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Greece: Next stop Mykonos

By Staff | Apr 29, 2016

Editor’s Note: This is the third part of a series sharing my recent travels to Greece.

The island of Mykonos was, in a word, stunning. The white-washed buildings rose against a blue sky as the weather was perfect on the day of our visit.

Tourism dominates the local economy, owing a lot to the important excavations carried out by the French School of Archaeology, which began work in Delos in 1873.

In the 1930s many famous artists, politicians and wealthy Europeans began spending their vacations on the island and Mykonos quickly became an international hot spot. Temporarily suspended during the Second World War, tourists once again rushed to Mykonos’ luxurious shores in the 1950s and have not stopped since.

The island has the nickname of ‘The island of the winds.’ Dominating the scenery at the port are large windmills.

The windmills are a defining feature of the Mykonian landscape. There are many dotted around the island, but most are concentrated in the main town of Mykonos or Chora as it is also known. The famous “Kato Mili” in Chora (Greek for lower mills), stand in a row on a hill overlooking the sea to harness the strong northern winds. Capped with wood and straw, the windmills were built by the Venetians in the 16th century to mill flour and remained in use until the early 20th century. Many have been refurbished and restored to serve as homes to locals and vaults to numerous Mykonian heritage documents.

The island covers a total of 33 square miles with elevations rising to over 1,100 feet. Narrow roadways that barely accommodate one small vehicle lead to the residences uphill from the port. Many drive mopeds or motorcycles.

As in many of the islands we visited, the narrow steps leading upward from the ports are often steep.

There are 10,134 inhabitants according to the 2011, most of whom live in the largest town, Mykonos, which lies on the west coast.

It is a common practice in the islands to name the principal city the same as the island itself, as is the case with Mykonos. The town is also known as Chora.

Our time was spent walking through the streets, shopping and enjoying delicious cuisine at multiple outdoor cafes.

Next stop: Samos.