3 Best Delos Tours from Mykonos
- Guided Boat Tour to Delos
Excellent tour of Delos with professional guide. The tour leaves from Mykonos Town; if you’re staying at one of the beach towns, select hotel pickup/dropoff as it makes the day much easier. There’s also a private tour option for groups of 2 to 10.
- Boat Tour to Delos and Rhenia Island
This is a great tour for those who would like to see Delos, but don’t want to spend hours there. It takes you to beautiful Rhenia island for swimming, snorkeling, and a bbq lunch (onboard). Then to Delos for a short, guided tour when the island is usually much quieter than in the morning. Highly recommended.
- Guided Delos Tour from Cruise Ship Port
If you’re on a cruise and have a limited amount of time, this Delos tour offers pickup and dropoff at the cruise ship port in Mykonos.
Delos Island History
In ancient times, Delos was the most important island in the region. In fact, the Cyclades island group gets its name from the fact that the islands form a circle around Delos. Mykonos, by comparison, was considered poor with limited agricultural prospects. A holy island, Delos is the mythical birthplace of Artemis and Apollo, and women were once forbidden from giving birth there; instead, women were ferried to Mykonos for the labor and delivery of their children.
The UNESCO World Heritage Site on the small island of Delos is one of the best-preserved and most important archaeological sites in Greece. First settled by the Greeks around 3000 BC, the island became a shrine to Apollo around 800 BC and a thriving, multicultural center of trade in the centuries that followed, with Syrians and Egyptians adding shrines of their homeland gods to the existing Greek ones. Under the Romans, Delos became a duty-free port and important slave market, but the island’s importance diminished as trade routes shifted and by 300 AD the island was languishing in obscurity, used as a hideout by pirates. Delos is accessible by boat from Mykonos. Use your imagination to transform these extensive, well-preserved ruins into the gleaming city that once stood here.
As you make your way around the ruins from the Sacred Harbor, where the tour boats dock, sights not to miss include the Sanctuary of Apollo, lined with the remains of three temples dedicated to the god, the Artemision – a sanctuary of Artemis, Apollo’s twin sister, and the Terrace of Lions, lined with the much-photographed replica lion statues. (The actual lions can be found within the site’s small but interesting museum, located near the center of the island.) Nearby is the overgrown Sacred Lake where Leto gave birth to Apollo and Artemis after hiding from the wrath of Hera, Zeus’ wife, Zeus being the twins’ father.
In the Theater Quarter, formerly home to Delos’ wealthiest inhabitants, spot the mosaic depicting the wine god Dionysos riding a panther at the House of Dionysos, and another superb mosaic featuring lions, dolphins and griffins at the House of Dolphins. If you have time, it’s well worth climbing Mt Mynthos for great views of the surrounding islands and to visit the Sanctuaries of Zeus and Athena.
Visiting Delos from Mykonos
There are four boats daily from Mykonos Town (Chora) to Delos during high season, with departures from 9am to 5pm. Return boats run between 12.15pm and 8pm. There are fewer boats from November to March. Buy tickets from the kiosk at the southern end of Mykonos Town harbor. When purchasing tickets, find out which return boats they’re valid for. Boat tickets are 20€ round trip, and do not include the entrance fee to Delos Island, which is 12€.
- Delos Island boat schedule, pricing information, and online booking
- Visitors to Delos are given a map outlining three self-guided walking tours. Depending on which one you opt for, these take from 90 minutes to five hours, so it’s best to decide in advance how much time you’d like to spend on the island.
- You can purchase detailed Delos guidebooks both at the Delos ticket office and in bookstores on Mykonos. Guided tours can be booked at the same time as the boat tickets (adult/child 50/25€ including boat, entrance fee, and guide).
- Wear a hat, sunscreen, and good walking shoes. The only place to eat is a basic café at the Delos museum; it’s worth bringing a picnic lunch and plenty of drinking water.
Delos from Mykonos