How would you react if we tell you that Mykonos is more than a party island? If you are a person enjoying archaeological sites and want to embrace the culture of the place you visit then the following tips will thrill you!
Mykonos lies in the heart of Cyclades and so on in millions of fans that visit the island every year to experience the exciting nightlife, the crystal sea and the golden beaches. Less people have the chance to explore further the secrets of the island, hidden in the long tradition and the local culture. During your visit in Mykonos, you can spend a day or more to explore different aspects of the culture of the island. Visits to monasteries and museums, local delicacies, traditional music and dance, will compose an unforgettable experience for you and your beloved ones.
There are so many things to do and see in Mykonos Island and its surrounding area. The small group of islands of Mykonos, Delos and Rhenia (total area little more than 100 km2) is certainly a must visit. The most significant of which are the archaeological sites. The territories of some sights are still explored and researched by scientists and archaeologists.
The following is a list of some of the best things to visit
Aegean Maritime Museum
Located in the centre of Mykonos town (chora), next to Lena’s house. The Aegean Maritime Museum is a non-profit organization founded in 1983 in order to preserve the Greek maritime history and tradition. It exhibits replicas of rowing and sailing ships from the ancient times until today. Amidst the barnacle-encrusted amphorae, the old nautical maps and navigation instruments, there are numerous detailed models of various famous sailing ships and paddle steamers. You can also learn the difference between an Athenian trireme, a Byzantine dromon and an ancient Egyptian seagoing ship. In the courtyard of the museum one can see the famous Armenistis Lighthouse that was built in 1890. All the exhibits are under the thematic umbrella of maritime life. It opens daily from April until October, from 10.30 am until 1 pm and from 6.30 pm until 9 pm.
Just a few steps away from Paraportiani Church, the Folklore Museum can also be found in the Kastro neighbourhood of Mykonos town. The museum opened to the public in 1958 and since then has housed historical and traditional items like ceramics, utensils, ancient tools, photographs, textile and embroidery, musical instruments, maritime equipment and vintage furniture. You can get a guided tour of the Folklore Museum to understand how people used to live in Mykonos. If you want our opinion you have to visit this museum in order to get in touch with the deeper cultural identity of the island, which is so much more than the vivid beach bars.
Famous for its rich collection of vases, pottery from Delos, dating back to the 9th century BC, and grave stelae (pillars) and jewellery from the island of Renia (Delos’ necropolis). Chief exhibits include a statue of Hercules in Parian marble. The Archaeological Museum of Mykonos is located in the heart of the island, close to the port. It is open to visitors every day except for Mondays, from 8.30 am until 3 pm.
Lena’s House Museum is a 19th-century, middle-class Mykonian house, complete with furnishings. A branch of the Folklore Museum, Lena’s House is located at Tria Pigadia in the town of Mykonos and it is an authentic middle-class Mykonian residence of the 19th century, representing a typical internal arrangement of space. It takes its name from its last owner, Lena Skrivanou. It’s next door to the Aegean Maritime Museum. From April until October it is open to visitors on daily basis except for Sundays, from 6.30 pm – 9.30 pm.
Rarity Gallery, in the centre of Mykonos, was the first art gallery on the island to showcase the work of internationally recognized artists and is, therefore, something of a historical site as well as a cultural one. It has been open for nearly two decades, bringing the best of contemporary art to the island drawn from a cosmopolitan collection of artists.
The Monastery of Paleokastro
Located north of the settlement of Ano Mera ina typical sample of the Cycladic monastery architecture. It is a nunnery (female monastery) and it dates from the 18th century. It took its name from the close remains of the Gizi Castle, which is also known as Paleokastro, meaning Old Castle in Greek and the homonymous nearby hill. Also, a few meters away there is a church dedicated to Saint Vlasis that distinguishes for its beautiful dovecote. You can also see a strange prehistoric tomb consisting of a giant granite rock that rises 3 m above the sea level.
Mykonos Town Hall
A two-floor building that dominates in the Chora of Mykonosin a local architecture. It was originally built in 1785, constructed to become the residency of a Russian earl during the Russo-Turkish war and was afterwards used as the island’s Town Hall maintaining its initial classic architectural form. Inside the premises of the town hall, there are six well stocked libraries with a rich collection of books and manuscripts. The Town Hall being an old edifice, has been renovated a number of times as a precautionary measure, but the best part of this magnificent edifice is that, it has still retained its elegant architectural features. Next to the Town Hall was constructed an equally important and historical building, the first school of Mykonos.
Last but not least, a UNESCO world heritage site a few miles away from Mykonos Island. It’s the birth place of the Greeks mythological gods. Nowhere else in the Globe is there a natural insular archaeological site of this size and importance. No other island on Earth hosts so many monumental antiquities from the Archaic, the Classical, and the Hellenistic periods, i.e. the centuries of the great Greek art, on a territory used exclusively as an archaeological site. Delos is not a museum; Delos is not there to tell a story. Delos is history itself.