The most beautiful islands are sometimes the smallest
by Lilliam Larsen
Mykonos, one of the ports on our Mediterranean Cruise, may not be as well-known as the Greek Islands of Crete or
Santorini, but it has a charm all its own. We walked around it and took in some of the interesting sites during our visit there. In Greek mythology, Mykonos was named after Apollo's
grandson Mykons. Only 9,300 people live here, but the population grows to nearly 1million during the tourist season! This is the most traditional of islands, maintaining its charm
despite its numerous visitors.
We walked from the pier to the town along an ample waterfront, where we were greeted with the market alongside the beachfront. Fresh fish
, fruit and vegetables were for sale and many local women were shopping for their fresh meal of the day. One lady in particular was the quintessential Greek woman, small in stature, a
little hunched over with a scarf over her head and a home-made dress. Later that day, while we were exploring the winding streets of the town, we ran into her again with her two plastic
bags of groceries and we smiled as she also recognized us. She was at her door, walking into her home.
And exploring the winding streets is an adventure in itself. The maze of streets was designed to confuse attacking pirates.
Well, it was fun and we also got confused! It was easy to see how their layout helped foil pirate attacks and enabled villagers to ambush them. In reality, these are not really
streets, rather more like walking passages where a small motor scooter barely makes it by pedestrians.
A unique signature of the island is the strand of huge windmills
at the top of the hill overlooking the market. Back in the day, wind power was used to grind wheat. Now the structures are restaurants, shops or bed and breakfasts. The other
significant thing about Mykonos, in addition to its beaches, is its whitewashed homes. Every single building is painted white, while the doorways and stairways are painted bright blues,
yellows, red or greens. Beautiful color accents!
This island is a great stop to take a break from the ship and go have a Greek beer or some ouzo or baklava at a waterfront restaurant. Some of the other
most popular sites also include:
Mykonos windmills - From as early as the 16th century, they are one of the most recognized landmarks of Mykonos.
Little Venice - Here the buildings have been constructed right on the sea's
edge with their balconies overhanging the water.
Paraportiani – It looks like a church, and it's one of the most famous
architectural structures in Greece. Its name means inner or secondary door, and that was its function for the medieval stone walls which encircled the area.
Archaeological Museum - Houses marble sculptures, ceramics and jewelry recovered from the islands of Delos, Renia and Mykonos.
Aegean Maritime Museum - Displays models of a collection of
ships from the pre-Minoan period through to the 19th century and nautical and ancient artifacts related to the history of shipping on Mykonos.