One of the most famous capitals in the Cyclades, Mykonos Town never fails to astound with its outstanding architectural harmony. Built in the 13th century, it is a labyrinthine complex of whitewashed cobbled streets with stone benches and steps, small white houses with brightly coloured doors and flower-filled balconies, grand old captain’s houses, old churches, and ornate fountains. The gorgeous setting is enhanced by the hill with the windmills, the sandy beach in the old harbour with the fishermen’s boats in the background, and the domes and bell towers of the churches.
The Church of the Virgin Mary Paraportiani
One of the most iconic sights of Mykonos Town is located between the sea and the small gate (paraporti) of the medieval castle. The imposing building is actually a complex of five small churches dating from the 14th to the 17th century.
Built in the mid-18th century right on the water’s edge, the houses of the rich captains and merchants of that time form the picturesque district of Alefkandra. The much-photographed image of colourful wooden balconies hanging over the sea has given the area the name “Little Venice”. It is an ideal place to enjoy a drink with a view of the sunset.
A trademark of Mykonos and one of its most famous images, the windmills stand atop a small hill south-east of the Town, overlooking the sea. The island’s wheat was milled here from the late 18th century to the early 20th century and today, the seven windmills are one of the most popular attractions in the Cyclades.
Mykonos Archaeological Museum
If you choose one of the itineraries to Mykonos, don’t miss the opportunity to visit the Archaeological Museum. Housed in a building of 1902 in Mykonos Town, it has a collection of archaeological finds from the island of Rineia. The most impressive exhibit is the huge 7th-century-BC “Mykonos Vase”, decorated with relief depictions of the Fall of Troy.
This lovely mountain village with typical Cycladic architecture is the island’s only settlement outside Mykonos Town. It is dominated by the 16th-century Monastery of the Virgin Mary Tourliani in its centre, with its ornate marble bell tower and a carved wooden icon stand made in Florence.
Built in 1891 in one of the most evocative locations on the island, this imposing lighthouse – one of the largest in the Aegean – offers amazing views of the sunset and the neighbouring island of Tinos.
The main pedestrian street in Mykonos Town is not only one of the world’s most expensive shopping locations, but is also a popular place to see and be seen.
The countryside on Mykonos is dotted with attractive little farm buildings (the so-called “villages”) as well as countless red-roofed churches dating from the 17th to the 19th century. They are unique monuments of folk architecture and well worth discovering. The prettiest of the “villages” are concentrated in the areas of Lino and Chalara.
Near the village of Ano Mera, in Paleokastro, the ruins of a medieval castle offer a glimpse of the years of Venetian rule. It was built on the remains of an ancient fortification that was the island’s second most important city in ancient times. Nearby, are the well-preserved Gyzi Castle, dating from the 13th century, and the picturesque Church of Saint Vlassis.