monastery, dating from the 12th century in a glorious green and fertile setting. For solitude, explore the north coast of the island, where the Meltemi blows unchallenged and where you can follow rocky paths across magnificent headlands and hardly ever meet another soul.
No stay on Mykonos would be complete without a visit to the tiny island of Delos. Legendary birthplace of Apollo and Artemis, it is hard to believe that 25,000 people once lived on this sacred rock! In fact, such was its importance in the ancient world that the Cyclades gained their name from the island, as the word means “those (islands) around Delos”. This ‘unmoved marvel of the wide world’ was a sanctuary from 3,000 BC until the second century AD and although now in ruins it is still possible to experience the full grandeur of this ancient city. There are three temples to Apollo, the site of the ancient lake where the twins were born and many other fascinating remains, including a museum containing the famous lion sculptures, dating from 7th century BC.
Mykonos, an island of a thousand contrasts and the ‘jewel’ of the Aegean.
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