MYKONOS



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Mykonos - General


Mykonos is a legend, in more ways than one. The transformation of a dry, knotty, granitic island of dour sailors and fisherfolk into the plush Mykonos of today is the stuff of legend. Nobody could have foreseen it a century ago, or predicted that this waterless and windswept is land, well-known for its harshness since Antiquity, would become a home to almost 10,000 people, with twice as many guests in addition during the summer, served by two harbours and an airport that never seem to know a moment’s pause in the season. Then there are the other legends: the nightlife, the gay life, the beaches, the inter national cuisine, and the fashion parades of Europe’s jet set. It must be said that the frenzy of the 70s and 80s is largely over, and Mykonos has now settled into being a well-ordered, up-market tourist destination. Out of sea son it can be a delight, and only a reflex prejudice could blind one to the beauty of the Chora’s curving harbour and the houses stacked behind, as seen from the sea on arrival. The experience of visiting Mykonos, however, is necessarily very different from that of other islands. It has become a place for those who desire their Greek island to be an extension of the city—cosmopolitan, busy, materially well-provided, a place to show off new clothes. For many temporary residents, Mykonos is a background, a pretty vessel into which to transpose the familiar routines (and problems) of prosperous suburbia—shopping, ethnic cuisine, luxury cars, searching for a parking place, and creating improbable gardens of imported exotic plants watered with imported water. Mykonos is never dull: for the student of humanity there is ample scope for reflection. With the fading of every riotous Saturday night into the dawn of a new Sunday, as the tables are being finally cleared at some of the more colourful of the island’s bars around the church of Aghia Kyriaki, the silver-haired septuagenarian ladies of Mykonos, dressed in black, some with their wind-eroded husbands, are already gathering for a liturgy at the church in the cool of the morning. It is an encounter of two worlds, with nothing at all in common. But it continues undisturbed, and on Mykonos both worlds are felt more intensely through the proximity of the other.
   The story of the island’s past is told amply in the Chora’s several excellent museums of folklore, and of maritime and rural life. The intractability of their land forced generations of islanders from Mykonos to seek an existence on the seas by trade or by piracy; the women folk who stayed on shore did most to manage the meagre agricultural productivity and animal husbandry. That there was energy and time to spare on top of this to build the 800 or so chapels and churches on the island, that seem to sprout from every rock, is remarkable. Mykonos has no tradition of wall-paintings in its churches, but the carved wooden icon screens, often coloured, within the plain interiors are a beautiful adornment. And the simple and en during logicality of the Chora’s cubic, balconied houses has been an inspiration to modern architects as diverse as Adalberto Libera and Le Corbusier.


Mykonos Island is part of the Cyclades Island Group, Greece.
Mykonos General Information.

 

access

Mykonos Island, Greece.

By air: Olympic Air and Aegean Airlines both run three return flights daily between Athens and Mykonos, and one flight three times weekly to Thessaloniki. The craft are mostly 40-seater or smaller. The airport is 2.5km from Chora.
By boat: Mykonos is also amply served by connections from both Piraeus (on average three times daily in summer) and Rafina (between 5 and 9 times daily in summer), with frequency dropping markedly in winter. The fastest times are (an incredible) 2 hrs from Rafina and 4 hrs from Piraeus.
The town now has two separate ports and, on departure, it is important to be sure which port the ferry you need is leaving from.
There are typically an average of three connections daily to Syros and Paros, and two to Naxos , during the summer, with routes to Herakleion three times weekly. The daily caïques for Delos (except on Mondays) leave from the west mole of the old harbour.

Mykonos Travel Guide

eating

Mykonos Island, Greece.

First, eating "Greek": the only Mykoniot fish-taverna left in Chora which has maintained its simplicity is Kounelas, where it is still possible to enjoy good seafood in a tiny walled garden. (Just off waterfront, two alleys east of the town hall).
Similarly traditional Greek fare and environment can be found at To Koutouki tou Limniou in Aghios Stephanos, north of Chora.
Some of the island"s best fresh fish is prepared by Markos" taverna at Livounia, on the east side of the Kalafáti peninsula in the east of the island.
International cuisine: for imaginative Japanese and Pacific "fusion cuisine", Nobu of Mykonos at the Belvedere Hotel in Rohari is highly prized. Casa di Giorgio (be hind the Catholic Cathedral) has a wide variety of genuine Italian dishes prepared in an Italian kitchen.
For a pleasing vantage point from which to watch the sun set, it is hard to do better than the balcony of the Veranda Bar in "Little Venice".

Mykonos Travel Guide

further reading

Mykonos Island, Greece.

Theodore Bent’s description of the ‘μοιρολογίσται’ of Mykonos (the versifying professional mourners at funerals), as well as being an invaluable piece of anthropological documentation, is one of the best chapters of his work The Cyclades, or Life among the Insular Greeks (1885), reissued 2002 by

Archaeopress, Oxford.

Mykonos Travel Guide

lodging

Mykonos Island, Greece.

Mykonos has a staggering quantity of hotels on offer, catering for every kind of taste—except perhaps for rustic simplicity. For those who want to be in the heart of Chora, Zorzis is a small ‘boutique hotel’, open year round (rare in Mykonos) with characterfully furnished rooms and friendly management (T. 22890 22167, fax 24169, www.zorzishotel.com).
Opposite, and similar in style, is the French-owned Chez Maria (T. 22890 27565, fax 27566), which incorporates a restaurant below.
Delightful and attentive, family management and unpretentiousness has always characterised the Rhenia Hotel in Tourlos: it is set back on the hill above the new port away from noise, and 2km from the town centre (T. 22890 22300, fax 23152, www.rhenia-bungalows.com).
Since the 1950s the Leto Hotel has provided spacious ness and full services, in its own gardens right beside the Chora and the museum: it is best patronised outside of high season during which it can become noisy at night (T. 22890 22207, fax 24365, www.letohotel.com).
Of the luxury hotels, Cavo Tagoo is the longest standing and has the most interesting architecture (T. 22890 23692, fax 24923, www.cavotagoo.gr).
Mykonos Travel Guide

practical info

Mykonos Island, Greece.

846 00 Mykonos: area 86sq. km; perimeter 89km; resident population 9260; max. altitude 373m. Port Authority: 22890 22218.
Information: Sea and Sky Travel Agency, T. 22890 28240 & 27799, fax 28287; www.mykonos.gr

Mykonos Travel Guide

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