Delos

Preserved marble theatre in Delos

Delos is an island in Greece's Cyclades, 3.5 km southwest of Mykonos.

Understand

Delos, sometimes spelled Dilos, was the most important Panhellenic sanctuary, and, according to mythology, the birthplace of Apollo and Artemis. The first signs of habitation on the island date from the 3rd millennium B.C., and important remains of the Mycenaean period have been uncovered in the area of the sanctuary. In the 7th century B.C. Delos was already a known Ionic centre because of its religious importance as the birthplace of Apollo. The Delos archaeological sanctuary is listed by UNESCO as one of mankind's most important cultural and historical sites.

A narrow channel separates Delos from the island of Rhenia, where there is an important burial ground.

The Cyclades received their name in antiquity because they form a rough circle (κύκλος/kyklos in Greek) round the sacred island of Delos.

Get in

There are daily boat excursions from Mykonos except Monday, because the archaeological site is closed that day.

The site is open from 8:30AM to 3PM, so have an early start if you want to see it all.

Boats leave at 9AM, 10AM and 11AM from the pier at the west side of the harbour, right behind the little church of Agios Nikolaos. The boat trip takes about 30 minutes. Boats return at 12:15PM, 1:30PM and 3PM.

Boat trips to Delos are also organized from Platys Gialos and Paranga Beach.

The cost is €17-20 for the boat trip plus €5 for the entrance (free for students and €3 for those over 65). A guided tour, departing at 10AM from the pier in Mykonos, will cost €40 (including boat trip and entrance fee).

The Cyclades are notoriously windy. As the boats going from Mykonos are relatively small, boat trips can be cancelled due to strong wind.

In summer routes are also available from Tinos, Naxos and Paros.

Only some small cruise ships dock at the commercial Delos port of call.

Get around

You will get a good map with different coloured tours. You can walk around by yourself or explore the exhibits with a guide.

You can buy guidebooks at the ticket booth at the entrance of the excavation. Some shops in Mykonos sell the same books for double the price.

See

Temple of Isis

Archaeological sites cover almost the entire island, starting from the harbour at the west side. The most important ruins in this district are:

The Museum of Delos has sculptures of the Archaic, Classical, Hellenistic and Roman periods, and a collection of vases from various periods. It is open from 8:30AM to 3PM. Admission is included in the entrance ticket of the site, but keep your ticket with you as it will be checked at the museum entrance.

Do

Buy

Since Delos is uninhabited, there are no shops there except for the small gift shop at the entrance.

Eat

The small tourist center in the Sanctuary of Apollo has a restaurant and a bar. Beware of high prices.

Drink

Bring plenty of water.

Sleep

Overnight stay on Delos is forbidden. The only "inhabitants" of the island are security personnel and archaeologists. The closest accommodation options are in Mykonos.

Stay safe

Be aware there is no protection from the sun on the island so take the usual precautions.

Go next

This article is issued from Wikivoyage - version of the Sunday, September 28, 2014. The text is available under the Creative Commons Attribution/Share Alike but additional terms may apply for the media files.