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Cyclades (377) show all properties
Anafi (1) Andros (6) Antiparos (99) Folegandros (10) Ios (17) Koufonisia (1) Mykonos (98) Paros (64) Santorini (53) Serifos (2) Sifnos (17) Sikinos (1) Syros (2) Tinos (6)

Cyclades

 

Mykonos first came into the western orbit during the 1950s when certain rich and famous people started to visit.  Not far from Mykonos is the sacred island of Delos which can be visited from Mykonos. 

The eponymous port and capital, locally referred to as Chora as all the main towns on small islands seem to be, is charming with its cube-like white-washed houses and blue shutters, stone-flagged maze of lanes.  The layout of the town was deliberately complex so as to confuse pirates. Another feature of the town is the pelican inhabitant(s). I don’t know if there is one or more. The original was called Petros or at least that is what you will hear if you ask anyone in Greece.

The island of Mykonos is connected to Piraeus and Rafina by ferry or hydrofoil and also by air internationally in the tourist season and all through the year to Athens International Airport. 

The town is closed to cars during most of the day, so be prepared if you arrive by car, for a walk if your accommodation is in town. 

The town has plenty of restaurants, bars, clubs, cafes and shops which stay open until early in the morning.  Its streets tend to heave at night during the peak visiting times although you can avoid that either by exploring at other times of day or off-peak.

A well-known area of Mykonos town is called Little Venice and is popular with visitors.  It is a small area by the sea where there are cafes and bars. The buildings are built very close to the sea which often comes roaring in very close to the many occupants of the sea-front establishments.  The architecture varies from the traditional white-washed Cycladic architecture in that is built onto the rocks and it supported by stilts and some of the balconies by wooden supports. The area is one of the most commonly photographed and is particularly popular at sunset.

The island is pretty barren and treeless and has a rather remote feel. It is often quite windy and is interesting to explore on foot as you will get a feel of rural Mykonos which has nothing to do with cosmopolitan Mykonos.

 

Places of interest and what to see

The island of Mykonos has various windmills, some of which date back to the 16th century. There are traditionally 16 windmills on the island of Mykonos. None of which are used for their original purpose.  They are an integral part of the landscape and are a popular place to visit.

The Paraportiani Church

The Church of Panagia (Virgin Mary) Paraportiani in Mykonos dates back to the 15th century and faces the sea on a promontory.  The architecture is unique.  The church takes its name from the word meaning inner or secondary door.

The Archaeological Museum

The Archaeological Museum near the harbour is a repository of many finds such as sculptures, jewellery and ceramics from Delos, Rheneia and Mykonos.

The museum is has a wonderful collection of vases which illustrate techniques in ceramics in Ancient Greece as well as many other important finds.

The Aegean Maritime Museum

The Aegean Maritime Museum has model of ships starting from the pre-Minoan days until the 19th century as well as artefacts relating to shipping on the island of Mykonos.

Delos

The whole of the island of Delos is a designated museum.  This island which is 2 kilometres off the coast was once densely populated in ancient times and had a large slave market.  The island was inhabited from 3000 BC

Delos has a fascinating history both mythological and factual and is well worth visiting. The visitor will learn a lot from a visit to the island.

 

Beaches

There are some beaches on Mykonos which are used by business as non-stop, party venues.  They have names such as Paradise and Super Paradise. Other beaches are more traditional and have developed into resorts while others are quite remote feeling and frequented by camper vans.

Some of the beaches are listed below:

ELia Beach

This beach is accessible by bus from town and a regular boat service from Plati Gialos, Elia beach is the largest of the south chain of beaches. Good restaurants, hotels and bungalows provide beach-side refreshment and accommodation with the added attraction of the island’s only water park situated just back from the beach and only minutes away. In designated sections nude bathing is allowed.

Fetelia Beach

Very often subjected to a good onshore wind, north-facing Fetelia beach, unpleasant to sun bathers, is a great pleasure to wind surfing enthusiasts. Located on the north and central part of the island this beach forms the base to Panormos Bay, the largest on Mykonos. There is a restaurant to serve the needs of those who visit and access to this beach can only be made by taxi or private vehicles.

Ornos Beach

Located on the southwest corner of the island and only two kilometres from town, this area has recently developed into a self-contained village. Together with an abundance of hotels and places to eat and drink there are also supermarkets, butcher, pharmacy, and bakery. Due, for the most part to the sea's sandy bottom which drops off very gently from the shore, Ornos provides the perfect family beach. Access to and from town is made easy with a frequent local bus service. A daily boat service to other beaches as well as excursions to the island of Delos are available from Ornos bay which also provides a good anchorage for yachts.

Agios Yiannis Beach

On the west side of the island and facing Delos, the relatively small and picturesque beach of Agios Yannis offers white sands and a collection of small coves catering to the general public. Famous as the location for the film "Shirley Valentine", the beach has an easygoing character. Regular bus service from town provides easy access throughout the day.

You will find more information from the Greek National Tourist Organisation here: http://www.gnto.gr/

 

The interior of the island which is more or less treeless has one main village and some small settlements.

Ano Mera is a fairly traditional village with its main square and kafenio. A monastery dating back to the 16th century is also located here.  Nearby is the 12th century Paleokstro monastery which is set on the hillside.

 

Antiparos

About one and half miles off the west coast of Paros lies Antiparos.  It can be reached from Pounta in 10 minutes by boat.  This little port is about twenty minutes away from the main Paros port of Parikia. This small island has 57 km of coastline.  Most of the population live in the village of Kastro or Chora, the main settlement, on the north coast.

The island has recently become more popular with people of all walks of life choosing to spend their holidays on the island of Antiparos, rather that popping over for a few hours.

It is worth visiting the famous cave which has been known since ancient times. It was known for its stalagmites and stalactites and, despite losing many to Russian soldiers between 1700 and 1774 and Italian soldiers in the Second World War, when they were cut down as souvenirs.

The Antiparians were among the first in the Cyclades to take part in the war of independence. The island was officially incorporated into Greece in 1832. In the Second World War Antiparos played an active part in the resistance movement against the Nazis.

Watersports, including diving, scuba diving are on offer. There are lots of beaches.  Kastro is an attractive village of alleys which is pleasant to explore.

Boat trips round the island and to Despotiko Island are also available.

The main settlement of Chora has a bars and clubs and these can get quite noisy during the high season.

The island’s diminutive size doesn’t demand car hire. The island has a bus which connects Chora to the cave. There are cars, mopeds and bicycles for rent on the island.

During the busy season, June 1st to 15th September, it is advisable to book your accommodation ahead of time.

 

Santorini

Santorini seems to be known all over the world judging from the diverse places from which the visitors come. It has an airport which is linked by domestic and some international carriers, a ferry port with connections to Piraeus and other islands in the Aegean including Crete and is also a major stop for cruise ships.

A road links the port with Chora (most island capitals on the Aegean islands are locally known as Chora despite having another name) also known as Thera or Fira.  There is also a cable-car to the top of the cliff from the port, while the capital of the island (Chora) has bus links to all the villages.

The island suffered a cataclysmic event in the mid-second millennium BC.

Santorini is actually a group of islands comprising of Nea Kameni, Palea Kameni, Aspronisi, Therasia and Thera. They are the result of the volcanic eruptions over the previous millennia.

The dramatic island is made attractive by the contrast between the stark landscape and the white-washed buildings. Some of these buildings seem to hang over the edge of the volcanic rim. There are amazing views from all over the island, while the sunsets are thought to be particularly noteworthy.  Photographs of the island are abundant.

Thousands of visitors come to the island every year from all over the world.  The island has a cosmopolitan atmosphere and there are many retailers and restaurants which aim at the well-heeled.

The island has some areas which have been exploited in that every available space has been exploited in order to allow people to eat and watch the sunset at the same time, but this does not mean that the whole of the island has been ruined.  A large part is agricultural despite the clemancy of the climate. Tomatoes are produced on Santorini getting succor mostly from the humidity which then falls onto the soil in the evening. The vines get some extra moisture from the dew fall on their leaves which are at ground level as they are not trained to grow upwards. The porous, volcanic soil and the method of production which entails leaving the grapes to dry in the sun for about ten days until they are borderline raisins, produces the sweet dessert wine known as Vinsanto.  

The lack of rainfall on Santorini has inspired its inhabitants to collect any rain-water or dew by harnessing hard flat areas that that flow down to cisterns.

 

Minoan excavations and history

It is thought that the residents in Minoan times had some warning that there was going to be an eruption as no skeletons of human remains have been unearthed at the site of Akrotiri which is second only to Knossos in Crete. At this date a small proportion of the town so far has been revealed.  The town was an advanced settlement, having two and three storey buildings, squares and streets plus wall remains of as high as eight metres. Some finds seem to point to the export of some textiles. Some of the residences still have their stone staircases as well as frescoes and ceramic storage jars. There was also a sophisticated drainage system with running water and water closets.  The water supply had two sets of pipes which appear to perhaps suggest hot and cold running water most probably supplied by geothermic springs.

   

 

What to do and see

Sulphur Beach

There is now a submarine which offers visitors the chance to see more of the dramatic geological features.  The submarine leaves from the village of Vlychada. There is a bus link from the main town.

Sulphur Beach

The sea is warm because of the underwater volcano.  The waters are said to be beneficial to health.

Wineries

There are quite a few wineries on the island. The volcanic soil is a major factor is the quality and taste of the produce. The wineries produce Vinsanto as well as other types of wine.  Three of the wineries on Santorini are at Megalohori. They are Boutaris, Antoniou and Iliopoulos.

 

Villages on the island of Santorini

Megalohori is an interesting village.  It seems that the many of the houses are set down in the earth so making them seem at first glance to be disproportionate. The houses are walled so it is not always possible to appreciate them in their entirety. There are some interesting churches to visit and you will enjoy the lively traditional atmosphere and the respect the local residents have shown to their traditional which is reflected in the upkeep of the buildings.

Oia (pronounces Ia)

The village of Oia seems to be about to tumble into the sea.  It is an attractive, oft photographed place and is especially favoured by romantic types because of the particular view of the sunset. It is well developed and has plenty of high-end retailers. It is fascinating to explore the narrow lanes and look out over the sea at the other sister islands.


Pyrgos

Pygos is a fortified Ventetian village surrounding a castle. Cars are banned from the village and you will be able to explore on foot the maze of alleys with their tightly packed houses.

 

Imerovigli

The village of Imerovigli is perched on the edge of the island’s caldera.  The village is well developed for tourism being placed in a perfect place for stunning views, including the sunset. Imerovigli is compelled by law to use its original style of architecture so you will be able to stay in accommodation with original features.  Near here are the remains of the Venetian castle known as Skaros.

 

Firostefani

The village is situated just above the main village of Chora (Fira) and has a superb view down onto Fira and the sea.  A little way out of the village towards Imerovigli are the remains of the Monastery of Agios Nikolaos which was built in the traditional Cycladic style.  You can visit it during visiting hours which will be available at the tourist information centre in Santorini. http://www.eot.gr

 

Sports

A number of sports are available on Santorini including windsurfing, sailing, beach-volley, basketball, hiking, jet-skiing and water-skiing and sea-kayaking

 


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