Ano Mera is the second-largest settlement on Mykonos, and as far from the island’s party-crazy reputation it is possible to get. A whitewashed cluster northeast of Mykonos Town (also called Chora), life rumbles on here as it has done for centuries. There’s a daily fresh produce market in the village square and Ano Mera is popular with local families for leisurely Sunday brunches in traditional tavernas. The village’s chief claim to fame is the 16th-century whitewashed monastery of Panagia Tourliani and its church, which is fronted by an intricate marble bell tower and ornate triple bells.
Founded in 1542 by monks from the neighboring island of Paros and dedicated to the Virgin Mary, the monastery’s Byzantine styling is apparent in its red dome and its layout around a fountain-filled courtyard. The interior of the church is awash with elaborate Byzantine decoration in marble, green and gold Byzantine frescoes, carved wood, incense burners and crystal chandeliers among which precious icons flash and sparkle. A fresco of Jesus covers the cupola and the pulpit is covered with gilding and portraits of the Apostles; the wooden altar screen (iconostasis) is carved with scenes from the New Testament dating from 1775, studded with icons and patterned with flowers in red, gold and green. There’s also a small museum displaying richly embroidered vestments and the monastery’s original bells.
Although a regular bus service runs from Chora to Ano Mera, the village and its monastery can also be visited on 4x4 or scooter tours of Mykonos.
Ano Mera, Mykonos. Open daily 9am–1pm, 3.30pm–7pm. Admission €1. The monastery is 5 miles (8 km) from Chora, the main town on Mykonos. There is a limited public bus service between Chora and Ano Mera.