5 Fun Facts about the Greek Island of Mykonos

Discover our favorite fun facts about the picturesque island of Mykonos.

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Famed for its fantastic beaches and party atmosphere, Mykonos is an incredibly beautiful island that attracts thousands of tourists each year, not to mention celebrities from every corner of the globe. From sightseeing and great shopping to golden sandy beaches, thrilling watersports and incredible nightlife, there’s a long list of exciting things to do and see on this gorgeous island. It’s no secret that Mykonos is truly one of the best places in the world to visit, but there are many fun and interesting facts that you may not know about this magnificent destination in the Aegean Sea.

 

We’ve shared some lesser-known facts about Mykonos that you should be aware of before you go.

Fact 1: Mykonos is where you’ll find the famous shipwreck of Anna II

The wreck of Anna II can be found deep under the ocean just off Lia Beach in the southeastern region of Mykonos. Built in 1966 by a shipyard in Holland, Anna II was a 62-meter long cargo ship that sank in July of 1995. The wreck sits at a depth of around 25 meters and is still in good condition, making it ideal for experienced divers who enjoy challenging diving spots and exploring fascinating shipwrecks. Having sat under the waves for over two decades, the shipwreck of Anna II has attracted a wonderful variety of marine life and is now surrounded by a magnificent reef and huge colorful sponges.

Fact 2: The narrow maze-like streets were designed to confuse pirates

Centuries ago, the Aegean was a haven for pirates, with Mykonos being one of their favorite targets. The inhabitants of the island decided to build a labyrinth of streets and endless lanes, which were deliberately designed to be narrow enough to confuse the pirates and help the people of Mykonos to protect themselves from pirate raids. These narrow streets still manage to confuse visitors today, but wandering the whitewashed alleys and pretty cobblestone pathways of Mykonos is an essential and truly unforgettable experience.

Fact 3: Petros the Pelican is the official mascot of Mykonos

Back in 1958, a Myconian fisherman found a wounded pelican off the coast of the island and decided to take the bird home to nurse him back to health. The fisherman provided shelter and medication for the injured pelican and later released the bird when he finally regained his strength. However, when the fisherman set him free, he was surprised to find that the pelican stayed on the island, wandering its narrow streets, fishing in the harbor and making friends with the locals. The residents of Mykonos fell in love with the pelican, who was eventually given the name Petros and adopted as the island mascot. Petros soon became a real hit with tourists too, and he went on to live happily on the island for around 30 years.

 

When the bird sadly passed away in the 1980s, the islanders went into mourning and struggled to come to terms with his death. Although no pelican would ever replace Petros, the locals still wanted to keep the mascot tradition alive. Frequent Mykonos visitor, Jackie Kennedy-Onassis gave the island a female pelican called Irene, and The Hamburg Zoo donated a pelican who inherited the name, Petros. Then, in 1995, the locals found another injured pelican who they nursed on the island (just like the original Petros) and named Nikolas.

 

Today, Mykonos is home to several pelicans who enjoy entertaining visitors and upholding the incredible legacy of Petros, the island’s official mascot.

Fact 4: The island boasts more than 400 churches and chapels

There are hundreds of chapels on the island, many of which have been classified as historical monuments by the Ministry of Culture. Mykonos Town (Chora) has over 60 churches alone and the island even boasts some places of worship that were constructed during the early Byzantine period. In former times, the Myconians built their churches facing the sea as they believed this would help sailors to stay safe and avoid any dangers during their voyages. Situated in the area of Kastro, the Church of Panagia Paraportiani is the most famous internationally and has become an iconic symbol of the island.

Fact 5: There is a color code for all doors and windows

One of the first things people notice when they visit Mykonos is the colorful doors and windows, which are usually painted either blue, red or green. The tradition of using these striking colors dates back to when sailors painted their doors and shutters blue, farmers painted their doors and windows frames green and everyone else painted their doors and windows red. These days, many visitors love to just wander through the charming Mykonos streets to admire the whitewashed buildings adorned with brightly colored doors, windows, staircases and balconies.

 

We hope our list of fun facts has enhanced your knowledge of Mykonos and helps to make your time on the island that little bit more enjoyable and memorable.