Home CountriesGreece Mykonos – the island of winds and the maze of white streets – Cyclades, Greece

Mykonos – the island of winds and the maze of white streets – Cyclades, Greece

24 minutes read

“The Island of the Winds” is one of Mykonos’ nicknames and we first disembarked at the Greek island’s harbour on a spring day that epitomises it. The wind was so strong that even if it didn’t have this “nickname”, I would give it immediately. These winds in the summer, however, pleasantly cool the sun-burned tourists and buildings and add to the charm of Mykonos.

Mykonos in the summer
Mykonos in summer and Little Venice

We have been lucky enough to visit Mykonos more than once, in different seasons. Both times we visited it on a Celestyal Cruises cruise ship, and it’s one of the best (and most budget-friendly) options to see the island. And as unbelievable as it may sound, one of the times we visited Mykonos with children was at night, in the middle of summer. We didn’t take them to the night clubs, althought they wanted to. But we’ll come back to that in a moment.

In this story we will tell you about the island of Mykonos in Greece from the point of tourists on a cruise ship, who spend only a few hours and one evening on the island. The first time we arrived there, we sailed from Lavrion (Atina) with the beautiful ship Olympia and started our first cruise with Celestyal Cruises: On Aegean Sea Cruise – Mykonos, Kusadasi, Patmos, Crete, Santorini . The trip also took us to Santorini , Patmos , Crete and Kuşadası. The second time we docked in Mykonos with the kids on the Idyllic Aegean route, again with Celestyal Cruises. Why it is great to go on a cruise with children – read from this article.

Visiting Mykonos with children
Visiting Mykonos with children

Spring in Mykonos

The May wind made us put on a jacket and go for a walk, also causing photos with strange hairstyles. The island of Mykonos had decided to live up to its name

Our ship, the Celestyal Olympia , docked at the port, from where we reached the main city by bus. They also call the town Chora, but it is better known as Mykonos;

Chora, Mykonos Island, Greece
Chora – the main town of Mykonos, Greece

Besides Mykonos, the main city is also called Chora (Χώρα), which is often used to name the main city of any Greek island. We will see it on other islands as well.

Walking along the coast is a challenge, we hardly hear or see each other, the wind blows hair, dresses and shirts. But when we slip into one of the alleys in the labyrinth in which everyone gets lost, the wind dies down. And the main town of Mykonos, which shares the same name, is indeed a labyrinth.

Mykonos Island
Mykonos Island

“I get lost in hospitals, in malls and in Mykonos” – this joke our Greek colleagues toss to each other as we approach the island. Tiny pedestrian streets surrounded by whitewashed buildings with steep and high staircases swallow us up. Just one street in, the wind is no longer felt. Everywhere is full of shops of luxury brands, stalls with blue-and-white souvenirs and a multiple restaurants. Getting lost in the maze is easy, and a must.

Mimi on the streets of Mykonos
Mimi on the streets of Mykonos
In Mykonos the doors and windows of the houses are mainly painted blue, green and red. In the past, blue windows and doors were for sailors, green for farmers, and red for everyone else.
In Mykonos the doors and windows of the houses are mainly painted blue, green and red. In the past, blue windows and doors were for sailors, green for farmers, and red for everyone else.
More colorful windows of Mykonos
More colorful Mykonos windows and doors

Mykonos and the story of Pierro’s

Our guide Krista, a native Austrian, took us between two churches and told us the story of how Mykonos became famous among tourists. It was there, between the churches, where the iconic Pierro’s bar opened in the early 1970s. Its founders were the artist Pierro Aversa and the Mykonian Andreas Koutsukus.

The location of the iconic Pierro's bar
The location of the iconic Pierro’s bar

Pierro’s opened in 1972 and was a quiet place for a pre-dinner drink, closing before midnight. Piero Aversa was famous in artistic circles and the bar began to fill with artists from all over the world. In 1973 Pierro gave up the bar and Andreas bought his share. But Pierro’s remained an attraction and became known among artists as a place very tolerant to all. In the following decades, this bar remained one of the emblems of the endless party and gay life in Greece. And the island, with its free spirit, became a magnet for world-famous visitors.

Pierro's was sandwiched between this chapel and the church of Agia Kyriaki (Holy Sunday)
Pierro’s was sandwiched between this chapel and the church of Agia Kyriaki (Holy Sunday)

Krista shared curious details about the place and the attitude of the locals. Although the bar was located between two churches, great free-spirit parties occured there. At some point local men were even embarrassed to pass nearby. Now the place is extremely welcoming and beautiful, but Pierro’s Bar is closed since 2005.

The church "Agia Kyriaki (Holy Sunday)"
The church “Agia Kyriaki (Holy Sunday)”

10 June 1961

Mykonos hosts a lot of stars, but they stay in private villas and private pools, they have their own chefs and you can only find them in the most expensive and nice restaurants if you are lucky. But another “catalyst” of the popularity of Mykonos is the love of Jackie O. to Greece and Mykonos. I recently came across pictures of Jackie Kennedy, then First Lady of the United States, arriving at the port of Mykonos on June 10, 1961, elegant as ever. Perhaps Jackie Kennedy Onassis is one of the ingredients of the popularity of Mykonos.

Although we are in the off-season, Mykonos is buzzing with life
Although it is the off-season, Mykonos is buzzing with life
Mykonos in summer is even more colorful
Mykonos in summer is even more colorful
There is some peace on the streets of Mykonos in the afternoon hours, when it is clearly time for a siesta
There is some peace on the streets of Mykonos in the afternoon hours, when it is clearly time for a siesta

The parties of Mykonos

If you want to feel the spirit of Mykonos, you should try the island’s nightlife, which attracts people from all over the world. In the 60s and 70s Mykonos became a magnet for bohemians and bon vivants and this spirit has remained to this day. Here you can meet almost any celebrity you can think of. Krista started listing all the famous people she could think of who had visited the island last year and the list was long.

The Louis Vuitton store naturally fits in with other luxury brands
The Louis Vuitton store naturally fits in with other luxury brands
One of the most famous and most expensive bars in Mykonos
One of the most famous and most expensive bars in Mykonos

Mykonos is famous for its nightlife, endless parties. If you pay attention to the shops, all the shops are open from 10 am to midnight and beyond. But everything is quite pricey.

The colorful nightlife of Mykonos
The colorful nightlife of Mykonos
The nightlife everyone comes for
The nightlife everyone comes for
Lots of colourful shops everywhere
Lots of colourful shops everywhere

The churches of Mykonos

Along the narrow white streets are neatly arranged luxury shops and bars. But we are curious about the lives of the locals. In the main town (with a population of about 3,700 permanent residents) there are over 40 public churches and about 600 private chapels. Due to the limited space on the island, there is also the problem of grave sites. Therefore, each family builds its own chapel for important family events and to store the remains of those who have passed away.

Panagia Paraportiani Church (Εκκλησία της Παναγίας της Παραπορτιανής)

Many of the churches of Mykonos only open on the feast of the patron saint of the church. I recently read a story about Mykonos from almost a century ago where a traveler marveled at the ringing of hundreds of bells during a holiday in Mykonos. We were not lucky enough to hear hundreds of bells, but in May the tourist season has not yet started and we could calmly explore the white beautiful city.

In front of the Metropolitan Church of Mykonos
In front of the Metropolitan Church of Mykonos
The churches and chapels of Mykonos are dozens and everywhere, with bars and restaurants in between
The churches and chapels of Mykonos are dozens and everywhere, with bars and restaurants in between

Mykonos and its mills

Here we are, on front of the famous windmills of Mykonos, which provided the island’s livelihood before tourism. The windmills of Mykonos were built during the Venetian period on the island – the 16th century, and worked until the mid-20th century. There are supposed to have been 28 mills on the island, but today about 16 are preserved, of which 7 are in Chora (Mykonos). One of them is a museum, the other is being used as a hotel, and people live in one, or so we were told.

Windmills on the island of Mykonos
Windmills on the island of Mykonos
Windmills
Windmills

On the island of Santorini, there are entire hotels in newly built buildings, shaped like windmills.

A ridiculous and terribly uncomfortable photo that would disappoint any photographer, here we are.
A ridiculous and terribly uncomfortable photo that would disappoint any photographer, here we are.

We try to take a picture by the mills, the wind is terribly strong, there aren’t many people, but it’s not like we’re the only ones. Perhaps most visitors are from our ship, still the weather could have been better for a walk. In July it is better and there is even another photographer who offers to take a picture of the four of us together.

Voila! Here is probably the only photo from this trip where we are all together.

Andreevi of Mykonos
Andreevi of Mykonos

We slip through the streets of “Little Venice”, a super romantic neighborhood with beautiful old houses built on the edge of the sea, overhanging the waves.

The windmills and Little Venice behind them
The windmills and Little Venice behind them
Mykonos' Little Venice neighborhood and the houses over the sea
Mykonos’ Little Venice neighborhood and the houses over the sea
Restaurants along the coast of Chora/Mykonos
Restaurants along the coast of Chora/Mykonos

Summer in Mykonos

14 months after the start of this article, again at 5pm in the afternoon, but in July, the streets of Mykonos are… well, almost deserted. The whitewashed houses have sunk into a blissful siesta, preparing for the busy night ahead. The shops are open, but there are few passers-by. If you are on the island for the first time, you will say that nothing predicts what will happen 4-5 hours later. To our delight, this time we had the opportunity to stay on Mykonos all day and all evening and see all of its faces.

On the beach in Mykonos

Our ship stopped early in the morning near the harbor of the island, and the golden beach of St. Stephen was visible from the deck. We quickly got off the boats and headed there. The beach is within walking distance from the port – 10-15 minutes and in summer 2023 it was very pleasantly clean and calm. The children were overjoyed, and we were looking at the ship we came with in the distance.

The beach of St. Stephan, very close to the port of Mykonos
The beach of St. Stephan, very close to the port of Mykonos
The beach and the Celestyal Crystal ship
The beach and the Celestyal Crystal ship.

There are many beaches on Mykonos, but if you’re looking for a quick dip in the sea, there is also a small beach in the main town of Mykonos.

The town beach in Mykonos
Mykonos town beach at sunset

Delos Island – UNESCO

Delos Island is nowadays an open-air museum. According to Greek mythology, the twins Artemis and Apollo were born by Leto on the island of Delos. The island is “covered” with history, temples and all kinds of ruins from Greek and Roman times. Today the island has almost no inhabitants, according to Wikipedia there are 24. But we didn’t get a chance to visit and are saving that story for another time.

Mykonos Island
Mykonos Island

When to visit Mykonos Island?

In fact, May is one of the best times to visit Mykonos, as well as June, September and October. Mykonos in July and August is packed with tourists, but there are still gaps like late afternoon when the crowds seem to rest and prepare for the evening. When to visit Mykonos depends entirely on your preverences.

The rainy season on Mykonos is from October to March, but the Cyclades are generally sunny islands.

Mykonos
Mykonos and the oddly shaped rock just off the coast
A square in Mykonos and a statue of the Greek heroine Manto Mavrogenous
A square in Mykonos and a statue of the Greek heroine Manto Mavrogenous

How to visit Mykonos?

The island has an airport which is reachable with many of the low-fare airlines. There are also flights of Aegean Airlines from Athens. You can also board a ferry from Athens. It was a great pleasure for us to visit Mykonos on a cruise ship. And, although our time was limited, we are glad to immerse ourselves in the spirit of Mykonos.

Booking.com

You may also like

Copyrighted Image