Hanging over mountain cliffs or washed by the sea in small lonely beaches, standing tall and proud over the harbor or lost within the labyrinth of the town’s small streets, churches in Mykonos are to be found all over the island!
Some say that there are more of 800 worship sites on the island, from cathedrals to family chapels, and the locals still keep the tradition of building them as an act of faith and devotion. One thing is for sure: that on this small island you can find at least 365 “official” churches, one for every day of the year!
The oldest churches in Mykonos that belong to the primary Byzantine era are usually found in monasteries and have been declared as historical monuments by the Greek Ministry of Culture. The majority of the rest were built between the 17th and the 19th centuries while there are much newer churches that come in rather simple architectural forms, usually featuring colorful arched roofs. Regardless of your religion, once in Mykonos take some time to visit as many as you can because there is nothing more serene and mystifying than listening to the evening mass in an isolated, candle-lit chapel by the sea, where the sound of the waves is harmoniously tuned to the rhythmical chant.
Churches and monasteries not to miss while on the island:
The 17th century Agios Panteleimonas monastery in Marathi, for its beautiful wall paintings
The great Monastery of Panagia Tourliani (16th-18th centuries) for its rare icons and the Ecclesiastical Museum of Mykonos it hosts in its premises
The Monastery of Paleokastro (18th century) near Ano Mera operating today as a nunnery
Panagia Paraportiani in the area of Kastro; one of the most photographed churches of the Cyclades, consisting of five other churches
Saint Charalambos on the water edge, behind the emblematic windmills, with a terrace offering spectacular view at the Aegean Sea
The locals call it “Chora”; a word that can be literally translated as “country” but that for Greek islanders is used to define the main towns of their homelands. There are several Choras around the Aegean but Mykonos Town is without doubt the most beautiful and picturesque!
Whereas in many other islands these towns were built on top of hills in order to be easily protected from possible pirate attacks, the unusually large Chora of Mykonos is located by the sea and climbs up the hill either with narrow streets or with stairs. Full of small whitewashed houses with blue, green or red shutters, the town has two harbors: the old, usually full of dozens of colorful fishermen boats, and the new that can accommodate hundreds of tourists daily.
When approaching the island by sea, the first thing that attracts the visitor’s attention is the spectacular sight of the four windmills—trademark of Mykonos—overlooking the sea; like proud guardian angels with wings ever dancing to the strong meltemi wind. And then, once entering the small streets of Chora, the whistling sound of the wind suddenly seems to stop as it is hushed between the walls of the endless tiny streets; a true labyrinth designed to confuse any “invader”!
But guests of Mykonos Town are not treated like invaders. On the contrary; they are always welcome like kings, enjoying from the first moment the famous Mykonian hospitality. For them, the town is full of surprises: exquisite restaurants and small fishtaverns, exclusive little shops and fashionable boutiques, tiny cafés, and of course dozens of churches—including the renowned Panagia Paraportiani which is probably the most photographed church of the Aegean.
Among the unparallel beauties of Mykonos Town, the Little Venice neighborhood with its’ colorful houses perched over the sea is a must!
Before leaving, with your bags packed with the delicious local amygdalota sweets, plan a visit to the archaeological and maritime museums and also make sure that you pass by the famous Fabrica square that sets the borders between the core of the town and its outskirts.
Last but not least, when back at the waterfront don’t forget to greet one of the proud pelicans hanging around the port’s cafés and bars, for they will be there to welcome you at your next visit!
Dining in Mykonos is an irresistibly spectacular—yet easy to enjoy—experience! International cuisine in exclusive restaurants, delicious sea food in small tavernas by the beach, souvlaki corners… Just name it and you’ve got it! But if you want to indulge in the real pleasures of this beautiful island’s authentic gastronomy, there are a few things you shouldn’t miss.
Mykonos is the queen of super tasty, low fat sausages. So don’t even think of leaving the place without trying them and maybe taking a few with you back home! They come from baby pigs raised in family lawns and their secret lies in the rich content of lean meat instead of fat as well as their seasoning with fine aromatic herbs and spices that grow on the island.
Speaking about cold cuts, don’t miss the famous Louza (or Loutza), Mykonos’ “national” product! This is the fillet from the pork’s back, dried out under the early winter sun and wisely seasoned with a blend of local herbs. It is a real delicacy that perfectly matches with a glass (or two!) of ouzo and tsipouro, the super popular Greek pure alcohol drinks.
Kopanisti is another “national” product of Mykonos, famous for its taste throughout Greece. It is a spicy, creamy white cheese made from cow’s milk, used in salads, pies etc. So, when in one of the traditional tavernas spread around the island, ask for a “mostra”; an appetizing local dish where wet rusks are topped by freshly cut raw tomatoes, extra virgin oil and a rich serving of Kopanisti. (And while being there also ask for a local pie, like the famous mouth watering onion pie which is a must)
Last but not least are the exceptional sweets and cookies mostly made from almonds, flour, butter and eggs, with the addition of the tempting flavor of spices. Either you call them amygdalota or kalathaki you will surely love their uniquely balanced taste!
And as we say in Greek, “Kali oreksi”, which means “have a good appetite”!
About M Mykonos Villas
M Mykonos Villas are a 4 homes-away-from-home complex that combines contemporary amenities and exclusive VIP services with the traditional minimalist Cycladic architecture.