The wind blows all around the year on the Greek island of Mykonos. So it’s only logical that on Mykonos you can find one of the most famous landmarks of Greece… So, if you don’t know what things you can visit in Mykonos, the windmills are the answer. What more iconic postcard from Greece than these windmills? However, did you know that there are traditional windmills on several Greek islands? Many of them were still active and functioning until the early 20th century.
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Where to stay in Mykonos
If you don’t have time to read this whole list, check the great views from Maison Blanche. If you prefer a romantic Airbnb in Mykonos, go for this traditional Mykonian House in Mykonos Town. Wanna stay where I’ve stayed? No problem! Acrogiali Beach Hotel is a great option in Platis Gialos.
Top-rated tours in Mykonos
The Original Morning Delos Guided Tour (Traditional best-seller from US$ 65).
Yacht Cruise to Rhenia Island & Guided Tour of Delos (From US$ 130.30).
Discover Authentic Mykonos Tour (From US$ 55).
Evening Visit to a Traditional Mykonian Farm (From US$ 35.50).
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The anatomy of the Greek windmill
According to the tradition, windmills on the Greek islands are normally solid buildings, with three floors, shaped in a cylindrical way and made of stone. Some of them also include small windows and a pointed roof, commonly made of wood.
Other than that, there are about twelve wooden fan blades on top of the structure. Each of them has a triangular wing of a very sturdy kind of fabric (the cotton used for sails in boats).
Following the logic of physics, whenever the wind blows (and the Aegean sees some strong gusts), the windmill will carry the movement to a central axis inside the building itself. This will force the grind stones into a rotational movement.
The top floor housed the grinding mechanism to take advantage of the force that the movement would imply.
The flour that each mill produces was stored on the second floor. Finally, on the ground floor, locals kept the raw grain and the resulting flour.
Building a windmill was not cheap, and the construction site needed to be picked carefully. Factors such as exposure to the right winds (usually northern) and the ease for the workers and the donkeys.
The need for strong winds was a key factor, for that reason windmills are often on hillsides or on the edge of capes, but still always close to the main villages.
The windmills are not exclusive from Mykonos, there are windmills in several Greek islands. The ones below, for instance, are on the Greek island of Patmos, in the Dodecanese.
The northern wind of the Aegean, the Meltemi, helped the windmills with the process of grinding cereals.
Particularly in Mykonos, the resulting flour was either given back to the farmers for them to bake their bread. But also local bakers used to buy that flour for their own business.
Much of that flour, however, was often sold and shipped to other areas of Greece or to other Mediterranean countries.
There used to be more than twenty-five windmills on Mykonos. Ten of them were part of Kato Mili, a complex of mills in the lower area of the island, across from the harbor of Alefkandra. This was such a strategic position that the area was key to the economy and growth of the island.
Once upon a time…
Almost every ship sailing nearby used to stop. Therefore, the flour resulting from those windmills by the sea was the main ingredient to bake the famous Greek rusk, paximadia.
This type of bread has a double baking process which results in a very dry rusk easy to preserve for months.
These were an ideal source of carbohydrates for sailors who didn’t reach the mainland for months.
>> Check the best Airbnbs in Mykonos <<
The mills on the hills
High on the island, there were the Pano Mili or windmills from above. Not so easy to reach, the product resulting from the mills on the hills was mostly for local consumption.
As time went by, electricity brought new advances to several islands. As a result, this traditional method to produce flour gradually came to an end.
Nevertheless, the windmills stand as a memory of the agricultural past of Mykonos and the Greek islands.
The windmills today
There are still sixteen old windmills standing proud on Mykonos’ landscape. Some of them, however, have become exclusive lodges and residences.
The most famous windmills are near the old town, by the sea. Every year, thousands of tourists visit them at the sunset hour, the best moment to shoot one of the many iconic Greek images to take back home.
Visit the Windmills
Unfortunately, travelers can only visit two of the still-standing windmills of Mykonos. The first of them is Geronimo’s Mill.
This structure dates back to the 1700s and it’ the most ancient mill on the island. Active until 1960, there have been recent renovations on the structure while maintaining most of the original machinery for grinding.
Also open to the public Bonis Mill, a windmill that is an integral part of the Agricultural Museum of Mykonos. This mill has been restored in full respect of its original features.
Visitors that choose to visit this structure can access every one of the floors. They can also learn about the process of flour making, from grinding the grains to weighing and storing the flour.
Bonis Mill is open daily to the public during summer afternoons (from July until September), from 16:00 to 20:00.
To contact the structure dial +30 22890 26246.
Are you ready to explore Greece? It can be the trip of your lifetime. Get in touch if you need extra help to plan your itinerary. If you happen to also tour West Crete, check this guide. You’ll find detailed info about where to go, what to see, where to eat, and more!
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Coming to Mykonos? These resources will help you organize the trip!
If you’re a fan of traditional places, check what a Mykonian Windmill looks like from the inside.
Finally, make sure you’ve got everything you for a hassle-free trip!
I never move around the Greek islands without my Osprey backpack, a sturdy, light, roomy, and super comfortable travel partner I just love. To visit villages, sites, and museums instead, I carry this little crossbody bag.
Airfares to Greece change from one airline to the other, make sure to compare prices with a powerful search engine. Planes are fast, but nothing like the romantic experience of traveling by sea in Greece. Direct Ferries has great ticket deals!
Sometimes, the best way to get to know a place and make the most of your time is to join an organized tour. GetYourGuide has top-rated tours to save time and money.
Do you have everything you need? Then you just have to get ready to discover the beautiful island of Mykonos!
Coming to Greece any time soon? These resources will help you organize the trip!
Probably, you’re planning to experience the thrilling island-hopping experience. Head to this article and read about the best cruise ports in Greece.
To have updated information about the island of Crete, as well as about the rest of Greece, join my private group on Facebook about Crete and download a copy of my West Crete Travel Guide to have it always with you if you visit Crete!
Finally, make sure you’ve got everything you for a hassle-free trip!
I never move around the islands without my Osprey backpack, a sturdy, light, roomy, and super comfortable travel partner I just love. To visit villages, sites, and museums instead, I carry this little crossbody bag.
When driving around, I pack my Nikon D7200. In Summer I also carry good sunscreen lotion, the sun on the island can be pretty aggressive. Always bring with you a good travel guide! Lonely Planet’s Best of Greece & the Greek Islands.
Airfares to Greece can change from one airline to the other, make sure to compare prices with a powerful search engine. Planes are fast, but nothing like the romantic experience of traveling by sea in Greece, book your ferry tickets in advance at the lowest price, with no hidden fees or extra costs.
Sometimes, the best way to get to know a place and make the most of your time is to join an organized tour. GetYourGuide has top-rated tours to save time and money. From cooking lessons to archaeological site tours, skip-the-line attractions, and even airport transfer!
Do you have everything you need? Then you just have to get ready to discover Greece!
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About the Author
Hola! I’m Gabi. Welcome to The Tiny Book – Crete Travel Blog! I moved to Crete to explore the island all year round. I love taking pictures and driving on the mountain roads of Crete. I’m a beach freak and on this island I’ve found heaven on earth!