The entirety of the island, renowned as a UNESCO World Heritage Site, is an archaeological marvel in itself. It languishes serenely on the waters of the Aegean Sea merely a few miles away from cosmopolitan Mykonos, and serves as a portal to re-experience the grandeur of ancient Greek civilizations. Delos is like stepping right into history; it’s no more than mediocre hospitality for its inhabitants, who were once considered by many to be immortals!
Though the island is only 5 kilometers in length and approximately 1,300 meters wide, it had an impressive population of 30,000 by 90 BC. Not merely a sacred centre for rituals but also a major port buzzing with activity; 750,000 tons of trade goods passed through annually during the first century BC.
In 1872, excavations of the archaeological site commenced by the Greek Archaeological Service and continued by the École française d’Athènes in 1873. Even now, archaeologists are still uncovering artifacts from this ancient location – although much of their efforts currently go towards protecting it for rising numbers of tourists. If you’d like to find out more about its history, be sure to check out the French school’s website in Athens. Fortunately for us all, since no one has inhabited it since the 7th century BC, this iconic site remains mostly unscathed despite centuries passing since then! By preserving its authentic qualities, the restoration of buildings on the site has maintained its historical and archaeological importance from antiquity. Additionally, this is not a common outcome with similar sites elsewhere. For these reasons, it makes sense to recognize why this particular location matters so much.
According to myth, the island was believed to be sacred due to Apollo and Artemis being born here. Not only were mortals forbidden from being born on this land, but they also couldn’t die there either – it was a cradle of gods! Despite its reputation as a significant religious and economic center, Delos was extraordinary in that those about to give birth and the dying were transported off the island to Rineia. The entire ancient world knew of this tiny isle’s sacred nature. Its unparalleled exclusivity made it even more remarkable during the peak years of the Delian Alliance.
Delos stands out in the world today as a one-of-a-kind natural insular archaeological site featuring monumental antiquities from all three major Greek art periods – Archaic, Classical, and Hellenistic. Nowhere else can you find such an expansive area dedicated to preserving history with no other purpose than for its significance itself. Unlike traditional museums, Delos is not about storytelling; it’s living history!
People coming from surrounding islands are not on a learning journey, but rather an unforgettable experience. It’s as if by sorcery that the inherent holiness of this island is still alive and well; hordes of people travel to appreciate its special quality, yet all they can do is visit it. Archaeology reigns supreme here: no one lives or dies within its bewitching landscape—just like in days long past. History comes full circle at this venerable place where nobody takes their first breath nor last.
What is There to See on Delos?
The historical site on Delos Island offers an enthralling view into the lives of its ancient inhabitants with a wealth of artefacts from excavations around the island, as well as one of the most celebrated collections of Greek sculptures in existence. A visit to this awe-inspiring sanctuary dedicated to Apollo and Artemis unveils what life must have been like for those who lived there centuries ago. An exploration through the museum will provide visitors with invaluable insights into their daily experiences.
How to get to Delos
Take a day trip ferry from Mykonos, Naxos or Paros to explore the alluring island of Delos. Not only is there no accommodation on the island, but it’s also home to its own caretakers and archaeologists! Without an airport on Delos, you must hop aboard a boat for your journey – one that will no doubt reap unimaginable rewards once you get there!
Private yacht to Delos
If you don’t have your own yacht, no worries! There are a variety of private cruise services available at highly budget-friendly prices to take you and yours to Delos. Once there, simply purchase tickets at the ticket office for an unforgettable tour of the historic site and museum. And if that’s not enough adventure for one day, why not explore Rhenia Island too on your voyage?
Naxos to Delos
At 8.45am, embark on a magical journey from Naxos to Delos and Mykonos with three hours allotted for exploration in each destination before returning home! Your ticket only grants access to the ferry rides – any additional excursions such as guiding services or entry fee for archaeological sites/museums are not included. To ensure you make the most of your stay in old town Mykonos, I suggest visiting the renowned Archaeology Museum there!
Paros to Delos
Enjoy a seamless transfer from your hotel to Parikia, the main port in Paros, for an 9.30 am departure to Delos! Explore this renowned archaeological site and museum at your own leisurely pace before setting sail for Mykonos. Here you will be granted three hours of free time around old town Mykonos as well-for those passionate about archaeology, don’t miss out on visiting the Archaeology Museum here too! The price includes both transfers from/to your accommodation and round trip between Parikia (Paros), Delos, & Mykonos; however please note that guides or entry fees into sites are not included with this ticket.
Getting to Delos from Mykonos
To experience the beauty of Delos, Mykonos is easily your best bet. Whether you are looking for a day trip or an extended stay, this spectacular island offers something for everyone. During peak season from April to October 2023, ferries leave frequently from Old Port and will provide stress-free access to Delos. If visiting in December, however, it’s prudent to note that ferry service is significantly reduced during this time.
Buying tickets for the Mykonos – Delos ferry
To purchase a ticket, head to the booth adjacent to the ferries in Old Harbour. However, due to its popularity as Delos’ most sought-after attraction, it is highly recommended that you book your tickets ahead of time.
The Delos ferry docks at a pier with a ticket booth nearby. Get return tickets here for just €22 each (entry not included). If you’d like to plan ahead and save yourself some time, there’s also the option of booking your tickets online – they are even refundable up to 24 hours prior if something comes up! A small fee of €4 is all that stands between you and your journey.
Please note: For those who would like to have a guided tour, you have the opportunity to book it online. The package includes ferry fare and entry fees to the archaeological site as well as services from knowledgeable guides.
Traveling to 🇬🇷 Greece soon?
I recommend these travel resources for Greece that I personally use:
🏨 Hotels: I have found that Expedia and Booking.com consistently have the best deals on hotels and resorts in Greece. If you prefer to stay at a vacation rental, check VRBO that is usually cheaper than AirBnB’s added fees!
✈️ Flights: To find the best flight deals to Greece, I always use Kayak. Remember to subscribe to their price alerts for the travel dates you want. Another great alternative for flight deals is Expedia.
🚗 Rental Cars: I always use and highly recommend Discover Cars because it allows me to compare several car rental companies and view ratings on various factors such as overall value, pick-up procedure, agent efficiency, car condition, and total time taken.
🚙 Airport Transportation: For the fastest and easiest way to travel, I suggest arranging a private transfer from the airport and beetween destinations with Welcome Pickups. Honestly, no better way to travel from the airport to your hotel or resort.
🤿 Tours & Activities: For tours and activities in Greece, I highly recommend using either Viator or GetYourGuide. These websites offer a full refund if you cancel your booking 24 hours before the start of the tour, and they also provide excellent customer service in case of any issues.
🚨 Travel Insurance: I always suggest purchasing travel insurance as a precaution before traveling, especially after a recent accident in a taxi in Greece. For short trips, I recommend Travel Insurance Master, whereas for digital nomads, Safety Wing is a better option.
📷 Best Camera for your trip: I always carry with me a GoPro, It’s light, compact, takes great video and pictures, and most importantly, it’s waterproof! You just can’t go wrong with one. If you are interested in higher quality video and photography, I always carry with me on my trips and highly recommend the Sony A7IV which I think is the best travel DSLR Camera out there.
☀️ Biodegradable Sunscreen: Remember to include a good sunscreen to protect yourself from the summer sun. I always use and suggest Sun Bum Sunscreen, which is vegan, reef-friendly, and cruelty-free.
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