Mykonos Island – a beautiful and cosmopolitan island
Mykonos lies at the heart of the Cyclades group of islands in the Aegean Sea. Despite being well known as a party destination in the summer, Mykonos has more to offer its visitors than only lively nightlife. Mykonos has an ancient history, beautiful beaches, and whitewashed buildings which makes it popular with visitors of all ages. This Greek island was, according to ancient Greek myth, created from the bodies of the giants killed by Hercules. Interestingly, the official mascot of Mykonos is a pelican. How this came about is unusual. In 1958, local fishermen found an injured pelican after a bad storm and so they nursed him back to health and named him Petros. The pelican became such a favourite with locals that several pelicans were introduced in the 1980s and they now live around the waterfront.
Take to the water
Known as the Island of the Winds, it is perhaps no surprise that Mykonos is popular with surfers, windsurfers and sailors. If you would like to learn to surf you could perhaps take lessons from a local surf school. If you would prefer taking things a little bit easier, you could always try diving or simply snorkelling. The water around Mykonos is warm and clear, making it a great place for spotting local marine life. Dive centres offer lessons if you are new to diving, or you can hire equipment and go it alone. If you really just want to relax, take a boat tour and enjoy a different view of the island. You can also travel by water on the Sea Bus. This is a great option if you have chosen one of the hotels in Mykonos around the new port as the Sea Bus runs regularly from there into the old town.
Visit ancient Greece
An interesting trip to take while you are in Mykonos is to the island of Delos. This island may only be small, but there is evidence of civilisation here dating back to the third millennium BC and it is thought that it was once an important trading stop-off point. Since 1872 excavations have taken place which have uncovered many ancient ruins and monuments, and the island is now designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Back on Mykonos, the Archaeological Museum of Mykonos houses statues and urns which were discovered on the nearby islet of Rhenia, as well as some items found on Mykonos itself. For a taste of maritime history, you could always visit the Aegean Maritime Museum. Located in a traditional 19th century building, the museum aims to preserve maritime tradition and history. As part of this mission, the museum restores maritime exhibits and one, the Armenistis lighthouse, can be found in the museums garden. Whichever of the Mykonos hotels you choose, you are sure to find a site of historical interest worth visiting nearby.
It’s party time
Evenings in Mykonos Town often start in the Little Venice area to the south, where the terraces of bars hang out over the sea and you can enjoy watching the sun go down. Later in the evening you can stay for a cabaret or a drag show, or you can head out to a nightclub. Nightclubs in Mykonos attract internationally renowned DJs - just be prepared not to get back to your hotel until breakfast time! You don’t just have to wait until night-time to party here though, as some of the beaches have bars which play dance music from the late afternoon onwards. If you want to go out on an evening but clubbing is not for you, try the open-air cinema. This shows one or two films a night in the summer and has a bar and restaurant on-site too. If you plan to visit the island of Mykonos in the summer, be aware it is very popular and so book your hotel well in advance if you can.
Discover the food
Being an island, you cannot go wrong in Mykonos if you choose some of the wonderfully fresh seafood offered at nearly every restaurant. If you want to see the fresh fish being sold to the chefs from the hotels and restaurants, pay a visit to the fish market near the Little Venice area. A culinary favourite on the island is a soft cheese which is flavoured with pepper called Kopanisti. You will often find this served on toasted bread as part of a larger spread of meze, which is a typical Greek dish which comprises of various different small appetizers. For something meaty, try the local sausages which are flavoured with dried oregano, or a spiced pork dish called louzes. For a quick bite to eat, gyros are grilled meat, often chicken, which is served in a warm pita bread with salad and yogurt sauce. For desert, you can always try the local honey pie called melopita, or perhaps the small round cakes made with ground almonds called amigdalota.