All over the world, Mykonos is known for being a beautiful Greek island with whitewashed houses, great sandy beaches and a cosmopolitan flair. The main town is officially called Mykonos but it is known as Chora, meaning 'town', to distinguish it from the whole island. It is built like a real labyrinth in a way to confuse its enemies (mostly pirates and corsairs), to protect its inhabitants from the strong wind and as for today to create a need to hire a local tourist guide!
Once you make a booking, you will get a voucher to your email. Please print it and have it with you. Your meeting point with a guide will be at Mando square, next to the marble statue of Mando Mavrogenous, Heroine of The Greek War of Independence.
Our first visit will be the Archeological Museum – one of the oldest museums in Greece, which was initially constructed to house the findings from the excavations on Rinia Island, originating from the historically known purification (catharsis) of the island of Delos. In the present day, in the six halls of the museum, besides the excavation findings, you can see a number of sculptures and tomb stones from Rinia, significant findings from excavations conducted in Mykonos as well as a rich collection of ceramic artifacts from the geometric age until the 6th century BC.
In the entrance hall you will see the marble statue of Hercules dating back to the Roman Years and the Panathenian Amphorae which were the prizes given to winners of ancient athletic events. The tomb finds from Rinia cover most of the museum. They represent one of the richest and most complete collections of pots and urns coming from the whole country and they are characteristic samples of Greek ceramic art.
Here you can admire samples of pottery art dating back to the Geometrical Period (8th – 9th century BC) as well as many 7th century pots from Sifnos and Naxos revealing strong eastern influence. In the newest hall, a collection of 6th and 7th century, colored ceramics in various shapes with distinct artistic character is exhibited.
In the same hall artwork from Rhodes, Samos, Corinthe and Attica is also included. The most important item of this hall, due to its size and uniqueness is the huge amphora from Tinos dating to the 7th century BC, known as “the large jar of Mykonos” which was discovered in Chora and is covered with embossed depiction inspired by the Trojan War. In the other halls, you can see blackish and reddish pots from Attica, funeral gifts from children’s tombs, various clayware, glassware, metal ware, and marble ware.
After a visit to museum, we will continue our walking tour through the narrow streets with many privately owned chapels, where we will have a chance to talk about the Christian Orthodox world, its traditions, customs and how they operate on Mykonos today.
Walking through the pedestrian shopping streets of the Chora, we will make a visit to a little mosaic workshop to learn about the techniques of its artistry. As we will move along, we will pass the Public Gardens – a secret gem in the heart of Mykonos town. Being one of the coolest place to be during day time and evening it gathers a lot of locals and even has the open-air cinema.
On the busiest street at the most central part of Mykonos town, next to cafés and restaurants you will also see Tria Pighadhia (Three Wells), the water supply for the entire Mykonos' Chora in the 18th century. On our way to the famous Windmills, we will walk through the narrowest street you have ever seen to make a stop at 16th century traditional bakery, which is still operating.
The Windmills towering over the sea southeast of the capital are the most well-known Mykonos landmarks, and their photograph has traveled around the world countless times. These whitewashed, straw-capped windmills once contributed to the island’s economy. During the 19th century, there were about 28 windmills on the island, constituting its leading small industry.
Nowadays, the few remaining windmills are a popular background for visitors to the island. Boni’s mill was restored and operates as a museum, while some of the lower mills have been refurbished and are currently lived in!
Once we finished taking pictures, we will head towards Little Venice, an utterly picturesque neighborhood in Mykonos, where the homes of the rich merchants of the island were located in the 18th century. The homes here seem to be floating on water, while when the weather is bad, the waves reach up to the walls of the shops and homes, adding to the area’s character. The remarkable architecture of Little Venice, which includes multicolored loggias and windows, is reminiscent of Italy.
At Little Venice, stores and bars are housed in old residences. Once you get there it is clear to see how the area got its name, as the ground floor opens out to the water. The whole area is quite touristy, featuring numerous cafes and stores, all ensuring the spectacular view of the setting sun. This is why every day many people gather here, especially in the afternoon, in order to enjoy the sunset.
Before finishing the tour we will visit the Paraportiani Church of Mykonos which, in essence, is a complex of five smaller temples - four at the base and one sitting atop the other four as dome. The oldest is Aghii Anarghyri (14th century), while the others where completed in 1920. The Church of Panagia Paraportiani in Mykonos, literally meaning “Our Lady of the Side Gate”, takes its name from its location next to the side entrance to the mediaeval castle of the capital. The church is one of the most characteristic Cycladic architectural monuments and one of the most photographed Greek churches; a complex formed through time by unknown craftsmen who gradually turned a pile of rubble into an architectural masterpiece utterly compatible with the Aegean landscape.
The waterfront with cafeteries is ahead of us and there is where our walking tour will end, in front of the characteristic church of Saint Nicholas, protector of the sailors. Settled on a stretch of cobbles jutting out into the port, this small antique building with a dazzlingly blue dome is one of the most picturesque churches in town. Note the quaint interior: the black and white tiled floor, the ceiling painted like a starry night and the ornate golden chandeliers.