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Mykonos Greek Island

Mykonos Vacation - Mykonos Vacations & Mykonos Travel Packages



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Mykonos is one of the top tourist destinations in the world, a vibrant, fascinating and ultimately rewarding place no matter what its detractors say. This barren, rocky island in the centre of the Cyclades has something for everybody, and its cosmopolitan atmosphere, fabulous beaches and hypnotic sunsets should not be missed. In summer, it has the feeling of a permanent festival, but even out of the summer season, there is plenty to keep visitors occupied.

The Ionians settled Mykonos, but unlike the other islands of the group, its history is scant. It was named after Mycons, the grandson of Apollo. Being so close to the island of Delos, the spiritual and geographic centre of the Cyclades, it is noted through history as a supply island, and place of refuge after the abandonment of the Delian settlement. In more recent times, it has gathered a reputation as a haven for the rich, famous and infamous.

Mykonos Town is an amazing mix of a bustling harbour, narrow streets, colourful houses and windmills. The waterfront is an iconic part of the town, where small boats mingle in the water with the seagulls and pelicans. The shoreline is full of restaurants, it is the perfect place to grab a frappe (iced coffee) and a souvlaki and watch the people wander past. Mykonos could make an industry of people watching. The extravagant and glamorous rub shoulders with students and backpackers, and everybody appears to get along in these narrow, cobbled streets, made by the Venetians to keep the Meltemi breeze at bay. Just beware that down any of these streets and any time of the day or night, you can encounter Petros, the pelican that wanders around, occasionally tormenting tourists.

Mykonos has been the location for many films, most notably Shirley Valentine, and The Bourne Identity. The most notable Myconian scenes are found at the windmills located on the hills behind the town, the church of Paraportiani, on the townís harbour, and Little Venice, where the houses, with their whitewashed walls and colourful balconies hang back onto the sea.

Shops and clubs are what Mykonos Town does best. The jewellery and clothes shops can be exclusive and expensive, but there are bargains to be found for those with a keen eye. Near the little chapel on the harbour is a magnificent icon shop filled with fine silver and Greek religious icons of every type. In the narrow streets heading towards Little Venice are the jewellery and clothes shops, supplying clothes for every occasion. Mykonos in the only place in the world where you will find donkey droppings outside of a shop supplying haute couture clothing.

The nightlife of Mykonos Town is extraordinary and like the shops, the clubs and bars cater for all types of people. In Little Venice there are a number of sophisticated piano bars for those after a less raucous time, while nearer Paraportiani, the traditional Greek music clubs sit near the backpacker bars. Just behind the port, are some of the more notorious bars . Mykonos is a gay friendly island, it known as the gay capital of the Mediterranean, and the clubs and bars are all very open to this lifestyle.

Early mornings are a time of juxtaposition on Mykonos, as tired clubbers make their way back to their hotels, locals with donkeys supply the shops and children make their way to school. It is the most peaceful time on the island and the complete opposite of the effervescent nature of the town after dark.

Beaches are another great feature of the island, and once again, the beaches cater for all kinds of sun lovers. Along the coastline calm, sandy stretches are dotted around the island, from Super Paradise and Paradise, which are populated by the young, beautiful and gay crowds, to Elia, where nudity is commonplace and the beachgoers are more diverse, where families and older groups congregate. Boats from Agios Ioannis will take you to many of the beaches along the northern coast, but for the more adventurous, the buses can be taken from the northern and southern bus stations. The buses are regular, but they can get crowded and itís often to the amazement of the tourists that the buses get up the steep hills.

Around the island, there are a number of towns to visit. The monastery at Ano Mera is still in operation, and the charming setting is open to the public. Agios Ioannis is a quieter beach town popular with those wanting to get away from the madness of Mykonos Town, and Agios Stephanos is where Shirley Valentine was filmed, where the best views of Delos are found. Another tip is on a moonlit night, watching the moon set over Mykonos Harbour from the top of the hills behind the town. It is a little bit of nature's magic that should be witnessed if possible.

A trip to Mykonos should not go without a day trip to the island of Delos, a thirty-minute boat ride from the harbour, and one of the most fascinating archaeological sites in the whole of Greece. In mythology, Delos was the birthplace of Artemis and Apollo, two of the most important Greek Gods, and the purity of the light on the island is said to be a testament to this.

Once the most important trading centre of the Cyclades, Delos sported one of the most sophisticated civilisations in the Ancient world. When a typhoid outbreak struck the island in the first century AD, the island was abandoned, leaving the magnificent houses with their running water, wide, ornate streets and places of worship to the elements. For centuries, the island supplied marble to neighbouring islands, dismantling the buildings over time.

Today, the only people occupying the island are a handful of archaeologists. Visitors are only allowed on the island between the hours of 7 am and 3 pm, and the boat trips normally give visitors three to four hours at the site. Anybody caught on the island out of these hours is subjected to huge fines, as are those found taking any ruins from the site. Another tip for Delos is to go there out of season, particularly in April and May where the ruins are interlaced with wild flowers, a breathtaking site that few ever see.

On arriving on Delos, visitors are faced with a mass of fascinating ruins, from the reconstructed amphitheatre, to Mount Kynthos, the hill in the centre of the island. The Terrace of the Lions and the Sacred Lake lead visitors to the islandís museum, which is as good as any in Greece and gives a detailed history of the island and its culture. It is best to get a guided tour of the site before exploring it on your own. Often, what is discovered away from the tours are the most rewarding as a ruined sculpture or row of marble takes over the imagination. Comfortable shoes and water are a must for any trip here, and guidebooks and maps are available at the port.

Whatever anybody says about Mykonos, it is there to be experienced. Going there with a sense of adventure and an open mind will allow you to enjoy everything the island has to offer.

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